Swimming Pool Is Overflowing: Causes and How to Fix

Written by Michael Dean
August 7, 2023

overflowing swimming pool

A swimming pool adds beauty to any landscape, allowing you to cool off and show off to your friends and family. In return, it demands regular maintenance; however, despite working your best to keep your pool in top-notch condition, life happens, and you may even end up with an overflowing pool.

In this article, I will explore some common causes of an overflowing swimming pool, what to expect, and some straightforward strategies to help you fix the situation without losing your calm. Let’s get into it.

Main Takeaways

  • Overflowing pool water can be caused by heavy rainfall, malfunctioning equipment, improper water level management, human error, or structural issues.
  • To fix an overflowing pool, assess the severity, siphon or drain the excess water, consider using a submersible pump, and rebalance the water chemistry.
  • Maintain the optimal water level by keeping it around halfway up the skimmer.
  • To avoid overflowing, monitor the weather, adjust the water level carefully, and regularly inspect and maintain pool equipment.

Causes of Overflowing Pool Water

Maintaining a clean and adequately filled pool is essential for a relaxing swimming experience, but sometimes this can be disrupted by seemingly harmless causes. An overflowing pool can not only be a nuisance but also a hazard, which I’ll discuss further below. So, it’s important to understand the causes behind overflowing pool water to address it effectively.

Here are some of the common causes.

Heavy Rainfall

The most common culprit of pool overflow is heavy rainfall. During periods of extremely heavy rainfall seasons or raging hurricanes, an overflowing pool is common. In such extreme weather conditions, large quantities of water and debris can enter the pool, raising the water level above the pool’s edge!

This can be further exacerbated if the pool’s drainage system is clogged or is not working correctly.

Malfunctioning Equipment

Sometimes faulty pool equipment, such as malfunctioning automatic fill valves, can cause water to flow continuously into the pool, leading to an overflow.

Improper Water Level Management

Incorrect water level management can also result in pool overflow. Overfilling the pool during routine maintenance or forgetting to adjust the water level after an extreme weather event can lead to water spilling over the pool’s edge.

Human Error

Other accidental errors, such as forgetting to turn off the hose or filling the pool unattended, can cause the water level to rise rapidly, resulting in an overflowing pool. When filling up the pool, supervise it to avoid this from happening!

How to Fix Overflowing Pool Water

If you are dealing with an overflowing pool, take immediate action to prevent further damage to your yard and restore the pool to its optimal condition. Here is what to do to fix this if it occurs:

First, you need to analyze the problem. Assess the extent of the overflow and determine whether it is a minor issue that will go away naturally or if it requires intervention. A small amount of pool overflow may reverse (thanks, evaporation!), but you’ll need to intervene if it’s a more significant issue.

Once you have determined that you need to fix this issue, you have three options:

  1. Siphon the pool water: Siphoning is a simple and commonly used method to remove excess water from the pool. To siphon, submerge the hose in the pool, then take one end, cap it, take it to a chosen drainage area, and uncap to begin the siphoning process. Make sure to check local draining regulations before you do this!
  2. Utilize the pump drain: Some pools have a draining option connected to the pump. Turn off your pump and turn your filter to waste to drain the water.
  3. Use a submersible pump: In cases where the overflow is a more significant issue, using a submersible pump is the most effective option. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to use the submersible pump and remove the excess water from the pool. As always, make sure you have chosen a suitable (and legal) drainage area.

If the situation is overwhelming, seek professional help. Professional pool experts can offer various service packages, including managing water levels and resolving pool overflow issues.

And finally, after fixing the overflow, the next important thing is to rebalance the water. Large amounts of rainwater entering the pool can disrupt the water’s chemical balance. The pH, alkalinity, and chlorine levels may become imbalanced due to the dilution caused by the rainwater and the introduction of some unwanted contaminants. Therefore, it’s absolutely crucial that you balance everything before you jump back into the water.

How Full Should the Pool Be?

