7 Ways to Empty and Drain a Pool Without a Submersible Pump

A pool is a great way to keep the kids busy and outdoors during the summer and perfect for cooling off after a long day’s work in the sticky, humid air. Unfortunately, maintaining your pool can be a huge hassle, and the hard work doesn’t stop once the season is over.

Draining your swimming pool at the end of the season is not the easiest task, but it gets much more difficult when you don’t have a submersible pump to help the process along quicker and smoother. So how do you empty and drain a pool without a submersible pump? Well, let’s take a look.

Emptying a Pool Without a Submersible Pump

Whether you are emptying your pool at the end of the swimming season, or scrubbing it down and washing it out right before the summer begins, most people would get the job done with a submersible pump. However, that is not the only way to remove the water from your swimming pool.

Above Ground, Easy Set-Up Swimming Pools

Above ground, easy set-up swimming pools have become extremely popular in recent years. The much more affordable price tag makes it a very enticing purchase, as well as its easy maintenance, and repairs.

The best part about these pools is how easy it is to empty them when the water is too green for any type of chemical to correct or if you would like to put them away for the winter.

To empty an above ground, easy set-up swimming pool such as the Intex without using a submersible pump, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Unscrew the cap from the outside drain located at the bottom of the pool, usually directly under the pump.
  • Step 2: Attach a hose to the drain, making sure its a nice and tight fit
  • Step 3: Make sure the hose is leading to a ditch or some location that can take on a large amount of water.
  • Step 4: Remove the plug from the inside bottom of the pool that is aligned with the drain.
  • Step 5: Allow a few hours for the water to drain. 

Note: You should check-in on the process every once in a while to remove any leaves or other debris that may clog the hole.

Above Ground or Underground Swimming Pools

If you have an above ground steel-frame or aluminum frame, or an underground pool without a drainage hole, you can still empty it without a submersible pump. It is just going to take a little bit more work. 

The best way to empty a pool without a submersible pump is by using multiple hoses in order to siphon the water out. (The more hoses you use, the better). This is one of the most popular ways to remove water without having to get too creative or exerting a ton of effort. Emptying your pool this way can take up to 12-hours.

Here are the steps to emptying an above ground or underground swimming pool using hoses:

  • Step 1: Take the hose and submerge it into your pool completely, both ends must be in the water and the hose needs to be filled.
  • Step 2: Leave one end of the hose in the middle of the pool (weighing it down with something if needed) and remove the other end.
  • Step 3: Place the end outside of the pool somewhere that can safely withstand a lot of water drainage.
  • Step 4: The suction created will keep the water running from the pool to the outside as long as the end inside the pool stays submerged.

Note: Keep an eye on the draining process to make sure you are not flooding any one particular area of your yard, as well as making sure the hose didn’t come out of the pool or get clogged.

How to Drain the Last Bit of Water From the Pool

Removing the majority of the water from your pool isn’t big of an issue for many.  Again, this is especially true for those with above-ground pools with a bottom drain. But even these pools don’t empty completely, and you would usually rely on a submersible pump to remove all of this extra water at the bottom.

So, what are the best ways to drain that last little bit of water from your pool if you do not have a submersible pump? Let us take a look.

Use a Shop-Vac (Wet-Dry Vac)

The Shop-Vac is one of the greatest inventions for anyone with their own home, garage, kids, pets, cars, the list could go on. These vacuums are designed to literally pick up just about anything that can fit into the hose without any problems or the possibility of breaking the machine.

Here is a list of steps you can follow to drain the last bit of water from your swimming pool using a wet-dry vac:

  • Step 1: Use an extension cord. Just make sure the cord is waterproof and provides plenty of extra length from your pool to the outlet so there is no pull.
  • Step 2: Attach your pool filter hose to the shop-vac in the space where the shop vac hose would normally be.
  • Step 3: Extend the hose to the deepest part of the pool and turn it on. 
  • Step 4: Empty the wet-dry vac as needed. The worst part of this method is the insane amount of times you are going to have to empty it.
  • Step 5: Once you get the pool down to the tiniest bit, remove the pool hose and use the flat vacuum attachment that looks similar to an upright carpet vacuum. This will not only remove the last bit of water, but also all the extra dirt, leaves, and other debris that normally sits on the floor of your pool.

Recommendations for Shop–Vacs

The Vacmaster: Stainless Steel Wet Dry Shop Vacuum has a 5-gallon drum and 360* swivel gives you great movement and lots of space. It also has a 10-foot hose providing plenty of lengths to reach across your pool.

The best part, it will warn you when the tank is reaching max levels, giving you time to empty it before it overflows.

Use a Hose to Siphon the Water

Just like we mentioned above for removing water from an above-ground pool that doesn’t offer a drain, using a hose to siphon the remaining water from the bottom of your pool is an effective way to get the job done.

