Drain, Clean and Refill a Swimming Pool With And Without Pumps

A swimming pool gives a lot of pleasure and enjoyment for humans of every age. Many people use it to relieve from stress after a hectic schedule. Swimming is one of the best body exercises that help to maintain fit body.

Since it is a man built structure that stores enough water to provide a provision for swimming and since there is no option of continuous running of fresh waters into the pool, there is an obvious reason for the water to get polluted due to reasons like continuous swimming, debris, dust, algae and so on.

Tip - Check out my article on best Algaecide Product and how to clean the pool using them.

Also, the TDS (Total Dissolved Salts) levels in the pool waters become too high over time and gets difficult to maintain chemistry.

Too high TDS levels begin to build mineral stains on the floor and walls of the pool structure. Since it is very difficult to lower the TDS levels in the water, you might want to drain, clean and refill your pool to start over again with clean and chemical balanced waters.


Power Water Pumps Products

Let’s now discuss about some of the well-known and best working power water pumps in today’s market. These products are known for their brand and have achieved plenty of happy customers.

    WAYNE WAPC250 1/4 HP Automatic ON/OFF Water Removal Pool Cover Pump

    The WAYNE WPC250 is an automatic ON/OFF water removal pool cover pump. This model offers:

    • High water flow rate of 3000 gallons of water per hour.
    • Consumes minimum energy while being oil-free.
    • Drain hose of 1-1/4inch diameter.
    • iSwitch technology to turn the pump on and off automatically by sensing the presence of water.
    • Inbuilt freeze protection to avoid damage to the pump.

    The Package includes:


    • Check-valve with 3/4inch garden hose adapter to reduce repetitive cycling
    • Power cord of 25 feet long
    • ‘Pull to shore’ rope of 25 feet long to help position the pump properly on the pool cover.

Shurflo 2088-594-154, 2088 Series, 198 GPH, 115 VAC Diaphragm Industrial Pump

This pump is one of the on-demand pumps in the market today. The features and inclusions of the package are as follows:

  • Comes with 3 camber diaphragm pump with a permanent magnet
  • The motor power is 115V AC and is thermally protected to deliver
  • Reliable performance during high water flow
  • Offer moderate pressure applications
  • Self-priming up to 9feet vertical (maximum 50 PSI; maximum inlet pressure: 30 PSI)
  • Discharge port size: 1/2inch, is self-priming and has thermal overload protection
  • Suction port size: 1/2inchTotal head size is 100 feet, flow 198 GPH, maximum 50 PSI and 115V

Watts 500800 Hot Water Recirculating System with Built-In Timer

This model eliminates waste water and offers hot water at every faucet.

The features include:

  • Conserve up to 15000 gallons of water per year.
  • Save 10 per cent of your water bill.
  • No need of much of maintenance.
  • Installation is easy and simple and takes less than an hour.
  • Includesa.

The Package includes:


  • Pump with timer
  • Electric cord of 10 feet long
  • Valve mounting screws
  • Sensor valve
  • Extra sensor valves to use for homes with more than one plumbing loops
  • Two supply lines of 12 inches each
  • Two adapters with rubber washers

Flojet 18555-000A, Portable RV Waste Pump

This model manages dirty water from holding tanks by using self-priming and powerful macerator pump.

The features include:

  • Run dry protection up to 30 seconds
  • Pump housing connects to standard 3inch waste outlet
  • 6feet power leads with plug are permanently attached to vehicle or battery clips for complete portability
  • Discharge port: standard garden hose connector


  • Motor: 12 vdc permanent magnet type, fully covered with stainless steel shaft
  • Impeller: Jabsco Nitrile Compound
  • Seal: Lip type port: inlet – 3inch RV Connector, outlet – garden hose with minimum size 5/8inch
  • Macerator: uses stainless steel cutter to cut waste particles to maximum size of 1/8inch

Lifan Pump Pro LF2WP 2-Inch Commercial Centrifugal Water Pump

This model is a part of PumpPro Series. It can be mobilized with Universal Wheel Kit sold separately by the manufacturer.

