How to Drain a Pool: Step-by-Step Instructions for Safe and Effective Pool Draining

Draining a pool, whether it’s an above-ground or in-ground type, involves a meticulous series of steps that must be followed to ensure the safety of both the pool structure and the surrounding environment. This guide will take you through the necessary procedures on how to drain a pool effectively and responsibly.

Understanding the Need to Drain Your Pool

Understanding the need to drain your pool is crucial, whether you have an above-ground or in-ground swimming pool. Draining is essential for addressing various maintenance issues or refreshing the pool water. Knowing when and how to drain your pool safely helps to prevent structural damage and ensures compliance with local regulations.

Reasons for Draining a Pool

  1. Maintenance and Repair: Over time, pools may develop structural issues such as “pool pop,” where the pressure from groundwater causes the pool structure to lift or shift. Draining the pool water allows access to these areas for necessary repairs.

  2. Water Quality Management: Persistent issues with chemical balance that cannot be corrected through normal treatments often require completely emptying the pool and refilling it with fresh water. This ensures a safe and enjoyable swimming environment, free from potentially harmful contaminants.

  3. Seasonal Preparation: In colder climates, pools may need to be partially drained to prevent pipes from bursting during freezing temperatures. Draining can also prevent overflow from rain or melted snow and manage hydrostatic pressure to protect the pool’s structure.

Equipment Needed to Drain Your Pool

To efficiently and responsibly drain your pool, whether it’s an in-ground pool or another type, you’ll need specific equipment designed to handle the volume of water and ensure that the process adheres to local regulations regarding water discharge. Here’s a list of essential equipment needed to drain pool water safely and effectively.

Essential Equipment for Draining Your Pool

  1. Submersible Pump: This is the primary tool used to pump water from the deep end of the pool to your designated drainage area. It can handle gallons of water efficiently and is crucial for starting the draining process.

  2. Garden Hoses or Heavy-Duty Discharge Hoses: You’ll need durable hoses to connect to the submersible pump. Ensure the hose is long enough to reach from one end of the pool to your discharge location without risking detachment or leaks.

  3. Hydrostatic Plugs: It’s essential to manage the hydrostatic pressure beneath in-ground pools. Hydrostatic plugs can block these valves during the draining process to prevent groundwater from pushing up and damaging the pool structure.

  4. Relief Valve: If your pool is equipped with a built-in relief valve, you might need to open it to equalize pressure and prevent structural damage, especially when the pool is nearly empty.

  5. Siphon or Pump System: Depending on the setup and location of your pool, you might opt for a siphon system to assist or enhance the flow of water from the pool to the discharge area, ensuring that the water runs smoothly and does not collect in the same place.

  6. Water Filter or Strainer: To avoid clogging your hoses or damaging your pump, use a filter or strainer at the intake end of the pump. This will catch any large debris before it can enter the discharge system.

  7. Check Valves: These are useful for preventing the backflow of drained water into the pool, especially when you need to stop the pump intermittently or when adjusting hose positions.

Planning Your Discharge Area

  • Local Sewage System Compliance: Most municipalities have specific requirements about where to discharge pool water, often directing homeowners to certain areas or systems that can handle the influx without overwhelming local sewage treatment capabilities or harming the environment.

  • Protecting Your Property: To avoid water damage, ensure the discharge area is well away from your house’s foundation. Plan the route of your hose to ensure it does not cross walkways or driveways.

  • Environmentally Safe Discharge: If the drained water is free of harmful chemicals, consider using it for beneficial purposes, such as watering your garden or yard. This not only conserves water but also helps distribute it evenly, avoiding pooling and potential damage to your landscape.

Having the right equipment and thoroughly planning the drainage process ensures that you can empty your pool safely without damaging your property or the environment and comply with all local regulations.

Preparing to Drain Your Pool

Preparing to drain your pool, whether it’s an above-ground pool or an in-ground type, requires careful planning and the right setup to ensure that the process is done safely and efficiently. Here are the key steps to get everything in order before you start draining the water.

Check the Pool and Environment

  1. Inspect the Pool: Before you start draining, thoroughly check the pool for any signs of damage or wear that the draining process might exacerbate. This is especially important for above-ground pools, which are more susceptible to structural issues when emptied.

  2. Assess Surrounding Areas: Ensure that the area where the water will discharge is clear of obstacles that could obstruct the flow or cause the water to pool in an undesirable location near your house or against a wall.

Gather Necessary Equipment

  • Garden Hose: To reach from your pool to the discharge area, you will need a durable garden hose or several hoses connected together. The entire hose should be free of leaks and kinks to ensure a steady, uninterrupted water flow.

  • Duct Tape: Use duct tape to secure any connections between hoses or to the pump to prevent disconnection or leaks during the draining process.

Set Up the Discharge Area

  • Plan the Exit Route: Lay out the hose from the pool to the discharge area. Ensure it’s laid out in such a way as to avoid any areas where water run-off could cause damage, like near the foundation of your house or close to walls that could be affected by moisture.

  • Secure Hose Placement: Use duct tape or weights to secure the hose along its length, particularly at key points like corners or doorways, to ensure it doesn’t shift and begin to drain in an unintended area.

Draining the Pool

Draining your pool is a critical step that requires careful attention to detail to ensure that it’s done safely and effectively. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to efficiently and responsibly drain water from your pool, minimizing the risk of damage and adhering to local environmental standards.

Step 1: Start Pumping

Begin the draining process by ensuring your submersible pump is correctly set up at the deep end of the pool. This is where you’ll likely find the plug that needs to be unscrewed to start the flow of water. Once the plug is removed, position the pump so that it can efficiently transfer all that water out of the pool through your discharge hose.

