Revealed: How to drain an above ground pool?

If you have been following the Rio Olympics Swimming competitions closely, you would have noticed the debacle which took place in a middle of one such game.

With the swimmers about to jump into the pool, the water turned green, leaving the organizers shellacked. As a result, they were left with no option but to drain that 1-million gallon Olympic Pool!

Thus, as evinced from the aforementioned example, there are certain times when you have to know about how to drain an above ground pool.

While the scenario might not be too adverse as the one cited above, you still need to be ready to do it all the time if you want to enjoy a streamlined and seamless swimming experience of swimming in your pool.

Before giving you the tips on how to drain an above ground pool, let us start by looking at why you need to drain it in the first place? Couldn’t the pool water remain fresh and clear all the time? No.

Firstly, you need to drain your above ground pool when the algae start to appear at the top. This happens due to a myriad of reasons, not all of which you can control. When the algae bloom to such a point that you cannot see the bottom lining, you have no choice but to drain the pool. Otherwise, your pump will give way.

Why do you need to drain a pool?

Secondly, the temperatures of your area might force you to do it. Due to the high temperatures, water will evaporate from your pool. When the temperatures go very high, i.e., above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, refilling a pool becomes an everyday job due to the subsequent high rates of evaporation.

While refilling would give your pool the water back, it would also disturb the concentration of chemicals. Consequently, these chemicals will change the appearance of your pool water from clear to dull. Consequently, you will be left with no choice but to drain the pool.

What not to do with your above ground Pool?

As suggested by its name, an above ground pool is way different from its in-ground counterpart. However, some people take both of them the same.

This behavior usually leads to mistakes which can cost both time and money. Hence, below mentioned are some things you ought to do to keep your above ground pool in good working condition.

Do not leave it empty: For people who have been in this industry for some time, they would tell you that leaving an above ground pool empty is a disaster waiting to happen.

God forbid if it rains during the time that you have left the pool empty, the dirt of the pool will get heavier, causing the entire pool to cave in. As a result, you wouldn’t just need a new liner, but a new pool will need to be reinstalled.

how to drain a pool with a garden hose

Do not put a hole in the bottom of the liner: This is a mistake people usually commit when trying to drain their pool. As a result of this mistake, the whole liner will shrink, and you’ll be left with no choice but to replace it altogether. Therefore, even if you’re having issues with the water, ALWAYS maintain at least a foot of water above the liner.

Run the filter 12-14 hours in summer: Most of the manufacturers recommend using pool filters 6-8 hours a day. While this method will help you when the weather is cold, doing this in hot summer is a big mistake. Thus, when the mercury goes higher, so should be the running time of your pool filter.

Do not take the vacuum head close to the sidewall: Although this is the era of automatic pool cleaners, some people still resort to the old-fashioned vacuum head. If you fall into this category, make sure to keep the vacuum head at least 6’’ away from the sidewall during cleaning. If it gets closer than this, the vacuum head will form pinholes in the sidewall.

Do not let grass grow around your pool: It might seem environmentally friendly, but, in the worst case scenario, the grass accumulated outside the pool could force you to change its liner. The grass might grow into the pool and may even touch the liner. As a result, making this mistake could be very costly.

What to do after draining the pool water?

After you have drained the pool using the aforementioned technique, there are two steps which are yet to be taken: the cleaning and the refilling phases. Here’s what you need to know about them.

  • Remove the debris from pop-ups:

    For this purpose, you would need to remove the debris by blasting it with an air hose. If you don’t have an in-floor cleaning system, contact the manufacturer for this service.

  • Wash your pool with an acid wash:

    If you care about the interior of your pool – and not only its exterior appearance, acid washing could come handy. In addition to cleaning the walls of your pool, the acid wash will also make water more bright and transparent. However, this step will require a lot of your time. Therefore, do it only if you can afford to give enough time.

  • Estimate the refilling time:

    After a day of hard labor – that is draining your pool, it is quite possible that you will go to sleep after leaving the hose in the pool for refilling. Thus, if you don’t want to wake up with a lake in your house, estimate how much time it will take for your pool to be refilled. If you aren’t sure you could wake up, set an alarm. For this purpose, you could also use the pool volume calculator

  • Do not add the chemicals quickly:

    A common mistake which the majority of new pool owners make is to add the chemicals immediately after refilling the pool. Thus, if you want to avoid this mistake, carry out a number of checks on the water to test its alkalinity, pH, and calcium hardness. Only after making these tests should you add any chemicals.

Things You Need for Pool Drainage

As you might guess, you’ll need many tools before draining your pool. While you will require some of these tools throughout the process of draining, a large amount of them will be used only once. However, you’ll need all of them at your disposal before you start draining the pool

Here are the things which you need for pool drainage …

  • Submersible Sump Pump
  • Rubber fire hose (Approx. 50ft length) with clamps
  • Bucket (for manually removing the water which the pump won’t suck out)
  • Electrical Tape (for restricting the excess of the clamp)

How to drain an above ground Pool?

We have taken a look at various scenarios; it is time we turn our attention to the heart of this article. Below mentioned is the step by step guide on how to drain an above ground pool.

  • Step 1:

    Rent a sump pump from a nearby store. This might cause $36 for 24 hours. I would recommend doing it a day before you want to drain your pool. Looking at the specifications of your rental, the hose should be around 50ft in length. In the majority of cases, two rubber hoses would be enough. However, if your pool is more than 100feet, you might need more.

  • Step 2:
    Arrange the sump pump and the discharge hoses accordingly. In the majority of places, the local administration won’t allow draining water into the street. Therefore, I would recommend connecting the hose to the sewer. The sewer opening should be located somewhere in your house, whether it is old or new. Also, DO NOT try to irrigate your lawn or any other shrubs if you are draining the entire pool.
  • Step 3:

    After lowering the pump into the pool, plug it in. Before doing this, make sure that the hose is firmly attached and its other end is connected to the sewer. In order to make sure, just loosen the valve to see where the waste water is going. Once assured, fully open the waste valve and allow your rental equipment to do the rest.

  • Step 4:

    Wait and watch. Believe me, this is the most boring step. However, as you might guess, this is the most important one as well.

    Most people ask why different pools who are of the same size take different times for drainage. The time your pump will take to completely discharge the water will depend on three things: the size of your pool, the discharge rate of your pump, and, the laws of the local administration

    While you might be already aware of the former two, you have to acquaint yourself with the municipality laws. For example, in Phoenix, the drainage rate is set at 12gallons per minute. These laws are made to ensure that the water is disposed of safely into the sewer.

  • Step 5:

    There will come at a time when the water level in your pool will go so down that it would become impossible for the filter to remove it. Therefore, it is the time for you to act. At this point, take a bucket and jump into your pool to drain the last few feet’s manually. If you feel that you cannot do it alone, call for help.

If you feel like wanting a visual guide, check the video below:


While draining an above ground pool seems to be an easy task, it could also turn into a nightmare. To prevent the latter, do not allow the liner of your pool to remain exposed for a day as this could result in its shrinking.

Moreover, if you live in an area where heavy winds are the norm, there should be more urgency from you to fill the pool after emptying it. May you find this article on how to drain an above ground pool helpful.

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