Remove Water From Your Swimming Pool Cover

pool cover with waterMaybe you’ve just survived a large rain or snow storm and want to perform some preventative maintenance in order to ensure that your pool cover lasts for the remainder of the winter, or maybe you’re just opening your pool for the season. It doesn’t matter what has prompted you to do so, but sooner or later, all pool owners will be faced with the task of removing the yucky water that has accumulated on top of the cover. Whether you have an above ground, or in ground variety, if you cover your pool to prepare it for winter, it will inevitably collect water prior to you taking it off to use the pool again in the summer. If left on there under heavy rains or snows, the weight could be so burdensome that it pulls the whole cover into the pool to create a disastrous situation for you to clean up. If you’re lucky enough to not have to remove some mid-winter water accumulation, then you will still be faced with proper removal to be able to open your pool when the weather changes.

This can be one of the dirtiest and most time consuming tasks that you will do in your backyard, but if you have the right tool, the job could also be ridiculously simple and effortless. Some people may fool themselves into thinking that if they gather the cover just right as they remove it, then all of the water will easily slide right off with the cover. If you’ve ever tried to test this theory, then you know how false it is. Despite appearances, an inch of water spread out over the entire cover, can concentrate as collected to be one heavy mass that would be impossible for anyone to lift and remove. Most times, people have much more than a single inch of water, and the total weight involved is staggering, and not something that can just be picked up, or slid around.

What typically will happen when this is attempted is that all of that dark brown water and decaying plant matter will get dumped into the clean water left below, so the stuff the cover was supposed to keep out, is now mixed with the pool water you were going to salvage. Please don’t kid yourself into thinking that you can somehow muscle the cover and water off all at once. It is very necessary, for good results, to remove the water and debris, and then remove the cover. This will ensure that all of the yucky stuff gets separated and removed, and the cover remains intact, and able to be used over again. Plus you will not break your back, or injure yourself to the degree of requiring a trip to the doctor’s office after you finish.

In order to drain the water off the cover and make it easy to take it off, most people will go about using one of three methods. We will discuss these three processes below, and then we will suggest a better way that will save you time and effort while it transforms this job from something to dread, into something that’s no big deal. When sucking the water off a pool cover the three main techniques are to bail with a bucket, pump with an electric pump, or siphon with a hose. All of these methods will eventual work just fine, but they all will also have distinct drawbacks that can be avoided by going about the job differently.

Electric Pump

This is the most effective of the traditional methods, but it’s also the most expensive.  There are specially designed pumps that can be purchased just for this job, but they’re not cheap, and they will not be useful for anything else. When you use one, there’s also the cost of electricity to think about, and a requirement of an extension cord that’s long enough, or an outlet that’s close enough. Essentially, the pump will sit in the water, and then begin to pump out the water. It will be attached to some sort of hose, which may be another cost you incur, and that hose will direct the water to a location of your choosing.

It’s not the fastest process, and certainly not the most quiet, but it will suck most of the water from the cover. The most difficult part will be the small portion left over, and this will be more a bit of a hassle when using this tool. Also, dirt, leaves and other debris are common in the water that sits on your cover, and these are also notorious for causing trouble when run through a pump. It may not clog the device to the point of not working, but it will definitely necessitate some maintenance cleaning after you finish to make sure it remains functional.

To use a pump, simply set it in the lowest point of the cover and then turn on to begin pumping. Most water will easily eliminate, but some leftover puddling may need to be dealt with in a different manner.

Bail With a Bucket

This technique is perhaps the most frustrating, and it isn’t really practical for larger pools, or larger amounts of water. If you prop up one side of the cover that’s far away, or sink down the side closest to you, then most of the water will collect within reach. You can then begin dipping the bucket in to bring up water and debris, and then toss it off the cover.

Working this way will certainly take the water away, but it will require a ton of effort, and you’ll be forced to chase around the moisture in order to completely remove it from the cover. This method is the easiest in terms of dealing with large amounts of debris because it’s impossible to clog a bucket, or add to the maintenance that might be required. Because you’ll be dipping the bucket with your hand, there’s a good chance that you’ll get to touch the brown liquid that is the accumulated water, and this is far from desirable for most folks out there. Not only will it be dirty and full of mushy plant life, it will also have bacteria, bugs, and other yucky stuff,  and it could be pretty darn cold.

Siphon Hose

Because pumps are expensive and buckets are silly, most people end up siphoning the water off their pool cover. This is a pretty effective method, and it will produce decent results in a relatively short amount of time. The main downside of this method is that it requires a bit of technique to get it right. In order to start the siphon you’ll need to suck on the hose and risk tasting the murk, or you’ll need to fill the hose just right, perform a specific movement, and get the placement just right in order to allow the siphon to start on it’s own.

