How to Drain an Above-Ground Pool Two Different Ways (2023)

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How to Drain an Above-Ground Pool Two Different Ways (1)

Ralph Tarulli

Ralph Tarulli is a pools and construction expert with 7+ years' experience working on pools, and 10+ years' experience in commercial construction. He has 15 professional certifications and is pursuing a career in building engineering.

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(Video) How to DRAIN an ABOVE GROUND POOL (Even Without A Pump!) | Swim University

Published on 01/19/23

How to Drain an Above-Ground Pool Two Different Ways (2)

In This Article

  • Before You Begin

  • Safety Considerations

  • Drain a Pool With a Pump

  • Drain a Pool With a Siphon

  • When to Call a Professional

    (Video) Easiest way to Drain your Above ground pool

Project Overview

  • Working Time: 1 - 3 hrs
  • Total Time: 1 - 4 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0

Sometime during a pool's life, you should plan on having to drain it. Whether you are closing it for the end of the pool season or for a repair, it's important that you do it safely.

The most common way to drain a pool is with a pump or using a siphon. The better method depends on your exact type of pool and its location. However, no matter how you choose to drain your pool, always have a plan for where the water will flow before you start draining to avoid flooding and potential property damage.

Here's how to drain your pool in just a few easy steps.

Before You Begin

Before you start draining any body of water it is best to inspect what you will be working with. Give your pool a quick look over and inspect for leaks or anything else that could potentially cause a problem. Also, double check the area where you will be draining the water to and that your drainage hose is correctly placed and secure. It is not uncommon for hoses to move or disconnect when pumping begins so it is a good idea to put a small rock on either side of the hose to keep it aimed where you want it and to tighten the hose clamp.

Safety Considerations

When dealing with a lot of water you must be aware of the possibility of flooding. If you see the draining water going somewhere it shouldn’t or backing up a drain, stop immediately and either wait for the water to dissipate or re-route your hose to another area. Because of the risk of flooding, you should never leave a drain hose alone while you are removing water.


Remember that part of an above-ground pool's strength comes from the water inside the pool pushing outwards against the frame. Without water you risk a collapse of the pool frame, so be very watchful for any flexing that may occur during the draining process and proceed with caution.

Featured Video


What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Duct Tape


  • Pump
  • Hose
  • Hose Clamp
  • 6-in-1 Screwdriver
  • Extension Cord


There are two main ways to drain a pool: a pump, which uses a pump and another hose to direct water away from the pool, or a siphon, which uses the waters gravity to create a suction effect through a hose to pull the water in the pool out through the hose.

How to Drain a Pool With a Pump

  1. Connect the Pump and Hose

    Connect a hose to the submersible pump while it is above the water. You can use a garden hose or pool hose depending on what type of pump you have. Attach a hose clamp to the hose to make sure the hose does not pop off under water.

    To tighten the hose clamp, use a 6 in 1 screwdriver and tighten. If you do not have a hose clamp some duct tape will work in a pinch but this must be closely monitored in case the hose separates.

    (Video) Drain Your Bestway Above Ground Pool ALL THE WAY!

  2. Connect the Extension Cord

    Once your pump is assembled, connect your extension cord. The best way to do this is to tie your extension cord to the cord of the pump and plug the two together; this will protect the pump from unplugging if the extension cord gets moved or pulled.

  3. Put the Pump in the Pool

    Carefully move the pump's cord to place the pump in the optimal position inside the pool. If you are only draining part way, tie the pumps cord to a railing, or hang it over the top rail of the pool and secure it with a rock or other heavy object to keep it at the proper elevation while it's suspended in the pool.


    Do not let the extension cord go anywhere near the water or a wet area. The cords should connect far away from the water to avoid risk of an electric shock.

  4. Place the Discharge Hose

    Once satisfied with the pump's location, place the discharge hose where you want the water to drain. This could be down a driveway, yard drain, or another part of your yard.

  5. Run the Pump

    Once everything is properly placed and you've inspected it, plug the pump in and make sure that the drained water does not back up or flood the designated area where you want it to drain. Pumps discharge water much faster than siphons, so it's important you keep an eye on the flow of the water in the discharge area as a flood can happen more quickly.

How to Drain a Pool With a Siphon

Using a siphon to drain a pool is the best method if you do not have a submersible pump handy, lack a nearby outlet or extension cord, or don’t need to have the pool drain quickly.

