Empty Vinyl Liner pools- safety-problems-solutions-repairs long island

by / Wednesday, 23 February 2011 / Published in Uncategorized

Hello Giuseppe and Kevin,

I came across your article about safety pool covers and am hoping you could offer me some advice, as pool experts. (I apologize in advance for the length of this, but any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated).

(((“A Loop Loc cover will put a lot of pulling strength onto the pool walls because when snow builds up on the Loop Loc cover, the weight of the snow will apply a lot of force by pulling side ways, thus applying tons of inward pressure to the pool walls. This could collapse the swimming pool , and believe me I have seen many cases of this… today is January 9, 2011 and the last call we had about a swimming pool collapsing was January 3rd 2011!”)))

I live in Michigan and in mid 2009 purchased my first home, a foreclosure that had been on the market for about 3 years and came with an inground 18′ x 36′ pool with vinyl liner with a Loop Loc safety cover. I knew nothing of pools, but had an inspection done and the equipment seemed to be in good working order (has a Starite Cristal Flo T240-BP sand filter). I did some scrubbing of the walls & bottom, filtering, backwashing, etc. just to help it be a little easier to open the following Summer. Then a friend who owns a pool came over and closed it for the Winter.

Summer 2010 I spent more time scrubbing the walls & bottom, shocking, filtering, etc. based on advice from the pool stores, online, etc. but it did not seem to be making much progress. I was told that the sand probably needed changed in the filter. So I removed all 300lbs of dirty smelly old sand and replaced with new. Then sand started shooting out of my returns into the pool. Of course this was frustrating, and I was then told that it was probably one or more broken laterals in the filter. So I bought new laterals, removed the 300lbs of new sand and tried to get the old laterals off. They were all stuck on very hard…I tried using wrenches, pliers, and a friend’s husband even came over and tried, but he also could not get them off. So I was told that I would probably have to saw them off and work on them out in the open or pay another $100+ for a whole new stand pipe. At that point it was Fall and I was frustrated (and had other house projects in progress) so I decided to just close the pool up and deal with it in the Spring.

I went about closing the pool as instructed, and had it almost done, when I got to one of the returns and the winter plug would not fit in. I went to the pool place and they said that probably an old piece of a fitting or something was stuck in there and would need removed before the plug would go in. Their price for a house-call is $95 plus mileage, which was out of my budget for something like that. So they let me borrow a little tool to try (looked like a white plastic card)…I went home and tried but it still would not come out. I took their tool back and the pool guy told me that he had a method for getting those pieces out and that he would give me a deal on the house-call, so I said ok. He said the only day and time he had available was at about 7am on a weekday. I work during the week but I said ok, that he could meet me there before I left for work. Now this was in November, and it’s Michigan, so that morning ended up being around 40 degrees. He came over and we undid one end of the Loop Loc so that he could access that return. It turned out his method was to use a screwdriver and pound on the end of it, so it was like a chisel, and break up the old piece of the plastic fitting so it would come out of the return. So he started doing that, pounding away and letting all these pieces of plastic fall into the pool. Then while he was doing that, all of a sudden the pool liner right by the return split and I instantly saw it rip around that whole end of the pool. I was shocked and he was like “wow, that liner was brittle”. I asked if it had anything to do with the temperature and if he should have been pounding on it like that and he said no, that wouldn’t have caused it. He said it was just an old liner. He said I would need a new liner and quoted me approx. $3,000+. I asked him what I needed to do now because the metal wall underneath the liner was exposed to the water. He said nothing, that it would be fine to sit like that until next Summer when I could get the liner replaced. He put that end of the Loop Loc back on, told me he was sorry, only charged me $20 for the house-call and left.

I felt like I was about to cry, but didn’t know what to do. Someone suggested I call my home insurance company, so I did, but they said that if it had happened from a tree limb falling on the pool it would be covered, otherwise no. So I just figured I was out of luck. Today I got home from work and looked out the window at the backyard, to see that my Loop Loc cover has a couple of the springs broken on one side and is starting to sink down in. I never realized that the snow would do this?? Your article made me quite nervous about the possibility that my pool might collapse.

My questions to you are…is this fixable, or worth it to try to repair it? Was the pool guy correct in saying that this is fine leaving it this way over winter, or is it causing worse damage? Would the temperature have caused my liner to be more brittle? I can’t imagine that it would have been due to age, since I had spent many days scrubbing it with the long-handled brush and the sides hadn’t ripped then. Any recommendations on what I should do next… would it make more financial sense to have it filled in with dirt?

Thank you again for taking the time to read all this. I just don’t know what to do at this point.


Answer from Giuseppe Abbrancati.

Hello April
Hope this will help you. The best way is to leave the pool uncovered if there is no water in the pool, until it is repaired or the new liner is installed. Bracing the pool walls would be a good thing to do by installing some 2x10x18 feet long across the pool on the 18 feet side would keep the pool walls from moving inward until the pool is ready to be fixed and filled with water.
Regards Giuseppe

Suffolk County 27543-H1 9-10-99 to present, 15435-H1 7-1-88 to 7-1-97  Nassau County H2209100000  Southampton L002384  NYC and The Five Boroughs 1321423

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