How to drain an Above Ground pool: 3 BEST methods

How to drain an above ground pool

There are many different reasons you might need to drain your above ground pool. Maybe the warmer months have come to an end and you simply won’t be using it anymore, or you might need to make repairs to the pools liner, or some people even like to change their water annually.

Whatever your reason is we’ve got you covered, with 3 easy methods for draining your above ground pool. But first of all, there are a couple of things to take into consideration first. These are listed down below.

Where to dispose of the water

Having a good water disposal plan is one of the most important parts of draining an above ground pool, so it’s definitely best to know where you’re going to direct all that water before you start pulling it out.

The most common area to put all that water is down your homes storm water drain, however this can sometimes be a slow process if you have a build up of debris down there, or if water isn’t flowing as freely as you’d like.

Another option is to drain the water directly onto your street, but do remember that different cities have different water restrictions, so you’re best to check with your local water authorities first to ensure you don’t encure any fines.

Some people like to drain the water into their grass or yard, but I think it’s best to avoid this method as the chemicals will most likely cause harm to your grass.

Waiting for the right Weather

If your’re not draining your pool to do repairs on the liner, and you just simply want to refresh the water, then waiting for the right weather can be more important than you think. Leaving an above ground pool drained in direct sunlight can have a negative effect, resulting in your pools liner cracking or blistering.

Your best bet is to wait for a cloudy day to prevent this from happening, especially if you’re going to be leaving your pool drained for a period of time.

Budget for next months water bill

One thing people often forget once they’ve drained their above-ground pool is how much it’s going to cost refill it. Especially when some pools hold over 20,000 gallons! make sure you’ve budgeted for the next months water bill as it won’t be cheap!

Make sure your chemical levels are Down

Before you even start draining your above ground pool, you’ll need to make sure your water is safe to be putting down the drains. This means making sure you have neutral chlorine and pH levels. Also make sure you don’t have high traces of any additional chemicals you may have used.

To ensure you get this right, use a test kit and contact your local water authority for the exact levels required.

Here are the methods we’ll be going over

  1. Using a sump pump
  2. Siphoning with a garden hose
  3. Using the drain valve

How to drain an above ground pool with a sump pump

How to drain above ground pool

A submersible pump is a great, easy to use choice if your pool doesn’t have a drain valve. It also ensure all of the water is drained from the pool unlike some other methods. There are loads of models to choose from on Amazon, or you can rent one out from your local machine hire shop.

A sump pump works by attaching a back wash, or garden hose onto the pump using a clamp. You can also add extra restriction by wrapping electrical tape around the clamp to get an extra tight seal to ensure no water leaks out.

Next unravel the hose, ensuring there are no kinks or objects in the way, and direct it to the sewer drain you’ll be using. Next what you want to do is put the submergible pump into the pool, if you are draining an in-ground pool you’ll want to make sure you put the pump into the shallow end.

Last of all, plug it into the nearest power socket and switch it on. Water should begin to flow out of the end of your backwash hose. One disadvantage to this method is the fact that it can take a long time to pump the water out if using a thin hose.


  • Removes all water
  • Easy to use


  • Requires a sump pump
  • Can take a long time

How to drain water from a pool by siphoning with a garden hose

draining an above ground pool

Siphoning is a traditional method that uses gravity to move liquid from one area to another. When siphoning water form your above ground pool using your garden hose will give the best result.

Usually to start the siphoning process you need to put one end of the hose into the pool, and then suck on the other end to until water begins to come out. This can be off-putting for some people though as you can end up with a mouthful of dirty water!

There is a different was to start the Siphoning process though. Instead, what you can do is attach one end of your designated hose feed to your outside tap and half fill it. Next take the hose over to your pool and put one end in, and direct the other end to where you want the water to drain to.

Since there is already water in the hose water should naturally begin to flow out with you having to suck on it, saving you from having to risk getting dirty water in your mouth.

One thing to remember about this method is that it will not remove all of the water from your above-ground pool.

If you want to speed up the draining process, then I’d recommend using a wide hose piece.


  • Only requires a hose
  • Easy to do


  • Doesn’t remove all water from the pool

How to drain above ground pool Using the drain valve

As you can probably imagine, this is supposed to be the easiest, fastest, and most affordable method which requires no extra tools. All though it sounds nice and easy, there are a few downsides to draining an above ground pool this way.

First of all just like the siphoning method there is still going to be at least an inch of water left in the bottom of the pool, due to the placement of the drain valve.

Secondly if you just simply open up the drain valve, chances are you’re going to have at least 10,000 gallons of water come gushing out, which will quickly turn your backyard into your own personal pond. Having water gush out in such a high volume can also run the risk of flooding areas like your garden shed, or damaging areas of your garden.

It is for these reasons I feel like you’re better of splashing out a little bit of money on a garden hose to prevent these issue from happening.


  • Requires no extra equipment
  • Drains the water quickly


  • Doesn’t remove all of the water
  • Can flood or damage areas of your backyard

How to remove any remaining water from your above ground pool

If you’ve decided to go with the siphoning, or the drain valve method, chances are you’ve managed to drain MOST but not all of the water from your above ground pool. Now you’ve been left with an annoying amount of residual water in the bottom.

So how do you get rid of it? Luckily there are a couple of options to choose from.

First of all you can use a Wet Vac which will remove any remaining water pretty easily. Or if you don’t have, or don’t want to purchase a Wet Vac you can remove the liner from your pools frame (carefully) and flip it over to get the last of the water out.

One thing to remember if you choose to remove the liner is that it can alter the shape of you pool if left out for a period of time.

how to Drain an above ground pool summary

If you want the best result when draining your above-ground pool then I’d recommend using a submersible pump, simply because you’re going to get the best result. Not only does it remove all the water, but they’re also easy to set up and operate.

If you don’t want to purchase a Sump Pump, then there’s nothing wrong with using the good old siphon method. Not only is it efficient, but chances are you’ve already got a hose lying around the yard. Just remember to use a thicker hose if you want a faster result.

If you need advice on how to winterize an above-ground pool, check out our step by step guide.

Or you’re interested in checking out some great sand filter pump options, then check out our buyers guide here.

The Morris's

The Morris's

Hey, we're Lana and Cam the creators of this site. We love to spend time together as a family, and time in our pool. We're here to bring you the best info on pool care, pool cleaners, and other great pool related products.

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