Vinyl liner swimming pools are popular for their numerous design options, lower cost as compared to that of a concrete pool and low maintenance. But although vinyl liner pools require less maintenance that their concrete counterparts, they do need some amount of attention to keep them in top condition. With regular routine maintenance, vinyl pool liners can last up to 10 years before they need to be replaced, though some may have slightly shorter or longer lifespans.
While Certified Leak Detection doesn’t perform pool maintenance service, we want to help you get the most enjoyment from your slice of Central Florida paradise – and, of course, to remember to call us if you suspect a leak!
Keeping the Vinyl Liner Clean and Preventing Damage
There’s an old saying, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” When it comes to your vinyl liner pool, keeping it clean is a virtue that will pay off in a more pleasant, healthy swimming experience – as well as the afore-mentioned savings achieved in extending the liner’s useful life. The following cleaning and care protocol is courtesy of Jeremy Miller, director of digital marketing for Latham.
- Gently brush it – To keep dirt, debris and undissolved chemicals from accumulating on the liner, give it some attention with a soft-bristle brush or sponge periodically. How often depends on how much foreign material ends up in your pool, but you might start with once per week.
- Maintain proper water chemistry – If your pool water is not in balance, it can have a negative effect on your liner. From calcium scaling to wrinkling and puckering to accelerated aging, there are a whole host of issues that can arise. However, maintaining proper water chemistry is easy once you learn how.
- Prevent chemicals from coming in contact with the liner – As you add chemicals to keep your water in balance, be sure you do so in a way that prevents them – especially chlorine crystals – from coming to rest on the liner. That interaction can cause bleaching and deterioration. Be sure to completely dissolve your chlorine or shock in a bucket before putting it into the pool.
- Never empty your vinyl liner pool – Your liner can shrink and crack if you completely empty the pool. If you need to drain some of the water for any reason, be sure you don’t remove more than half of the total volume.
- Tend to the waterline – Dirt and oils can build up at the waterline and cause staining. Use a vinyl liner cleaning solution to keep the area at and above the waterline clean. This kind of product will also help protect the liner from the sun’s damaging rays.
- Don’t allow toys that aren’t pool-safe – Pool toys are designed to be free of corners and sharp edges for a reason. Objects with those characteristics can puncture or tear a liner. Be sure that you only allow appropriate toys in the pool.
pH level – Your pool water pH should be between 7.2 and 7.8. A pH level above 7.8 can result in scaling, inefficient sanitizing, cloudy water and swimmer discomfort. A pH level below 7.2 can cause corrosion of metal components such as ladders and heaters, wrinkles in the liner and swimmer discomfort. Test daily.
Chlorine – To kill bacteria, maintain a circulating range of 1.0 – 1.5 ppm. Anything above this range will attack the liner, bleaching it and shortening its life. Below this range may not kill bacteria, causing unhealthy conditions and possible unsightly staining. Test daily.
Letting granular chlorine come into contact with the liner before it has fully dissolved will damage your liner. To avoid this, dissolve it first in a bucket of water, then pour it in various locations around the pool. Also use this technique with liquid chlorine.
Never mix chemicals together, as this may cause injury. Instead, add chemicals to the pool water separately and circulate throughout the pool before adding the second chemical. Circulation can be achieved by sweeping your pool.
Total alkalinity – This should remain between 60 and 125/ppm. The pool water must maintain the correct alkalinity level, as it helps to counteract changes in pH levels. Test weekly.
Cyanuric acid – This stabilizes pool water chemistry. Maintain levels between 30 and 75/ppm. Test monthly.
Calcium hardness – This needs to be maintained at between 175 and 250/ppm to prevent corrosive conditions. Test monthly.
Getting Rid of Wrinkles in Your Vinyl Liner Pool
Keeping your vinyl liner free of wrinkles is essential. Jeremy Miller provides these helpful tips.
- In bare feet or while wearing soft-soled shoes, walk along the pool floor, gently spreading the wrinkles with your feet. Sometimes pushing the edge of a wrinkle toward the nearest wall is effective.
- Use a plunger to pull the liner material in the appropriate direction to remove the wrinkle.
- Check for leaks. Small leaks in your liner can cause wrinkles, as well as other problems. Find and patch any leaks before attempting to address wrinkles.
- Get help from a pool professional if wrinkles are a persistent problem.
Detecting and Repairing Leaks in Your Vinyl Liner Pool
As with every other type of swimming pool, vinyl liner pools can develop leaks. Says pool expert Larry Weinberg, “Pools can leak from holes in the liner, underground lines, underground fittings or connections, cracked face plates, torn gaskets, stripped screws on faceplates, walk-in steps, main drains, light niches and backwash line leaks. These are all pretty common areas for pool leaks.”
The consequences of an undetected leak can include erosion of the supporting soil behind the pool walls and under the pool deck – as well as erosion of a sand or vermiculite floor. Water up against the walls can eventually rust steel walls over time. If leaking water has nowhere to go, it can come under the liner, creating bulges. Also, the chemical balance will always be off, as you will constantly be adding fresh water to keep the pool filled. Both situations can be expensive, and in some cases damaging to your pool.
If you think your vinyl liner pool is leaking, performing some basic DIY troubleshooting tests can confirm your suspicion or ease your mind. The famous “bucket test” helps determine if your pool is losing water due to a leak, or evaporation. Our website has a page with step-by-step instructions for performing the bucket test, the pool pump on-off test, and a test to find if a leak is occurring in the pool plumbing or the pool interior.
Dye-testing your pool with food coloring is another option. Our blog post – “Five Ways to Detect a Pool Leak” – provides instructions for performing this test (as well as the bucket test). If there is a leak, you will see the colored water leaving the pool from that area. You can put additional drops of food coloring into the pool around areas where you think there might be a leak – such as a skimmer gasket, light fixtures and the drain opening. If you suspect a leak on the floor of the pool, perform the food coloring test to locate its exact position. Dispense a few drops of colored water on the area where you suspect the leak, and the dye will soon exit from the location of the leak.
If your DIY test finds the source of the leak, small tears or rips can be patched with a vinyl patch kit, or a flexible liquid sealer. Small leaks in vinyl liners or pipes can be repaired using a pool and spa sealer. Such products are available at pool and spa supply stores, as well as online. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for use.
The Take-Home Message
If you have a vinyl liner swimming pool, performing care and maintenance on a regular schedule will allow it to provide many years of fun, and keep it as a great asset to your property.
As with every type of pool, however, there is the potential for a leak to develop. Some leaks are easy to find, but there are many that pool owners can’t detect without professional assistance. Certified Leak Detection uses technology and techniques we have developed over 20 years in business. In addition to quick detection and repair of swimming pool leaks, we provide industry-leading leak detection and repair for spas and hot tubs. Serving areas throughout Central Florida – including Orlando, Longwood, Lake Mary, Sanford, Kissimmee, Clermont and Winter Springs – our team is ready to answer your call. Contact us for quick, reliable service!