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How to Drain an Above Ground Pool with Ease (3 Methods)

pool drain

Pool Drain

If you are looking to drain your above ground pool, either to store it for the winter or because you need to do some repairs like changing the liner, you might have some questions about the safest and fastest way to complete the task.

Keep reading while we take a look at the best way to drain your above ground pool with as little trouble as possible.

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The 3 Methods To Drain An Above Ground Swimming Pool

There are three primary ways to drain your pool, and they are the drain valve and the sump pump, and the siphon.

1. Drain Valve

Many above ground swimming pools, especially soft-sided pools, come equipped with a drain valve. Technically draining pools with a drain plug is the fastest method and it doesn’t require purchasing any tools. However, there are some dangers to draining your pool in this way. If you just open the drain valve, the escaping water can wash away any sand or loose dirt under your pool, exposing sharp rocks. The water can also do other unintended damage as it moves away from your pool. For instance, the chlorine in the water may destroy any nearby vegetation.

pool maintenance
Image Credit: Pxfuel

We recommend only using the drain valve if you can attach a garden hose to the valve before opening it. You can then put the other end in a proper drain to prevent any damage from occurring. This method will require you to have or purchase a garden hose long enough to reach a nearby drain.

When the water level reaches the drain valve, it’s not uncommon to have an inch or more of water remaining in the pool, and you will need to find another method to dispose of the remaining water.


  • No extra purchases
  • Faster draining
  • May not remove all water
  • May destroy pool bed

2. Sump Pump

A submersible sump pump is another method you can use to drain your above ground pool, and if there is no drain valve, it may be the best solution. There are dozens of different makes and models of the submersible sump pump, and it doesn’t matter which brand you use. A more durable pump will move more water and take less time to drain the pool. We recommend avoiding the cheaper models because they tend to burn out quickly, and a pool can hold several thousand gallons of water.

Superior Pump 91250 Utility Pump
Image Credit: Amazon

To use the sump pump, you connect a garden hose to it and place it in the water. Put the other end of the hose in a nearby drain and plug in the pump to start pumping water from the pool. Most sump pumps will leave less water in the pool than will remain after using a drain plug.

The downside to using a sump pump is that it takes a long time to remove all of the water when compared to the drain valve, even when using the strongest pumps available, and some brands can get quite expensive.


  • Easy to use
  • Removes all water
  • Takes a long time
  • Requires purchasing a pump

3. Siphon

One last method that you can use to drain your above ground pool is the siphon. Siphoning is the old fashioned method of placing one end of a garden hose in the pool and sucking on the other end until the water starts to come out before placing it in a drain. As long as the end going into the drain is lower than the water in the pool, it will continue to drain. This method will drain your pool faster than a sump pump can and is mostly dependant on the width of the hose.

The downside to this method of draining your pool is that you need to suck on the garden hose, and you may still have some water in the pool that requires a sump pump to remove.


  • Easy to do
  • Only requires a garden hose
  • Doesn’t remove all of the water
  • Requires sucking on a garden hose

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We recommend using the sump pump because it does a complete job of removing the water, and you will probably need the pump for some other reason, including keeping your pool cover dry in the winter. You need the garden hose with either system, and you will need to use the pump to remove the remaining water after using the drain valve. If you don’t use a hose, you risk damaging the pool floor or nearby vegetation.

We hope that you enjoyed reading over this short guide and it has helped you learn how to drain your above ground pool. If you have learned something new, please share this guide to draining an above ground pool with ease on Facebook and Twitter.

Featured Image Credit: Natalya Lys, Shutterstock


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