My rule of thumb is that the pool water should reach around halfway across the skimmer. If there is too little water, the skimmer will draw in air, which just spells disaster for your filtration system. On the other hand, too much water can lead to flooding and even structural damage to your pool and landscaping. Plus, if the water is above the skimmer and is not quite overflowing, your skimmer won’t be able to effectively suck in all the floating debris as it should.

Potential Problems From Pool Overflow

An overflowing swimming pool is not only an ugly sight but can also open Pandora’s box of issues.

  • Water damage: The first and obvious issue is dealing with the overflowing water destructing the pool’s surroundings. The overflowing water will damage any outdoor furniture and items nearby the pool. The water can also cause structural damage if prompt actions are not taken. The water can seep into adjoining walls, causing cracks or mold to grow. Your landscaping will take a hit too.
  • Skimmer dysfunction: An overflowing pool also spells bad news for your filtration system. Specifically, if the skimmer is overfilled with water, it won’t be able to trap the debris in the skimmer basket effectively. Instead, your skimmer will deposit all the debris back into the pool.
  • Chemical imbalance: When large quantities of new water enter the pool, it disturbs the chemical balance of the water, making your pool unsafe to swim in.

Tips to Avoid an Overflowing Pool

Dealing with an overflowing pool is stressful, to say the least, but prevention is the best fix! Here are my top tips for preventing your pool from overflowing in the first place.

Regularly Monitor the Weather

The leading cause of overflowing pools is heavy rainfall. Stay vigilant about the weather forecast, especially during any heavy rain seasons or severe weather conditions. Knowing when to expect significant precipitation can help you prepare.

However, when it comes to natural events like storms, there’s really no point in draining your pool water beforehand. In fact, that would spell disaster for your pool, as it could lead to your pool lifting. Instead, remove all your deck or patio furniture, turn off all your pool equipment, detach all gas lines, and balance your water before the storm.

Adjust Water Level Carefully

When adding water to your pool, be diligent and stay attentive to avoid accidentally overfilling the pool. Avoid leaving the pool filling unattended, and never leave the hose running for an extended period without supervision. Follow the recommended water level, which is halfway up the skimmer.

Install an Automatic Water Fill Valve

Consider installing an automatic water fill valve in your pool. This device senses the water level and automatically shuts off the water supply when you reach the desired level. This helps in preventing overflows caused by human error or forgetfulness. As a plus, the valve will also automatically top up the pool whenever there isn’t enough water in the pool.

Inspect and Maintain Pool Equipment

Regularly inspect and maintain your pool equipment, including automatic fill valves and pumps. Make sure these components are functioning correctly and not causing continuous water flow into the pool, which can lead to overflow.

Post-Rain Pool Care

After heavy rainfall or stormy weather, give your pool extra attention to ensure it remains clean, balanced, and safe for swimming. Here are some vital steps to follow in post-rain pool care:

  • Brush and skim the pool: Start by skimming the pool to remove any large debris. Then, clean out your skimmer and pump baskets to ensure steady water flow. If rain has significantly raised the water levels, drain the excess.
  • Test and balance the pool water: Test your pool water using a test strip or liquid drop test kit. Heavy rainfall can affect the water chemistry, particularly the pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, and cyanuric acid levels. Adjust these levels as necessary to keep the water balanced and safe for swimming.
  • Shock and filter the water: Shock your pool after heavy rainfall. As always, shock in the evening and leave the pump running for 8 to 10 hours. Allow the chlorine levels to drop to 1 to 3 ppm before jumping back into your newly cleaned pool.

Get My Free Pool Care Checklist

Download my free, printable pool maintenance checklist to help you accomplish regular pool care tasks for any type of swimming pool.

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Overflowing Pool? No Problem

Now you know that an overflowing pool is a pretty easy fix you can do by yourself. There are many options to choose from in terms of fixes – so you can pick the one that works best for you. Just make sure to tend to your overflowing pool as soon as you identify the problem to prevent further issues down the line.

Do you have any more questions about this or anything else pool-related? Send me a message.

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