Should You Vacuum Pool With Shop Vac? (4 Steps To Follow)

By - Hs Saini

Updated -

Vacuuming a pool with a shop vac is a subject of deep consideration because pools usually get cleaned up with a manual vacuum.

But, suppose you encounter a situation where you have nothing but a shop will it be advisable to use it? Even if you can use it, how will you go about it?

I will advise that you give your undivided attention because as this article unfolds, we will see if you can vacuum your pool with a shop vac and the step-by-step procedure to follow.

You will also learn how to manually clean a pool, whether or not it is possible to use a shop vac to empty a hot tub, and finally, how to make a homemade vacuum shop vac.

Apart from the fact that shop vacs can be used for cleaning all kinds of dirt, whether wet or dry, they are unique. Their ability to clean up liquids is the uniqueness or thing that sets them apart from other regular vacuums. But, note that cleaning up fluids efficiently, the shop vac must be adjusted to fit the purpose.

Can I Vacuum My Pool With a Shop-Vac?

Vacuum Pool With Shop Vac

As I have clarified from the above paragraph, the shop vac can clean water. Yet, this work can not be carried out when there is a failure to make the necessary adjustment it needs.

Nevertheless, I know you would agree that there is no sense in going into something when you don’t know anything about it. And so, what is a shop vac?

A shop vac also goes by wet/dry vac and serves the same purpose as a regular or standard vac.

But in addition, it can pick up dirt from papers, woods, light metals, liquids spilled on the floor, or even water flowing from a clogged toilet.

So, below are the things you need to be mindful of when you see a shop vac:

#1. Slow Nature

Shop vacs are slower, mostly when draining a pool where a pool pump is faulty or unavailable.

So, if you have a big pool, then I am sure you already know what I am saying. Yes, such a situation will be a big waste of time.

Another factor that causes a waste of time is these shop vacs come in different capacities.

And this means that the amount of time you spend the emptying shop vac will depend on two things.

One, on the capacity your shop vac can carry, and secondly, on the amount of water you are draining, not to talk about the stress involved.

To solve this issue, you need a shop vac that can carry a more significant capacity like those that carry up to 15 gallons.

Another way will be to attach a hose to the drain valve of your shop vac, especially if you already have one with smaller capacities. 

#2. Drain Hose Connection Is Limited to a Few Shop Vacs

Even though a drain valve can solve the issues associated with limited capacity, not all shop vacs have a drain hose connection.

But if yours lacks one, you may have to dispose manually to move to and fro the disposal site the number of times required.

Nevertheless, suppose you have a shop vac that has a drain hose connection and a very long hose, then you can connect it to the site of disposal.

Finally, avoid draining water that is too muddy because your shop vac can not handle water that is too muddy. 

Pool Vacuum Using Shop Vac: (Step by Step)

A manual swimming pool vacuum or a creepy crawler is the most common for cleaning the pool.

But, the shop vac (wet/dry vac) can also serve this purpose. The only disadvantage here is that time will be wasted due to constantly going to empty shop vac after draining.

Therefore, there are step-by-step procedures you can use while using a shop vac to draw a pool.

The steps you will need to follow will also be dependent on the kind of pool you intend to drain.

So, whether it is a shallow-end pool or a deep-end pool, below are the steps you should endeavor to follow:

StepShallow End PoolsDeep End Pools
Step 1Start by bringing your shop vac close to the pool, but use discernment while placing it there to avoid any accident of the shop vac falling into the pool.When dealing with a deep-end pool, you can attach the pool’s hose to the drain valve or your shop vac, with one end that goes into the pool’s pump and tank.
Step 2Endeavor to connect the long hose to the shop vac while a small part should gain attachment with the piece excellent for vacuuming flat surfaces.The next thing you need to do is to place the other end of your pool vacuum cleaner into the pool. The wide attachment of this end has a design that allows it to move along the bottom and walls of pools.
Step 3Make sure that while vacuuming, you do not fail to vacuum alongside the walls, floor, and other places accessible by your shop vac.Make sure that no dirt or debris is on the walls or bottom of the pool.
Step 4Finally, whenever your vac becomes full, empty it before you continue; this makes you work easily and quickly.Continue to empty the shop vac to make things easy and enhance speed while working as you are working.

