What is the most creative way you can think of to drain a pool?
September 12, 2017 8:22 AM   Subscribe

A buddy of mine has to drain his pool. He asked on Facebook how to actually do that. We've given him a bunch of "helpful" ideas, but I'd like to get more help on this. The more unpractical your idea, the better. Let's science the crap out of this.

So far we've covered electrolysis to convert it to hydrogen and oxygen, and we've proposed using a bunch of dry ice to freeze it and then shoveling it out. And some low-brow friend proposed a syphon. So, what else do we have?
posted by jeffamaphone to Home & Garden (89 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
Displacement! Drop something very big from a tall height.
posted by quaking fajita at 8:25 AM on September 12 [9 favorites]


Throw in a bunch of those little toys that expand in water.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 8:27 AM on September 12 [9 favorites]


Fill it with jello mix, stir, eat. Maybe dance on top of it first.
posted by Mchelly at 8:30 AM on September 12 [11 favorites]


Maybe a half-ton of instant snow powder?
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:30 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Put it in rice
posted by raccoon409 at 8:32 AM on September 12 [24 favorites]


Add a bunch of sugar and make a giant hummingbird feeder. Wait.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:33 AM on September 12 [10 favorites]


Get a hold of some dehydrated camels. "A thirsty camel can drink as many as 30 gallons (135 liters) of water in about 13 minutes." (source, National Geographic).
posted by kitcat at 8:35 AM on September 12 [11 favorites]


If the pool is an introvert you can take it to a very large party and force it to make smalltalk with all of the guests.
posted by phunniemee at 8:35 AM on September 12 [59 favorites]


Turn it into a giant sous vide set-up, the water will eventually evaporate. While you're waiting for that, sous vide a whole hog.
posted by noneuclidean at 8:36 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


Put it in a ziploc bag with dessicant packs.
posted by zippy at 8:36 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


From the slug-in-the-iron post the other day: Turn off your wifi. If the water is anything like a teenager it will leave on its own.
posted by Mchelly at 8:36 AM on September 12 [12 favorites]


Obviously, if you have a low enough drain, a hose, and plenty of time, siphon is the way to go. Otherwise, a strong, hi-pressure pump and a nozzle fine enough to atomise the output. Best to have the nozzle set up at a quite high altitude.
posted by SemiSalt at 8:37 AM on September 12


Hire one of those firefighting helicopters to scoop it out.
posted by noneuclidean at 8:41 AM on September 12 [4 favorites]


Drill a hole in the bottom. Wait.
posted by goatdog at 8:48 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Have the Illuminati, "climate control" a mini hurricane in his back yard, to suck the water up, and create neighborhood havoc.
posted by Oyéah at 8:48 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


Premixed concrete, followed by days and days with a jackhammer.
posted by aramaic at 8:49 AM on September 12 [11 favorites]


Drop in enough cesium and I bet you can explode it dry!
posted by kalimac at 8:51 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


All these other answers are overthinking the problem. Just turn it upside-down.
posted by pipeski at 8:53 AM on September 12 [52 favorites]


Is the water Canadian? If so, ask it to please come out of the pool.

Otherwise, throw in a hundred golden retrievers and then make them get out of the pool and shake off the water. Repeat and repeat.
posted by mochapickle at 8:53 AM on September 12 [20 favorites]


Fill with corn starch until you can make a quasi quicksand that you can run across, but don't dare risk stopping at! Once you've got that, shovel it out to toss over the fence and make it the neighbor's problem. Note, only do this last part at night :)
posted by nobeagle at 8:57 AM on September 12 [6 favorites]


Biggest stone soup party ever.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:03 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Have a sparrow take a sip of water. Repeat with multiple birds until empty.
posted by Jubey at 9:03 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


Targeted missle strike if an actual meteor is unavailable.
posted by lydhre at 9:05 AM on September 12


Tunnel underneath and light a fire to boil it out.
posted by solotoro at 9:07 AM on September 12 [5 favorites]


Jump in. Climb out. Take your clothes off. Put clothes in dryer until dry. Put clothes back on. Repeat.
posted by Too-Ticky at 9:08 AM on September 12 [7 favorites]


Turn it into a bong. Wait 8-23 minutes before someone spills it.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:10 AM on September 12 [9 favorites]


Focus the sun's energy on it using a giant mirror, preferably to attain boiling temperature.
posted by exogenous at 9:13 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


Craigslist Free Section
posted by theora55 at 9:22 AM on September 12 [26 favorites]


Lure in some ducks or geese with some finely chopped greens, algae, etc. When a sufficient number (left as an exercise to the reader) settle down for a meal, make sure they're good and fed, and then freeze the pool instantly using the rapid-chilling system you've pre-installed.

