Mastering Pool Draining: A Step-by-Step Guide to Properly Drain Your Pool

Written by: Zach Riggs



Time to read 4 min

Maintaining a swimming pool is essential to ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. The thought of an empty pool can be disheartening, as we typically envision pools being full and bustling with activity. Nevertheless, the necessity of pool maintenance, including the occasional need to drain the pool, must be balanced.

This comprehensive guide will delve into the reasons for draining your pool, how to do it properly, and the role of quality pool products in maintaining a healthy swimming environment.

The Importance of Pool Maintenance

A swimming pool is a dynamic environment, subject to various changes in water quality and physical conditions. Regular maintenance is crucial to keep the pool safe and enjoyable. This includes monitoring chemical levels, cleaning, and, occasionally, draining the pool. High-quality pool products play a vital role in ensuring the water remains clean, clear, and safe for swimmers.

Reasons to Drain Your Pool

Draining a pool is not a decision to be taken lightly, as it involves significant time and effort. The most common reason for draining a pool is poor water quality, which can be caused by a variety of factors such as an overabundance of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), high levels of Cyanuric Acid (CYA), or excessive Calcium Hardness. These issues often arise despite using pool products and maintenance routines regularly.

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

Total Dissolved Solids are the combined content of all organic and inorganic substances in a liquid. In the context of pool water, these solids can accumulate over time, decreasing the efficiency of chlorine and other chemicals. This, in turn, affects the pool's ability to remain clean and sanitary.

TDS levels above 2500 parts per million (ppm) can significantly hinder the water's balance, making it challenging to maintain proper chemical levels. Regular testing and the appropriate use of pool products can help manage TDS levels, but draining and refilling the pool may become necessary every 3-5 years.

Cyanuric Acid (CYA) and Calcium Hardness

High levels of Cyanuric Acid and Calcium Hardness are other common reasons for draining a pool. CYA, often found in chlorine stabilizers, can build up in pool water and reduce the effectiveness of chlorine. Calcium Hardness, which refers to the amount of dissolved calcium in the water, can lead to scaling and cloudy water if levels become too high. The accumulation of these substances is not easily remedied by simply adding chemicals. Instead, partially draining and refilling the pool with fresh water is the most economical way to dilute these levels.

Routine Pool Maintenance and Repairs

Apart from chemical imbalances, there are other situations where draining the pool becomes necessary. These include performing specific repair work on the pool's interior surfaces, such as acid washing to remove stains and scale, or conducting repairs like resurfacing, repainting, or fixing cracks in the pool walls. In cases where a vinyl liner needs replacement, a complete pool drain is required.

Tips Before Draining Your Pool

Before embarking on the process of draining your pool, there are several important considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Local Regulations: Always check with your local municipality regarding the regulations for disposing of pool water. Many areas have specific ordinances about discharging water into storm drains or other locations.
  2. Groundwater Levels: If you live in an area with high groundwater levels, be cautious when draining an inground pool. High groundwater can cause an empty pool to float or "pop" out of the ground. In such cases, it is advisable to only partially empty the pool.
  3. Pool Type: Be mindful of the type of pool you have. Fiberglass and inground vinyl-lined pools should never be completely drained, as this can damage the integrity of the pool surface or liner. The only exception is if you are replacing a vinyl liner. Partial drains should be done gradually, removing a foot of water at a time or 1/3 of the total volume.
  4. Safety Precautions: Ensure you turn off the electricity to your pool pump and light and remove any trippers before draining. This is a critical safety step to prevent any electrical accidents.
  5. Optimal Conditions: If possible, drain your pool when the outside air temperature is below 85°F. Spring is generally considered the best time to drain a pool, as the milder temperatures reduce the risk of damage to the pool surfaces from exposure to extreme heat or cold.

How to Drain a Pool Safely

Draining a pool requires careful planning and the right equipment. It is crucial never to use your pool pump for draining, as this can lead to air being pulled into the suction line, causing the pump to lose its prime and potentially damaging or burning it up. Instead, the recommended method is to use a submersible pump designed specifically for draining pools.

Once you have removed the old water, you can refill the pool using a garden hose. To expedite the process, consider running two garden hoses simultaneously. On average, it takes about 14-16 hours to refill a medium-sized pool using two hoses.

A water hauling service can be a viable option for those seeking a faster refill—this benefits pool owners who rely on healthy water or have challenging water issues. The service can deliver large quantities of water directly to your pool, significantly reducing refill time.

Testing the Water After Refilling Your Pool

After refilling the pool, it is imperative to test the water immediately. Balancing the chemicals and adding start-up chemicals are crucial to ensure the water is safe and ready for use.

Seeking Expert Advice

If you are still determining whether your pool needs draining or have other pool-related questions, seeking expert advice is always a good idea. We offer a wealth of information, tips, and ideas on our website. As a trusted pool care partner, we can assist you with every aspect of pool maintenance, including complete or partial pool draining.

Proper pool maintenance is essential for ensuring a safe and enjoyable swimming experience. Draining your pool is a significant task that should be undertaken with care and consideration. Understanding the reasons for draining, the process involved, and the role of high-quality pool products will help you maintain a healthy and inviting pool environment. Always consult with professionals and adhere to local regulations when undertaking any pool maintenance task.

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