Above Ground Pool strategies for winter survival in the Northeast....

Hi Guys,
I wanted to double check on some advice that was given to me by my pool supplier.
This year, I had some trouble with the liner on my above ground pool that was a direct result of too much snow sitting on my cover and stressing the walls of the pool last winter.
They recommended that I keep the pool cover on only until the all the leaves have fallen and then remove the cover for the reminder of the winter so that there is no pressure on the walls from the snow.
Sounds like a good idea, and I just took the cover off the pool today (I live in New Hampshire, BTW). It's hard to believe, but my water level was down some 6" or more from where I left it when I covered it up! I know we had a warm fall but still, I guess it gets hot under there and plenty of water evaporated. I'm pretty sure there isn't a leak in the pool as this has happened ever since I got a new cover (my old one had holes that let in rain water). And during the season, there is no strange loss of water. Or maybe it's more believable to think that some pool water was seeping through the cover into the top and getting pumped off by my pool pump? Damn..... if that's it, then I don't what I should do to prevent it.
So I have 3 questions:
1. Is it sound advice to keep the cover off for the winter and just let the snow accumulate in the pool?
2. Is it ok for my liner to have more than half of the 4' wall exposed? Will it dry out?
3. Did the water in my pool really evaporate or is it more likely seeping through my cover or is something else happening?
Thanks for your time,
G
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What happened to the liner?

That's a new one on me. Pool owner for 10 years or so.

If you have holes in the cover, and you pump the water off... well, you'll loose water.

Like I said, I never heard of this. When snow is accumulating, the water should be frozen. I can't see what difference the snow will make. When the snow melts, pump the water off.

Never heard of a liner drying out.

I don't know what kind of cover you have, but all the covers I've seen for above ground pools won't let water seep thru them, you need to have holes for water to get thru.
6 inches of evaporation seems like a lot.
Where I am, (NJ), I've got tall trees over the pool. It's rare for me to go thru a winter without having branches poke holes thru the cover. If I siphon water off the pool, the water level drops. To slow the process down, I keep the solar cover on, under the pool cover. This holds the cover up on top of the water so that I don't loose too much water. By spring the whole thing is a big mess, leaves have gotten in thru the holes in the cover and turned the water black. A few days of running the filter gets everything back in shape.
I don't know what happened to your liner, but I recommend buying online, I saved about 1/2 that way and got a nicer looking liner than the ones in the store.
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-snip-

I'd be interested to hear what the 'trouble' was.

I quit using a regular cover 10 years ago. I'm under/near some trees, so I got a leaf cover. [like a fish-net- about 1" holes. Much easier for one person to handle than a solid cover] This may be the first year that I'll actually take it off before spring as it looks like the leaves will be all off before the pool freezes. Usually I just end up blowing the leaves off it & letting the snow settle through the holes. [I still use the 'pillow' in the center. It helps keep the cover above water so it is easy to blow off.]

6" sounds more like a pinhole leak to me.

It's worked for me for about 15 years-- I'm in NY just a bit north of Albany.

The only problem I ever had with a liner was at the seam where the bottom meets the sides.

Tough time to try to find it- but I'd look for a pinhole. There's a guy in our area who uses a dive suit and specialises in finding little leaks. If I were in your shoes I'd be weighing the cost of having him check it against the cost of a new liner- and possibly pool. I suspect that the cause of my liner failure was a pinhole that drew the water down enough so if froze solid. It split the liner and bent several of the uprights.
Jim
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Hey Guys,.. thanks for the reply.
So the "trouble" I had in the spring when I removed the cover was that some of the liner had come out of it's track around the top edge... about 6' worth of the liner was off and sagging into the pool. Of course, i didn't know this 'til the cover came off as what I used to do was fill the pool underneath the cover to it's proper height and then take off the cover.
So I had to call the pool shop, they drained the water down a foot or so, and stretched the liner back up and fastened it back into the track. It's fine now but the pattern looks a tad distorted on that side.
This is the 3rd year I'm using this new pool cover, the one before this had a couple of large holes in it that I believe allowed rain water to get in and keep the water level at a certain threshold over the fall and spring. But with this new cover, each year, the water level drops precipitously during the non-freezing months that the pool cover is on.
The reason the pool shop recommended removing the cover is because with the water level so low the snow and ice on top are causing it to pull in the walls of the pool. You can see this on my pool as it sort of looks like the wall is bent into the pool.
I'm not afraid of having to clean up the water in the pool and there are literally no leaves left on the trees around me. So as long as the liner isn't in danger of drying out (the bottom corners are still under 1 to 2' of water), then I'm all set.
As for there being a pinhole in the liner, this is what I thought the past 2 years when I opened the pool with so little water in it. So during the year I kept a close eye on the water level and sure enough, it was as constant as usual, with there being the normal amount of evaporation as always. The cover has only been on since Sept 20 or so. So that's only 2 months. There's no way during 2 months of the summer that I lost this much water.
I saw another posting on WaterNet (http://waternetonline.com/index.asp ) that said pool covers usually develop undetectable pinholes in them so that when you have a large amount of rain sitting on top, the pressure also causes water from the pool to seep through so that when you pump off the cover (as I do very diligently), you're also pumping off some of the pool water.
Also, my pool cover is oversized for my pool... it's a 24' cover for a 21' pool. I did this to give it some room to slide when the snow starts weighing it down.
I was thinking about getting a leaf cover instead but what does that do to your water level with all the rain getting in there over the fall and spring not to mention the snow that eventually melts. Do you pump it out to keep it below the return? or just keep the return open so it seeps out? It would actually be pretty cool to open my pool this year and already have all the water I need in there! :-)
Thanks for your help guys,
G
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com writes:

