How to Drain A Pool Without Pumping!

How to Drain A Pool Without Pumping!

Well, here it is! How to drain a pool without pumping! I promised at the beginning of the year that I would show you how to do this.

The story behind this article is actually quite interesting.

It all begins when my Mom called me back in March and said she had drained her pool with no power or pump.

She asked if I could help her out on how she did it since there are so many different ways to accomplish this task.

Well, the conversation went something like this:

Mom: Hey Jeff, can you tell me how I drained my pool?

Me: Sure Mom, what do you mean by "drained"? What happened? Are you all right? Do you need any help? Is your pool all right?

Mom: Oh, I'm fine. Nothing happened to the pool or anything like that. We had some really bad storms come through here and my whole backyard was underwater for days on end. All the sand shifted around in my filter and it started to make a humungous racket! I decided it would be easier to drain the pool than re-setup the sand in my filter. Besides, all of our family vacations are coming up at one time so I will have plenty of time to restock sand after everyone leaves.

Me: OK, well what did you do? How did you do it without your pump running?

Mom: Oh, that's easy! I put a hose down into the skimmer, let all the water drain out, closed up the skimmer, and walked away!

Swimming Pool Skimmer

Me: What? That's it? All you did was plug in a hose into your skimmer opening and walk away? No pumping or flipping levers or switches or anything else?!

Mom: Yep. Just hooked up that hose into my skimmer hole and drained her right down to nothing. I plugged it back in before I left for vacation too so there was no extra work involved at all. It took me two days for everything to drain out but not bad considering how much water we had around here! My pool is crystal clear too! Took about an hour of draining before I got any water inside my filter though.

Me: OK, well I will have to try that for myself then. I'm all ready for vacation and we drained our pool about a week ago since it is just my wife and I here without the kids. We didn't need the water so we drained her down and closed everything up before we left. Our pump has been off ever since and the pool is doing fine!

Mom: OK, good luck with your project. If you figure out how to do this or not please let me know what you find out ok?

Well there it was folks – my Mom's words of wisdom concerning draining a swimming pool!

All she does is plugs a hose into her skimmer hole (without pumping anything) and walks away as the water drains out on its own through the skimmer and leaves!

This can be done in a few hours or it might take a couple of days, but the water drains out nonetheless. My Mom was definitely on to something here.

I had to experience this myself so I bought one of those cheap $10 pool drain hoses from Walmart and hooked it up into my skimmer opening for fun.

Hose in Pool Skimmer

Sure enough, that little hose started draining my pool just like she said it would!

The only thing different was that mine drained out much faster than hers did even though our pools are pretty much identical in size and construction (she has an above ground while I have an in-ground).

It took me about 4 ½ hours before all the water finished draining out of my pool.

I then decided to pump out the remaining water that was up in my filter canister, here's how I did that:

  • I took apart the lid of my sand filter and emptied all the sand into a big bucket. It was pretty nasty once it rained inside there, which is why my pump kept acting up with clogged impellers and burned-out motor bearings!
  • Once I got all the sand dumped out of my pool, I put it back together with my sand filter and flipped the main drain valve open so water could start draining right down into the pool.
  • When I saw no more water coming down from above ground level (about 3 feet or so), I turned on our pump like normal to see if she would re-prime herself (meaning she would pull some extra water through the lines on her own) before the water started coming out of the skimmer.
  • Sure enough, that little short hose stretch worked exactly as my Mom said it would!

The pool pump re-primed itself for about 5 seconds and then ran perfectly by itself without any of the clogging problems I had been having with it earlier!

Our pool is now crystal clear and ready to go for all our upcoming family vacations this summer! It only took a few minutes to clean up our sand filter, put everything back together again, and plug in our hoses for full operation!

This little draining method really works great if you have extra time on your hands or if you want to do some early spring maintenance.

We are now able to start swimming much sooner than we usually do!

I'm happy to report that this little draining method works just as my Mom said it would and cost us almost nothing to try it ourselves. The only thing I needed was a cheap $10  or $20 pool drain hose from Walmart or Lowe's and some effort on my part for about 5 minutes of time.

Sure beats spending hundreds of dollars in chemicals and pool maintenance costs by doing the old "close-up" method doesn't it? All you need is a little patience and some common sense to figure things out!

I hope this helps all you folks that have been wondering about draining your pool the easy way before going on vacation or just as a little general maintenance.

If you have any comments or questions please feel free to post them here or visit our swim blog at:

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Jeff L. & The Team

Jeff L.

Jeff has been an avid swimmer as long as he can remember, with his first swim lessons in Kindergarten in the 1980s, and became obsessed with pools and swimming shortly thereafter.