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How to Drain a Pool

Draining a swimming pool can sometimes be inevitable part of its maintenance, regardless of what you've been told. However, it's crucial to understand that this is not a simple task and carries significant risks, especially structural damage. Here's what you need to know.

The Risks: Why Draining a Pool Can Be Dangerous

Aboveground Pools

Draining an aboveground pool can cause the liner to shrink, which may lead to tearing when you refill the pool. If the pool has been empty for a while, you'll likely need a new liner.

Fiberglass Pools

Fiberglass pools are particularly risky to drain, especially during the rainy season. The lighter weight of fiberglass pools compared to concrete pools increases the risk of the pool lifting out of the ground due to underground water pressure. Older fiberglass pools may not be structurally equipped to handle being emptied, risking wall collapse. Draining a fiberglass pool should only be done by professionals.

In-ground Concrete Pools

Like fiberglass pools, concrete pools also face the risk of lifting due to high groundwater levels. In extreme cases, the entire pool could float up out of the ground, causing catastrophic damage.

The Process: Steps to Drain Your Pool Safely

Step 1: Hydrostatic Relief Valves

If your concrete or gunite pool has hydrostatic relief valves, remove them as you begin to drain the pool. If your pool has a bottom drain, remove its cover and the hydrostatic relief valve as soon as the pool is empty.

Step 2: Sump Pump

The last 30cm of water likely won't drain out on its own. Be prepared with a sump pump to remove this remaining water quickly, allowing you to access the bottom drain.

Step 3: Groundwater Removal

After opening the valve, insert a 3-6 foot pipe into it and run a hose through the pipe. Attach a pump to the hose to draw groundwater from beneath the pool. Direct this water to a drainage area away from the pool.

Important Note on Hydrostatic Relief Valves

Many pool owners ask why the hydrostatic relief valve doesn't protect the pool during draining. The valve is designed to equalize water levels slowly, while draining happens much faster. It's not a safeguard against the risks associated with draining.

Bottom Line

Draining a pool carries significant risks, especially structural ones. Do not attempt this if you're unfamiliar with the process and the associated risks. Consult professionals for this task to ensure the safety and longevity of your pool.

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