The fowl will be spooked, of course, and immediately take flight, but their feet will be trapped, so naturally they will take the pool-water with them.
posted by Sunburnt at 9:31 AM on September 12 [12 favorites]


Construct a large, extremely sturdy, pressure vessel over it. Then pump all the air out of the vessel until it is a near-vacuum. The water will boil away quickly.

Simple.
posted by Tabitha Someday at 9:34 AM on September 12 [5 favorites]


Dump in a bunch of those weird gelatinous balls that suck up water.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:34 AM on September 12 [4 favorites]


Too-Ticky: Jump in. Climb out. Take your clothes off. Put clothes in dryer until dry. Put clothes back on. Repeat.

And if you want to make this option more science-y, wear a labcoat.
More science AND more creativity: a hand-knitted, -felted, or -crocheted labcoat. Duh!
posted by Too-Ticky at 9:38 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Cloud transformation: let it float away

Invite the bears for a pool party

Dehydrated sponges
posted by effluvia at 9:40 AM on September 12


Use it as a refilling station for forest fire helicopters/planes.
posted by TheAdamist at 9:43 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Magnetize it and lift it out with a Mag Lev system.

Snow machine
posted by effluvia at 9:46 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Upload it to the cloud
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 9:47 AM on September 12 [28 favorites]


Grow a biofilm on it and let it slither away.
posted by effluvia at 9:48 AM on September 12


Measure it out with coffee spoons.
posted by mochapickle at 9:48 AM on September 12 [4 favorites]


Line up everyone you've ever met for the most epic conga-line-to-cannonball ever.
posted by Etrigan at 9:53 AM on September 12


Put in a bunch of coffee grounds and wait a couple days. Open a pop-up coffee shop serving artisinal single-source Italian piscina acqua cold brew coffee. Hipsters will flock to his house and suck that pool dry in no-time.
posted by noneuclidean at 9:53 AM on September 12 [11 favorites]


Just a warning, if it is an inground pool he may want to look into putting some temporary holes in the bottom as my neigbor's pool floated after they drained it and it rained heavily one day. Buckled the concrete deck around it. It is apparently pretty common.
posted by Short End Of A Wishbone at 9:53 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Go to Wyoming. Mine yourself some bentonite, a clay mineral, from one the Cretaceous black shales. (Wyoming is the largest single producer in the world.) Bentonite is a mineral formed when volcanic ash weathers in ocean water. You want sodium bentonite, Al2H2Na2O13Si4, not K-bentonite (potash) or Ca-bentonite, because its absorptive properties are higher - it can absorb as much as 550-660% its dry mass in water (one reason why it's used in kitty litter) but at full saturation can go up to 12x. Clay tends to form flat "platelets" and the sodium in its chemical structure allows for large amounts of water - almost "unlimited" if the physical and chemical structure is right - to be held in the interlayer of the clay "platelets" grouped together, creating an interlamellar water layer.

Do the math for the mass of bentonite and the pool to calculate how much bentonite to mine. You won't need much, to quote this article, "Because the platelets are uniformly broad and flat, sodium bentonite has an exceptionally high surface area of 600 to 800 square meters per gram. Less than 10 grams of bentonite, if fully dispersed, could cover a football field."

Throw in however much you need. Let it swell and absorb all the water. Scoop it out. If your calculations are incorrect, don't worry - bentonite can be hydrated, dried, and reused infinitely. (That's right folks - you may be wasting kitty litter!)

*Ahem* But. Be lab safe! Wear goggles. Don't let it go into your filters or the plumbing. I speak from personal experience, having ruined a great amount of plumbing and a washing machine due to a small amount of bentonite in a trouser pocket.
posted by barchan at 9:56 AM on September 12 [19 favorites]


All of the above, but first put a big roof over it, then evaporate all the water, let the vapor condense on the roof, and then let it precipitate back into the pool.
posted by kevinbelt at 10:01 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


Array of lenses to concentrate sunlight and heat the water, increasing evaporation. Perhaps coupled with a baffle system to keep pockets that are being sun-heated from being cooled by the main water volume.
posted by aimedwander at 10:02 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Plant an edible water garden. Eat the plants. Repeat.
posted by hydrophonic at 10:17 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Tell skaters if they drain the pool for him they can skate there.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:20 AM on September 12 [6 favorites]