How Do You Manually Vacuum a Pool?

To manually vacuum a pool, you’ll need to follow five steps and these steps are as follows:

#1. Attachment of Vacuum Head, Hose, and Telescopic Pole

The open end of your telescopic pole should be attached to the head of the vacuum head.

Sometimes you may need to clamp it just in case it becomes slippery. And while doing this, ensure that the pump and filter run well.

#2. Removing Air From Vacuum

Make sure the hose and telescopic pole are in the water while the head of the vacuum should be on the bottom of the pool.

You can drive shop vac water through the hose to push out the air by attaching the hose to the return jet in the pool.

Furthermore, ensure that the vacuum inlet is the only line open to the pump; otherwise, all kinds of dirt and debris in the pool will be drawn in.

And you can know when air is out of the hose when the air bubbles stop coming out of the hose.

#3. Attaching Vacuum Hose and Pool Skimmer Together       

The hose you attached to the return jet should be connected with the skim vac plate, then place the skimmer at the top of the basket.

Please ensure that you firmly seal it because failure will result in poor suctioning.

You should remove the skimmer basket without using a vacuum plate. Then insert the hose into the skimmer inlet (suction hole) at the bottom of the skimmer.

#4. Begin to Vacuum

You can do this by starting at the shallow end of the pool, and from there, you can begin to move to the deep end of the pool.

While at a round pool, you can start and move toward the right or the left across the floor.

When you notice the water has become cloudy, allow for resettling and then vacuum again as possible.

And if the head of the vacuum becomes stuck, you need to break the vacuum by switching off the pump.

Nevertheless, while vacuuming, ensure that you are measuring the filter pressure gauge.

And this is because if this pressure rises above the manufacturer’s recommended level, it could damage.

So, you can take a brief break, and a complete backwash of the filter should be done to keep the equipment safe.

#5. Disconnect Vacuum and Clean

To fully carry out this step, you should follow these steps thoroughly;

  1. It would be best to disconnect the vacuum head from the telescoping pole; all water left in the hose should dry. Then use a cleaning brush to remove the dirt, debris, and algae left behind.
  2. Backwash the filter and clean the debris in your pump strainer basket after vacuuming.
  3. If you use a waste setting, endeavor to switch back to the filter setting.
  4. After restoring water to your pool, ensure that you make the necessary adjustments to pH and chlorine.
  5. When you have finished everything, ensure all equipment receives rinsing and proper drying and returns to storage.

Can I Use a Shop Vac to Empty a Hot Tub or Pool?

Just as I have already made clear at the onset of this article, you can use a shop vac to empty your pool, with the only disadvantage being that it’s time-consuming.

Notwithstanding, the same thing also applies to your hot tub, as you can completely drain out the entire water with a shop vac.

In using the shop vacuum, you must drop one end of the hose into the bottom of the tub while connecting the other end to the shop vac.

Then turn on the vac for a few seconds for the water to begin flowing, turn off, and quickly disconnect again. And this ensures that the water comes out as expected.

Homemade Pool Vacuum Shop Vac

To create a homemade pool shop vac, you need to do very well in following the four steps outlined here:

#1. Supplies Gathering

To achieve a good result at the end of the day, you would agree that it demands a high level of preparedness.

The same thing applies to making a homemade swimming pool vacuum shop vac that cleans.

Below are the supplies you would need;

  • A plastic funnel
  • Rubber band
  • Panty holes
  • Glue gum
  • 1-inch plastic housing

#2. Hose and Funnel Connection

Put the wide opening of your funnel facing the ground while sliding the hose onto the side with a narrow space. Then use the glue gun to secure the hose to the horn and wait until it dries up.

#3. Form a Makeshift Filter

Yes, this is where your pantyhose come in. First, you would need to stretch it over the wide part of the funnel and then firmly hold it in place with a rubber band or two.

#4. Begin to Use Vacuum

Although it is not like the others, it is one of the most accessible homemade vacuums you would ever have.

All you need to do to use it is to press the end of the funnel against the suction filter of the pool.


Although it may be slow and time-consuming, you can vacuum the pool and hot tub with a shop vac.

And you now know the steps to clean shallow and deep-end pools with a shop vac and the manual steps for vacuuming.

And finally, you now know the steps in creating a homemade pool shop vac.

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