Follow the instructions for this method (listed above), but now you shouldn’t leave the hose alone. With shallow water, it is easy for the hose to rise up and empty. 

With the hose in the pool as the water is siphoning out, you can move the inside portion around making sure to suck up every puddle left. 

Recommendations for Hoses

The type of hose you use doesn’t really matter in this case, but be sure it is long enough to go from the pool to a safe area that won’t flood, and if possible, use a few hoses to get the job done quicker.

Use a Trash Pump

Technically, a trash pump is designed to handle solid rocks and debris from a worksite, garage, warehouse, etc. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get crafty and use it in other ways when we need to.

These pumps suck up small debris particles and move them from the area by shooting them away. (Think snow-blower). This type of device could be very helpful when attempting to pump water out of the pool because it has plenty of suction power for the job.

To use a trash pump to remove water from your pool, follow these simple steps:

  • Step 1: Connect the hose to the machine
  • Step 3: Place the machine near the pool
  • Step 4: Turn it on

The downside to this method is that the water is going to go everywhere. If that isn’t a problem, a trash hose can drain your pool’s leftovers in a very short amount of time.

Recommendations for Trash Pumps

It is best to rent a trash pump from your local hardware store or rental company rather than purchasing one, unless you believe you will be draining your pool multiple times in the future for seasonal storage. Not many people besides this will need a trash pump after emptying their pools.

Use a Pool Vacuum

Using a pool vacuum is not the first option we recommend. This isn’t the best method, but it will work if you are in a pickle. 

Here’s how you can empty the last bit of water from your pool using a pool vacuum:

  • Step 1: Connect a pool vacuum to your filter (It has to be a vacuum that sucks up the water and pulls it into the filter. If you use one of the filters that connect to a hose and have an attached sleeve to suck up debris, this won’t work.)
  • Step 2: Once the hose is connected to your filter, turn the pump on backwash
  • Step 3: Keep the vacuum submerged in the water, literally vacuuming up all of the water sitting on the floor of the pool

Now, let’s move on to our recommendations for pool vacuums.

Recommendations for Pool Vacuums

The XtremepowerUS Premium Automatic Suction Vacuum provides an extreme amount of suction power and can climb up the sides and into the edges of the pool, getting all the hard-to-reach areas.

Use a Bucket

Okay, no one wants to have to empty their pool with a bucket, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Plus, a little manual labor can go a long way and get the job done a lot quicker than some of the other options on this list.

Here’s the steps to emptying the last bit of water from your pool using a bucket:

  • Step 1: You will need an array of bucket sizes to get the job done right.
  • Step 2: Simply fill and dump the bucket with the pool water. 

Not only is this method pretty strenuous on the back, but it will create quite a mess on the outside of the pool as well.

Recommendations for Buckets

If you have children, give them the tools they will need and send them on their way. This will be a fun opportunity to let them get wet, play around, and clean the water out of your pool.

All of these options work pretty well and many people use these methods successfully every year. Choose the option that best works for your specific situation and give it a try. If it doesn’t work as you had hoped, try another method.

FAQs for Draining Your Pool

Unless there is a tear or some other serious problem, most pools do not need to be drained very often. Here are a few quick FAQs regarding pool draining and winterizing.

Can Draining Your Pool Damage the Lining?

If you leave your pool uncovered and empty in the sun, the lining could be damaged. The lining could also be damaged by mold and bacteria growth. It is important to treat your pool if you plan on removing the water.

Will a Pool Lose Its Shape if It Is Left Empty for Long Periods of Time?

The possibility is there. A pool maintains its upright and sturdy shape because of the water pressure inside when your pool is full. When the water is removed from the pool, the sides and lining may start to fall forward.

Is It Better to Winterize or Drain a Pool at the End of Summer?

The professional rule of thumb is to only drain your pool when absolutely necessary. The water left in your pool during the wintertime is actually just as helpful as during the summer. Properly winterizing your pool will help your pool stay well-maintained and easier to open up for the following swimming season.

How Often Should a Pool Be Drained?

When asking the professionals, it is advised to only drain your pool completely once every 10 years or so, and this should be done by a pool care company.

Although it is advised to only drain your pool when necessary, sometimes it is just easier to drain it and refill when you can’t seem to get the chemicals to work for you. Keep in mind, you should always refill as soon as possible for the best results.

It is also very important to keep up in your pool throughout the hot summer months. Caring for your pool and maintaining it through a good cleaning and the right chemicals will have your pool running well for many years.

Summing Things Up

A submersible pump is by far the easiest and quickest way to drain your pool so you can scrub it down, fix a leak, or whatever else the reason may be. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to a submersible pump. 

The seven methods listed above will work for you just as well, and if done correctly, will get the job done in no time.

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