Advice to remove this winterizing plug which is now stuck in plumbing?


Active member
Mar 1, 2018

We found this little guy on the suction side of one of our pumps (about 3" short of the pump filter basket). We're new pool owners, so it was probably our fault for starting up the pump without ensuring 100% that every plug was removed.

There is about 6" of straight PVC right behind it, so I can cut the PVC, remove the plug, and install a coupling without too much hassle. However, I'm wondering if there is any other advice before I start sawing?

I've tried a coat hanger, and while I got a good grip on it, I couldn't get it to budge. Can I repeatedly stab the rubber with something to try to weaken it?

Any other thoughts? (It's so close to the pump, I don't want to try to push it back toward the pool.)



Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
Laughlin, NV

The safest is to do as you say. Cut it out and replace the PVC.

The other thought (beware of my thoughts) is to drill holes through the rubber to weaken it and allow it to compress. But the wild card is that the thumb screw looks to be causing a good portion of the jam.

Others may have some ideas, most likely better than mine.

Good luck.


Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
TFP Guide
Mar 25, 2018
Chandler Arizona
Take a long handle flat blade screwdriver and push on the part that’s at the top of the pipe. You need to rotate the plug so the bolt is facing right at you. Then grab the coat hanger and try again.


Well-known member
May 6, 2018
Bloomington IN
Make a loop in the coat hanger and heat the hanger up with a torch till its red hot. Then let the hanger melt into the plastic and once it hardens pull.


Platinum Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 30, 2014
Monmouth County, New Jersey
You could spray a little bit of WD40 around the sides to try and make it slippery. You can try to cut the screw and washer sideways, but this may not work as you are hooked up to the pump. Also, you can dry drilling holes around the screw big enough to grab 2 sets of pliers and pull at the same time. You can continue to drill holes around the rubber (careful not to damage the pipe) and weaken the material so it will compress as Mary mentioned. Another option is to remove the pump motor away from the housing basket so you can work from the back.

I guess you really can not see this unless you had taken the picture with your phone (probably). If you can then get a little saw around the middle, you can cut the screw straight down the middle. Good luck and keep us posted.


Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 10, 2017
Here's what I would try. You need one 1/4" Toggle Bolt something like this ( not important) and one 1/4" Eye Bolt something like this (Shop 1/4 eye bolt)(Long at Search Results enough to go through the plug about 2"). "EVER SO CAREFULLY" drill a hole through the rubber plug as close to center as possible (I think the hole size for that Toggle Bolt is 7/16" ... double check!!!). Screw the toggle onto the Eye Bolt (NOT the screw that came with the Toggle Bolt) several threads. Fold the toggle and insert it through the hole you drilled all the way till the toggle springs open on the other side of the hole. You should now be able to hook something hefty onto the Eye Bolt and work the plug out. (I have NOT tried this for pool plumbing, but once used this trick to remove a solid plastic toy wedged in a backyard drainage pipe, and it worked). I hope this might give you a "possible" option. Good Luck!!!

P.S. The drainage pipe WAS 4" however :(


Well-known member
Jun 21, 2016
Have you tryed a knife to cut the rubber down especially the center where the bolt is. Then grab the bolt with a pair of plyers and pull the bolt free. They you should be able to wiggle the rest out.


Well-known member
Apr 29, 2018
Kingston, TN
I would try using nylon cable ties, perhaps heavy duty ones. Put two together, cut off the excess at the join, fish it down by the bolt past the join so it naturally wants to turn around the bolt, use a coathanger hook to fish the end of the tie out the other side of the bolt. Add more ties if needed and pull. Could also try the same if you can fish another behind the rubber and up through the bolt side.


Active member
Mar 1, 2018
Inquiring minds want to know, did you get the plug out?

not yet! we haven't had much time to try things yet. Probably won't be until this weekend when we have some more time to focus on it. (fortunately this pump runs our waterfall and some pool jets, so its operation isn't critical to things.)