How to Drain an Above Ground Pool – A Detailed Guide

By Cesar Riel

Are you confused about draining your above ground pool and want to know the best way to drain it without creating any mess, you are at the right place. This article will guide you through the draining process for an above ground pool. You would be surprised to know that draining an above ground pool is a very easy process. It may take some time depending upon the pool size, the volume of water in it, and which method you are using. Before we explain the methods to empty the water from your pool, let’s look at the reasons you may need to drain your pool.

Reasons Behind Draining Your Pool

The following are the common reasons behind draining your above ground pools.

Replacing Old Water with Fresh One: It is possible that your pool’s current water is dirty, smelly, or can’t be cleaned with the filter or nets. In such a situation, you need to drain the water entirely and then add fresh and clean water. Some people also replace the water in above ground pools before starting a swimming season in spring or early summer. The best way to avoid replacement due to dirty water is to winterize your pool properly and keep the water clean during the swimming season.

Managing Water Chemistry: While it is true that water chemistry can be managed without draining the pool. However, sometimes the issue is beyond the addition of chemicals or additives. When there is excessive chlorine in water, you would need to remove water completely from the pool.

Replacing the Liner: The liner is an important component of an above ground pool setup. If your liner is damaged beyond repair, you would need to replace it to get things going. In such a case, draining your pool entirely is a pre-requisite.

Storing/Moving the Pool: If you plan to store your pool for some time, probably winter season, you need to take the water out and then disassemble the pool and store it. Similarly, if you plan to relocate your pool to a new location, you need to empty it first before taking it apart.

How to Drain an Above Ground Pool

Before you begin the process, you need to figure out where to run the drained water. Some people channel the water in their yards. It can be a good idea if the water is not chemically harmful to plants. Secondly, if you have a big pool, a large water volume can damage your lawn and plants. You can also let the water flow in the drains, but you need to make sure that your home drainage system can handle such a large water volume. If you own saltwater above ground pool, adding such a large saline water volume can damage your septic system. You must deal with this problem before beginning the draining process.

You can use the following two methods to drain an above ground pool. Make sure you read all the instructions before starting the process.

Method 1: Using a Water Pump

Water drainage through water pumps

It is a quick but expensive method, and if you don’t have a vacuum pump, you will need to invest in a water pump. Water pumps start from $40 and go onwards depending upon the power and capacity of the pump. A quick and easy way is to borrow the pump from a friend or family member, get the work done, and return it. When you have arranged the pump, follow the instruction below to get the work done.

First of all, you need to drop the pump’s intake hose in the center of the pool. You must make sure that it is as close to the center as it can be.

Now place the outlet hose so that the draining water will not flood the area. If you are draining the water in the sewer system, make sure it is downhill. You don’t want to become a victim of water spilling. Secondly, your sewer system may be clogged and will not handle thousands of gallons of water, so it is better to inspect it before adding the water.

Now dry your hands completely and make sure your shoes and clothes are not wet. Once you have confirmed this, plug in your pump and turn it on. You may need a power extension if the pump’s cable is small.

Make sure that the pump has started working and water is coming out from the exit side.

Check the process after every 30 minutes or so as it will take a lot of time. Depending on the water volume and the pump’s power, the drainage process can take several hours.

When the water level goes below the pump’s drainage capacity, please turn it off.

Can I use a Submersible Pump for draining my Pool?

Yes. You can use a submersible pump for draining your above ground pool. The process is a bit different than using a traditional pump. First of all, you need to arrange a submersible pump. If you clean your pool at the beginning of every season, you can purchase one for yourself, as this investment will benefit you in the long run. If you are an occasional cleaner, rent or borrow from someone.

To make a submersible pump work, you need to submerge it in your pool. For this purpose, you must make sure that the power cable is long enough to reach the nearest electric socket. If you have to use an extension, make sure that it will not contact water. Once the pump has been placed, and the electric connection managed, place the exit outlet to the drainage mechanism. Now turn on the pump and let it do the wonder. Check periodically to ensure that everything is working fine. Once the water is below the submersible pump, take it out and follow the cleaning process mentioned below.

Method 2: Using Water Hoses

unattach the water hose

You can also use a water hose to let your pool run dry. To speed up the process, you can use more than one hose. Manual drainage is slow compared to pump drainage, so it is better to have at least two hoses.

Submerge the pipes in the water completely. You must make sure that they don’t have any turns or bends in them.

Ensure that there are no air bubbles in them and the water enters the entire length of the pipes. You can also do this by connecting one end of the pipes to a nearby faucet and run water in it while keeping the other end in your pool. Do this for all the pipes.

Now lift one end of the pipes out of the water and place it on the ground or in the place where you want your pool to be drained. The draining process will start.

When using pipes, you will have to show a lot of patience. The entire process can take a lot of time. The time taken to drain the pool will depend on the pool’s size, the volume of water in it, the number of pipes, and each pipe’s diameter.

Remember to check the process after an hour or two.

Pull the pipes out when no more water is coming out.

How to Drain the Remaining Water from the Pool?

For both of the above methods, you will need to do some physical cleaning as well. If you have a drain plug, open it. If you intend to replace the liner or dismantle the pool for storing, you will have to completely dry the pool. Ensure that every component is free from water, as storing water can risk algae and mold growth. If you are storing the pool, vacuuming the pool will speed up the process and give better results. Or you can wait for the pool to be dried by air.

Similarly, if you are replacing the water due to chemical imbalance, you need to dry the pool. It is better not to mix old and new water. Hence we suggest you dry the pool completely before adding in freshwater.

Risks Associated with Completely Draining the Pool

Structural Problems: When draining an above ground pool, you may experience structural problems with the pool. If you have an Intex pool or one without metallic walls, the chances of a collapse are even more. You must take care of it and try to empty the pool when the winds are not too fast, and the conditions are not overcast.

Liner Problems: The liner in your pool is made from sensitive material. The water in the pool protects it from the sun’s UV rays. When there is no water, the liner is at risk. The sunlight can damage or fade the liner quickly. Therefore it is important to protect your liner. If you are not careful, the liner can also be punctured.

Mold/Algae Development: If you are draining your pool for storage or relocation purpose, you must make sure that is completely dry. If water is left in the pool, it can become a breeding ground for mold and algae.

Some other Factors to Consider Before Draining your Above Ground Pool

Time Availability: Draining and refilling your pool will take a lot of time. We are talking about thousands of gallons for a medium-sized pool. Make sure you are free for the entire day before beginning the work, as you will need to check the progress regularly and ensure that everything is going as planned.

Water Bill: When you will be filling your pool after draining, you will be paying a hefty amount of water bill. Just imagine paying for 20-30 thousand gallons of water in one go. So plan the draining or refilling when you can afford it. However, if you have well water at your home, you are free from water bill worries.

Weather Conditions: Ensure that the weather on the action day is not too sunny and not too cold. The best time to go for a pool draining and refilling session is the spring season. Above ground pool liners must not be exposed to temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Water Chemistry: You must also check the water chemistry before draining the water. The local authorities put restrictions on the quality of water you are draining in the main sewerage system. Make sure that you meet all the requirements for the drainage.

Final Words

Now that you know everything about the draining process plan the drainage and refilling accordingly. We suggest you consider all the factors and then go ahead, so you don’t have to face any troubles later on.

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