We need to rework some plumbing on a pool, and the level of the pool is 3-4' above the plumbing. Obviously we need to drain the pool, but the problem with that is that the valves aren't working, and we can't shut off the skimmers, which are sucking in air. So far, attempts to blocks the skimmers have been unsuccessful.

Seeing as how we don't have an extra pump to bring in in order to drain the pool, the best plan that we've had so far is to just simply cut the plumbing (which we will have to attempt to stop from leaking) and put temporary pipes in that will connect the pump to the bottom of the pool.

I just figured I'd come here to see if anyone had any better ideas.

4 Answers 4


Most skimmers I have seen support a threaded plug that can be installed to block the water flow. Pull out the skimmer basket. There should be threads in the pipe underneath. (You can buy these plugs at any local pool store.)

You also may need to plug the return lines. I have found the simplest thing to do is put a rubber stopper on the front of it.

Oh, and I highly reccomend you repair/replace the failing valves so you don't have to deal with this again next year.


Use gravity, all you need is a garden hose! If the pool is raised up on a deck or above surrounding areas, then you can siphon it out. This is exactly the same way fish tank owners get water out of their tanks. First get a garden hose that is long enough to end up in an area lower than the desired depth. Put the hose completely in the pool so it fills with water. Then seal both ends with either a clamp or a thumb, but make sure it is SEALED. Then take one end to the lower area and unclamp. Then wait for the water level to be lower than the plumbing.

(source: richmondaquarium.com)

  • This would work, of course, but we don't have a week to drain the ~10,000 gallons that we need out of the pool... lol. The good news is that the stuff we put in the skimmers somehow made a better seal over night, so the problem took care of itself!
    – Michael
    May 18, 2011 at 1:54
  • @Michal you would be surprised how fast this will drain a pool. Give it 24 hours.
    – allindal
    May 18, 2011 at 1:58
  • Not to mention a lot of people have more than one hose sitting around the house.
    – BMitch
    May 18, 2011 at 19:56

If it's connected with flexible hose, the cheapest/easiest way is just to cut/disconnect the hose, and then get it up above the water level ASAP. Be prepared to get slightly wet.

If you don't have flexible hose (eg, it's done with PVC or something), then that does make things more difficult.

The best way to plug a skimmer is to get a big rubber stopper, and stick it in the intake at the bottom of the skimmer (you have to remove the basket). You can get these at many places, including beer/wine brewing supply stores. Your pool cleaner may have an attachment that will work as well, just leave the hose attached sticking out of the pool.

The jet/output is much harder, unless there's some obvious way to plug it from inside the pool. If not, the best thing I can think of is to get some flexible pipe that has an inside diameter just big enough to fit over the outside of the pipe, and a couple gear clamps. Keep one end of the pipe up above water level, and then cut the pipe and then quickly place the flex pipe over top and tighten the gear clamp down on it. You will definitely get wet doing this.

Since you definitely won't be able to glue any PVC parts while there is water in the pipe, you can use the flex pipe to drain the pool down to just below where water stops coming out. You should then be able to do any work needed on the pipes.


Main Drain _get a trash bag and place over main drain with a few things to weigh it down. Water pressure will naturally seal the water in the pool.

Skimmer -block the skimmer by placing a simple tennis ball (ball filled with water). If you have a hose for a pool cleaner or vacuum attachment, simply place that in the skimmer intake and lift the other end above the water level and out of the pool.

Return Lines - remove the inlets, cover each intake with plastic wrapping film and replace the eyelet, for a few turns on the threads of the fixture.

Now you can make any repair you want without draining and wasting all that water!! Problem solved!

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