Heard of a guy who tried to drain his pool into the sump pump in his basement, which (in theory) would then pump the water out into a large area in the back yard. It did not work and he destroyed his house.
posted by miyabo at 10:50 AM on September 12 [6 favorites]


Put a sign on the curb saying "pool water for sale $50" and it will be stolen in the dead of night.
posted by Elly Vortex at 11:04 AM on September 12 [5 favorites]


Toss in a few Rolaids! (Rolaids consumes 47 times its weight in excess acid!)
posted by at at 11:08 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


solar-powered rube goldberg pumping apparatus
posted by ArgentCorvid at 11:23 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Freeze it, transport it to the North Pole on Mars and wait for summer.
posted by freya_lamb at 12:08 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Dry it out by enrolling it in a rehab program. Better take it to some AA meetings also.
posted by 445supermag at 12:31 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


Instigate the collapse of civilization. (So many choices on how, so it's all your decision.) Shelter refugees, including your family, in your home. When the water supply collapses, use the pool as a well for drinking water as well as to flush toilets for as long as the outbound plumbing holds out.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:42 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Pool Tang Clan!

Add a barrel of Tang flavour crystals to the pool. Stir.
Host a party at which you serve dry & salty foods (chips! peanuts! olives! saltines!).
Each guest is given a dipper (or a long straw), and is encouraged to drink their fill.
Peeing in the pool at this party is, of course, prohibited, as it would be counterproductive.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 12:45 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


A small Black hole would work.

Alternatively, float a small neutronium core over it and let gravity do its job.
posted by overhauser at 1:20 PM on September 12


Get several CO2 canisters. Dump in a carton of Diet Coke syrup concentrate. Mix thoroughly, carbonate, and dump in a few boxes of Mentos. Get this all on video so you can use the YouTube revenue to hire a cleaning service.
posted by ardgedee at 1:24 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


Telescope, tweezers, pill bottle. Look at it thru the wrong end of the scope. Pick it up with tweezers and put in pill bottle.
or
Water seeks its own level. Make it try harder.
posted by LonnieK at 2:06 PM on September 12 [9 favorites]


Move it next to Hurricane Irma.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:11 PM on September 12


Donate to the Republican party, wait twenty years and global warming will do the job for you.
posted by lore at 2:46 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Fill it with beef jerky. Wait. Voila, steaks!
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 4:21 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


get a bunch of those beads that swell up when you put them in water, and after they absorb the water, start shoveling them down the street. WATCH THE BOUNCING CHAOS UNFOLD.
posted by koroshiya at 5:01 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Just light a fire in the middle of the pool. The heat will boil away the water.
posted by gingerbeer at 5:31 PM on September 12 [4 favorites]


Wicking! Lay a thousand paper towel rolls around the edge, dipping one end into the water, and let capillary action do the rest.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:30 PM on September 12 [8 favorites]


Build a pool reactor in it. Operate it. Report yourself for not having a license. Wait for DOE to come seize the reactor, collect the water, and decontaminate the concrete.
posted by ctmf at 6:59 PM on September 12 [7 favorites]


Sprinkle those desiccant packs from electronics shipping boxes (Do Not Eat) around the sides of the pool. Cover the whole thing with a tarp. Wait.
posted by ctmf at 7:01 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


The fowl will be spooked, of course, and immediately take flight, but their feet will be trapped, so naturally they will take the pool-water with them.

I had the same idea, except freeze the water, dare a neighborhood boy to lick it, then have him pull it out with his tongue.

If that doesn't work hire Guy Lafleur to practice hockey stops until he scrapes all the ice out. Meanwhile, set up shave ice stand to pay Mr. Lafleur's appearance fee.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:20 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


Add jello. Let solidify, scoop.
posted by Toddles at 7:57 PM on September 12


Build a giant freezer around it. Turn to ice. Lift ice out with ice picks.
posted by azalea_chant at 10:17 PM on September 12


Invite entire neighborhood over to swim. Throw a Baby Ruth into the pool. After the pool clears out, wait for Carl Spackler to come drain and clean the pool.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:44 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Kittah. Litter. Neighborhood kitties optional.
posted by TrishaU at 10:52 PM on September 12


Add enough cornflour (?) to make it into one of those non-newtonian fluid dealies, then ...

