We all hear horror stories about fiberglass pools popping out of the ground (especially from our vinyl pool guys), bulging and heaving… what we don’t hear is that for some reason the fiberglass pool was completely drained without a professional.
We are attracted to Fiberglass pools because they are the warriors of pools, safest for our pets, easy to maintain, require minimal chemicals and have the lowest lifetime cost to maintain over any other style of pool.
However, there is one way fiberglass pools can be weaken and fall short of its warrior status: by draining the pool without professional help.
Every year we hear of pool owners (not from our customers) that intentionally drain their fiberglass pools for various reasons.
Here are 5 common reasons people think they need to drain their fiberglass pools:
Dirty, smelly, frog farm green pool water
A novice or un-informed fiberglass pool owner may believe that draining and refilling the pool is the best solution, “cheapest” or the easiest way instead of cleaning the pool manually. It’s a very rare case that a fiberglass pool requires to be drained completely for cleaning. Maybe after a major storm with sewage flooding or other form of natural disaster. Turning your green frog farm pool into a crystal clear oasis can be achieved in a matter of few days with proper chemicals and lots of vacuuming.
Someone purchases or moves into a home with a fiberglass pool – Realtors take note!
At 3 Day Pools we take the time with proper equipment and pool maintenance orientation after our installs. Also we educate all or customers the importance of proper winterization and weekly pool water testing. After all you did just spend $40,000’s or more on your new fiberglass pool… you wouldn’t drive your car without proper maintenance and service.
However, we have had times when someone purchased a home with a pool and drained it especially for the winter season. We now offer all our customers to include a new pool owner orientation in the event they are selling their home. We also have a Realtor referral program that helps educate Realtors on the importance of proper pool care and the do’s and don’ts.
A power of sale home that’s been abandoned for years
It’s all over social media and prime time TV. Let’s flip that flipper house, while it’s great entertainment but 30 mins is impossible to see what goes on behind the scenes. Renovating a flip house is a major task with a huge investment. Imagine a pool sitting for a few years and the condition of the water, side walls and equipment must be. Starting over is no brainer.. but it’s a huge NO-NO! Hire a professional to help with the process.
Adding or changing the sanitization system
You might have a chlorine, bromine or salt water system and after some research and the kids complaining of burning eyes or super dry skin after taking a dip. Decide to add or convert to a Ionization system – Great! But you do not need to drain the pool, every system can be converted with the proper water stabilization process without draining the pool. It’s best to do this in the spring before pool opening.
Saving a few bucks by winterizing themselves
We all dream of a white Christmas, but not too fast need to get that water out of the pool before it freezes. WRONG! Proper winterization includes chemical balancing and shocking the pool for a dormant winter season. Lowering the water below the jet lines and skimmer to prevent lines and equipment to freeze and burst. It’s ok that the water in the pool above the frost line freeze’s it will just expand upwards. So draining the pool completely is not needed, but however certain pool models will need water to be replaced once the winterization is completed for example pools with tanning ledges. Best to hire a pool professional to take care this task.
What type of damage can happen to your fiberglass pool here?
Read All About! You heard from every non pool owner, the vinyl pool guys and everyone in between. That fiberglass pools pop up. Well it’s not impossible, but I can say that has never happened to any of our installs over the past 13 years. We have been commissioned to repair or replace a few pools over the years from other installers or home owners – so it can happen. What we see more of is pools shifting, heaving or bulging after being drained and require structural repair (which is not covered under warranty if the pool is drained – so DON”T drain your pool)
These principles apply to all types of pools. Concrete pools will actually float. Vinyl liners bubble and float as well. It’s necessary to take these precautions with any inground pool.
So what do I do if the pool really needs to be drained?
If your pool really needs to be drained, contact a local fiberglass pool professional to do it for you, or at least give you some assistance. Some pools are perfectly fine to drain, but only some. A good percentage of fiberglass pools will incur some damage if the pool is drained without proper procedures.
What are “proper procedures”?
First, before you even think about touching the water levels determine how much ground water is around and under the pool. Some people mistakenly believe that because there was no water during their pool’s excavation or it hasn’t rained in like 3 months, that under the pool remains dry at all times. This is far from the truth. The ground under or around your pool…fills with water. The type of soil when excavating will determine how long water will sit under your pool, sandy soils drain very well unlike hard clay type. But water will be there… it’s just for how long.
If there is water around and under the outside of the pool, the water either needs to be removed, or if this is not possible you will have to wait until a drier part of the year when the hole is dry.
With every installation we install a ground water management system, that allows you to monitor and take care of any ground water pooling, we install a sump pipe that allows you to take the lid off, look down the hole, see how much water you have, and get rid of it easily.
Second, properly brace the pool. Sorry no classes on how to do this, but it’s good practice to brace fiberglass pools when draining them because they are engineered to remain full of water. The design of the pool will determine where and how many braces to use. Similar to when the pool was installed and craned over. (we always crane our pools – no walking them in)
Third, during installation ensuring the proper material is used to backfill around the outside of the pool will make the world of a difference. We only use HPB High Performance Bedding, no shortcuts with crushed gravel or sand. HPB is the ideal material cause it drains well and it’s self-compacting friction helps it stay in place while supporting 1000’s of lbs of water. This well help to prevent bulges from developing on the sides and the pool shifting
We’re confident that we can safely drain a fiberglass pool if it has a sump pipe and HPB stone backfill. Still, it’s best not to drain the pool unless it’s absolutely necessary. And you should never do it by yourself.
So, whether you have a pool with nasty water, have just moved into a home with a fiberglass pool, or find yourself in a major renovation project with a fiberglass pool, just know that draining a pool is not an option without a Professional.