Can you drain a pool below the returns and still run pump?


Well-known member
Jul 13, 2007
Having to drain our pool in order to have a fiberglass seat repaired. Way more water than we thought and it looks like the returns will be above water. The pool cannot be filled for about three days after the repair and we wanted to to keep the pump going using the main drains but was wondering if it was OK to have returns above the water line? Hopefully the liner will not float but not sure what our options are. Thanks in advance!

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
SouthWest Alabama
Having the returns above the water line is no problem. That's what fountains are doing. Moving the return above the water line.

As long as there is enough water in the shallow end you'll be fine.


LifeTime Supporter
Nov 18, 2009
Sacramento, CA
This may be obvious to you, but you need to close the valve(s) the skimmer(s) or have a Skimmer/Main Drain Diverter for the skimmer(s).


LifeTime Supporter
Apr 23, 2009
Central Minnesota
Every fall when closing my pool I run my pump with the water level below the returns for a day. I drain the pool below the returns, then recirculate for a day and bring my chlorine level way up. It makes a lot of racket from the splashing :) Perfectly safe to do. Just make sure that you don't attempt to suck from the skimmer though, as you'd run your pump dry.

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