This Pump Uses:

  • Lifan’s 6.5 MHP
  • 196 cc Industrial Grade OHV Gasoline Engine
  • Quality pump housing
  • Heavy duty roll cage
  • Cast iron impeller and viacon mechanical seals
  • Adjustable throttle
  • Low engine shutdown protection
  • Easy recoil startup with auto decompression
  • Warranty policy is limited for 1 year commercial or rental use and 3 years for residential use

The Main Features Include:

  • 2inch diameter inlet/ outlet
  • Deliver 6604 gallons of water per hourc
  • 19.68feet suction lift
  • 85.3feet maximum pump head
  • 0.95-gallon contractor grade model fuel tank that allows 2.5 hours run time

WAYNE RPP50 Cast Iron Sewage Pump with Piggy Back Tether Float Switch

This model is known to be durable and ideal for basement installations.

Wayne Water Systems is one of the leading providers of residential water handling solutions and has been in the market over 80 years, offering successful solutions to provide dry basements, reliable working of wells and sewage systems, lawns, (pools such as hidden inground and above the ground) and other outdoor areas.

The features include:


  • Pumps up to 4680 gallons per hour with 5 feet to lift.
  • Made of durable cast iron motor.
  • Pump housing and supports automatic and manual operation with replaceable piggy back tether switch.
  • RPP50 2 inch NPT discharge handles 2inch solids.

Drain, Clean and Refill a Swimming Pool with Pump



Plan proper time of day

If you are planning to drain out the water from the pool, you need to plan it during the early hours of the day so that the pool becomes empty before it is dark. For this, you will need to get the required devices and plan the drain method on the before day to avoid unnecessary chaos.

Get a submersible sump pump

You will need a submersible sump pump to pump out the water to a sewer point. Ensure that the drain point is not more than 100 feet long from your swimming pool.

The sump pump should include a rubber fire hose that has enough length to access the drain point.

Usually, the regular hose length will be 50 feet and you might need two if the drain point is more than 50 feet long from your pool. If you do not have one, you can buy or rent it from your nearby home improvement store.

Choose the drain point

Choosing a drain point for your pool is very important as you need to drain huge volumes of water. If you are unable to decide, you can take the help of pool professionals who can guide with their expertise skills. Usually, you will have two options to drain your entire pool:


If you choose to drain your pool directly your cleanout then, you will need a plastic pipe of 3 to 4 inches’ diameter that is usually outside your bathroom or kitchen. This water directly falls into the sewer from where the city reuses the water.


The water is drained out into a lawn or plants or shrubbery area. If your water has excessive salt or chlorine, then it is not advisable to drain into salt-sensitive plants as they do not react well to chlorine.

Place the pump into the pool and plug it in

Lower the pump into the pool and ensure that both the ends of the hose are in proper positions. One end of the hose should be properly attached to the pump that is lowered into the pool and the other end should be properly placed at the drain point. Try to push the hose at least 3 feet or more into the drain point to ensure that it is not hit out by any obstacle.

Drain last waters manually

Once the pump drains out the pool, you will be left with the last waters of about a foot depth that you need to drain out manually. You might need to make use of buckets, mugs and sponge to drain out. A helper can surely come handy during this process.



Hit the debris with water pressure from hose

​You can blast the debris at every nook and corner with a heavy water pressure force out of your hose.

You can make use of your in-house cleaning kit and brush out the entire floor and walls of your pool construction.

At this stage, if you encounter that your pool needs repairs, you can contact the pool department to send a professional to do the work for you.

​Clean calcium and other chemical scales in the pool

​While treating the pool waters with chemicals, you might end up with lot of chemical scales inside the pool structure.

CLRs (Calcium, Lime and Rust remover) will make the work easy for you. Tough build ups can be removed by making use of devices like knives and scrubbing pads.

Ensure that you wear gloves while cleaning as the cleaning chemicals may hurt your skin. While using pointed or sharp tools to clean the built up scales, make sure that you do not damage the lining of the pool.

To avoid chemical scales from reappearing in the future, you can make use of ‘stain and scale inhibitors’. You will need to reapply them at every month in the future as well for future maintenance.

​Perform an acid wash

​An acid wash will not only clean your pool, but will also make the cleaning process easy for you.

A good acid wash will keep your pool walls clean and bright, giving a pleasant experience for the pool users.

If your pool is already clean and if you don’t have much time to spend, you can ignore this step.


Refill a pool with pump

Plan the source of water to refill

You need to plan the source of water to refill the pool even before you start to drain the water. If you have enough ground water to fill the pool, then all that costs you is the power that is used to run the pump. If you do not have such provision, then you need to search for call the water department of your city to enquire the charges and the services they can offer you.