As soon as the water starts flowing, it will continue to do so, if left at the correct level/angle until the water runs low enough. The power of gravity and pressure inside the hose will create the pull required to suck the water off the cover, through the hose, and out into your yard.

In order to start the flow without sucking and spitting, you’ll need to touch the yucky water and submerge the whole hose until it fills with water. Once “primed”, you’ll take one end and quickly swing it down towards the ground while being careful to keep the other end under the water. The water should then begin flowing, and should continue until the level runs low. Once the hose begins to suck air, it will stop the water flow, and you may be left with a small amount that will need to be dealt with by using a different method, or restarting the siphon after collecting it in one place.

With this method, it’ll be difficult to avoid touching the water, but most debris will not be a problem if it fits through the hose. It offers similar speed and efficiency when compared to using a pump, but you don’t have to worry about clogging as much. With this method you can get right to work in most cases, where as when using an electric pump, you may have to rake out debris in order to prevent problems.

A Better Way

Slide N PumpOne of the best ways to get rid of all that water that has collected is to use a Slide N Pump. It’s an affordable tool that’ll offer the ease and convenience of a pump, combined with the speed and simplicity of siphoning. It will give you a quick and easy method to eliminate water, and prepare your pool cover for removal, and you won’t have to touch the water, worry about clogging, or waste a bunch of energy.

It can be used to remove a small amount quickly to perform mid-winter maintenance, or it can be used to suck off a large amount when you take the whole cover off. It’s powerful enough to drain your whole pool, but is ideal for this job too. It will be just as effective on large or small pools, and it doesn’t matter if it’s an in-ground variety, or one that is above ground.

The Slide N Pump is basically a combination hand pump and siphon starter, and if there was a tool designed specifically for this job, it would look a lot like this one. It will quickly and easily remove water from your pool cover, but it’s also great for removing water when digging ditches and holes, emptying a large fish tank for cleaning, quickly emptying a child’s pool, or taking the last bit of water out of a toilet prior to replacing or working on it. Get this incredible tool to make opening your pool less frustrating, and then have it on hand to save time and money when doing other jobs too.

How Does It Work?

Operation of this tool is pretty simple. A sort of pump action causes it to work, and it will act as a regular pump to suck up water with each hand motion, or as a siphon to continue water flow after a single motion.

  1. To use this device, you will connect a hose to each side.
  2. One will go into the water on the cover, and the other will go out into your yard to direct the water where you want it.
  3. A simple pump action will start the water flow, and it will continue just like a regular siphon would.

The difference is that you never had to touch the water, suck on the hose, or use any special movements or techniques in order to begin the flow. The fool-proof action requires no trial and error, and ensures that you will get the siphon started no matter what your expertise level is. What is similar is that as long as plant matter and other gunk is small enough to go through the hose, it will not clog things up, or cause problems as you work. As an up side, if you have small amounts of water left over, this is the only method that can effectively deal with it. At a certain point, the siphon will stop, and the water will no longer flow. When this takes place, just switch to a regular pumping action to pull the remaining moisture up and off the cover. When using this tool, you’ll remove more water with less effort, and you’ll finish the job with ease.

If you’re looking for an easier way to open your pool, or if you were wondering if there was an inexpensive tool  to make the job easier, then look no further. The Slide N Pump is one of the best ways to remove water from a pool cover and it’s also incredibly easy to use. Anyone, working with any pool can easily get good results, and finish the job without swearing by using this incredible tool. It’s function is extremely effective, and superior construction along with high quality materials ensure that it will last a long time, and remain helpful for many years of use.

Slide N Pump

Mini Slide N Pump – Same great concept in a smaller size.

Step By Step Instructions: Siphoning a pool cover with the Slide N Pump.

drain cover step 1

Step 1. Getting Ready

Before you begin, you’ll need to gather your supplies. Clearly, based on the title above, a Slide N Pump is key to completing the job with these directions, but you’ll also need two sections of hose. In this case, we used a regular garden hose for the back side of the tool, and a shorter hose remnant for the front side. A regular size pump was utilized in the demonstration here, but you could also complete this task with the mini size. The bulk of the water removal will take place automatically, but in some cases a small amount will still remain after the siphon stops. When this happens, you can manually pump the remaining liquid off the cover, and the larger size pump will allow you to do it faster.

