How To Drain An Inground Pool Below Skimmer? – Full Guide

Draining a pool is an easy task if you have the right equipment in hand. Sometimes, people hire professionals because they don’t know how to drain an inground pool below the skimmer properly. Please don’t waste your money on that because you can do it very easily all on your own!

Draining an inground pool involves draining the water with a sump pump and proper cleaning. When the cleaning is all done you have to refill the pool with water. 

It sounds easy and to some extent it is. But, you have to learn all the steps of draining and cleaning properly before you can attempt it yourself. Also, you have to know how often to drain the pool, keep it clean and safe, and when is the right time to drain it! 

Steps Of Draining An Inground Pool Below Skimmer 

To drain your pool all you need is a sump pump, a garden hose, and chlorine. Here are the steps on how to actually do it: 

Step One: Connect A Hosepipe To The Sump Pump 

First of all, buy a sump pump from the market. If you already have one, then that’s great! Now, take a large hose pipe and connect one end of the pipe to your sump pump. Secure the end tightly with metallic clamps and screws.

Next, take the other end of the hosepipe to somewhere very distant from your pool. Also, make sure the other end stays somewhere downhill. It is essential because you don’t want the drained water flowing back to your pool. 

Step Two: Locate The Sump Pump Properly And Drain

Now, position the sump pump at any shallow end of the pool. Otherwise, if you put it somewhere deep, it will be hard for you to relocate it. Do it in turns. In fact, do it from all the shallow ends you can reach.

Drop it in the water, and you will see how astonishingly it sucks all the water! It might take some time. The duration will depend on the water quantity and the size of your pool. Bigger pools take a longer time. After a while, you will see that very little water has remained in the pool.

Step Three: Remove The Drain Cover

Basically, after completing the above two steps, you will see that the water level has reached much below the skimmer. Some water will accumulate at the drain. This water contains dirt and is very filthy. At this point, the greenish deposits of algae at the bottom of your pool also become visible.

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Next, remove the drain cover and also the plug beneath it. Take the help of a plug wrench to pull the plug if you need. When released, the remaining water will pass through the main drain at a very high speed. In fact, you can see the water bubbling and hear it gushing through the drain.

Step Four: Clean The Pool

This step is significant. Mostly, the algae deposits are very slimy and turn into stubborn stains with time. So, it might not be easy to clean them. Use a garden hose and flow some water over it. Although, it won’t help much. You can use a regular nylon deck brush to scrape off the algae and debris.

In this way, you can clean the stubborn stains, and soon, the greenish layer will vanish. You can use a pressure washer for the uglier stains. 

Step Five: Drain The Dirty Water

All this causes the dirt, algae, debris, etc., to accumulate near the drain, along with the water you used to clean. In fact, this water is so filthy that it completely turns green! 

Now, it’s time to use your sump pump again. Put it in the filthy water, and it will suck out all of it. Also, you can scrape out some dirt and again use some freshwater to dilute it. This will make it easier for the sump pump to drain the water. 

Step Six: Reinstall The Drain Cover And Apply Chlorine

After that, reinstall the drain cover you removed earlier. Make sure no dirt has remained accumulated near the drain. Now it is time to apply some disinfectant. The best thing to do is to apply some chlorine. Use protective gloves and masks when you do that. 

Moreover, try to apply chlorine from outside the pool. In this way, you won’t develop any unwanted stains. This application will kill the residual algae. It looks magical how the algae start to disappear when they come in contact with the chlorine!

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Step Seven: Wash Again And Refill The Pool

Let the chlorine stay for half an hour. After that, retake your garden hose and clean the entire pool with water. This will wash away the chlorine as much as possible and any remaining debris. 

Now, if you wish to refill your pool, it is better to do it from a new filter. But if you want to close the pool, try to keep the water level at least six inches below the skimmer and then cover it. Get a pool cover as per its size. Cover it adequately from all sides so that no dirt can enter. There you go, you just drained your inground pool in seven easy steps!


If you don’t want to use a sump pump you can also use sand or DE filters. Just put the backwash valve in the drain position and then turn on the pool pump. In that case, make sure you are pulling water from the main drain rather than the skimmer.

How Often Should You Drain Your Pool?

You must drain your pool every three to five years. Even with the utmost care and maintenance, it is essential that you drain your pool every few years.

Often, people have a misconception that you have to drain pools occasionally. They think every time chlorine is applied; it is necessary to drain the pool. But draining too frequently may affect the lining and surface of your pool. So, it is best to do it at an interval of three or five years. 

Actually, there are two reasons for draining a pool. Firstly, it is the level of stabilizers in your pool. Stabilizers are chemicals such as Cyanuric Acid. They act as shields for chlorine against the sun. Sunlight can destroy chlorine. The acid protects the chlorine from getting destroyed.

However, the chlorine will lose its functionality if you have too much cyanuric acid content in your pool. The optimum level of the acid should be between 30-50 parts per million. Above this, the chlorine content will be too high, and the water will become harmful to you. So, in that case, you will have to drain the pool.

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Secondly, when Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) rises above 2000 parts per million, the water loses its quality. It becomes dull. Besides, it can affect your eyes and skin. In that case, you may need to drain your pool partially. 

Apart from these, you can handle all other circumstances by chemical treatments. So, it rules out the necessity to drain your pool often. It is best to drain an inground pool at intervals of three to five years.

What Happens If You Completely Drain Your Inground Pool? 

Actually, you should never drain a pool completely. The water underneath the pool creates an upward force that can detach it from its position. Also, completely draining a fiberglass or vinyl pool may harm the lining and surface of the pool.

Not all pools are safe to be drained completely. In the case of fiberglass or vinyl liner pools, the lining creates a smooth finish. It is essential for its structure. Completely draining the pool destroys this lining. Your pools should not be empty!

Also, the water below your pool can produce an upward hydrostatic pressure. In the language of physics, it is called buoyancy. The upward force may cause your pool to float and ultimately separate from the ground. It can be hazardous!

But if you want to refill the pool simultaneously, then yes, you can drain it completely first and then refill it. But if it is meant for a long time, never drain it completely. Drain it partially and keep the water level six inches below the skimmer. This is for the safety of your pool.

You don’t need to hire someone if you understand how to drain an inground pool below the skimmer properly. It is fairly easy to do if you know what you are doing. So, save the extra dollars and do it yourself! Of course, you must do it by maintaining all the regulations of pool safety. But, if you really can’t find the confidence to do so, you should get professional help. I hope reading this article has helped you to understand these facts better. Thank you for reading the entire article with patience.