Step 2: Manage the Hose Setup

Ensure that the hose used to drain the pool extends from one end of the pool to the designated discharge area. This could be a storm drain or other approved drainage areas that can handle large volumes of water. Secure the connection between the pump and the hose with additional fastenings if necessary to prevent any disconnections during the draining process.

Step 3: Monitor the Water Flow

As the water begins to drain, keep a close eye on the water level inside the pool. It’s crucial to ensure that the water is draining steadily and that the hose is allowing enough water to flow through without any obstructions. Monitoring the flow helps avoid situations where the pump runs dry, or the water drains too quickly, which could potentially damage the pool structure.

Step 4: Safely Discharge the Water

Direct the other end of the hose toward your chosen discharge area. Be mindful of local regulations regarding where you can safely discharge pool water, particularly if you are using storm drains. Ensure that discharging all that water won’t overwhelm the local drainage system or lead to runoff issues in your area.

Step 5: Prevent Damage

Throughout the draining process, watch for signs of potential damage. Rapidly changing water levels can affect the structural integrity of in-ground pools’ walls and floors. For above-ground pools, ensure that the sides remain stable and intact as the water drains. If you notice any bowing or buckling, pause the draining process to reassess the situation.

Step 6: Unplug and Clean Up

Once you have successfully emptied the pool, or drained enough water for your maintenance needs, turn off the pump and carefully unscrew and remove any attachments. Drain any remaining water inside the hose by lifting the end of the hose that was attached to the pump higher than the pool to ensure all water runs out.

Post-Drainage Steps

After successfully draining your pool, it’s important to follow several key post-drainage steps to ensure your pool remains in good condition and is ready for refilling. Here’s how to proceed once you empty your pool.

Step 1: Inspect and Clean the Pool

With the pool now empty, take this opportunity to inspect the liner and overall structure thoroughly. Look for any signs of damage, wear, or leaks. This is the time to make any necessary repairs or replacements to avoid future issues.

  • Check the Pool Liner: Inspect the liner for tears, punctures, or signs of wear, particularly at the seams or around fittings. Small damages can often be patched, but larger issues may require replacing the entire liner.

  • Clean the Pool: Remove any debris, algae, or sediment that has settled at the bottom of the pool. Scrub the walls and floor with a suitable cleaning agent designed for pool surfaces to ensure a clean, hygienic environment.

Step 2: Prepare for Refilling

Before adding fresh water, it’s crucial to ensure all aspects of your pool’s system are ready to function optimally:

  • Double Check the Pool Pump: Inspect and clean the pool pump and filter system. This is critical as a clean and functioning pump and filter will be necessary to maintain water quality once the pool is refilled.

  • Reinstall Any Removed Equipment: If you unscrewed any fittings or removed parts of the pool pump or other systems during draining, now is the time to replace and secure them. Ensure everything is tightly fixed to avoid leaks.

Step 3: Refill the Pool

After a thorough cleaning and inspection, the empty pool is ready to be refilled with fresh water for the summer season.

  • Begin Filling: Start adding fresh water to your pool. It’s important to fill the pool gradually to avoid suddenly placing too much pressure on the structure and the liner. This gradual process helps prevent any damage that could occur from a rapid change in pressure.

  • Monitor Water Levels: As you add more water, regularly check and adjust the chemical levels to ensure the water is safe and ready for use. During this process, keep an eye on the pool structure to ensure no issues arise as the weight and pressure inside the pool increase.

Step 4: Start the Pool Equipment

  • Activate the Pool Pump: Once there’s enough water to operate the pool pump safely, turn it on to begin circulating the water. This helps distribute chemicals evenly and filters out any impurities.

  • Wait and Observe: After the pool is filled, it’s advisable to wait 24 to 48 hours before using it. This waiting period allows the chemicals to integrate fully and the water to reach the desired balance.

Step 5: Final Checks

  • Ensure Everything Is Operational: Test all pool systems, including the pump, heating elements if applicable, and filtration system. Ensure all components are working efficiently and the water is clear and at the correct chemical levels.

  • Safety and Cleanliness: Ensure that the pool area is clean and free from any tools or maintenance equipment used during the draining and refilling process. This helps prevent accidents and ensures a safe environment around the new pool.

By following these post-drainage steps, you can safeguard the integrity and longevity of your pool, ensuring it remains a clean, enjoyable, and safe environment for everyone.

After mastering these final steps and understanding the complexities involved in draining your pool, it becomes clear why calling in a professional can ensure the best results and utmost safety for both your pool and the environment.

Dallas Pool Builder: Expert Pool Installation and Custom Pool Maintenance by Integrity Pools

Explore how Integrity Pools can expertly assist you in draining and setting up your new custom pool for optimal performance and durability. As a leading Dallas pool contractor, we specialize in the precise and safe draining of pools and designing and constructing bespoke swimming pools that fit your specific needs and preferences. Whether you need a comprehensive draining service to protect and maintain your pool or you envision a luxurious oasis or a functional, family-friendly pool, our team of skilled pool builders in Dallas is committed to providing exceptional service and unmatched quality.


Draining your pool is a necessary task that requires careful planning and execution to ensure it is done safely and efficiently. Whether you are performing routine maintenance, addressing repairs, or preparing for a change in season, understanding the proper techniques and local regulations is crucial. Following the step-by-step guide, you can effectively manage the draining process, protect your pool from potential damage, and prepare it for many more years of enjoyment. Remember, every step, from preparing to drain to managing the equipment to refilling and performing post-drainage checks, from preparing to drain to managing the equipment to refilling and performing post-drainage checks, is vital for maintaining the health and longevity of your pool. With the right knowledge and tools, you can confidently drain and maintain your swimming pool, ensuring a safe and inviting aquatic environment for everyone.

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