How to Clean an Above-Ground Pool After Draining

Your biggest enemy when draining an above-ground pool, for any reason, will be the sun. If you ever have to drain out your above-ground pool it is better to do it during the winter months, and even then it is best to expose your pool liner to as little sun as possible once that water has been drained. 

For reasons we will explain later in this article, the pool liner in your pool shrinks every time you drain it, and the sun will accelerate that process. So, even if you drain it during the pool during the winter months, you must also strive to get as much of this work done overnight.

If you drain your pool regularly that pool liner is going to shrink a considerable amount anyway, and damage to it will be inevitable. So, if you are going to drain your pool, it is best to only do it once a year, at most. That is the complicated part of this. The actual steps to be followed when draining your pool to clean it, are a lot easier for you to follow.

How To Clean Your Above-Ground Pool Step-By-Step

Drain The Water Out Of Your Pool

Removing your pool water is just as important a part of the process, as any other when cleaning out above-ground pools. You should use a submersible pump for the initial part of draining the pool, which will reduce most of the water level. Depending on the size of your pool, draining all the pool water could take some time, usually several hours.

The thing about above-ground pools is that there will always be pockets of water that remain at the lower levels of the pool because the above-ground pool isn’t entirely level. Along with those pockets of water, you will also find numerous leaves, some algae, and all sorts of other debris that would have found its way to the bottom of your ground swimming pool over the course of the winter. 

Usually, a skimmer basket would alleviate most of your troubles, but it won’t always get everything that you need. 

Remove Sunken Debris

There are numerous techniques you could use to complete this part of the job, but the most effective tools to have at your disposal are probably pressure hoses. Because there is invariably already some water trapped at the lower levels of your pool, you can then add a little more to the water levels with the pressure hose, if that means being able to push all of your debris into one corner, where you can collect the bits of waste and dispose of them.

Regardless of whether you use the pressure hose or not, you will invariably have to use a broom and dustpan to collect the waste at the bottom of the pool. Without the use of a pressure hose, this will take you a slightly longer period of time. Well, it will certainly feel that way anyway.

Another popular option would be to hook your garden hose up to a spigot and then place the other end of your hose below the water level in your above-ground pool. Then turn your water on and let it run until there are no air bubbles, at which point you can then turn the water off.

Then crink the hose, so that the water stays trapped, before removing the other end of the hose from your spigot. Drag that end of the hose to below the ground level of your pool, and then allow it to act as a suction hose or a garden hose siphon. That helps get rid of all the lower level water that your pump didn’t do.

The beauty about these lower pockets of water is that they show you exactly where the low points in your pool are, for when you want to level it out again. So, not having a pool pump is not always going to be a disaster.

Mix And Apply Liner Cleaner

There are multiple options for cleaning solutions that you can use for your above-ground pool, which are readily available at online pool accessory vendors. Follow the instructions on the product, which you could usually mix into a watering can.

You should then use that watering can to apply the cleaning solution onto the side surface of the above-ground pool, which then allows the chemical mixture to run down the pool liner, and target anything that might be in its pathway. You could then enhance this effect by using a pool brush to scrub any remaining dirt and grime remaining on your pool liner.

Use Fresh Water To Hose Down

Once you have loosened up all the dirt and grime on the pool liner, you can bring back your pressure hose and wash it all down. Once all of the dirt is on the floor of the above-ground pool, you can either use a broom, pool brush, or pressure hose to push the dirt into the most uneven corner of the floor, where the pockets of water would usually collect.

Then just scoop most of that dirt up with a dustpan, and drain the rest of the water as you would have at the beginning of this process. Then use a pool vacuum to clear up anything else that might be left behind. When you are done you can fill the pool up again.

Take Care Of Housekeeping

Before your above-ground pool can be fully operational again, it is important to make sure that the filter and filter pump are free of dirt and grime. It is also important to make sure that the filter and filter pump are still fully operational, and replace them if necessary.

Then you need to make sure that the pool water is safe for you to use, by checking the chemical balance with a pool water testing kit. When you have done the pH test, you will have sufficient clarity on what chemical levels are still required for that pool.

Should I Drain My Above-Ground Pool To Clean It?

While it is common practice to clean your above-ground pool after the winter months, draining a vinyl liner pool is not ideal, regardless of whether you are draining an inground pool or an above-ground pool.

The pool liner design is actually cut a little small for the actual pool, something that also happens to be a feature of the pool cover. Nevertheless, this design allows the pool liner to actually stretch a little bit when you are assembling your pool. 

That enhances the fit of the liner on the frame of the pool. Once you fit that liner into your pool frame the first time, you will then fill that pool up with thousands of liters of water. That will stretch the pool liner significantly more. That water weight will hold the liner in place, which is what it was designed to do. 

However, once that water is in there, the internal components of the pool liner become harder. When you drain the water out of your above-ground pool, the liner will shrink back to its original fit, which will probably also be noticeable to your naked eye too.

Because the liner has become hard, it will not stretch back out properly when you fill that pool with water again. That means you will now have a liner that is too small for your pool, which creates a few complications.

Something that could happen is that your liner will start tearing away at the seam, sometimes gradually, and sometimes almost immediately. The other complication is that the liner is going to actually want more water and start pulling away from the top of the pool, where it is hooked. 

Sometimes that means the pool will start caving in, and sometimes the liner will just pop off from the top of the pool frame. Both outcomes are not ideal.

The Final Verdict

If ever you feel unsure about the work you need to be done on your pool, either to drain it, or to clean it, it is best to consult a local professional who will be best to advise you on things like chemical balance, acid, and other potentially harmful elements.

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