Winter is finally over, and it's time to remove the cover from my above ground pool. However, snow and rain have left quite a bit of water on the cover.

I see three options

  1. Pull the cover off, and let the water go into the pool.

  2. Use a garden hose, and try to siphon some of the water off.

  3. Buy a pump, and pump the water off.

The water on the cover is gross, so I'm not sure I want to just let it go into the pool.

I don't know if siphoning would work, as I'm not sure I'd be able to get it started, or if it would continue to flow once started.

Haven't looked into buying a pump yet, so I'm not sure if they're expensive, or how much electricity they consume. I'd also have to monitor the pump, so it didn't run dry. Which doesn't sound ideal.

Is there a tried and true method that pool owners prefer? Or any methods I haven't mentioned?

  • As a cheap nut wasteful solution, a no-moving-parts venturi pump (powered by water from a garden hose, with another hose on the output side) won't be fast and wasted water but would do the job. I keep meaning to pick one up as last-resort backup for the sump pump.
    – keshlam
    Apr 6, 2015 at 23:46

3 Answers 3


My family had a pool that would be covered over the winter. We would use a simple garden hose to siphon the water off. The siphon would be started by putting one end in the pool and filling the hose up through the spigot. When it was disconnected it would start siphoning immediately.

The end of the hose was put in a beach play bucket with a brick in it so it would always be the lowest point and not get air in it.

We'd have to clear leaves and detritus occasionally from the hose end, but usually the leaves were decomposed enough that they'd flow through the hose.

Sometimes we would use the pool vacuum hose, but since it was so big (1 1/2" OD) it was hard to get a siphon started.

  • 2
    You can also use a shut-off valve to siphon. Lower the entire hose in to the puddle so that the hose fills with water. Screw the shut-off valve on to the hose and shut it. Then pull that end of the hose out and low. Open the valve and voila! I've also done the same with a pool vacuum hose and a plastic cup as a cap.
    – longneck
    Apr 8, 2015 at 19:52

The water in the pool will also be gross, so I wouldn't rule out option 1. Especially if you'd otherwise be refilling the pool with a water source that has metals or other problematic contaminants.

Option 2 will work if and only if you can get the siphon hose outlet to a lower point than the water on the cover. If you can reach that level then I would suck it up (pun intended) and use this option.

There are automatic pool cover pumps designed specifically to run when there's water on the cover and then shut off. Cheap ones are under $50, so not a bad option either.

You've covered all the options. I've done all three, and now have a mesh cover that lets water drain into the pool when it's on.

  • Yeah. If the water in the pool isn't gross, then you can just remove enough of the cover to get in the pool, and go into the middle of it and poke the cover up, and the gross water will flow towards the edge and onto the deck.
    – Huesmann
    Jul 3, 2020 at 14:22

I used to pump the water off my cover, at least as much as I could. I would often have to do this a few times a year. Once in late November to get all the water off that collected since closing (and before the winter freeze). Then again right before opening the pool. The water on top was usually pretty dirty, so I didn't want it in my pool. Still these pumps still leave a few gallons behind that often end up in the pool.

I used a model similar to the one below that you could hook up a water hose too. ~$60 from Harbor Freight tools: http://www.harborfreight.com/16-hp-submersible-utility-pump-1350-gph-68422.html

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