Pools are a great asset to bring relief and fun to the summer heat waves. Whether you have an above-ground or in-ground pool, knowing how to drain a pool is a part of upkeep. Fortunately, if your pool is covered and treated properly, then you shouldn't have to drain your pool often. When you do need to drain a pool, it can be done easily in 3 simple steps.

Handy Man? Hands down!

The good news is: you can do it yourself! There's no need to hire a costly professional. If you have a weekday or weekend off from work that would be the perfect time to know how to drain a pool. It takes little effort. You need to be around to ensure that everything goes according to plan. It can take several hours or most of the day, depending on how fast you drain the water, how big your pool is, and how much water needs to be drained (total drainage versus a partial draining of the pool). The other good news is that after the initial pump or hose has been set up, you only need to check on it periodically while it drains.

Reasons to Drain Your Pool

Getting Rid of Your Pool

Pool Tiles

The kids have grown up and moved out, you're moving, or have simply outgrown the use of a pool and don't want to bother with the upkeep or repairs. When you need to remove a pool, whether it's in-ground or above-ground, the first step is knowing how to drain a pool. Once the water is drained, you can continue the process of removing the walls and liner, or filling in your in-ground pool, bringing you one step closer to that bigger backyard.

Chlorine Lock

closed pool

Pool water requires upkeep and treatment to keep the water clean and free of bacteria. When the pH level of a pool become unbalanced, it can cause chlorine lock. Adding more chemicals will only worsen this problem. The only way to solve the chlorine lock and get back to those carefree days of summer is to drain the water and start over. It's not as daunting as it sounds! Even pools sometimes need a fresh start.


dirty pool

If the liner in your pool has damage, rust, or has a leak then it must be repaired or replaced. Knowing how to drain a pool is the only way to replace a pool liner. In-ground pools also can require cleaning and upkeep on the interior walls or liners. Even if your water is in perfect condition, you will need to remove the water so the repairs, replacement, or cleaning can take place.

Accidents Happen...and So Does Time

abandoned pool

You didn't get around to closing your pool in time for the winter or it wasn't closed properly. It's okay, it happens. If it's been enough years since the water in a pool was replaced or refreshed, it can get to the point where chemicals aren't effective anymore. When this happens the water can stagnate and bacteria can grow or chlorine lock can occur. The water is beyond saving and now that it's time for a summer fun of swimming, knowing how to drain a pool will get you back into your favorite past-time in no time.

What You Will Need

You won't need much to drain your pool. It's advisable to start the process earlier in the day, especially when the entire pool is being drained.  

  • A garden hose (or two) or submersible pump. This decision will depend on how much water is being drained from a pool and what type of pool you own. An in-ground pool requires a submersible pump, while an above-ground pool can be drained using a hose siphon. If you want the siphon hose process to go faster, you can cut the hose into multiple 6-8 feet hoses. A submersible pump can be rented from a home improvement store, saving you money.
  • A bucket or two. If you have an in-ground pool, you may need a bucket to scoop out the water that can't be removed by a pump in the deep end of your pool. If you're not using a pump for an above-ground pool and aren't removing the liner or have a drain plug, then you'll need to scoop out the last amount with a bucket. It goes quicker with two people.
  • (Optional) Pool cleaning supplies or pool chemicals. This is if your pool needs to be cleaned after being drained or if the pool is going to be refilled with water. To refill the pool a garden hose will have to be turned on and left in the pool while it fills. It should also be checked on as it fills. Let the water sit before adding chemicals.

3 Easy Steps

Step One: Figuring Out Where to Drain The Water

bubbling water

Check with your city or town ordinances to find out if there are any special laws regarding where pool water can be drained. It's not a good idea to drain pool water into the street and neighbors will probably be unhappy with their lawn being flooded. If only a small amount or portion of pool water is being drained, then it can drain into your lawn depending on what type of grass and plants there are.

After checking with your municipality or sewage professionals, set up the discharge hose to a cleanout (the plastic pipe on your property that goes into the sewer). Newer homes often have multiple clean outs around the property, usually near a bathroom or kitchen. Older homes may only have a clean out connected to a wall of the house, in which case consulting with a general contractor may be necessary to avoid water damage to the home.
If you're draining the water into a clean out, be sure to measure beforehand and get the correct length of hose.

Step Two: Draining the Water

empty pool
  •  For a hose: Submerge the cut garden hose(s) completely into the water of an above-ground pool. Pull one end of the hose out of the water and onto the ground. Let the water drain out. Keep one end submerged as it drains. Check periodically to ensure proper drainage. Using multiple hoses will allow this process to go faster. A hose that isn't cut will need to be attached to a spigot and turned on until the water in the pool bubbles, then removed from the spigot and placed to drain away from the pool.
  • For a pump: Submerge the intake hose as close to the center of the pool as possible. Connect the outlet house onto the cleanout or place it where you want the water to drain. If draining onto the lawn, make sure it doesn't flood the area. Plug the pump in and turn it on. Check on it periodically to make sure it's running smoothly and unplug and remove it when it can no longer drain the remaining water or the pool is empty.

Note: If draining into a clean out the pump will need to drain the water according to acceptable rates of gallon removal per minute. This differs depending on where you live. Most pumps can drain at a higher rate of gallons per minute than is allowed in a sewage system.

Step Three: Getting the Last Water Out

in ground pool

If you have an in-ground pool, then getting out the last amount of water from the deep end of the pool may only be possible with buckets, depending on the pump. Once the pump can't drain any more water, remove it and scoop out the last foot of water.

If draining an above-ground pool, then hopefully there's a drain plug that can be opened. Otherwise, the liner can be removed and the remaining water can be dumped or swept out. Buckets can also be used. If replacing the pool liner, then it's a good idea to let the pool dry completely before installing a new liner to prevent mold or bacteria.
That's it! Now you know how to drain a pool.

Knowing How to Drain a Pool Is That Simple

Once you figure out how to drain a pool, it won't be long until your pool is drained and ready for repairs, refreshing, or removal. If a pool has proper upkeep and cleaning, then it shouldn't need yearly drainage. However, every pool owner will one day be faced with the prospect of draining a pool. Fortunately, it's a simple 3-step process. Soon enough you and your dear ones can return to splashing and laughing in fresh, clean pool water. Just remember to wear sunscreen for your protection.  

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