A reader asks: I’m attempting to drain my inground plaster swim pool for the first time, to do some plaster repairs. I have never drained it before. I’m setting the pump to backwash and letting it drain, but when the swimming pool water level goes below the skimmers it stops pumping. I guess it’s sucking air from the skimmers. I have two valves to shut off skimmers, but if I do that it won’t drain the swimming pool, right? I don’t know how to shut off the skimmers without shutting the main drain at the bottom of the swim pool. Do you have any advice? This is my first pool and I don’t know that much about swimming pools.
Ray Cronise, an About.com swimming pool expert, has this advice on draining swimming pools:
- This is probably one of the biggest mistakes a homeowner can make. Draining a pool is EXTREMELY dangerous.
- Wow, why such a huge warning? Let me explain. There are only very few times one need to ever drain a swimming pool.
- In some cases it is to dilute the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) or even stabilizer. These typically only require a partial draining.
- If you have a repair to be made, this can be a reason to drain a pool.
- For most cleaning, even when your pool looks like a toxic waste dump, you don’t and SHOULD NOT drain the pool.
- In your case, the pool builder did a good thing. He tied the skimmer into the drain to keep you from accidentally draining the pool. It worked.
- So what is the big deal?
- Well, when one drains the pool and there happens to be water under the shell (like in the rainy spring when people want to clean up the pool) the entire pool shell can heave.
- This is because the water under the pool creates an upward hydrostatic force (through buoyancy) and the pool is lifted out of the ground .
Here is my advice – contact a local pool service company and pay them to come out and open your pool for the very first time. You can also get a pool guide by creative homeowner’s that covers the basics. If you have any other specific questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.