How Do You Drain A Pool Without A Pump?

Cleaning its entirety, painting its walls, and repairing its flaws are the common reasons for draining a pool. In most cases, a submersible pump is necessary to accomplish the task. But a submersible pump can cost a few hundred dollars that you may not have now.

So how do you drain a pool without a pump? You can use three methods, namely, siphoning, using a trash pump, and using buckets. Keep in mind that these methods will demand more time and energy than using a submersible pump.

A Must Read: What Is The Best Pool Brand?

Read on and find out the details for these three methods. We will also discuss a few tips when draining your pool.

Siphoning Method

The siphoning method uses gravity in moving a large volume of water from the pool to a disposal area. It is also the cheapest and easiest method of the three methods discussed here for many reasons.

First, you will likely have two or more water hoses already available in your home. You can use the standard garden hose at least 50 feet in length. Second, you can buy a standard hose, such as the Water Right 400 Series, at an affordable price. Third, you may use the hose in draining both in-ground and above-ground pools.

We suggest using thicker hoses since these will move the water out of the pool at a faster rate. The number of hoses will depend on the size of your pool – the more hoses, the shorter the drain time.

One Hose Method

If you are using just one hose for a small pool, you can follow these steps.

  • Choose the location where the drained water will go. It should be lower in elevation than the pool for the siphon to work. 

  • Clamp the hose’s male end shut to cut off water flow.

  • Hook its female end, which shouldn’t be clamped, to a nearby faucet. Turn on the faucet to fill the hose.

  • Turn off the water once the hose it full and disconnect the hose. Be sure to clamp it, so the water remains inside securely. Keeping the hose as full as possible is vital since the inside pressure will start the siphon. 

  • Take one of the hose’s end and submerge it into the pool. Secure it at the bottom, but check that the water flow isn’t blocked.

  • Place the other end into the drainage area.

  • Remove the clamp from the submerged end first and then the clamp at the other non-submerged end.

The water should start flowing well with the forces of gravity and pressure acting on it. Be sure that the submerged end is secured well, too, to keep the pressure stable. 

Two Hoses Method

If you have two hoses with a shut-off valve, you can apply these steps:

  • Choose a drainage location lower than the height of the pool, as above.

  • Submerge one end of the first hose into the pool and secure it in place. Check that the water flow isn’t cut off.

  • Place the other end of the first hose into the drainage area.

  • Screw on the shut-off valve on the first hose and ensure that it’s open.

  • Attach the second hose to the first hose’s unused end of its shut-off valve.

  • Hook the second hose’s other side to a faucet.

  • Turn on the faucet and let the first hose be filled with water.

  • Shut the valve once the first hose is full.

  • Disconnect the second hose.

  • Open the valve, which will start the water flowing.

As with the one-hose method, you have to ensure that the hose’s submerged end stays underwater. It will keep the water flowing from the source end to the drainage end. 

Trash Pump Method

Trash pumps, such as the Tsurumi HS2.4S, work like standard pool pumps but with a difference. These are primarily used in cleaning pool water and removing detritus, such as leaves and twigs, from the pool. These are also lighter and, thus, more portable and easier to use than pool pumps.

The typical trash pump has a suction mechanism for pulling water and debris and a discharge hose. If you’re using it to drain a pool, you can connect the suction and discharge hose.

Depending on the size of a pool, a trash pump can drain it within 1-2 hours. Its main advantage over the siphoning method is that the work is largely automated. You can go about your day as the trash pump does its work. 

Bucket Method

If you have a small pool, you may want to consider the bucket method. But remember that it is very time and labor consuming that it isn’t worth the effort.

The bucket method is just as it sounds. You take a large bucket, scoop water from the pool, and throw it into a drainage area. You may want to ask for assistance from family and friends because it’s backbreaking work!

How backbreaking? Let’s say you and your family use 5-gallon Gamma Seal buckets for the job. You have to scoop out 600 buckets of water and only drain six inches from a 20’x40’ pool! For a 12’ round pool, it’s 85 buckets, but you get the backbreaking point. 

Tips For Draining Your Pool

You don’t only drain your pool just for the sake of it. You have to keep these tips in mind to keep on the law’s right, among others. 

  • Check with your local government about the proper disposal of pool water. Most municipalities prohibit the discharge of chlorinated water into storm drains.

  • Direct the discharge end of the hose downhill away from the pool. You don’t want clogging issues later on.

  • Remove the pool lights and pump trippers before draining the pool. 

  • Consider the material of your pool before deciding its level of draining. An in-ground vinyl liner pool and a fiberglass pool should only be partially drained. 

And don’t drain your pool in just any weather! You have to wait until it’s sunny but not too hot and humid. Otherwise, the liner can be damaged. 


Draining a pool without a pump can be an easy task if you have the proper equipment! You can use either the siphon or trash pump method since both are fast, easy, and convenient. Unless you’re into backbreaking labor, we don’t suggest the bucket method.

Whatever method that you choose, you should always be aware of the environmental and legal consequences of draining pool water. You may have to call your local officials, perhaps ask for instructions from a pool professional.

Recent Posts