How To Drain An Above Ground Pool With A Drain Adapter
If you have an Intex, Coleman, or other temporary above ground pool, your pool may have a drain adapter. This allows you to drain the pool faster if you have to take it down at the end of the season.
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Keep in mind that your hose siphon will get slower and slower as the water level decreases. If you have a larger above ground pool, it can take several days to complete the draining process. Itll also leave an inch or two of water at the bottom of your pool liner. Any remaining water can be removed by a shop vac.
By the way, if you want more pool care tips like this one, check out our Pool Care Video Course.
Find The Center Of The Pool
In reality, you can install a main drain anywhere at the bottom of the pool, but for best results, youll want it in the very center of a round-shaped pool.
NOTE: The bottom track of the pool must already be set and leveled before installing the main drain. Installing the main drain prior to the track being set can result in the drain being off-center and set too high.
In three different places, measure from the bottom track inward half the radius of the pools dimension. For example, if you have a 24 round pool, you will measure 12 inward from three different spots around the bottom track to find the pools center.
NOTE FOR OVAL POOLS: Many oval above-ground pools cannot have a main drain in the dead center due to buttress straps getting in the way. For ovals, I recommend setting the main drain in the center of the radius opposite of where the skimmer opening is placed.
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Choose Your Draining Method
There are two main options that pool owners typically choose from when getting ready to drain their above ground pool an electric pump or a garden hose siphon. Either choice will correctly drain your water. Its a matter of preference, time, and equipment on-hand. Here is a round-up of each drain method and the steps needed to complete the process:
Electric Pool Pump:
Garden Hose Siphon:
You Need To Make Structural Repairs
You can handle most pool repairs without draining all of the water from your above ground pool. Its even possible to patch and repair your pool liner while its still underwater. Special maintenance, however, may require an empty pool. And that includes jobs like completely replacing your pool liner or repairing your pool frames base.
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Understanding Pool Main Drains
A vital component in pool filtration, the main drain allows the circulation of water. The main drain is also connected to the pool filter. Most pool owners prefer filtration via the skimmer. However, the main drain can allow for more flow of water into the filtration system. This will maximize bottom-to-top water circulation.
The main drain location is at the deepest point of the pool and provides the best leeway to drain out your pool. Drains are covered with grates to divert the flow of water. This prevents dangerous suction, which could draw a person to a drain and hold them there. The grate also minimizes debris from being sucked in.
Most pools have a single main drain but larger ones may have multiple drains at the pool bottom.
Pool diagram showing the main drain
How Many Inground Pool Main Drains Are There
New inground pools need to have two main drains, which is a recently created rule to help reduce fatalities. For instance, if there are two main drains in a pool, theyre often placed far enough apart that a swimmer would not be able to be impacted by suction from both at the same time. If someone were to become stuck in the suction of one drain, the suction from the other drain can negate the impact of the first.
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How To Plug A Main Drain
If you live in a place with freezing temperatures, its recommended that you plug your main drain before closing down your pool for the winter. Thats because the main drain could leak water into your system, even if your pump isnt on. If that water the freezes, it expands, and could potentially crack your plumbing. Since your pools circulation operates using a significant amount of suction, any crack in your plumbing is going to present some major problems, including a total burst.
To plug a main drain during the pool winterizing process, first make sure that your pump is off and disconnected from power. Next, use a screwdriver to unscrew the lip of the main drain lid and take the lid off. Locate the small hole at the bottom of the main drain, and plug it with an expandable rubber plug or, if the hole is threaded, a plastic threaded plug. If you can, replace the main drain lid again. Thats it!
If you do need to drain your pool, the main drain wont help you. Instead, you want a powerful, reliable, and heavy-duty cover pump like the BLACK+DECKER 1500 GPH Automatic Submersible Pump. Check out this user review to find out more.
What Is Your Pools Main Drain
The main drain is that vent-like square or circle located at the bottom of your pool, though ideally yours has more than just onemore on that later. Basically, it sucks in water, similar to the skimmer on the side of your pool. In fact, the skimmer and your pools main drain work together to keep your pool water circulating, healthy, and clean.
Your pools skimmer gets a lot of air time, but the main drain is the primary way that water is drawn from your pool into the pump and filter.
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Wasnt Too Draining Was It
There you go: everything you could ever want to know about your pools main drain. Since this piece is essential to your pools circulation system, you know that much more about the overall needs and operations of your pool, too. And most importantly: you can swim even more safely. Thats what its all about. Enjoy.
Pool Troubleshooting: Bottom Drain Clogged
One of the best parts of having a pool is the instant refreshment you can enjoy. However, having a pool is no picnic. They require regular maintenance and care, and its critical that tasks like keeping drains unclogged are always performed. Unfortunately, your summer plans can go from relaxing to an utter nightmare if youre unable to keep the pool drain clear.
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Plan Where The Water Will Go
Dumping thousands of gallons of water can obviously take a toll on the landscape around your pool, so its important to consider where exactly that water will be channeled and pooled .
Most people tend to let the water out into their own yard, and thats fine as long as you can be sure the water chemicals wont damage your plants.
If youre planning on using gutters or storm drains, however, youll want to check whether they can handle large volumes of water, and whether or not using them for this purpose violates local regulations.
Main Drains Are Not Problematic
There is really only one concern with a main drain for an above ground swimming pool. And that is if it leaks.
