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Aside from proper measurement and careful installation, the biggest factor in determining how long your new liner will last, is how well it is cared for. You can't necessarily assume that a pool service company will give your liner the best care, so here are some tips to help your liner last longer. because
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TopicsChoosing Your Liner
Caring For Your Liner
This site is all about Swimming Pool Liners. Since Your new liner is a significant expense, it's important to know how to make it last as long as possible. While there are a lot of variables that effect how long a pool liner will last, there are some basic things a homeowner can do to preserve and protect it. Most are fairly obvious, but for the beginner, this page will help to give you the basic idea, and of course, when we install your new liner, we will give you all the paperwork, which usually includes the guide from manufacturer containing tips on care and maintenance of their product.
Ther are links on the left of the page to our other sites, all of which end in OKC.com., which deal more in depth with things like how to clean the pool, how to take care of water chemistry, how to fix minor problems, and so on. If you are new to pool ownership, it would be well worth your time to check some of them out. We have a general directory at PoolSpaOKC.com that has links to all of our topics, to help you find the info you need quickly, and, of course, you are always welcome to call or e-mail us with your question, or to suggest information that you would like to see posted.
Vinyl Swimming Pool Liner General Care and Maintenance
Probably the most important thing you can do to insure that your liner will last to it's full potential is to purchase a high quality, well fitting liner and have it installed by someone who will take the time and diligence to install it properly. Cheap liners are cheap for a reason, and the same is usually true regarding installers. Higher quality liners are virgin vinyl which is not made of any recycled materials. However, in some cases, vinyl that has been reground from waste materials that have not left the factory can be added to the mix, and the end result, though not as uniform, pliable and resilient, can still be called virgin vinyl. Another factor is the actual formula used to make the vinyl in the first place. Some formulas cost more to make than others, and can have a big impact on the end result. Cheaper formulas result in a product that tends to lose it's elasticity more quickly, and does not withstand pool chemistry or the elements as well as the higher grades. Some suppliers specialize in material which may have been sitting in a warehouse for years, and have already aged before they are manufactured into liners. So I suppose the lesson here is not to be tempted by cheap prices, either when choosing a liner, or the installer. Just as cars are often rate by "cost of ownership" the same concept should be kept in mind when purchasing a swimming pool liner. Just last week I went to do an estimate for an in-ground liner, and when I gave the customer the price for the liner and installation, he told me that his liner was put in two years ago, and the liner cost about half of the price I told him. Kind of my point, actually. A quality liner should last about 5 times that long, making the cost of ownership much less per year.
Water chemistry is extremely important, and is probably the most significant factor that a homeowner can control, aside from initial quality. We have another page about water chemistry, so I won't dwell on it too long here. The very worst thing you can do is to let the pool turn green (or black), then clear it up with shock. Shock is high both in chlorine and calcium, both of which, used to extremes, are harmful to your liner. The right way to clear up a green pool is to remove as much solid debris as possible before attempting to clear the water chemically. Also, a more stable form of chlorine (dichlor, for example) combined with an algaecide is usually a better choice for vinyl liners. Removing most of the solid debris first allows smaller dosed of each. One problem with that is if the solid debris includes sticks, it can be pretty easy to drag them across the surface when vacuuming. The best thing to do is to not let the pool turn green in the first place, which is actually cheaper than to clear it up once it has turned green.
Dirt, sand, and other debris in the pool are abrasives, and can cause wear on your liner, sort of like sandpaper. While normal dirt and small sand are not usually a big deal to obsess over, Decaying plant matter creates acid, which is harmful in the same way as letting your pH run low. Also, the pigments in the plant matter will leach into the liner, causing staining. Worst of all., if you let the pool turn green, not only can you not see the debris, you can cut the liner by dragging sticks across it. It also can cost some serious money to clear the pool, but, more importantly, clearing a green pool can be harsh on the liner because of the amount of chemicals required!
Keep the pool full!
Many people, including some of those who represent themselves as pool care professionals, lower the water level in the pool below the returns to winterize, and some people try to drain the pool in order to clean it. You just can't do that with a vinyl pool. One reason is that, if you get a big rain, water can get under the liner and cause it to float. When it resettles, it will not likely go back properly in place, often causing wrinkles, and places that are overstretched. It is actually the weight of the water that gives a pool it's strength.
One thing to remember is that winterizing the pool does not mean that you can totally ignore it. It's pretty easy to think "out of site, out of mind". But that idea makes a lot of money for people in my profession.
One thing that extends the life of a liner is to a good cover. You can learn all about that on our cover site, so I'll stick to the subject here. A good cover helps keep the pool clean, and a good safety cover keeps it safe, but there is more to it than that. The cover also keeps out most of the sunlight, which is damaging to the liner. Most liner manufacturers charge extra for liners that are treated with a UV inhibitor The first year I was in business, I nearly "lost my shirt" because I was promoting it, and it added about 35% to my cost. While I'm not sure that it adds as much life to the liner in Oklahoma as they say, it does help.
The pool should be kept full, or nearly full, all winter. Once the vinyl has been exposed to the chemicals in pool water, it tends to dry out and loose elasticity in dry air. Some "professionals" and homeowners lower the water below the returns in the winter time, which is not a very good practice. Aside from the air, there is an even worse potential for in-ground pools. Ground water. Your pool was designed to keep water in, not out. If you get a big rain, and the water level is low in the pool, the liner can float. At best, when it goes back into place, you will have uneven stretch, and probably wrinkles and the liner may come out of track. (more about that on the installation page). At worst, the liner can tear, or pull loose from the main drain or other attachments. Even if the pool is covered, check on it from time to time, to see that it doesn't get too full or too empty. I usually lower the water to about the bottom of the skimmer, to allow for some rain, and check on it from time to time. Usually, if you have a true solid cover, even the cheap kind, all you really have to do is pump the water off the cover, and keep it free of debris.
If you do find yourself in need of a new liner, don't hire the cheapest guy you can get! Many liners fail simply because the installer failed to measure and install it correctly. If you are planning to install the liner yourself, there's some helpful info elsewhere on this site about measuring and installationBy Popular Request:
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A-Pro Services offers expert sales and installation in the Oklahoma City area, including OKC, Bethany, Edmond, El Reno, Moore, Mustang, Norman and Yukon, as well as state wide. We will measure, prepare, and install your new pool liner perfectly, to get the most for your dollar.
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