Anyone knowledgeable about above ground pools? Need advice...

decoy205

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We moved into a house this past July (We live in Central Jersey) with an older above ground pool. I believe its 20'. My guess is that the frame is either late 80's or early 90's.

The owner kept very good care of the house and I'm sure that applied to the pool maintenance. He left records of manuals and receipts and it looks like the liner is from May 2020. So the liner is only a year and a half old.

I haven't had a pool since i was a kid. We had an 18' above ground very similar to this one but by the time i was old enough to understand how to care for it, my dad had already had it removed. So this is really my first time caring for a pool.

I covered the pool in the fall following all the usual steps. I lowered the water to below the lowest inlet point, set up the air pillow, and covered the pool clamped it down and tightened the steel cable.

One mistake I knew I made was not using ropes to keep the pillow centered. By November the pillow had moved to one side of the pool. I had used a pump I got from the pool store to empty the water down to about 1.5" in the cover, and then pushed the pillow back to the center.

Before Christmas I tried the pump again to get more water out but the cheapo pump wasn't working so I gave up and left about 3-4" of water in the cover.

We didn't have much rain but it snowed last week so I went to check the pool today. The water level appears to have dropped significantly. I had about 3.5' of water when i closed it and now it seems to be around a foot? I can't tell exactly with the cover on. I'm worried there is a leak. Being the liner is only a year and a half old and we only had 3 or 4 days of frost so far this year i don't get it! The water in the cover is now frozen. By Wed it should be warm enough for me to pump out the cover again and I will definitely do that as I'm sure we'll get more rain or snow.

My questions are:

1. Could the liner have been damaged already causing the leak, or did me not properly centering and securing the pillow have caused frost to make a hole somewhere in the cover?
2. Should I be adding more water to the pool to get the level back up?
3. Should I empty the cover completely, uncover, add more water, reset the pillow this time tethered to the center and then re-cover the pool?

I'm concerned as we he have just started winter and I don't want to destroy my pool on the first season.

Any advice is appreciated!

-John
 
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bluesoul

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If the liner has a leak (provided you dont have freezing temps)...you should see water somewhere around the area it is leaking (or draining). You could get a small level drop in water inside the pool because of displacement (water on the cover) and should add enough to raise it back slighly below the inlet. The main reason to keep water in the pool is to keep the walls from collapsing. If water stays on top of the cover it will continue to displace water over the inlet as more rain or snow comes.
The pillow things don't work that well....you can just pump the cover as needed along with adding water in the pool. Get a good cover pump!
As long as there is enough water in the pool and on top of the cover, the overall amount of water should be about right, keeping the pressure on the walls.....you can leave it that way and add water when you open the pool (hope that makes sense).
 

bluesoul

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We didn't have much rain but it snowed last week so I went to check the pool today. The water level appears to have dropped significantly. I had about 3.5' of water when i closed it and now it seems to be around a foot? I can't tell exactly with the cover on. I'm worried there is a leak. Being the liner is only a year and a half old and we only had 3 or 4 days of frost so far this year i don't get it! The water in the cover is now frozen. By Wed it should be warm enough for me to pump out the cover again and I will definitely do that as I'm sure we'll get more rain or snow.
After reading this again...appears there is water leaking out. A few inches of change is common but not 2 plus feet of water. Down from 3.5 feet to one foot? I would think there is a leak in the liner because I don't see another way you would losee that much water. Tough time of year to do much though! Leaks in a newer liner are usually cause by puncture. Most can be fixed with a patch and glue that works under water. I have done it in the summer where I had to go under water and to the bottom!
With the pool at 1 foot, you could remove ther cover, put some boots on, find and and patch the leak! If the water stops dropping, the leak is at the water line...if it keeps dropping the leak is lower and maybe at the bottem.
 

decoy205

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Thanks for the reply! Yeah i had the water below the inlets and its def lower than it was when i first covered. Its hard to tell exactly how deep it was originally because there's a definite 'dip' in the middle of the pool where its deeper. It definitely wasn't leaking out of any of the inlets or skimmer.

It is 15 degrees here today , so everything is frozen and i don't see any visible leaks outside the pools so I'm assuming its at the bottom somewhere.

Wednedsay we should be above freezing so ill try and pump out the water, and check the depth of what's in the pool. Ill fill it up again if needed and see if it continues.
 

gcbike

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The weight of the ice on the cover will make water level appear lower.Word of warning leave the ice on the cover alone.if you cause that ice to move it can puncture the liner.The under side of that ice will have alot of sharp places
 

danohat

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I've been in the pool business for 26 years now. I will admit, I specialize in custom in-ground swimming pools but have dealt with a few above grounds. The pillow being in there is just to keep it from overfilling. Doubtful you have a tear in the liner unless there was one already. Fill it up again especially if it gets too low. The ice won't tear the cover and even if it did it would result in dirty water transfer but not the end of the world.
Fill it up, watch where it drops to, look for leak at that level. Get a can of underwater liner repair glue and cut a patch. Apply it where the leak is.
 

decoy205

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Thank you for the replies! My understanding of the pillow is to prevent ice buildup on the walls of the pool. So far it doesn’t appear the water in the pool is frozen. It is going down into the low teens tonight so maybe it will start.

The water in the cover is frozen. The water in the pool seems much lower than it was when I closed so maybe there was a hole somewhere . The cover was brand new and I bought a thicker 15 year cover. So I’m hoping the ice on top won’t tear it.

I will try and measure the water tomorrow and see if I can add to the pool. Then Wed. I will attempt to drain the cover water out since it will be much warmer out.

I definitely have to invest in a good cover pump I think.
 

rockstar232007

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The only experiance I have is, when my FIL's above-ground pool basically "exploded".

Not sure what caused it, bc he took really good care of it? It was pretty old (over 20 years), so...
 

danohat

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Ice gets on top of every cover we have and stays there all winter.
 

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