How to Drain an Above Ground Pool

by Helen
(Hampton, NH)

I recently purchased a house that had an above ground pool and I stupidly opted to keep it. I moved in on July 30th and the seller had never opened the pool. The water in the cover was bright green. I hired a pool service to come open it up. They removed the cover, did some general maintenance and shocked it.

In a few days the water was crystal clear and revealed a pool bottom covered in mounds of leaves and pine needles. I bought a gadget called a leaf rake and got to work alternately using that and adding the chemicals the pool store recommended. During that time I had to be out of town a couple of times and it has been difficult getting all of the muck out of it. I bought a larger vacuum head and it sucked the disk into the skimmer - I now can't get that out and the PSI on the filter is very low. That was the last straw and I plan to post it on Craig's list for free as long as the person who takes it removes everything associated with the pool.

My question is how to responsibly drain it so as not to damage lawns or sewer systems and not to damage the pump or filter? My plan was to back wash it until the water is below the skimmer then drain with a garden hose until the water is completely drained. Is there anything I need to do to the pump and filter before the water goes below the skimmer to protect them?

The pool is four feet high and about 15 feet diameter.

Hi Helen

The recommended way to drain an above ground pool is to rent a submersible pump and drain it into your sewer clean out. Every home should have a pipe that comes out of the ground, or just under the service of the ground, that has a cap on it. The cap can be removed and the pump hose placed into the pipe.

Another way of draining a pool is using the garden hose to siphon the water. This method works equally well, it just takes longer.

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How to Empty an Above Ground Pool?

by Sarah
(Albany, NY, US)

Hi, I just recently bought a house with an above ground pool that has been neglected over the last yr. I am trying to empty it and start over. I siphoned it out using the technique that you suggested, but I can't seem to get the last 10 inches of water out. The water is black and I can't even see the bottom of the pool so I really just want to empty the whole thing and start over. Is there anything I can do? Thanks Sarah.

Hi Sarah

I hope you read this in time. If you completely drain the pool you will probably be replacing the liner. If the liner is over two years old you will for sure be replacing it. All vinyl liners shrink when they are emptied and only fairly new fresh liners have the elasticity to stretch back into shape.

The best thing to do is keep the last ten to twelve inches of water in the pool and refill it immediately. When the pool is full, start running the filter, and add shock treatment to the water. Let the filter run for several days straight and see how it looks. If you feel you would benefit by draining again that's fine. Take the water down to a foot and refill. While you are draining the pool brush the bottom and walls often. This will loosen up a lot of the crud and it will get pumped out.

If the liner is badly discolored and you are willing to take the chance of the liner shrinking, and having to replace it, here is what to do. You may need to rent a submersible pump to get the last of the water out quickly. This should be done as fast as possible, with direct over head sunlight. Get in the pool while it is being pumped and push as much of the dirt as possible towards the pump. This will get the water down to an inch or so. With mops and towels the liner can be scrubbed and cleaned while the last of the water is being dumped over the side of the pool. When the liner is clean enough, start refilling immediately.

If you plan to replace the liner, draining is easy. Cut holes in the bottom of the liner and let the water seep into the ground. Either that or you can stick a pump in the pool and get it started. The liner can then be cut, starting on the opposite side of the pool from where the pump is. Keep cutting the liner, just below the top rail, and pulling the water towards the pump until all the water is out. This is a two person job, one person on each side of the pool. You want to keep the cut edge of the liner up and out of the water so it will all go to the pump.

When brushing and scrubbing the liner, be extremely careful not to puncture it with any sharp edges.

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How To Drain A Pool

by Sues

We have a 15 ft Intex pool and I don't know how to drain it. I thought the water hose would just fit right on the drain nozzle on the pool, but it doesn't. Do I need an adapter or something?

Hi Sues

The best way to drain an above ground pool is with a submersible pump. These can be rented at any rental shop. Small ones can be purchased at any hardware store. They are pretty handy things to have on hand, especially if you own a pool.

The next best way to drain an above ground pool is with a garden hose. You just need to get a siphon started and the water can go anywhere in your yard your hose will reach to. The water comes out pretty slow so it may take a couple of days. That's a good thing in many cases because it comes out slow enough that your yard can absorb the water without any flooding or without having to find a sewer clean out.

Starting a siphon hose is easy. You hook one end of a garden hose to your water tap. You set the other end in the pool. I usually wedge the hose under the edge of the ladder to keep it on the bottom of the pool. The hose tied to a brick would do the same thing, it needs to stay as close to the bottom as possible.

You then turn the water on at the tap and let it run for a few minutes. This gets all the air out of the hose. Now disconnect the hose from the tap and lower it to the ground. If you wait just a minute the water should start running backwards. Once it does your siphon has been started and will run until the pool is empty.

If you are going to use the bottom drain opening, yes, it does need an adapter.

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How To Empty My Above Ground Pool

by Jeni

Hi, I am selling my above ground pool and need to empty it. I do not have a sub pump, is there any other way to empty the pool? I was thinking of taking a wall down, but am afraid that will ruin the liner.

Any advise you have would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Jeni

The easiest way to empty an above ground pool is to use a garden hose and siphon the water out. This is the way I start a garden hose siphoning. You leave one end attached to your water tap and stick the other end in the pool. It is best to weight it down with something to keep the hose on the bottom of the pool. I usually use the ladder for this. I just work the hose under the bottom rung of the ladder. Next you turn the water on and let it run into the pool for a minute or two. You should then be able to turn the water off and unhook the hose. The water should start running backwards and you have created your siphon hose. The nice thing about this method is the water come out very slowly and by moving the hose around your yard may absorb all of the water without leaving you swamped.

The other method is to rent a submersible pump. The water can be drained much faster this way but you may have to use a sewer clean out to dispose of that much water.

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