Why, How and Precautions to Draining a Swimming Pool

Draining a pool frequently can and should be avoided if possible; an empty pool can be dangerous and keeping it dry for too long can make it more susceptible to damage from harsh weather conditions. Many times, a simple pool filter replacement will be sufficient for cleaning purposes or to maintain the water balance. Additionally, replacing the pool filter cartridge is necessary to maintain the overall health of your filtration system.

Draining the pool depends on the quality of water and chemicals added to it, but it’s generally suggested to fully drain it every 3 to 5 years for maintenance purposes. This would be the time to repair/replace plaster, tiles, light fixtures, or to complete other maintenance needs that require a dry environment.

Let’s take a look at some other situations when you should consider draining your pool, and the precautions that should be taken when you do so.

Why Would You Need to Drain Your Pool?

Here are some situations that could require draining the pool:

    • To regulate the TDS (Total Dissolved Solids). If the TDS exceeds a level of 2500 ppm, it may be suggested to add more chemicals to balance the water. However, partial draining and refilling can accomplish this as well.
    • Emergency repair work needed may require the pool to be drained, though some repair work can be conducted underwater and there is no need to drain the pool.
    • Draining the pool just for cleaning purposes should be avoided. Try a pool filter replacement
    • It is inevitable that draining a pool is necessary because the water has gotten so dirty that chemical additives aren’t effective anymore. The good news is that this only needs to be done once every 3-5 years if the water and system is regularly maintained.
    • Spas inflict greater challenge in the maintenance than pools because warm water encourages bacteria proliferation and uses chlorine frequently. The steam from the spa stream makes bacteria spread even faster. These bacteria present in the steam can enter your body through nose and mouth.

How to Drain a Pool?

  1. Draining your pool is a step-by-step process that should be conducted with the utmost care. You will probably need to rent a submersible pump and hoses that are specifically designed for draining a pool. A professional can help you determine the exact requirements.
  2. Once the pump and the hoses are set up in the pool, determine where you are going to drain the water to. You don’t want to drain your pool water into your neighbor’s yard or next to your house, and many municipalities prohibit draining pool water directly to the street. Your best option may be into the sewer cleanout. You can use the cleanout for draining pool water if it’s located at the ground level, however too much water into the cleanout may cause a backup. Generally speaking, 12 GPM is a good water flow.
  3. Using the water for irrigation purpose may not be a good idea as excessive chlorine and salts present in pool water is damaging for your plants.
  4. Attach one end of the hose to the pump and place the other end in the clean out before plugging in the pump. Time consumed in draining the pool or spa depends on the pump speed, pool size, and municipality laws.
  5. To save time on cleaning, spray the sides of the pool with a hose while the water level is dropping.
  6. After most of the pool water is removed by the pump, the remaining bit of water can be removed manually.

Precautions to Take

  • Always verify the best time and where to drain the pool with your local municipality. Usually, maintenance draining should be done only when the outside temperature is below 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Draining your pool can be dangerous and should be conducted only with the advice of professionals. They are your best resource for equipment, timing, and steps to take.
  • How can draining your pool be considered dangerous? Local ground water tables and weather (rain or ground freeze) affect water under and around the shell of your pool. The weight and pressure of the pool water keeps the shell in place. Once a pool is drained, the weight and pressure are eliminated and it is possible that the entire pool could heave. This is not only dangerous, but an extremely expensive repair—you would need to rebuild the entire pool.
  • You should never use the pool pump to drain water. The suction of air into the pump could damage or burn out the pump. Use a pump specifically designed for pool drainage.
  • Always turn off the power to the pool lights and pump.


For general cleaning purposes, regular replacement of filter cartridges is required. STA RITE pool filter replacement cartridges are an excellent choice. Replacement of filter cartridges will help to maintain the water balance and frequent draining can be avoided.  You can always get help from our professionals in the proper selection of filter cartridges.