Any kind of swimming pool will have problems over time. Vinyl liners for pools are designed to last for many years. The liners can be damaged by chemicals, weather and normal usage. The problems associated with vinyl-lined pools are different than those associated with concrete pools and require their own solutions.
Leakage in vinyl liners is a common problem. If you have to add an inch or more of water every week, not including what's lost due to splashing and evaporation, then you may have a leak. To find the leak, check the areas around the light fixture, the ladders and the skimmer basket. You can use a syringe filled with red food coloring to squirt water around the water line. If you see the water being sucked into the liner, then you have found your leak. You can repair leaks with patch kits that can be bought at pool supply stores. Leak detection kits are also available if you do not have materials on hand to make your own. Never ignore water leaks. They can lead to more extensive damage with your entire pool structure.
Bead Track Problems
Vinyl liners are held in place by a bead track at the edge of the pool. The edge of the liner can sometimes come off of the bead track, leaving a hole between the top of the liner and the bottom of the deck coping. If the section is pretty small, you can use a hair dryer or a heat gun to make the liner soft and pliable. You may have to work the liner for a bit to get it back into the track, but applying heat should make it somewhat softer and easier to manage. If the section is too big to be done at once, you may lower the water level to make it easier. Try to reattach the smaller sections before you get to that point, though. If you don't reattach a small hole, it might keep coming off of the track and create a bigger hole; and be more of a burden to get back on the track.
If your pool chemistry is not balanced, it can lead to wrinkles in the liner. Small wrinkles can be pushed out of the liner with the pool brush. You can wrap a towel around the end of the pole and use it, but be careful not to puncture the liner. For wrinkles that are bigger or more numerous, you can sometimes use a plunger to get them out. Place the plunger above or below the wrinkle, never directly on the wrinkle. For large wrinkles that cause the liner to fold over, call a professional. A professional may want to partially drain the pool in order to reset the liner. Be aware that draining your pool can cause damage to structural components that may cause you to lose the entire pool.
Air Under the Liner
Air can get underneath the liner if it has pulled away from the bead track. If this happens, water might get between the liner and the cement below. Use an outdoor vacuum cleaner to suck air and water out of the liner before reattaching it to the bead track. Use a wet/dry vacuum and also use caution when handling an electrical appliance near water.
Vinyl liners are manufactured to last up to 20 years. Fading occurs from the sun and the chemicals added to the water. When you add harsh chemicals, mix the chemical with some of the pool water in a bucket before adding it to the pool. This keeps the chemical from coming in direct contact with the vinyl liner. To keep the vinyl from sun damage, cover the pool when it's not in use. There are pool covers available that require very little maintenance and can be easily set up and removed.
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