That sounds so wrong.
I just installed a replacement liner 3 years ago. Stretching the liner is a no no.
The only way I'd have done this is to take all the water out of the pool then rehang the liner. If the liner is already stretched I'd say it's too late now.

If the sides of your pool are moving, that would explain why the liner came off.
I have a 24', I paid extra for heavy duty pool walls and I hang the cover over the pool frame, not the pool walls. There is no amount of snow that would move the pool walls. Well, maybe a glacier. I don't expect a glacier for a few years.

Next year, get a face mask and spend some time examining the pool bottom and sides for holes. You should be able to see them if they are there.
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Yeah, I know it sounds wrong, but it really was only off by an inch or three... This pool was already in rough shape when I bought the house. It isn't a necessarily old pool, but the previous owners didn't take care of it at all. I don't expect it to survive much longer, besides, aren't liners supposed to be replaced every so often anyway?

Exactly.
I can't picture this... the way my round above ground is configured it has something like 10 or 12 uprights with coping that sits on top of the uprights. The wall is aluminum and is fastened only to the top of the uprights. The wall is away from some of the uprights and the pool guy told me it's also split in one spot. He told me that the wall won't be usable if I took down the pool and replaced the liner. He might just be trying to sell me a pool but who knows, it really pisses me off how the previous owners neglected this thing.

How do you spot the holes? Do you actually have to see the tear or look for bubbling or what?
Don't you think I'd be losing water during the season more noticeably if these holes were the actual cause of losing 6" over 2 months?
Thanks for your help Dan,
G
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I don't think there is a schedule for replacement, but eventually everything needs to be replaced. Reading this group, even inground cement pools deteriorate and need to be redone.
Mine was destroyed by periodic cicada's emerging underneath the pool. Even then I patched all the holes. Only a few years after that when the patches started to work loose did I give up and get a new one.

It's not exactly a frame.
I don't seem to have a good picture of the pool sides online and it's too dark to go out and take a picture.
The sides of my pool are ribbed. I have a coping on top, but it's extended with a 'promenade'. A wider section of aluminum so you can walk around the top edge of the pool. Attached to the side of the pool and the promenade is a fence. Each fence post is anchored to the side of the pool and the edge of the promenade.
The pool cover hangs from the fence onto the water. With a big pile of snow on it, it still isn't exerting any lateral force on the pool sides. The ring of the coping and promenade is too rigid to move inward.
Here's a picture from the top:
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/despen/deck/deck-decked.html

You won't see bubbling. The hole is a black spot, dirt tends to collect at the hole. Even if your liner has dark or black spots I think you will see the holes. I know I could with my pool. Look at the seams and sides too.
Someone was using the term pin hole. If the hole is really a pin hole, you won't loose enough water to notice. You have about 10,000 gallons coming out in drips.
Last winter I had a 2 inch tree limb go right thru the cover and liner about 2 feet from the edge of the pool. I pulled the branch out during the winter but didn't realize the bottom was pierced. After I got the pool clean I used it for a couple of weeks before I saw the hole. Once the ground gets soaked, the weight of the water and pool slows down the leak.

When the pool is open, rain replenishes the pool. Once you cover it, evaporation should be almost zero.
It's hard to say.
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