What Happens When You Overfill a Pool?

Your pool water levels can change daily due to evaporation, heavy rains, pump and vacuum usage, and people jumping in and out. It is a good idea to check your water levels daily, along with regular maintenance. As you do this, you may wonder what could happen if you overfill the pool.

When you overfill a pool, if it’s installed correctly, it should be fine. Overfilling can temporarily affect pool chemistry and skimmer functioning. However, too much water at a fast rate could cause flooding and structural damage to your pool, landscaping, and nearby structures.

This article will help you know what to do if the pool is too full, including drainage techniques for removing a few inches of water. Read on to find out more details.

What To Do if You Overfill a Pool

Generally, if you overfill a pool a little bit, it will adjust on its own with a proper drainage installation and system. 

However, a heavy rainstorm could cause more significant issues. In addition to overfilling your pool, which can cause water to spill over the edges and flood nearby areas, rainwater can also cause other issues. 

Rainwater is acidic and can change the chemistry, creating a lower pH balance. This makes the water cloudy and increases the opportunity for bacteria and algae to grow. If left untreated and unbalanced, parts of the pool may rust or deteriorate, resulting in leaking and costly damage.

Installation for Proper Drainage

When your pool was first installed, it was done with drainage in mind. This is to avoid the disastrous event of a large quantity of water being released all at once. 

However, even a small leak can create issues for your property over time. 

Hopefully, all directions were followed when your above-ground pool was set up. This includes ensuring that your pool’s foundation was landscaped correctly to allow drainage away from the house and other structures. 

Any add-ons such as a deck, or a nearby shed for storing pool supplies, are angled and placed so that run-off water does not flow into the pool.

Draining off Excess Water

If your pool is full to the rim, you do not necessarily need to drain the pool. The only issue is that your skimmer might not do its cleaning action effectively, resulting in it skipping debris that floats by. 

The function of the skimmer is to assist you with keeping the pool clean, which is not a task that should be avoided. Generally, a skimmer works when the water level is between one-third to halfway up to the opening of the pool skimmer. You can refer to the skimmer’s instruction manual for the right level for your particular model.

If you decide to drain a lot of water out, you risk damaging your pool’s structure and a significant change in the chemical composition of the water that invites in algae and bacteria. 

Generally, all you need to do is check your pool’s chemical levels, and with use, the levels will go down over time. If your skimmer is not cleaning or working well, you can consider draining off a little bit to make your overall cleaning and maintenance job more manageable.

However, if you decide to drain, only take off a few inches of water, and drain it away from all nearby structures. 

You can try a few different ways of maintaining an optimum pool level. Your pool may have a multiport valve on the pump or drain readily available to use, you can use a submersible pump, or you can siphon the excess water out with a hose.

Here is a chart for what you can do:

Pool Pump Multiport ValvePump DrainSubmersible PumpSiphoning Water
1. Turn off the pump. 2. Open the 2-way valve if necessary, and switch to the “Waste” option. 3. Turn the pump on, monitoring the water level as it decreases. 4. Turn off the pump. 5. Switch back to “Filter” and close the 2-way valve.1. Look for a drainage port with your filter.2. Hook a hose up to the port’s spigot, open the line, and drain water to the desired level.1. Follow the pump’s product instructions. 2. Your pump will sink to the bottom of the pool with an attached hose to pump water out.  3. Make sure the water drains away from the pool and nearby structures. 1. You will need to create an elevation difference to get the water to flow out of the pool. This means the exit end of the hose is lower than the height of the pool.  2. Suck on the hose to create a suction, pulling water into the hose and out onto the ground. Use care to avoid swallowing the water. 3. Drain away from the pool and nearby structures.

If you are unsure of what to do, it may be worth it to call and ask a local pool professional for their advice. They can also check your water levels and advise if it is too high or low.

Preventing Overflow

If the weather forecast predicts heavy rains, you can take action ahead of time by lowering your pool’s water level by a few inches using the above-mentioned techniques. This will allow your pool and surrounding landscape to handle the sudden influx of water.  

If your pool is covered and water has accumulated on top of the cover, you can drain this off to avoid mixing it in with your clean pool water. 

Amazon.com offers an EDOU Submersible Pool Cover Pump that is high-efficiency and time-saving, draining 850 gallons (3,217.6 L) per hour. It comes with two adapters for a ¾” (1.9 cm) garden and drain hose and works with a 110-volt wall outlet. 

This product includes a hose and offers 24-hour customer service support.

Keep in mind that you should never completely drain your pool, which can cause irreversible and costly damage. Again, check the chemical levels in your pool before using after you have drained excess water off. 


An overfilled pool will generally adjust over time with use and evaporation. It may also cause your skimmer not to work as efficiently, meaning the pool owner will need to collect debris from the surface of the water. 

If an owner wishes to remove the water, only a few inches should be removed to avoid damage to the pool. Contact a pool professional for the best way to manage an overfilled pool when in doubt.


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