How Long Can I Leave My Concrete Pool Empty? (Find Out Now!)

Rebekah Pierce
by Rebekah Pierce

As the weather gets cooler, it’s time for many people to start taking care of basic pool maintenance and repairs. Many people assume that in-ground pools need to be drained during the winter months, but the opposite is actually true.

You should leave your concrete pool empty for as little time as possible. Swimming pools are meant to be filled with water. If that’s taken away, the pool can be damaged. Although concrete pools are safer to empty than other types like fiberglass or vinyl-lined pools, they should not be left empty for more than a few days.

Draining a pool should only ever be a last resort. Not only will it raise your water bill significantly to refill the pool in the spring, but removing the water can also lead to long-term, costly damages.

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Is it OK To Leave a Concrete Pool Empty?

No swimming pool, including a concrete pool, should be left empty for prolonged periods of time.

Compared to other types of pools, concrete pools can be left empty for a bit longer. They are constructed to be the most durable, yet you still shouldn’t leave your concrete pool empty for long periods of time. Sun exposure and other environmental impacts can cause cracks to form on the interior of a concrete pool.

Concrete pools are sturdier and more resilient than other types of pools, like fiberglass pools. Fiberglass pools may be severely damaged when left empty even for a few hours. The floor can come loose and float to the top when the pool is refilled.

However strong concrete pools may be, damages can still arise when they are drained. Some pools might pop out of the ground while others can cave in. That’s because pools get used to the heavy weight and pressure of the water.

When it’s removed, groundwater and surrounding soil pressure can cause the pool’s various components to become disfigured.

How Long Can You Leave a Pool Empty?

Leave your pool empty for as little time as possible. There’s not really a set figure on how long it is safe to leave a pool empty because it varies depending on the groundwater levels, the age of the pool, and what kind of material it is constructed out of.

Even above-ground pools are vulnerable to damages caused by draining the water out. The pool liners can shrink when they’re exposed to the air, which can later cause them to tear.

Most issues that require a pool to be drained will take around one or two days to be fixed. Therefore, it’s recommended that you don’t leave your pool empty for any period of time longer than this.

Some people assume that a concrete pool needs to be left empty over the winter months, but that’s not the case. You just need to take appropriate steps to winterize your pool. You will lower the water level slightly, but you don’t need to remove all of the water in its entirety.

What Happens if a Swimming Pool is Left Empty?

There are several problems that can arise if you leave your pool empty.

Some of these are commonsensical. Think about it – pools are meant to hold water. When they don’t have water in them, there’s nothing keeping them weighed down. The average pool weighs more than 80,000 lbs!

When that kind of weight is removed, the pool can pop up out of the ground due to ground pressure. It can compromise the pool’s structural integrity and damage its floor, walls, liner, and deck.

Not only that, but the lack of water means there’s no moisture on the pool walls, so the pool finish can dry out, causing flaking and cracks.

There are some newer models that are equipped with hydrostatic relief valves on the floor to keep the shell in place, but emptying a pool fully is never a great idea.

Related Questions

Will my swimming pool crack if left empty?

A swimming pool can crack if it is left empty for long periods of time. This is true not just of concrete pools but also of those made from other materials. Vinyl liners can dry, crack, or become ripped, even if it’s an above-ground pool. 

Should you drain a concrete pool for winter?

No. There is no need to drain a concrete pool for winter. Even if you get extremely cold weather, water in the pool is still a good idea. You just need to winterize your pool. Taking proper winterization steps (such as lowering the water level, adding necessary chemicals, blowing the lines, and cleaning the pool filter) can keep your pool secure and safe over the winter months. However, draining is not necessary or advised. 

Will an inground pool collapse without water?

Inground pools don’t always collapse when they aren’t filled with water but there are plenty of other damages that can result instead. Your pool may pop out of the ground or the floor, liners, walls, and deck can be damaged. 

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Draining a Concrete Pool: Tips

Is your goal simply to clean your swimming pool? If so, don’t worry about draining it. Instead, use chemicals.

Algae can be a big problem for concrete pools since the material is so porous. A vigilant cleaning regimen can help keep your pool healthy and beautiful without needing to drain it.

If you absolutely must drain the pool, hire a submersible pump. This will get rid of the water slowly and gradually so that the pool does not become damaged. When you drain it, you may want to cover it so it’s not being beaten on by the harsh rays of the sun. Some pools may also be fitted with a ground plug to allow in groundwater and prevent the pressure from damaging the pool.

When in doubt, hire a pool care professional to take care of your concrete swimming pool. They will be able to drain it without damaging the pool and will also do things like testing the drains and lines (which is often something that can be done when full).

Keep the water in your pool! That’s simply where it’s meant to be.

Rebekah Pierce
Rebekah Pierce

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