How To Drain Water From Pool After Rain
If you are looking for information about how to drain water from your pool after it rains then this article will highlight the most common ways that swimming pool owners can do this. If you are wondering whether this is something that you should do or not with your swimming pool then you should know that all types of swimming pools, including both above ground and inground pools, have a maximum water level that you should not exceed. If you have a pool, any pool, and the water is all the way to the very top then you need to drain some water out.
Water level in a swimming pool - Note that there are, of course, exceptions to this statement such as with knife edge pools and infinity edge pools where the water level is specifically supposed to be high and often level with the surrounding coping and deck from the pool. Aside from this very rare pool type, which you would know if you had, all other pools should maintain a water level that is no more than two thirds of the way up the mouth of your skimmer faceplate. Half way up the mouth of the skimmer is ideal as this allows for the maximum deflection of water level in either direction before intervention is required, as well as allowing the skimmer to operate at maximum efficiency for collecting floating debris in your pool.
Why is it important to maintain the water level in your pool? - The swimming pool system is very carefully designed to hold water. Most pool owners do not fully appreciate the technical challenge with doing this, nor the ramifications of failing to contain the water properly. If you allow the water level to raise higher than it is intended it will begin to encounter areas of the pool which are not intended to be waterproof. For all intents and purposes this will all look the same to you however once the water rises to the coping, or the top of the wall, water will not actively be escaping the system and getting into places that it should not be. Vinyl pools will experience neutral buoyancy with their lines when the pool overflows and the area around the pool becomes saturated. This will result in the liner lazily lifting, shifting, and wrinkling. Concrete and fiberglass pools do not have the exact same concerns with the interior finish, but can also experience problems relating to letting the pool overflow.
What Is The Best Way To Drain Your Pool?
All swimming pool owners should have a utility pump. They are cheap, work great, can pump down to as low as 1/4" of water from a flat surface, and pretty much everyone already has a garden hose with which to hook it up with. There really is no reason to not have a utility submersible pump like this.
To drain your pool with one of these pumps simply attach a garden hose and run to an area as far from the pool as possible. Instead of dropping in the pump and letting it sit on the floor I prefer to wrap the garden hose around the ladder in a loop and then dangle the pump in the pool a few feet below the surface.
Some utility pumps have sharp parts and are not really intended for just dropping into a vinyl liner pool, and so hanging it like this mostly mitigates this risk. Be sure to plug in the cord to a GFI only as a regular plug is not safe to use with anything electrical you are throwing into the pool. If the GFI keeps tripping out, then good, this means that you are not going to get electrocuted today. Go get yourself a new submersible pump because this one has failed at the seal.
Buy this utility pump from Amazon which has almost 5000 customer reviews and appears to be a very popular choice. The 1/4HP, 1/3HP or 1/2HP all will work for draining your pool after heavy rains and the difference will be how much flow per hour each has, as well as how much loss of flow each experiences over long distances. For most pools the 1/4 horsepower will be fine.
But what if you don't have a utility pump and you really are not interested in buying one just for this application? Is there any way that you can just drain the pool using the filtration pump? What about any other DIY / "hack" methods of draining your pool? Yes there are a few options that might be available to you depending on what type of configuration your plumbing system and pool have.
Draining pool with a sand filter - If you have a sand filter then you already have a method to backwash your filter as this is part of the regular maintenance for one of these filters. In the event that you have too much water in your pool you can simply kill two birds with one stone and take this opportunity to go and give you filter a nice, long backwash (and then rinse). Just be sure you do not flood anything out since you might be pumping out more water than you normally do with a regular backwash cycle.
Draining pool through a waste line - Many (better) pool systems will have a hard-plumbed connection for wasting water, just like how a sand filter has, even if your filter type means that you do not require regular backwashing. This is most commonly a tee fitting (or a three way valve) in between the pump and filter. The idea of having this, aside from draining an overflowing swimming pool, would be for vacuuming the pool when there is a heavy debris load that you would just prefer to not send through your nice, clean filter. A waste line like this can be installed with a hard-plumbed connection or you can use lay-flat roll out backwash hose and simply roll up the hose when you are done draining the pool.
Drain the pool through a return - If the above solutions are not solving your problem but you are handy enough to be able to take out a return fitting you might be able to thread in a male adapter and attach a backwash hose to it, or even just push-fit something like your vacuum hose over the return. When the pump is running this will push water through the hose from the return, however you should try to get the water as far from the pool area as possible, especially with inground pools.
Gravity draining a pool - If you have an above ground pool, or you have an area of low elevation adjacent to your pool then you can easily create a gravity drain with any type of hose or pipe that you have. For example the vacuum hose that most pools have would work great. Simply throw the whole coil of hose in the pool and have one person hold an end under water. Starting from that end, work the air out of the pipe by feeding the pipe down into the water. As you get to the end of the hose you will now have all of the air worked out. While still holding the original end under water, throw the rest of the hose quickly out of the pool and lay it into a downhill trajectory. The weight of the water leaving one end of the hose will, under vacuum, lift more water from the pool which then also falls in elevation, creating more vacuum to lift more water. With no pump at all you can have your pool level drained in only minutes like this.
Install a permanent overflow - This is more from a design and installation point of view since it will not be practical to install an overflow for your pool "after the fact" but if you are in construction or planning stage right now then you can add this convenient element. Automatic water fillers often have an overflow built into them which is optional to use. Many elect not to connect this component simply because it requires that you pick up drainage lines and run them into this area. Many pool decks do not actually integrate drainage into them unless they are unusually large so this means you would be bringing in the drainage expressly for this overflow. It's a good idea, but often skipped. You can also create an overflow connection in many pool skimmers which also must be picked up with a drainage system to carry the water away from the pool area.
how many buckets of water to drain my pool? - Okay this is just for fun since it really is not practical to drain your pool with buckets unless your pool is absolutely tiny and/or you need to punish your children with impossible labor tasks. Here are some common pool sizes with examples of how many buckets it would take to drain the pool.
5 Gallon buckets needed to drain a pool by six inches:
20 x 40' pool = 600 buckets
16 x 32' pool = 384 buckets
12 x 24' pool = 216 buckets
20' round pool = 235 buckets
15' round pool = 132 buckets
12' round pool = 85 buckets
If you find that no matter how much it rains your pool never seems to overflow, it is most likely that you either have a drainage overflow connection somewhere on your swimming pool, or possibly water is escaping the system in such a way that it is not detectable to you from standing on the pool deck and observing the situation. So long as you do not lose water unexpectedly then I would not be too concerned with a pool that does not seem to overflow no matter how much it rains. As long as the pool is looking and functioning normally then it would appear that on overflowing pool after heavy rains is not a problem that you need to deal with.
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