Look, I can't think of everything, but start with that.
posted by quinndexter at 3:24 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


Dig a deep hole next to it then siphon it out. Then an even deeper hole next to that, and siphon that out. Continue as necessary.
posted by Lord_Pall at 6:26 AM on September 13


Alternatively, wait until it evaporates.
posted by Lord_Pall at 6:27 AM on September 13


1. Buy a rubber boat and a couple of ducks.
2.
3. Profit!
posted by goatdog at 7:49 AM on September 13


Add enough cornflour (?) to make it into one of those non-newtonian fluid dealies, then

Then get a whole bunch of people to jump on it continuously, to keep it a solid, while you lift it out with a crane. They have to keep jumping, though, or - splat! But once you set it on the ground next to the pool, it'll re-liquify and absorb into the ground.

Totally do-able.
posted by telepanda at 7:56 AM on September 13 [4 favorites]


I feel sorry for those who did not get favorited.

True story from my neighborhood: My neighbors sold their house, which had a backyard in-ground pool.
The new owners filled it with dirt, and now it's a lovely garden.
I think the pool had been drained beforehand, so that doesn't help in this case, but you could try. You probably wouldn't have to water it for a long time.
posted by MtDewd at 11:04 AM on September 13


Add enough cornstarch [FTFY] to make it into one of those non-newtonian fluid dealies, then ...

Look, I can't think of everything, but start with that.


Then you call this guy, of course.
posted by dlugoczaj at 11:42 AM on September 13


Take an extension cord, strip off the ends and attach electrodes to the ends. Drop the electrodes in the pool and plug it into the house. Watch the tiny bubbles, and wait.

Warning: May also remove house.
posted by loquacious at 12:05 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


A couple of theological solutions:

1. Advertise as baptismal pool. Require extra-absorbent robes.

2. Encourage water's conversion to evangelical Christianity. Wait for rapture.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 3:18 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


This is easy.
1. First, find the lever. Looks like this, often located on the left side near the top. If it's a low-flow model, there might be a couple of buttons somewhere near the top -- you'll want the button with the "many droplets" or "large droplet" icon.
2. Once you've found that, make sure you're standing in a secure location (DO NOT stand in the pool for this next step).
3. Flush.
4. Wash hands.
posted by ourobouros at 9:25 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


Drill through the earth's crust until you reach magma. (alternatively, run high voltage through long metal rods inserted into the earth until you create magma out of the soil) Funnel this lava into the pool until it evaporates the water. Carefully remove solidified magma after it cools.
posted by cubby at 9:53 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


2. Encourage water's conversion to evangelical Christianity. Wait for rapture.

Alternately...

1) Don't encourage water's conversion to Judaism. (If water is already Jewish skip to step 3)
2) Wait for water to convert based on your good and pious actions.
3) While waiting for the Messiah, the water will drink itself because oy, I'm so parched! Dry heat, schmy heat; you think Moses didn't get toisty?
posted by Room 641-A at 10:41 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


Place pellets of enriched uranium on the bottom of the pool at an optimal spacing to encourage nuclear fission. Wait for the pool water to boil away. The reaction will stop once the water is gone, at which point you can retrieve the pellets.
posted by suetanvil at 7:52 AM on September 15 [2 favorites]


gently start digging in expanding concentric circles from the pool's edge

when you have destroyed planet earth with this action, the pool will be drained
posted by lalochezia at 8:38 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


Wait roughly 1040 to 1080 years until all of the protons and neutrons in the water decay.
posted by bonje at 7:38 AM on September 16 [3 favorites]


Hire the A-Team.
posted by aesop at 3:01 PM on September 20 [1 favorite]


Bottle the water and sell each bottle for $12.99
posted by growabrain at 9:19 PM on September 20 [2 favorites]


1. Pump honey into the pool, and let it displace the lighter water.
2. Coax bears into the yard to take the honey
3. Post on Ask about how to get rid of a family of aggressive bears who are now living in your yard and demanding unlimited amounts of honey
posted by inflatablekiwi at 9:16 AM on September 21 [2 favorites]


1. Disable all fire hydrants nearby
2. Light your neighbor's house on fire (or yours!)
3. Call Fire Brigade
4. Offer the pool as a source of water for them to use
5. Spend 5-10 years in jail for arson and/or insurance fraud
6. Enjoy your empty pool!
posted by inflatablekiwi at 9:21 AM on September 21 [1 favorite]


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