  1. Locate a Steep Downhill Route

    First check the route you place the hose on and make sure that it is steep enough to have the water flow through the hose. You cannot siphon uphill or through a path filled with ups and downs as this will significantly slow the water traveling through the hose.

  2. Submerge Hose in the Pool

    Put the entire hose into the pool making sure both ends stay below the water —you need the hose to fill fully up with water. The best way to accomplish this is to grab one end of the hose and force it below the water, quickly sending your hands along the length of the hose to the other end. If done right, when you reach the other end you will see a small gush of water come out.

  3. Seal One Hose End Underwater

    When you see the water gush out, use the palm of your hand to seal off that end of the hose while it is under the water.

  4. Drag One Hose End Downhill

    Quickly drag the hose downhill to where you want the water to drain. Be careful not to lift the hose higher than needed; to keep a seal with your hand on one end of the hose; and to keep the other end of the hose inside the pool.

  5. Release Seal to Let Water Run

    Once at the appropriate downhill location, drop the hose and release your palm and watch the water flow. If you're not satisfied with the flow rate, you can repeat the process for better results. Practice makes perfect for this technique.

When to Call a Professional

If while draining your pool you see water backup from a floor drain or the water starts to pool in the discharge area at a rate or volume that has the potential to cause damage, stop immediately and call a professional. A pool contains thousands of gallons of water and can easily flood a basement or cause water damage if not properly drained.

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How do you completely drain an above ground pool? ›

All you need is a medium-size water or vacuum pump. Unroll the pump's intake hose so that it reaches the center of the pool (or as close to it as possible), and submerge it in the pool. Place the outlet hose so the exiting water doesn't flood the area, but drains off away from the pool.

What is the fastest way to drain an above ground pool? ›

What's the fastest way to drain an above ground pool? Using a submersible pump is the fastest way to drain your pool. It acts like a vacuum to remove water quickly, but you'll need to monitor it while it's running. A garden hose siphon is another option for draining out water, but it will take much longer.

How do I get the last 2 inches of water out of my pool? ›

Draining the Remaining Water from Your Pool

To do so, you can: Use a wet vacuum to suck the stagnant water. Sweep the liquid into the drain. Remove the pool liner and flip it over somewhere your property to get rid of extra water.

What is the proper way to drain a pool? ›

How to Drain A Pool with a Cartridge Filter
  1. Shut off the pump.
  2. Go to the back of the filter and unscrew the drain plug.
  3. Turn the pump back on and let the water run until it reaches the point where you want to drain the water out.
  4. Turn the pump back off and put the plug back into the drain plug.

Where do you drain above ground pool water? ›

Submerge the pool pump's intake hose under the water – as close to the center of the swimming pool as possible. Choose a space on your property for the pump's outlet hose to drain. This area should be away from the pool, and the ground should be level to avoid flooding.

How do you completely drain an Intex pool? ›

The drain valve is located on the outside of the pool. Run a garden hose out, with the female end near the drain valve. Connect the other end to a sprinkler, and water your lawn or garden (if pH is good and chlorine low).

What is the best way to drain a pool with a garden hose? ›

Put one end of your garden hose inside the port. Thread the hose to the back of your house. Attach the other end of the garden hose to a submersion pump and place the hose and pump in the deepest area of your pool, near the drain. The pool will begin to drain.

How long does it take to drain a pool with a garden hose? ›

Draining a pool can take up to 14 hours, depending on the size, so be sure to drain it on a day when you have sufficient free time. You need to be home to check on the pool, the hoses, and the pump frequently. Do not let the pump run dry or it can become damaged.

Should I drain my above ground pool to get rid of algae? ›

Those factors will cause algae problems eventually if you don't maintain the pool properly. The only recourse is to chlorine wash pool water or acid wash pool to get rid of the algae spores. And, to do that, you need to drain the water in the pool first.

Can you use a shop vac to get water out of pool? ›

For example, you can use a shop vac for water removal. A shop vacuum's ability to suck up water saves you from using towels to soak up water on the floor or trying to squeegee it away. A shop vacuum even acts as a pump to remove larger quantities of water standing in a tub, shower, pool, aquarium, or garden pond.

Will my above ground pool collapse if I drain it? ›

An empty pool (or as little as 1/4 filled) and an exposed liner on a hot day can cause the liner to shrink from the heat and deem the liner useless. An empty pool is also susceptible to collapse.

Is it normal for a pool to lose an inch of water a day? ›

On average, swimming pools lose about a quarter of an inch of water each day, yet variations in wind intensity, humidity and sunlight can drastically change water loss rates.

