How to Drain a Pool

As nice as it is owning a swimming pool on the good days sometimes issues can arise. With something that requires you to be completely immersed to enjoy, having a clean area is extremely important. Which makes draining your pool a necessary step eventually due to time even if you don’t run into a particular incident.

Draining your pool could be important for sanitation or repairs or even just taking time to make some minor touch-ups on the vinyl lining. Most people also don’t have the Olympic level diving abilities to fix problems in the deep end. A robotic pool cleaner can’t fix every issue so knowing how to drain the pool is a necessity. 

How to Drain a Pool – Step by Step

There are a few things you want to keep in mind before you get started. You will want to make sure wherever you are draining your pool isn’t at risk of overflowing. Too much water saturation on the ground around a pool can lead to future issues. Make sure your pump is plugged into a ground fault interrupter electric line. It is also best to drain and refill your swimming pool quickly to avoid exposing your sensitive surfaces to destructive elements. 

Draining a pool has many more considerations but here are the simplest instructions to get you started.

Step 1

Rent a portable or submersible pump from your closest local hardware store. Make sure you get all the information you need on how to operate the pump from that location.

Step 2

Use the pump to begin emptying your pool. Make sure that the pump doesn’t lose prime by lowering it closer to the water whenever it starts to lose prime. Giving time to allow extra muck and debris to dry is sometimes necessary. If you have too much debris at the end you may end up with a mess that is too thick to be pumped out.

Step 3

After the water is completely pumped out you can clean up all the extra debris found around the pool floor. For smaller messes hosing the shallow end debris down towards the deep end can make the job easier. For pools with excessive algae buildup leaving debris to dry is the best solution.

Step 4

AcidThis is also the best time to clean the rest of your surfaces with an acid or power wash. The use of spare muriatic acid properly diluted is an effective way to clean your pool siding. (look how to lower alkalinity in pools)

Step 5

With all of the debris out and your floors and siding properly clean you can begin refilling your swimming pool. Make sure you are around to pay attention when the pool is close to full if you do not have an overflow line.

Step 6

Once the pool is completely full add the additional chemicals to get it ready for use. 


How long does it take to drain a pool?

The length of time will depend largely on the size of your pool. Along with the size of your pool the number of gallons per minute your pump is capable of is another factor. However the average time for most pools is somewhere between 8 and 14 hours.

How do you drain a pool without a pump?

There are a variety of ways to drain a pool without using a pump. The main method most people use is with a hose pipe. You will want the biggest possible hose pipe or multiple hoses if possible for the quickest siphoning. Place one end of the hose in your pool until it nearly touches the floor of the pool.

You will then take the other end and put it into wherever you want the water to drain. Now you just need to create a suction to begin the siphoning process. The water will not immediately begin to move but once it starts flowing it won’t stop until there is very little water in the pool. If you are in a pinch using a large basin or bucket is another option for smaller pools. 

Can you drain a pool by backwashing?

While draining your pool through the backwash valve is possible it is never recommended. Some don’t have the option but sucking the main drain through the backwash line can end up being rather detrimental. The biggest risk is the possibility of your pool pump losing its prime and running dry. The cost of recovering from this damage will often end up being multiple times more than it would to just rent a pool pump instead.

Is it illegal to drain your pool into the street?

Depending on where you live draining your pool into the street could be an issue. Many municipalities and townships around the country have made it illegal to drain swimming pools into the street, storm drains, or nearby waterways. Due to this reason the best way to drain a swimming pool is usually to drain it directly into your sewer line outside of your home.