How to Drain An Above Ground Pool

By: Contributors  | 
A young boy playing in an above ground pool.
Above ground pools have to be constantly drained to avoid collection of dirt which may lead to infections. Dejan Marjanovic / Getty Images

Draining an above ground pool can seem like a daunting task, but with the right guidance, it can be a straightforward and manageable process. Whether you're closing your pool for the season, performing maintenance, or simply changing the water, knowing how to drain an above ground pool is essential for any pool owner.

Here's a detailed walk through the process of draining a swimming pool, ensuring that you can efficiently and safely completely drain the pool without damaging the pool liner or surrounding area.


1. Understand the Need for Draining

Before you start draining your above ground swimming pool, it's important to understand why and when it's necessary. Draining a pool completely should be done sparingly, as it can cause damage to the pool liner due to shrinkage or exposure. Typically, you should only completely drain your pool for repair or end-of-season maintenance.


2. Choose the Right Draining Method

There are several methods to drain a pool, including using a garden hose siphon, a submersible pump, or an electric pump. The garden hose siphon method is the simplest but can be time-consuming, while using a submersible or electric pump is faster but requires additional equipment.


3. Prepare the Pool for Draining

Before draining, ensure that the pool water is chemically balanced to minimize the impact on the environment [Source: Swim University]. Remove any debris from the water, and disconnect any connected equipment, like filters or heaters, to avoid damage.


4. Using a Garden Hose Siphon

The garden hose siphon method is a cost-effective way to drain your pool. Attach one end of the garden hose to a faucet, fill the hose with water, and then disconnect and quickly place the hose's end at a lower elevation than the pool. The water will start siphoning out [Source: Swim University].


5. Employing a Submersible Pump

A submersible pump is a more efficient way to drain your above ground pool. Place the pump at the lowest point in the pool [Source:], connect a drain hose, and direct the hose to an area where the water can be safely disposed of. Ensure that you follow local regulations for water disposal.


6. Using an Electric Pump

An electric pump is another efficient method for draining. Connect the electric pump to a power source, attach a pool hose, and start the pump. Monitor the process to ensure the pump stays submerged and the pool liner isn’t damaged.


7. Managing the Drain Hose

Regardless of the method used, properly managing the drain hose is crucial. Ensure that the hose is securely attached and directed to an area where the drained water won’t cause flooding or damage [Source: The Spruce].

Avoid draining directly into the street or a neighbor's yard, as this can lead to legal issues.


8. Monitoring Pool Liner and Water Level

As the water level drops, regularly check the pool liner for any signs of damage or air bubbles. If you notice any issues, stop draining immediately to assess and repair. It's essential to keep an eye on the draining process to prevent the liner from collapsing or tearing.


9. Handling Leftover Water

Once the majority of the pool water has been drained, there might be a small amount left at the bottom. This can be removed using a wet-dry vacuum [Source: Swim University] or by manually scooping it out. Make sure to completely dry the pool to prevent mildew and mold growth.


10. Rebalancing the Pool After Refilling

After draining and performing necessary maintenance or cleaning, refill your ground swimming pool with fresh water. It’s crucial to rebalance the chemicals in the pool water to ensure it’s safe for swimming. This includes adjusting the pH, chlorine, and alkalinity levels [Source: Swim University].

11. Proper Disposal of Drained Water

Always be mindful of where the drained water is going. Draining chlorinated water directly into the environment can harm local ecosystems. Check with local regulations to ensure you're disposing of the pool water legally and ethically.

12. Preventative Maintenance to Reduce Draining Frequency

Regular maintenance of your above ground pool can reduce the need for frequent draining. This includes proper chemical balancing, regular cleaning, and promptly addressing any repairs. Proper maintenance keeps the water clean and safe, extending the time between drainings.

Draining an above ground pool is an important skill for any pool owner. By following these steps and tips, you can ensure that the process is done efficiently and safely, protecting both your pool and the environment.

Remember to always consult the manufacturer's instructions and local regulations when draining your pool. With the right approach, you can keep your swimming pool in excellent condition for years to come.