How do you drain an above ground pool without flooding the yard? ›

1. Start off by unrolling your pump's intake hose all the way to the center of the pool and submerge the same into the water. 2. Be sure to place or arrange the outlet hose in such a way that water goes out (perfectly) without flooding the area and incurring another damage that would need professional repair services.

How do you drain a pool under a skimmer? ›

If your main drain is connected to the skimmer, and you have two holes in the bottom of the skimmer – then it is more difficult to pump below the skimmer. The easiest method is to connect a threaded hose adapter into the hole which goes to the pump, and connect a primed, “tight” vacuum hose to it.

Where should pool water be drained to? ›

Drain Pool Water Into Your Sewer Cleanout

That's why pools, spas, and fountains should never be drained into the gutter or storm drain. Pool water can contain copper, chlorine, sediments, and other contaminants that harms plants and animals living in the bay.

Can you drain all the water out of an above ground pool for winter? ›

You'll need to keep draining water off the cover with a pump or siphon to protect it from damage. Important: Never drain an above ground pool completely when winterizing. Your vinyl liner can dry out, shortening its life considerably.

Can you completely drain a vinyl pool? ›

For vinyl liner pools however (and fiberglass pools too), draining completely is discouraged, and is to be avoided, unless absolutely necessary. Big problems can result from draining a vinyl liner pool. The most common problem is that an older liner can pull away from the walls, and shrink somewhat.

How do you drain a pool so it doesn't overflow? ›

Draining Your Pool
  1. Siphon the water to lower the levels. Do be aware of where you'll put the water. ...
  2. Use your pump drain. Some pumps have drain spigots, and using this is much easier than siphoning. ...
  3. Try a submersible pump. ...
  4. Call us.

Is it OK to completely drain an above ground pool for winter? ›

A: It's not a good idea to drain an above ground pool for winter. Snow, ice, extreme cold and errant debris will likely cause significant damage to a pool sitting out exposed to the elements. It's also expensive and time consuming to refill and chemically balance a new pool full of water in the spring.

Can I drain my pool completely? ›

Draining a pool is a risky business for several reasons. Your pool is not meant to be empty. Whether you have a vinyl, concrete, or fiberglass pool, it is at its best when it's full of water. Once the water is drained, you open yourself up to all sorts of damage, so drain a pool only when there is no other option.

Can you completely drain an above ground pool for winter? ›

You'll need to keep draining water off the cover with a pump or siphon to protect it from damage. Important: Never drain an above ground pool completely when winterizing. Your vinyl liner can dry out, shortening its life considerably.

What is the best way to winterize an above ground pool? ›

How to Close Your Above Ground Pool in 10 Steps
  1. Step 1: Deep Clean. ...
  2. Step 2: Balance your Water. ...
  3. Step 3: Add Winterizing Chemicals. ...
  4. Step 4: Add Pump Protector. ...
  5. Step 5: Protect Your Return and Skimmer. ...
  6. Step 6: Prepare Your Filter for Hibernation. ...
  7. Step 7: Clear the Pool. ...
  8. Step 8: Set Up Ice Equalizer Pillow.
Aug 21, 2019

Will draining a pool damage the liner? ›

Con: Compromising the Liner

When you completely drain a swimming pool, especially an above-ground one, the liner can shrink. You may not be able to notice it right away, but when you refill the pool with fresh water, that liner may stretch and tear from the pressure.

What happens if you don't winterize your above ground pool? ›

Without winterizing your pool, the water could turn green with algae—or worse, bacteria called pink algae can grow. If the chlorine system stops functioning, you'll say adieu to the beautiful blue pool you know and love. Come spring, your pool will be a homely sight and cause a real dent in your wallet.

Can you partially drain a pool? ›

You can always PARTIALLY drain the pool and refill it with clean water, this will effectively dilute everything in your pool by the amount of water drained and replaced.

How much water do you need to remove an above-ground pool for the winter? ›

When winterizing your above ground pool, lower the water level around 4" to 6" below the skimmer. You can do this with a submersible pump or by siphoning the water out with a short garden hose. Do not lower the water any more than that, or you'll risk damaging your vinyl liner.

How low should I drain my in ground pool for winter? ›

If your pool has a safety cover, do not allow the water to fall more than 18" below the pool deck. Pump water off the winter cover periodically to maintain a minimum amount. Water that is left to accumulate on the winter cover will displace the water that is under the cover.


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