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How To Drain An Inflatable Pool: Quick And Easy Tricks

Every year before winter hits, you’ll need to drain and store your inflatable pool. This can seem like a big task, especially for larger inflatable pools. Here are some tricks I’ve learned to speed up the process and make your life easier.

To drain an inflatable pool, you’ll first want to test the water to make sure you’re not draining water with high chlorine levels or low pH levels. When the water is safe to drain, the most common draining methods are to use the drain plug, use a sump pump, siphon with a garden hose, or use a wet-vac.

There are some cool tricks to using these methods that will save you time and headache. There are many different inflatable pool types out there, and there’s a preferred method for draining each one.

How To Drain An Inflatable Pool

These steps are for draining an inflatable pool with a pump or a drain plug. If you don’t have a pump, and don’t want to get one, I have steps for draining without a pump below.

Check The Water

The first step to draining an inflatable pool, is making sure the water you drain isn’t going to have a negative impact on your surrounding environment. For smaller inflatable pools, this isn’t going to be an issue. But larger pools with water treatments like chlorine, it’s worth the time to check the water before draining.

Usually, the amount of chlorine in a pool isn’t enough to harm any plants or vegetation in the area. But if you’ve just shocked the pool, you might have a chlorine level around 10 PPM. That level of chlorine could kill plants in your yard or fish in nearby ponds.

Let the chlorine levels slowly drop for a few days before draining, or use this Chlorine Neutralizer found on Amazon. A chlorine level below 3 PPM is ideal.

If you’ve been treating your pool water, the pH level is probably already fine for draining. Between a 7 to 8 pH level is ideal, you don’t want to be draining acidic water into your yard or local ecosystem.

Pump The Water Out

If you don’t have a pump, but want to use one, I recommend this Superior Pump Utility Pump (link to Amazon). I love this pump, for under 50 bucks this pump has been very impressive. It attaches right to a garden hose, so for me, it was simple to get using.

If you do go with the Superior Pump that I use, you can expect to pump about 1800 gallons per hour. I noticed with the medium to small inflatable pools, they will be done in about a half an hour. The larger pools can take a couple hours though.

Here’s a handy chart to help you figure out how long the pumping should take. These number are for rounded pools, the rectangle shaped inflatable pools are often small enough to be drained in 30 minutes.

DiameterDepthGallonsTime To Drain
646670.37 Hours
8514830.82 Hours
10523171.3 Hours
12533361.8 Hours
15552132.9 Hours
18575074 Hours

After draining the pool completely, you’ll want to dry the pool lining and material before storing. I suggest letting the inflatable pool sit in the sun for a couple hours if you can to really make sure there is no moisture kept in the pool material when storing it.

Any moisture left on the pool surface will grow mold and deteriorate the pool material faster.

Here’s a fun video showing you how to NOT drain your inflatable pool. To be honest I’ve always wanted to try some of these, but never wanted to ruin my pool, so I haven’t.

Drain An Inflatable Pool Without A Pump

To drain an inflatable pool without a pump, you’ll either use the drain plug on the bottom of the pool, or you’ll need to siphon the water out with hoses. Siphoning water out of a pool with a garden hose is the most practical and common way to drain a pool without a pump.

Some inflatable pools will have a drain plug near the bottom of the pool to allow you to drain the water quickly and easily. Some drain plugs will allow you to attach the drain to a garden hose to keep the water away from your house and foundation.

Even if you have a drain plug, you may not want to drain the pool where it is if it’s too close to your home.

Water seeping down near the foundation of a house is one of the main causes of foundation cracks and issues in a home. If you’re in that situation, I would recommend trying to drain the pool with a garden hose.

Here’s a quick video showing someone using the garden hose draining method.

Drain An Inflatable Pool With A Hose

Using garden hoses to drain your pool to have more control over where the water is going. If you have multiple garden hoses, it will help speed up the draining process. But for larger inflatable pools, with one hose, I would expect to leave it draining over night.

To start, you’ll need to create a suction on the hose to start the siphon and draining process. Typically, you will put one end of the hose into the pool and suck on the other end of the hose to get the siphon going. But there’s another way to do it.

I like to fill the hose with water from the spigot, and let the water charged hose start the siphon for me.

Here’s the steps:

  • Hook the hose to the water spigot
  • Hold the other end above the rest of the hose
  • Fill the hose with water
  • Unhook hose from spigot and hold in the air
  • Put one end of hose in pool
  • Lay other end of hose lower than pool water

If you’ve followed these steps the siphon should has started on it’s own just from the pull of the water leaving the hose. I like this method because I don’t need to suck on the hose to get the water to start flowing.

Here’s a video that shows this process in action.

How To Drain The Last Few Inches Of Water From A Pool

To drain the last few inches of water from a pool, you will use either a sump pump, pool water pump, or a wet-vac. Even when using a pump to drain the pool there may be some traces of water left over. To remove all the remaining water from the pool use a shop-vac or wet-vac.

This is typically a problem when draining inflatable pools by siphoning with a garden hose. The garden hose will lose siphon power and suction near the bottom of some large inflatable pools. If it’s a very small amount of water, a bunch of towels might be able to get the job done, but I’ve had better luck using a wet-vac.

I’ve found that a wet-vac is the best way to suck up any last remaining water left in the bottom of the pool.

Usually a wet vac will only hold a few gallons of water before you need to empty it. Make sure you find a wet-vac strong enough to suck up water too, check out this 6 Gallon Wet Dry Vacuum (link to Amazon) to give you an idea of what will work.

Where To Drain The Pool Water

The best place to drain pool water is downhill and away from your house and foundation. If you can drain the water where natural rainfall runoff travels, that would be ideal. Avoid letting the water pool up on the lawn and check with your local water drainage laws for compliance.

Consider using the water to irrigate your landscaping. If the water has been treated properly, it shouldn’t cause harm to the lawn or the plants in your yard.

Letting the water drain near your homes foundation is not a good idea. Water will seep down along the side your house and could penetrate or crack the foundation when it gets cold enough to freeze the water. It’s always best to keep the area around your house dry.

Is It Illegal To Drain Your Pool Into The Street?

Most towns and cities have ordinances that do not allow you to drain pool water into the street, storm drains, or storm gutters. In those areas the water should be drained into the sewer system to be filtered and reused. It would be illegal to drain pool water into the street in those areas.

Those laws are typically only made to cover permanent in-ground or above ground pools. Although, depending on the wording, inflatable pools may be included in those laws. Check with your local town or city to find out what you’re required to do.

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