Can I Leave My Swimming Pool Empty?

As a new pool owner, you may be wondering how to properly close your pool. Whether it is for the winter season or you are leaving for an extended vacation, it is essential to be aware of the proper procedure so that your pool does not accidentally become damaged.

It can be surprising to learn that you should not leave your swimming pool empty. Most guidelines for closing a pool will advise to just lower the level of water below the skimmer and jet level. This is done to ensure that the plumbing lines remain clear and are not left at risk for bursting or freezing. If you are wondering why it is not recommended to leave some water in your pool while it is not in use (after all, this water will need to be discarded when you are ready to use your pool again) there are a few reasons why.

When a pool has been completely drained, it is vulnerable in a number of areas. The liner can dry out, shrink and possibly crack or it can become ripped or torn from debris entering the pool. With a small amount of water left inside, you can help protect the interior from harsh winter weather or risking being accidentally torn. In addition to leaving some water in your pool, here are some other important factors that you should be aware of.

How Much Water to Drain

The typical recommendation is to just drain the water in your pool below the skimmer line. This will enable you to properly clean the plumbing system while avoiding frozen or burst pipes in the winter. If you own an above ground pool, it may have a removable skimmer system and pump which can be removed and only a small amount of water will need to be drained to allow for expansion in the colder months. An in-ground pool will need more water removed and you will also want to ensure that you have a tight fitting cover that will not collect water. A cover where water can collect on top can not only risk the cover being damaged but can lead to cracking which can allow snow or debris to get into your pool.


Leaving some water in your pool will help protect against freezing and debris but it is also important to use the proper chemicals to keep your pool safe. Adding winterizing chemicals to the water is highly recommended as is using shock and algaecide. This will keep the water as clean as possible while not in use and will also make it easier to reopen your pool in the spring.

Winter Maintenance

Overall, winter maintenance is quite straightforward and a part of being a pool owner if you live in a northern climate. Owning a pool is a significant investment and you want to make sure that you take proper care of your pool so that it will last for years to come. Plan on setting aside at least a day before winter arrives or you leave on a long vacation to properly close up your pool and ensure it will be in perfect condition when you are ready to use it again.

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