drain cover step 2

Step 2. Place the Hose

The longer hose is the one that goes into the large puddle on top of your pool cover. When placing it in, make sure to position the end so that it rests near the center, but also be careful to keep it away from debris that might cause problems. If you have quite a bit of standing water like we did in the example here, you can speed things up by lowering the whole hose(or most of it), so that it fills with water. You may not be able to get it all the way filled, but any amount that flows in naturally will reduce the amount of pumping required to initiate the siphon later on.

drain cover step 3

Step 3. Direct The Water

We were using a 50 ft. garden hose and when this step was finished, half of it was resting on the cover submerged in water, and the other half was hanging over the edge. You’ll notice that it’s directed down over the side, and out into the yard. You can send the water in any direction, and you can use a longer hose if you want to, but you need to make sure that wherever the exit is, that it is lower than the water you’re trying to remove. Water does not run uphill by itself, and if the pressure inside the hose doesn’t hold, the water will stop flowing. If done correctly, you should only have to pump a couple of times, and then the cover will drain automatically. If the exit end of the hose is level with, or above the height of the pool cover, then you’ll never get a siphon started, and you’ll end up working too hard.

drain cover step 4

Step 4. Connect The Pump

Once you have the hose out in your lawn, or in another location that you want the water to end up, it’s time to connect the Slide N Pump. Prior to hooking up this longer section of hose, we connected a 2-3 ft. hose to the front side of the tool. When considering the length and position for the hose required in your case, please note that once you get the siphon started, you’ll want to remove the pump, so the only real reason for any hose on the front end is to keep the initial flow away from your body. Once you get the water flowing, the bulk of it will exit the longer hose because it will continue to run out automatically until the siphon stops.

drain cover step 5

Step 5. Pump It Up

Once you have a hose on each end, its time to get things started. To make the water move through the hose and off of your pool cover, simply pull out and then push in to start pumping water. In this example it only took to full pumps to start the siphon. You can tell it is started because water will flow out the front hose without you doing anything. If everything is set up correctly, it should only take minimal pumping, so if you find yourself working too hard or getting frustrated at this stage, you may want to re-visit the previous steps.

drain cover step 6

Step 6. Remove The Hose

As soon as the you notice that the liquid is flowing on its own, remove the pump, and set it aside. In most cases, you won’t need it again, but keep it close just in case.

drain cover step 7

Step 7. Inspect The Flow

After removing the pump, watch the end of the hose for a little bit to ensure that the water keeps moving. If it does, you should be good to go.

drain cover step 8

To ensure proper function of the pump, and long term viability, there’s a screen to block debris. With a job like this, it’s easy to get it clogged with leaves and other muddy, goopy sludge. That’s why it’s important to position the hose end away from the decaying plant matter, and also to remove the pump as soon as the siphon starts. If the water isn’t running like it should, or if you’re having trouble operating the pump, the first thing to check is this screen. If it is clogged, just clean it out, and try again. You don’t want to remove it in an attempt to speed through the job, just try to avoid sucking up anything but water at the beginning, and most of it will have no trouble moving through the hose all by itself.

drain cover step 9

Step 8. Let It Go

Once the siphon is started and the hose is directing water off of the cover and into the yard, you can just leave it alone. The amount of time required to drain it completely will vary in every situation, but that’s why we did this job in the evening. It was left over night, and when returning the next day, the water was gone, and we were one major step closer to removing the cover. With the amount of water that had collected in this case, it would have been a long wait to watch it drain all the way, so if you have a similar amount, the easiest thing to do is let it drain while you sleep.

drain cover step 10

Step 9. Check It Out

Whether you wait overnight, or just give it an hour or two, once the siphon stops, most of the water should be eliminated. If you do have a small amount of liquid that remains, you can reconnect the pump to manually remove it with little effort. In this case, we were able to suck tons of water off the top with the siphon alone, so we just moved right on to the next step; removing whatever that brown pile of stinky stuff was. If you did have a low spot, or a large area of water still sitting there, using the tool as a manual pump should allow you to pull it off in just a few seconds.

drain pool cover before and after

Before and After

The picture above shows the dramatic results, and it took almost no effort to accomplish. Total set up time was maybe 5 or 10 minutes, and beyond that, it pretty much took care of itself. The main downside is the amount of time it may take the water to drain out of the garden hose, but when planned the right way, you can avoid any problems. Thanks to this handy tool, we were able to transform a disastrous situation into an easily managed task.



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  1. Great Idea on using an electric pump. I think I wasted a lot of time scooping everything out with a bucket when the pump could make it so much faster. I’m sure there are a lot of other people like me out there that could use these pool tips! Thanks!

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