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Will Draining an Above-Ground Pool Damage the Liner? Pros and Cons

Above-ground pools require different types of maintenance that could expose or create new problems. There are times when the liner could change shape after the water has been removed, and knowing what to look for could save some heartache. So will draining an above-ground pool damage the liner?

Draining an above ground pool does not damage the liner. However, leaving the liner in direct sunlight or high temperatures while empty can cause shrinking and weaken the liner. With proper storage or an immediate refill, the liner will not be damaged.

Pool liners are one of the most integral parts of an above-ground pool, and when you drain them, there could be unexpected problems. However, draining the pool periodically is a fantastic way to get new water and inspect for flaws. So read on and learn if draining an above-ground pool damages the liner.

Draining an Above-Ground Pool and How it Impacts the Liner

Some people out there think that every season needs new decor and styles. Regarding your above-ground pool, some people would want to drain it after the summer and replace it when the weather heats up.

This is normal, and if you want to empty your above-ground pool, there are a few things you should be looking for.

Shrinking is Common when Draining an Above-Ground Pool

One of the most damaging things for your pool when draining is shrinking. As the water is removed from the liner and it begins to heat up, it could shrink. As this happens, there are some steps you can take to ensure that the shrinking doesn’t force the seams to crack and your liner to become worthless.

Some of the steps you can take to prevent shrinking when draining your above-ground pool are as follows:

  • Fast Refill – As soon as your purpose for draining the pool is finished, you should refill it. The water will help to cool the liner, and the extra weight will enable you to take the next step of smoothing. Remember that filling the pool too quickly could cause tears at the seams or wrinkles on the bottom that could impact pool performance.
  • Smooth the Liner – While the pool is filling, you should smooth the liner until it is flat and free from wrinkles. If you leave places with wrinkles, you could have leveling issues and see walls collapse and yards flood. Smoothing the wrinkles must be done when the pool is filling, or you could have too much pressure to work out the wrinkled areas.

Doing these things can protect against the shrinkage that could occur when draining your above-ground pool.

The shrinking is normal, and if you have tears, there could be ways to patch them, but you would be better off buying a new one. If you are careful and lucky, the liner will survive unscathed and continue to work.

Here’s a video showing how to winterize an above ground pool, notice they don’t drain it:

Here’s a link to some Pool Accessories from Amazon and the highly recommended Sand Filter Pump to upgrade any above ground pool setup.

Does Draining a Pool Ruin the Liner?

No. Draining an above-ground pool does not ruin the liner. However, some things could create tears in the liner and compromise wall integrity. These items can be protected against, but that doesn’t mean accidents can’t happen.

By taking down your pool each season, you can save it and ensure it is around for summers to come.

Some pros of draining your pool are as follows:

  • Safety – A great reason to store your pool liner each winter is for safety. During the cold months, a giant vat of water could collapse, and a spill would devastate your yard and any nearby low-lying areas. In addition, if the water contains chunks of ice, your cars and home could be in danger of impact.
  • Protection – If you live in an area that gets extreme cold snaps, you could protect your pool liner by storing it for the winter. The material could react adversely to the weather and crack or tear from water pressure.
  • Fixes – When you drain the pool, you have a chance to fix any problems with it. You can bring in some sand to level it out if it is uneven. If there’s an issue with one of the walls, you can take the pressure off it and get it back in shape.

The lining of an above-ground pool works well stored or in set-up. However, there are things to consider that might make you second guess taking down the pool each winter. These items are why your pool should remain standing once it has its level and filled.

Some cons of draining your pool are as follows:

  • Work – Taking down the above-ground pool is lots of work. Tools could be needed to take down metal walls or simply tons of water to displace. In addition, the pool must be moved, and it could be too heavy for people to carry without mechanical assistance.
  • Wear – Moving the pool each year will create unnecessary wear on it. In addition, the liner and filtration systems on pools are delicate, and by not allowing them to stay in place, you set the stage for an accident that could have been avoided.
  • Water – The water in your pool could cause significant problems with the area around it. Sometimes the water will stay near the surface, creating a barrier that turns your yard into a soup and puts your pool placement into question.

Your above-ground pool can avoid problems by remaining in its original position. Of course, there are instances where you must drain the pool, but moving it is something you should always think about before getting into action.

Here’s a link to some Pool Accessories from Amazon and the highly recommended Sand Filter Pump to upgrade any above ground pool setup.


Draining an above-ground pool has the potential to damage the liner. If there are tears or rips when working, they can be temporarily patched until you can afford a new pool liner. Draining can benefit the pool if you live in regions with extreme cold, as masses of ice could collapse the walls and destroy your yard and property.

Draining and storing the pool could see excess wear on the liner or a heavy burden on the filtration system. Repairing requires draining; if you don’t drain it periodically, there could be chemical issues.

By taking the proper steps, you can ensure when the liner is drained, it is protected against heat and is refilled quickly to avoid any shrinkage.

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