Is it Time To Replace Your Faded Old Liner?
Cracks and Rips
One of the most obvious signs that a pool liner needs to be replaced is when it starts to crack and rip. Over time, vinyl pool liners deteriorate from a combination of the UV radiation of the Sun and the pool chemicals that help to keep the water safe to use. which causes the vinyl to become brittle. When liners become brittle they will begin to crack and rip much more easily, causing the pool to leak water.
These types of cracks generally form at or very near to the surface of the water, as UV damage is most prevalent in that area. If you notice that your pool liner is beginning to crack or tear around the water line, chances are that you will need to replace your liner in the very near future.
Just because your pool liner has a small leak doesn’t mean that it is time to replace it though. The odd leak is fairly normal for older liners and can be easily fixed with a basic liner patch kit. If you notice several cracks forming in one place, or if rips keep appearing all over the pool, however, you should definitely replace the liner as soon as you can.
Not all cracks and rips are easy to spot, especially if they are below the surface of the water. That it is why it is a good idea to monitor how much water your pool loses, especially if your liner is more than 10 years old.
If you suspect that your pool might be losing water due to leaks, you can perform a simple test to find out for sure. Simply place a bucket on the entrance steps to your pool and fill it with water to the same level as the water in the pool. Water in the bucket will evaporate at the same rate as it does in the pool, giving you a way to see if the pool is losing water in ways other than evaporation.
After a few days check the water level in the bucket vs the water level in your pool. If the water level is lower in your pool than it is in the bucket, you have a leak; if not than the water you’re losing is purely due to evaporation.
Fading or Staining
Another sign of UV and chemical damage is fading. While most pool liners today will resist fading from UV, they’re not completely immune to it. Over time, the coloured finish of the liner will begin to fade, and with it the plasticizers that make the liner pliable.
It is the deterioration of these plasticizers that cause pool liners to become brittle, meaning that a faded liner is a good sign that the liner is becoming brittle and will start cracking and tearing soon. If you notice that you liner is badly faded, be sure to regularly check for cracks or rips in the liner and do the bucket test to check for potential leaks.
Stretching and Wrinkles
In some cases, especially in areas with groundwater issues, you pool liner may begin to stretch after it is installed. This causes wrinkles to form in the liner and can even pull it out of the track at the top of the pool.
If you notice the liner beginning to slip out of the top track of the pool, you can try to pop it back in. To do this first heat the liner with hot water to make it more pliable, then try to lift it and place it back in the track. If it won’t go back in, or if the problem keeps coming back, you should replace your pool liner as soon as possible. In these cases, the problem likely cannot be solved and will only get worse with time so replacement is the only option.
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