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Pool and spa tips

A properly managed pool or spa can be an appropriate use of water. Use these tips to make the most of your water use.

Draining your pool

Even with proper and regular pool maintenance, many Las Vegas pool professionals recommend draining your swimming pool—either completely or partially—every 3 to 5 years. While you do not need to notify the Las Vegas Valley Water District when you replace the water in your pool, keep in mind that filling your swimming pools increases your property's water use, resulting in a higher bill and possible Excessive Use Charges (EUC).

To mitigate high water bills during a pool refill, consider the following:

  • 💧Drain and refill your pool in May or June when Excessive Use Charge thresholds are higher.
  • 💧Keep your irrigation system programmed for 3 days a week rather than 6 days during these months to off-set water used to refill the pool.
  • 💧Refill your pool across two billing periods (halfway in one billing period and the rest in the next billing period) to help manage your water bill.

Consult your pool care professional for maintenance questions, including advice on whether a partial water replacement or full water replacement is required for your pool's maintenance and/or water quality.

Estimate your water bill before refilling

To estimate the potential impact on your monthly bill, use the water bill estimator to compare your past usage for a given billing period. You can view your water use and billing history by logging into My Account. Billing periods vary by customer and by month. Your monthly bill may have fewer or more days, depending upon when your meter is read. Excessive Use Charge thresholds may vary as well, depending on the number of days in the billing period.

Estimate Your Bill

High water-use customers already receiving Excessive Use Charges regularly are unlikely to see any savings from these considerations and should focus on limiting outdoor water use on a consistent basis.

How to drain your pool

Don't drain pool water into the street, gutters or storm drains: this is a violation of local codes and you could be cited for water waste. Pool water must be drained directly to the sanitary sewer system, which allows the water to be recycled and reused. Find your pool clean-out port in order to drain to the sewer.

Never drain a pool into a septic tank, which can quickly overfill. If you are on a septic tank, call the Southern Nevada Health District at 702-759-0571 before you drain your pool. Call the appropriate municipality for other questions about draining your pool.

If your pool has a dedicated sewer connection, also known as an integrated system, refer to your owner's manual or contact your pool contractor for draining instructions.

Consider contacting a licensed pool service or plumber if you're unsure about draining your pool or need assistance.

Pool draining steps

  1. Shut off the power to the pool's filtration system at the circuit breaker and turn off the automatic water fill valve.
  2. Find the sewer clean-out port to access the sanitary sewer line. The port is usually located in the ground and close to the home, often near a water spigot. The port should have a rubber or threaded cap with a square wrench fitting and be about three to four inches in diameter.
  3. Run a drainage hose from the sewer clean-out port to the pool, and connect it to a submersible pump. Lower the pump into the deepest area of the pool, near the drain. As you drain, monitor flow into the clean-out port to ensure water doesn't back up into your home's sink and shower drains. If back-up does occur, stop and contact a professional plumber. The maximum recommended discharge rate is 12 gallons per minute—a safe pumping rate may be less. (Note: any hoses or equipment inserted into the sewer line can become contaminated.)
  4. After draining your pool, refill it as soon as possible. Direct sunlight can damage your pool's exposed plaster. It may take a few days for the fresh water to reach the proper chemical levels, so check the levels daily for a week and add chemicals as needed.

Clean-out ports

View examples of pool clean-out ports to help you track yours down.

An example of a pool clean-out port located in a landscape area.
A pool clean-out port is hidden in overgrowth.
A pipe style pool clean-out port.
An example of an enclosed pool clean-out port.
A pool clean-out port located in the sidewalk.
An example of a pool clean-out port in a yard.

The sewer clean-out port will likely be 3 to 4 inches in diameter and have a clamped, rubber cover or threaded cap.

If you have difficulty finding the clean-out port, it may be covered by landscaping.

The preferred port is usually located at ground level in the landscaped area of the front yard, close to the home. Some sewer ports may be embedded in the driveway or garage floor.

Some sewer ports may be within a wall. Use caution if this is the case, as wall-mounted ports create greater potential for water to back up into the home.

If there are two ports, use the port nearest to the home and not embedded in the wall.

Do not drain a pool into a septic tank, which can quickly overfill.

Pool and spa tips

  • Cover your pool and spa: In the hottest months, pools and spas can lose dozens of gallons of water each day to evaporation. Covers reduce evaporation by up to 90 percent, limit windblown debris, and conserve energy.
  • Protect your pool and spa from wind: Wind exposure can increase evaporation in uncovered pools and spas. Plant trees and shrubs that buffer your pool and spa, but won't shed or drop leaves in the water.
  • Maintain pool filters: Wash cartridge filters when your pump operating pressure increases by 10 pounds per square inch (psi). You can wash cartridges on landscape areas since chlorinated pool water is diluted with clean water. Never allow wash water to run into the street.
  • Heat your pool conservatively: Warmer water means higher evaporation rates. Professionals recommend 78 degrees Fahrenheit as the ideal recreational pool temperature.

Test for leaks

One of the easiest ways to find out if you have a pool leak is with a simple, four-step bucket test.

  1. Turn off the automatic fill valve.
  2. Place a bucket on a step, with the bucket rim at least a few inches above the water line.
  3. Place a heavy weight in the bucket and add water until the water level inside the bucket is equal with the water level in the pool.
  4. Leave the bucket and pool undisturbed for several days, then compare the water level in the bucket to the water level in the pool.

If the water level in the bucket is significantly higher than the water level in the pool, you may have a leak and a professional should be consulted.

Tired of your pool?

Are you interested in ditching your pool and replacing it with Water Smart Landscaping? If your pool is currently in good working order, you may qualify for the Southern Nevada Water Authority's Water Smart Landscapes Rebate.

Get a Landscape Rebate

Municipal pool contacts

Call the appropriate municipality for other questions about draining your pool.

Municipal pool contacts
Property is located in: Call:
City of Las Vegas 702-229-7318
Boulder City 702-293-9200
Clark County 702-668-8674
Henderson 702-267-5900
Laughlin 702-298-3113
North Las Vegas 702-633-1275

If you are on a septic tank, call the Southern Nevada Health District at 702-759-0571 before you drain your pool.