How to drain your swimming pool properly

The other day I noticed that my pool was a little dirty and needed some draining. This got me thinking about the different ways I can properly drain my swimming pool myself.

So I went into research mode and scoured the internet looking for articles online about how to drain a swimming pool with paying expensive fees

This article is all you need to know to get started draining you own pool

Equipment needed

Before you begin, there are some basic equipment that you will need.

1. Submersible sump pump - this can be rented at your local shop for about 20 dollars for the whole day

2. Rubber fire hoses (bout 50 feet in length)

3. Duck tape (the name brand, not duct tape)

4. A contractor or industrial rated wet/dry vac.

Steps to take

1. Setup the pump and the hoses while connecting the hoses to a clean out. This is a very important step and should be taken seriously

The issue here is that most places will not allow you to drain water directly on the streets or your neighbor's yard

So make sure you ask around before you get into trouble

At the stage there are two options open to you

  • Drain the water directly into the clean out. What this means is that you want to attach the hoses to the plastic pipe directly behind your bathroom or kitchen which then leads into the sewer. This will direct all that water into a sewer where it can be reused by the city.

  • Irrigate the lawns, shrubs and other plants close by. One thing you should know here is that this is not recommended if you are draining the entire pool. Also it is not a great idea on certain plants which do not react very well with chlorine

2. Lower the pump into the pool and make sure it is properly plugged in.

You want to make sure that the hose is properly plugged in and the other end is also connected in tho the clean out.

Depending on the length of the hose, some hoses will go down about 3 feet into the clean out before hitting something. So make sure it is properly plugged it.

3. Monitor the discharge carefully as the water drains away from your pool

This is usually the easy part. So all you need to do is to chill and monitor the draining

The time it takes to drain your pool water will depend on the municipality laws, the speed of the pump and the size of your swimming pool.

One thing you need to do is to check your municipality laws concerning the discharge rate. In some places the discharge rate is capped low.

For example Phoenix has a discharge rate of 12 gallons (45.4 L) per minute. This is to ensure safe disposal of the water.

Also the size of your pool will also determine how long it takes

If you are pumping at 30 gallons per minute and you have a 25,000 gallons pool, then it means that you will need about 14 hours to drain the pool

4. Finally wait as the pumps removes all the water then use a bucket to manually remove the last drops of water

Here is a YouTube video showing you how to do this

Tips and tricks to be aware of while draining a pool

1. Do not drain a fiberglass or vinyl liner pool. If you do this then the fiberglass can float or the vinyl can stretch leaving unsightly marks on the pool

2. Draining your pool comes with some risk. If there is water saturation on the ground, then you can have damage due to hydro-static pressure.

3. Make sure that the pump you use is plugged into an electrical line with a proper ground fault interpreter. Not doing might result in you getting seriously injured or worse killed

4.  Avoid draining the pool using the backwash valve. If you do so it puts your pool pump at risk of losing prime and running dry.

5. When draining your pool, it exposes the plaster and surfaces to the elements. It is usually advisable to quickly drain and refill the pool as fast as possible. This will ensure that nothing happens to the plaster and surfaces and you can get back to using your pool as soon as possible.

Next Steps

After draining your pool, the following steps are needed to get your pool back to top condition


  • Using the hose, blast the debris out of the pop ups.

  • Clean away any calcium or scale rings. Using a Calcium, Lime and Rust remover usually works wonders to remove all calcium rings.

  • To keep the rings from reappearing, use a stain and scale inhibitor

  • Finally, you want to perform an acid wash on your pool. This will help clean the walls of your pool, keep the water looking bright and transparent giving you that pleasant experience for your pool

Refilling your pool

After draining and cleaning your pool, the next step is to refill the pools.

Here are the required steps needed to do this

  • Take a rough estimate on the time needed to fill your pool. You definitely do not want to go to sleep and wake up with everywhere flooded

  • Connect your garden hoses to available spigots and drop in your pool

  • Add startup chemicals to convert the tap water to pool water.

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