Estimate time to refill your pool

It is very important to calculate the time it will take to refill your pool with your pump. You cannot wait near you pool till the time it needs to fill as it will take huge time and you might have plenty of works around. Hence, if you estimate the time to refill the pool, you can ensure that you will be available near the pool to stop the pump. If you are careless, you might end up with a lake in your backyard.

Fill your pool

Now that you know how long it takes to refill the pool, you can turn on your pump to start filling the pool. Connect one or more of your garden hoses to the spigots and drop them into the pool. If the pool was recently constructed or plastered due to repairs, you might need to send the water with less force from the hose to avoid messing of the recent plastered area. For that, you can tie socks to the spout of the hose and secure with a thin rope or rubber bands to reduce the force of water.

Check the alkalinity of water

Now that your pool is refilled, you have ended up with fresh water that has no chemicals or chlorines. In order to maintain the pool, you need to first know the alkalinity and pH levels of the water. This will help you how to adjust the alkalinity, pH level and hardness of water.

Add required chemicals

Now that you have tested the alkalinity, pH levels and hardness of water, you need to calculate the amount of chlorine, cyanuric acid and/or other salts to add to the water. You can do this with the help of a professional so that you might not end up with wrong calculations which will in turn cost you unexpectedly too high.

Set up the filtering system

Set up the sand and debris filtering system to offer you longevity for the pool waters. Try to perform maintenance for the pool from the first day so that give less chance for the pool to get worse.

Drain, Clean and Refill a Swimming Pool without Pump



Draining the pool without pump is very economical. Just like you plan the drain point for a pool with pump, you need to do the same for a pool that you plan to drain without pump as well. It is not that tough as it sounds.

Estimate the number of water hoses to reduce time

To drain the pool without pump, you will need a water hose of 3 to 4inch diameter. The length of the hose should be long enough to reach the drain point. If you want to reduce the drain time, you can use multiple hoses at multiple points in the pool, but you need to again ensure that you will not strain the drain point.

Place one end of the hose to reach the bottom of the pool

Place one end of the hose such that it reaches almost but will not touch the bottom surface of the pool as you need to create a gap between the hose and the floor to allow the water to enter into the hose.

Suck the other end of the hose

This is very important step, and once you get successful, you can just sit back and take rest till the pool drains completely. You need to such the water from the other end of the hose until the water reaches your mouth.

Be alert that you will not swallow and spit out the water. Do the same for all the hoses that you have placed in multiple places in your pool. Once the water starts to flow, it will continue until the water is finished in the pool and the air enters the hose.

Keep checking occasionally to ensure that the hose is always inside the water till the end, to avoid the air entering into it.

Place the other end into the drain point

Once the water starts to exit from the hose outlet, place it into the drain point at least 3 feet deep so that you can ensure that the water will enter the drain point successfully till the end.

Manually drain the remaining water

If your pool is left with very little water that are not ready to enter into the hose, you can make use of mugs, buckets and sponges to remove the water from the pool


Cleanning An Empty pool

To clean an empty pool, the usage of a pump is very minimum or nil. You will need a pump when you want to drain away the water used for cleaning the dirt.

Since the quantity of such water will be very less, you can make use of mugs, buckets and sponges to manually drain out the water.

To clean the pool, the step by step procedure is as follows:

  • Clear the debris, algae and dirt.
  • Use chemicals like CLRs (Chlorine, Lime and Rust remover) to remove the salt and other scales formed in the pool.
  • Use sharp and pointed devices like knives etc. to clear off tough chemical buildups in the pool.
  • Use scrubbing pads to scrub off the dirt on the flooring and walls of the pool.
  • Perform a good acid wash for a bright, clean and hygienic pool.

Refill the pool without pump

To refill a pool without pump, you need to have temporary water storage system or a well with ground water. Consider the following steps:

  • Take a water hose of enough length to reach the water source and the pool.
  • Suck the water from the hose till it reaches your mouth.
  • Place the spout of the hose inside the pool so that the water falls into the pool.You can add multiple hoses to refill the pool faster.
  • Once the pool is full, you can remove the hoses and allow the water to settle.
  • Check the alkalinity, pH level and hardness of the water to calculate the chemicals and salts you need to add to the water.

Add the appropriate chemicals and if required, do it under the supervision of a swimming pool expert.