Above ground pools have a vinyl liner which is what holds the water in it. Generally, these liners will only have two openings within them. One is the skimmer opening and the return . This is good because every time you make a hole in a liner, you run the risk of it leaking if not properly sealed.
Main drains make an opening in the liner, so theres a chance for a leak. Thats a negative for sure, however, these main drains are made to be installed with vinyl liners and they have gaskets and a faceplate that screws into the unit very tightly and securely. So, as long as the main drain is installed properly, it will never start to leak later on or lose any of its performance. It will be rock solid and work just as good in five years as it did on day one. That is a major plus.
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Is Bottom Drain Needed
PunKid said:I think you might have a problem keeping that pump fed with water with only 1 skimmer. I have a 20X40 inground liner pool, it has no main drain but has two skimmers and two returns. The water drops about 1 inch in the skimmer basket from the pool with the pump running 1.5hp pump with DE filter and 1.5″ lines. Anything more then 1 inch of water below the mid line of the skimmer trim and it will funnel the skimmer basket and get air. My pool had a 1 hp pump when I bought the house and I think that is probably better suited for the two skimmers if I had known that I would have probably not have got a 1.5 hp pump.
Draining Your Above Ground Pool Typical Scenarios
Here are some situations where you might need to completely drain your above ground pool:
Its time to change your liner. Either due to an unexpected puncture and leak, or getting the full life out of your liner and needing a change. This is one time it will be inevitable to completely drain the pool.
You did not properly close your pool for the winter and are left with dirty water and would like to start with new fresh water.
You just purchased a brand new above ground pool from The Pool Factory and need to begin removing your good, old reliable above ground pool.
Chlorine lock has found another victim and its time to replace at least ½ of your pool water with new water.
Only if you are experiencing any of these situations or the small handful of others that require draining, should you continue to drain your above ground pool. Otherwise, your pool is best maintained when you can keep the proper water level year-round.
An empty pool and an exposed liner on a hot day can cause the liner to shrink from the heat and deem the liner useless. An empty pool is also susceptible to collapse. Especially, in high winds and/or bad weather.
Keep in mind! Whenever replacing the water in your pool, both removal and refilling should be completed in the same day!
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How To Remove The Remaining Water From Your Above Ground Swimming Pool
Both methods of draining will not completely remove all of your swimming pools water. There will be anywhere from 6-12 inches of standing water left at the bottom of your above ground pool, as noted in the steps above. The removal of this extra liquid can be done using a variety of methods and tools, including:
- Sucking up the excess water with a wet vac
- Sweeping the remaining water into the pools drain
- Removing the liner from the pools frame, flipping it over to dump the extra water onto your property
How Does Your Pools Main Drain Work
Again, your pools skimmer comes in handy when describing how a main drain works. Much like a skimmer, your pools main drain is an outlet that houses a pipe which runs to the pump and connects to the larger system. But how it actually worksjust like every other part of your circulation systemis entirely reliant on the pump. When the pump isnt on, water isnt actively being sucked from the main drain. Instead, its more or less stagnant on the drain, though without plugging the main drain entirely, some water will lazily work its way into the pipes. Thats why its important to plug your drain before the winterand Ill explain how to do that later.
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Plumb The Skimmer To A Valve
This stage of plumbing requires some forethought. Youll want to think first about how to get PVC pipe from the skimmer opening to one of the valves that you just glued in. Take your time with this.
Start by screwing in a 1.5 adaptor fitting to the bottom of the skimmer. What I do now is temporarily stick a piece of pipe into that fitting to help me gauge the path to the valve.
Use 1.5 elbows and PVC pieces cut to length and connect the bottom of the skimmer to one of the valves. Try to make it look nice by keeping everything level by using the torpedo level as you glue.
How To Remove A Pool Drain Cover
Is your pool drain clogged? If the main drain is not working in your inground pool, you may need to have it cleaned.
To have your pool professionally cleaned , youll need to remove the pool drain cover. However, if there are people in the pool, never remove the drain cover. Believe it or not, removing the cover can cause significant suction that can cause swimmers to drown.
After all swimmers have vacated the pool, youll need to turn off the pool filtration pump . Youll either need a screwdriver of some sort to remove any screws holding the drain in place, or if there are no screws, you can just twist the cap off the drain. From there, pop the cap off the drain.
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How To Drain An Above Ground Pool Without A Pump: Garden Hose Siphon Method
If youre only partially draining your pool or you dont want to use a pump, you can use a garden hose to siphon out your pool water. It will take longer than using a pump, but this easy, DIY method means you wont need to buy or rent any equipment.
The easiest way to create a siphon is by submerging the entire garden hose underwater and then removing one end of the hose out of the pool:
If your water level is too shallow for this method or youre not getting a siphon, you can speed up the process by attaching your garden hose to your houses spigot .
What Causes A Clogged Main Drain
Debris is the largest contributor to a clogged drain.
The main debris source could be large leaves and tree twigs from trees surrounding your pool. They get blown in the pool following the wind. They then sink and find their way into the drain.
Other debris sources include:
- earth and rock particles
Some of these matters harden up and completely block the drain line while others could provide a conducive environment for the breeding of harmful bacteria.
Other possible causes would be the buildup of pool cleaning chemical components in the main drain duct.
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