When the summer months are near, you might take a look under your pool cover and be horrified by what you see. It is understandable if the pool has been neglected over the colder months, but to make it safe for swimming again, it will probably be necessary to drain the pool.

Even if it hasn’t been that long, preparing it for the warmer months, or even draining it to make some repairs can mean you need to know how to drain a pool.

What To Consider Before You Drain A Pool

Because it isn’t something you should make a habit of, you should only drain your pool when the time calls. Not only can it be expensive to refill, but when left for a long time, and empty pool can cause cracks to appear or worsen, and compromise the quality of the plaster. Inground pools, in particular, are exposed to the elements and are designed to keep their shape when water is at the right level.

This being said, there are plenty of good reasons to drain a pool, particularly the following.

Why You Might Need To Drain A Pool

In truth, most problems do not result in the need for you to drain your pool. But, if your pool has a deluge of built-up algae and you cannot see the bottom, even in the shallow end, it can be a good idea to drain your pool and give it an intense clean with fresh water. Some times, a filter can withstand a strong chemical clean but this isn’t always the case.

Some repairs require you to drain your pool. One common job is to fix or replace a vinyl liner that has bubbled and cracked over time. Also, some people like to add fresh water in the spring.

After years of being at the mercy of chemicals, the TDS level (Total Dissolved Solids) builds up as a result of the chemicals used, leaving behind levels of remnants that are hard to manage and require more and more chemicals as time goes by.

When TDS levels hover around 2,500 parts/million, it can negatively impact the liner and becomes more of a challenge to manage. This is when draining your pool can be a good idea.

Things To Do Before Draining A Pool

Consider The Type of Liner

Because some liners require a different approach depending on their materials, it is important to check what you are dealing with. The most common types include vinyl and concrete.

Vinyl lining represents a good value method of lining a pool but can be susceptible to bubbling and damage. Concrete is considered to be more durable and less in need of repair although not everyone chooses this option as it can take longer to install.

Make The Area Safe

Before you drain your pool, make sure any automatic timers are off. This can create a hazard, particularly for pool lights that are designed to work with the coolness of the water to prevent them from overheating. Without the pool water, a pool light might overheat which can lead to the protective casing breaking and the light itself needing replacing.

Even the skimmer needs to be turned off so it doesn’t suck in air where there is no water, causing expensive repairs.

The Weather

Although a sunny day always feels like the right time to undertake DIY jobs and repair work, a pool can suffer from exposure to heat when there is no water to protect it. The liner and the pool itself can blister and crack when in direct sunlight. It might seem odd, but a colder day or a spring morning can be a better time to drain your pool.

It is also a bad idea to drain your pool after heavy rain. Even if it has been a couple of days since it rained heavy, you should wait until the ground has dried again. If the ground is wet underneath your pool, it can damage it by pushing it up.

Have Everything Ready

Before you drain your pool, make sure you have the relevant equipment you need to carry out the repair work so it is done as efficiently as possible. The longer it takes, the more likely it is that your pool can be damaged.

How To Drain A Pool

There are different methods and these depend on the type of filter. With a submersible pump, you can drain any pool and it is the easiest method if you have never done it before. Here is how you tackle such a job:

Draining An Inground Pool With A Submersible Pump

It is better to rent one if you do not have one already as the likelihood is, you won’t need to use it very often and renting is a lot cheaper. Most reputable home improvement stores will have them available to rent.

  • When you have everything, the submersible pump should be placed in the center of the deep end at the bottom of the pool.
  • Place the disposal hose at the point of drainage and make sure there no blockages are preventing the water from draining. Keep an eye on the drainage hose to make sure the water is escaping without flooding the area.
  • If your pool has a hydrostatic pressure value, it is important to make sure you open it at this point to allow any water under your pool the chance to escape.
  • Do not be alarmed if the submersible pump leaves a puddle of water, this is to be expected and should not prevent you from carrying out the repairs, or affect chemical levels when you add new water.
  • Before refilling the pool, remember to replace the hydrostatic valve and if you have any doubts at any point, contact a professional.

Other Things To Consider When Draining A Pool:

When your pool is empty and you have completed the task behind your reason for emptying it, think about other tasks that you can only do once the water is drained. It is a good time to undertake some repair work, or acid wash the pool. If possible, repainting can give it a fresh look.

Getting multiple tasks done in one go will prevent you from needing to drain as frequently.


Your water rates are unique to the area you live in, but no one is above the going rate. Expect a bigger water bill the month you decide to drain your pool and refill it as you’ll be adding thousands of gallons in one go.

If you want to figure out the exact cost, work out the volume of water your pool holds by its dimensions first.


It is wise to tackle such a task over a weekend as you might need a day for draining and repairs, then another for refilling the pool. Never go out and leave the pool to fill by itself and remember to check it regularly when it has gone over halfway. Also, make sure you have everything you need in terms of repairs before you drain the pool to reduce the time the whole job takes.

It can take half a day for the pool to drain, and, depending on the size of your pool, even longer. Then you are looking at multiple hours for it to refill although don’t rely on what the internet says when refilling, always stay close and keep an eye on the progress so it doesn’t overfill.

Disposing Of The Water

You need to make sure the drainage hose can reach your drain. If it doesn’t and you have rented the equipment, ask the store for a longer hose or buy a new one. Never drain it onto the ground as it can have a negative impact on the pool.


When draining a pool for the first time, the submersible pump method is the simplest. Other techniques are best left to the professionals but it is important to have the contact information of a trained pool technician just in case you encounter any problems.