How to Take Down an Above Ground Pool

There are many reasons you may need to take down your above ground pool. You might be moving to a new house or selling the swimming pool. Or the pool may have run its course and the liner has worn out. And on the other hand, some pool owners prefer to pack up the entire pool for the winter rather than winterize it.

Regardless of the reason for taking down your pool, packing up in the right way is important to prevent spilling water all over your yard and possibly damaging your pool. Below, I outline the best and safest way to dismantle an above ground pool and answer some frequently asked questions.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Take Down an Above Ground Pool

Depending on the type of above ground pool you are taking down and whether you plan to use the pool again, there are different steps to be taken when dismantling it.

Step one: Drain the pool

Before beginning to disassemble your pool, you first need to get rid of all the water.

Use a pool pump. The best way to remove the water from the pool is by purchasing or renting a water pump that can be submerged in water. Allow the water to drain. This can take quite a while, so grab a drink while you are waiting. You can also use a garden hose as a siphon to remove the water.

Connect a garden hose to the drain valve. Most Intex above ground pools and inflatable pools will have a unique connection port for draining the pool. You need to attach a garden hose to this and feed the garden hose to an appropriate draining area.

The other end of the hose should be directed towards the nearest sewer opening.

Step two: Take out your pump and filter

After the water in the pool is drained, you should remove your pump and filter line from the above ground pool. Detach the hoses from the pump and filter, and store them in a dry place. Clean out the plumbing of your pump, and rinse out your filter (if it is a DE filter, remove the DE and leave the clean filter grid in the filter base).

If feasible, you should also store your filter and pump for the winter.

Step three: Clean the liner and let everything dry

Brush the liner and spray it down with a hose to clean all the surfaces. The last thing you want is to come back next season to find a filthy pool liner.

After the liner is appropriately cleaned, you should let it dry for 3-4 hours in the sun. You can read my guide on cleaning a drained above ground pool for more details on this step.

Step four (a): Take apart the frame of the pool (for inflatable pools, skip this step and proceed to step four (b))

Once the water in the pool is drained, the plumbing detached, and the liner dried, dismantle the frame of the pool; you may need a drill and a wrench for this task if you have a larger frame with screws and bolts. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and make sure not to damage the liner.

Metal frame: The metal frame is usually comprised of steel, aluminum, or a combination of the two. You will generally only need a screwdriver and a wrench to take apart the frame. I find that most above ground pool frames are easy to take apart, but some models can be pretty complicated.

Resin Frame: Resin pool frames are comprised of hard plastic material, although they will often use metal hardware to hold everything together. These frames can generally be taken apart similarly to metal frames. Sometimes they are made with plastic clamps instead of screws and bolts, so tools are unnecessary.

Hybrid Frame: A hybrid frame is essentially a mixture of metal and resin. They can be taken down similarly to the other two options.

Remember that the key to taking apart the frame is following the manufacturer’s instructions. Most above ground pool brands will provide their recommendations for taking down the pool.

Step four (b): If you have an inflatable pool, release the air in the sides

For inflatable pools, you simply need to release the air in the pool and allow it to flatten. Once all of the air in the pool is released, you can move on to step four.

Step five: Pack away the liner and other equipment.

Fold up the pool liner carefully and make sure there aren’t any sticks or other sharp objects that could tear the liner while it is stored.

For Intex pool liners, fold the sides of the pool in, then fold the pool over until it is rectangular. And finally, roll the pool up into a tight cylinder.

Store the pool and framing equipment in a warm, dry shed if you plan to store it for the winter.

What Not To Do When Taking Down Your Pool

When it comes to above ground pools, you need to be careful when draining and dismantling. Here are a few things to avoid doing when taking apart the pool.

Draining the water anywhere except the sewer

It is never a good idea to drain your pool into your yard or a nearby creek. All of the excess water will flood your yard, destroy all of your vegetation, and make the ground unstable. And all the chemicals in the water can be harmful if drained into a natural body of water. I always insist on draining the water into a nearby sewer; it is the safest way.

Leaving the pool liner exposed to the elements

Above ground pool liners are designed to be filled with water all of the time. So, when the pool is empty, the liner is at risk of being damaged by the sun or other elements. When you pack away your pool, make sure the liner is carefully folded and put in a safe place as well.

Putting the pool liner away when it is still wet

Make sure the pool liner is adequately dried before putting it away. A wet liner stored for months can become a huge problem when reopening your pool. Mold and bacteria will grow all over the liner. The last thing you want is to tackle a considerable cleanup job before you can start swimming.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is it hard to take down an above ground pool?

Taking apart your above ground pool does not necessarily need to be a difficult task, but it will generally take an entire day. Draining the water alone takes 6-10 hours, and disassembling a larger complex pool can take the better part of a day as well.

My best tips are to read the instructions thoroughly and make sure to drain and take down the pool on a clear day. The liner will not dry very fast on a cloudy day.

How much does it cost to take down an above ground pool?

There are not many expenses involved in taking apart your above ground pool. The main cost to mention would be renting or buying a submersible pool pump, which will cost you $400-$1,000 to buy and around $50 a day to rent. You will also need a few basic tools to take apart the frame of the pool. A wrench and a screwdriver will set you back $20-$40.

The only other noteworthy expense is the cost of water. If you plan to set the pool back up again next season, you need to fill it up with water. The average water cost in the USA is about $1.5 per 1,000 gallons.

How do you dispose of an above ground pool?

If your above ground pool has come to the end of its life and you have taken it down, you will need to find a way to dispose of it. Depending on the size of the pool and its frame, there are a few options.

Put it outside for curbside collection or take it to a recycling center. Most of the parts in an above ground pool will be 100 percent recyclable. If the pool is too large for curbside collection, either take it to the recycling center yourself or organize a truck to pick it up.

Take it to a pool seller. Some pool sellers will buy or take your old pool parts off your hands. They will either repair the entire above ground pool and resell it at a lower rate or salvage parts to repair other pools.

Bottom Line

No matter where you’re taking your above ground pool, there are safe and simple ways to uninstall and move it. If you’re throwing away your current swimming pool and getting a new one, make sure to check out my recommendations on the top-rated above ground pools. Have questions? Let me know; always happy to help.

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