Other Important Articles

Frequently asked questions:

How to drain an above ground pool completely

You can drain an above ground pool in two ways:

By Using Pump

  • Select appropriate drain point that supports to hold all your pool waters without any mess.
  • Make use of a medium size water or vacuum pump and submerge into the pool waters.
  • Place the other end of the hose at least 3 feet inside the drain point to confirm that there are no obstacles to disturb the drain process.
  • Turn on the pump with dry hands.Keep checking periodically that the pump is always submerged in the water.
  • Turn off the pump once the above ground pool is drained completely.

Without Using Pump

  • Select appropriate drain point to drain the pool waters.
  • Take a hose that is long enough to reach the drain point from the pool waters.
  • Suck the hose outlet till the water comes out of the hose and ensure that you do not swallow the pool water.
  • Place the hose deep into the drain point.
  • To speed up the process, you can place multiple hoses at multiple points of the pool so that they all work simultaneously.
  • Take care that the hoses are always inside the water till the end.
  • Once the water has finished in the pool, air starts to enter the hose, which means that the draining of the pool has completed.

How to drain an in ground pool

Plan 3 things:

  • Close return lines.
  • Ensure that air doesn’t enter the suction lines when the water level decreases or else the water stops flowing.
  • Plan the drain point to dump waste water.
  • Close the return lines if your pool doesn’t use filters. If it uses filters, then you need not shut the return lines as the waste line alone cannot afford to handle the GPM pressure produced by the pump.
  • Open the waste line that uses sand filter or DE filter.
  • Open the waste line that uses cartridge filter.
  • Close the top suction lines.
  • Check if main drain is functioning properly. Make sure that the diverter to main drain is fully open and that the main drain is not clogged.
  • Ensure that the water is successfully draining into the drain point.

How to remove/ drain/ pump water from pool cover (inground and above the ground)

For both above ground or in ground variety, the dirty waters accumulated on the top of the swimming pool cover have to be removed.

You can do this by few methods like:

Electric pump

Submerge the pump into the dirty waters

Place the other end of the hose into the drain point

Turn on the pump until the water drains

Remove with buckets and mugs

Remove dirty waters by using buckets and mugs

Dump the dirty waters into the drain point

Siphon hose

Place one end of the hose into the dirty waters that need to be siphoned

Siphon the dirty waters so that they start to spout at the outlet of the hose

Place the dirty spout into the drain point

How to siphon water with a garden hose

  • Take a garden hose that is long enough to reach the drain point from the siphon point
  • Anchor one end off the garden hose with an object that is heavy enough to keep it in place, but light enough to not block the water flow through the hose
  • Place the other end of the hose into the point where you want the siphoned water to flow
  • Attach a shut off valve to the other end of the hose from where the siphoned water spouts
  • Leave the valve open
  • Attach another hose to the first hose where the valve is left open
  • Secure the other end of the second hose to a water valve
  • Fill the siphon hose with water. For this, turn on the water valve attached to the second hose to allow the first hose acting as siphon to be filled with water and then turn off the valve that connects the first and second hose.
  • Detach second hose and turn on the valve. You will see that the water flows out of the garden hose.

How to drain an in ground pool with the main drain

  • In filter mode, no water is being added to your pool. Hence, there is no need to close the return lines to your pool.
  • Open waste line that uses sand or DE filter. For this, turn off the pump, rotate the handle of ‘multiport valve’ to waste mode, check that waste line is attached to waste port, and turn on the pump.
  • Open waste line that uses cartridge filter. For this, open the ball valve to ‘waste line’ mode.
  • Close the top suction lines. Do this to avoid air from being sucked into the suction line.
  • Close all incoming ports except main drain so that water flows from main drain to the pump and then to waste port.
  • Check main drain operation. Ensure that the diverter valve to the main drain is fully open and that the drain is not clogged.


A swimming pool needs continuous maintenance to maintain cleanliness and longevity as the setup of a pool is very expensive.

Draining, cleaning and refilling a pool are very expensive both financially and environmentally. If your pool has balanced TDS levels and if your pool demands drain and refill to due unavoidable repairs, you can drain existing pool waters into a temporary storage, perform repairs and then refill back the waters.

If the TDS chemistry of your pool has lost its balance then you need to drain, clean, refill and add proper chemicals to your pool to start over again with a clean pool.

Both above ground and in ground pools require equal maintenance and you can perform draining, cleaning and refilling of your pool with the best method that suits you from the available plenty of methods.

Bryan Mallory

My name is Bryan Mallory and I have over 25 years of experience in swimming pool, spa maintenance and repairs. With my experience and knowledge I can return your pool back to its best and keep it in peak condition.