Draining my pool

Have you ever drained your pool?

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New member
Jun 28, 2010
:roll: 22000 Gallon Kidney full of mustard algae. Can I drain my pool down here on the Gulf Coast (25 miles from the beach)?
When can I drain it :?: How wet can the ground be :?: OR how dry does the ground have to be :?:

Here is my plan:
1. start the drain to waste process
2. As soon as I can get in, start my power wash
3. Let the drain do its work while I continue to wash
4. Clean and drain until the pool is clean
5. Let it drain out
6. Inspect and then paint with epoxy paint

Looking for two types of respondents: professionals and/or those who have done it. :| I don't need the :blah:

The previous paint job was done by a novice, not me.


LifeTime Supporter
Aug 20, 2009
North Central Texas
Edit :oops: Here's the :blah: :blah: you didn't want. Sorry.

I've drained mine several times in the past 24 years; several times to acid wash. Several times when I just didn't want to bother with the winter muck. Most winters it did not get mucky as I kept the pool open and worked on the leaf cleanout daily but several years I couldn't be here to keep the masses of fall/winter leaves out of the pool so I just turned off the equipment and let it collect the gunk. We have a very low water table and pool was constructed so that only a few feet of the pool had to be dug for the shallow end and the rest was built so that the drop to deep end virtually follows the slope of the hill down. That was bermed with 12 ft drop off at end of deep end of pool.

I lucked into a fabulous replaster job, done in 1996. There are quite a few indications that the job was superior to most as the plaster has been abused since then, due to my ignorance and that "new" plaster had three pretty heavy acid washings. The last acid wash was in mid summer 2008 with temps at or >100 F. Pool sat empty before that for over a month in full blazing Texas sun. Before that the pool was only partially filled from Oct 07 to early summer 08, with the plaster and tile exposed to all the winter elements and the spring and early summer blazing sun and heat. Through all that abuse, plus many years of chemical imbalances, the 14 year old plaster and tile work (original tile from 1981) (never had any tile pop off) is still in great shape albeit the remaining calcium scale I didn't want to hit too hard with the last acid wash. (It's slowly lifting using sequestrants and pH kept under 7.2.) That's why I refer to it as a "Superior" plaster job that I lucked into. The contractor who was doing some remodel work on our house hired the plaster guy. The job cost around $4K+ but I think it was worth every penny for the proven results and longevity. The blue plaster upped the price a bit.

From what the pool experts indicate, here on the forum, one is lucky to get 10 good years out of a plaster job, at least using the methods and materials used in recent years. Maybe my plaster guy used "old" type material and techniques. I knock on wood every time someone says to avoid draining a pool, in summer, in hot climates. I could have done some serious damage to my pool but luckily didn't. It looks like from inspecting the plaster around the returns that the "new" plaster may have been applied thicker than the original.

I highly advise avoiding all the mistakes I made over the years. Don't let that plaster pool sit in blazing sun for any length of time. Know your water table levels. In my local we have to drill several hundred feet to hit water. And when we get many inches of rain in a short period of time the water soaks in very quickly or runs down the hill. Popping out of the ground is just not any issue at all here but is so in many places.

And I would not recommend anyone draining a pool without full understanding of what he/she could encounter. Again, all those years I lucked out. Knock on wood. :wink:

My pool is easy to drain as the pumping station is "flooded" (way below pool down the hill) and a few hoses run down the hill hurry up the job. To do the last bit submersible pumps always come in handy and they can be used, too, to sped up the emptying. I've emptied the whole 25K gallons in a few hours using hoses down the hill, submersible pumps, and taking off the pump pot lid "down there" with the valve from bottom drain open. Just using gravity all of the water will empty through the pump pot except for about a foot in the deep end.

If one is draining to acid wash the best time to do an acid wash, especially in the heat of summer, is at night, with flood lights and fans around the pool to draw out fumes, especially if the deep end is very deep.

That's it folks.



LifeTime Supporter
Aug 20, 2009
North Central Texas
tonertee said:
:roll: 22000 Gallon Kidney full of mustard algae. Can I drain my pool down here on the Gulf Coast (25 miles from the beach)?
When can I drain it :?: How wet can the ground be :?: OR how dry does the ground have to be :?:
Welcome to TFP. :wave:

I would think you would want to know for sure certain things about your soil conditions. At some point the pool will have to be fully drained while prepping and painting. Prepping can take a lot of time. Are you wanting to drain just because of the mustard algae or because of the condition of the paint? Is the paint on top of gunite or plaster? How old is the pool? Do you know what the current "paint" is? That seems to be a big factor in what you repaint with especially if you are not completely removing the old paint with some sort of blasting. Although I'm not any kind of expert those are things that are discussed here on the board. If you have some of the answers posted it will help the professionals to more quickly help you. There are only a handful of professionals here that do refurbs with paint or have done them in the past.

-First, know for sure what your water table is.

-If you get a lot of rain does the ground drain quickly or stay soggy for a while?

-Just as freeze/thaw has drastic effects on in ground "structures" so does wet/dry. In some ares the ground can go from soggy to parched and cracked in a few days depending on the soil composition.

-Do people in your area have issues with foundations moving, shifting, cracking?



TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 10, 2010
SW Louisiana
I can't answer a lot of your questions, but can say my vinyl lined pool has been successfully drained a handful of times over the years, usually for planned major maintenance (liner replacement), once due to unexpected liner replacement after a minor ATV in the pool accident, this was a self draining issue as there was a 5 foot long tear in the bottom of the pool. The longest time it stayed dry was probably a couple of weeks after the ATV incident. Drainage, etc. I can't help too much with as mine is on top of a hill (90 miles inland on the gulf coast). Local soil conditions will make a huge difference on this, my wife and I looked at a house nearby that was for sale a few month ago (bank foreclosure), there was a partly drained vinyl pool in the back yard where at 10-15 foot section of sidewall had collapsed into the pool taking the decking with it, and also an indoor in floor hot tub in the sun room which had floated up about 2 feet, so things can go wrong, it is not just a myth. I suspect very soggy ground at the house in question, I did not look at it closely at the time (after seeing the overall poor condition I knew it was not for us), however we had previously viewed another house next door to it, and I remember noting the large number of crawfish chimneys in the yard.



TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
Silver Spring, MD
Welcome to TFP!

Do you have any idea what the depth of the water table is in your area? That varies rather dramatically from place to place. Someone else with a low water table can drain without any problems, but if you happen to have a high water table it could be problematic. Depending on what part of the country you are in and the local conditions, draining might be fine, questionable, or very dangerous.

Other things to check for: do you know if you have a hydrostatic valve in the main drain (assuming you have a main drain)? Are there any dry wells around the pool?


Well-known member
Jun 14, 2007
New Jersey
It actually happened before I was born, but our 1946 40K in-ground steel pool was left empty one year after the canvas cover ripped (before plastics) and my father was too lazy to put logs in the water. It popped about 3" at the deep end and we wintered it empty for the next 50 years. It never moved again until it was ripped up after we sold the land it was on. Annual water change saved us any CYA headaches when pucks came along in the Seventies.

The galvanized plumping heaved along with the pool and didn't break. The 5/8" WWII surplus naval war-plate pool was unscathed (made from surplus LST's). Our first and only skimmer was installed after the heave sometime in the Sixties. We always had a grass surround and the landscaping was adjusted to the pop. Most people never noticed. It was a fantastic pool for 55 years.