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Thread: Fake Main Drain No pipe?

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    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    Fake Main Drain No pipe?

    I use to be a life guard and we swept everything to the main drain then turned on the main drain valve and sucked everything into the filter system. This was back in the 80s. I recently purchased a home in Houston with a swimming pool, my first. So I proceeded to clean my pool in a similar fashion. The dirt just piled up at the main drain. Nothing was moving. I checked my valves and everything was set. Still nothing. In fact, I almost drained the spa out. Apparently the spa drains are working. I tossed a plastic bag over the spa drains to keep it from draining, still nothing from the main drain. What the?

    I tossed a cinder block into the deep end and dove into the pool. Holding onto the cinder block I managed to unscrew the main drain covers. Two of them. One drain simply had a lateral pipe connecting it to the other drain. First Faux drain. The other had a cap. A cap! What? Got some channel locks and took the cap off. Inside was clay, no pipe, just clay dirt. Maybe it was plugged? I got a long rod and poked the clay. I couldn't see a pipe down there. Two faux drains?

    When I purchased the home there was one of those robot thingys cursing around. So is that the way we clean pools these days? Then why put those silly drains down there? I dunno. A friend told me he "thinks" they stopped using real drains for liability reasons. Something about kids with long hair getting hung up on the drain. Makes sense to me.

    Let me know if anyone thinks that's what pool manufacturers do these days.

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    borjis's Avatar
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    Re: Fake Main Drain No pipe?

    Maybe the one not capped is clogged or was disabled.

    One person here had that happen, or it was put in at build time but never plumbed.

    Either way use a vac or robot/suction cleaner.

    A main drain isn't required and lots of pools don't have them (mine doesn't)
    16x32 IG Vinyl, 13,000 Gals. Hayward S-244T sand filter, SP2810X15 pump
    (1.5 HP motor) Raypak PR266AEN (266k btu) gas heater. TF-100 Test Kit.
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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Fake Main Drain No pipe?

    The Virginia-Graeme-Baker (VGB) Act requires that all pools built in the US have a connected, split-drain so that suction entrapment hazards are avoided. You will find that all pool constructions follow this code.

    So the secondary drain that is connected to the primary drain is correct. The first drain sounds as if it was plugged or somehow developed a leak. Then, in an effort to cheaply fix it, the previous owner simply capped it off. You would have to work back at the equipment pad and isolate that drain line and use something like a Drain King to blow out the line. It is very likely the line leaks and simply has years of sediment built up into it. You could very likely need a plumbers help on this.

    On a side note, if this was not properly disclosed in the sales documentation for the home, you could have legal recourse to force the previous owner to fix it. However, that is up to a lawyer to determine.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Fake Main Drain No pipe?

    The drains are connected together and the line runs from a T out of the middle of the connecting pipe. They are connected together to prevent entanglement. The caped thing you found was probably a hydro-static valve to let ground water into the pool if you drained it to prevent the pool from popping.

    Look at your skimmer are there two pipes in the bottom. One is probably in from the main drain and the other is out to the pump.

    Even on full open a main drain does not have much force. the dual drains prevent that so your 80s method of cleaning the pool really doesn't work. Buy a robot they are great.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    borjis's Avatar
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    Re: Fake Main Drain No pipe?

    Good point gwegan, that cap probably is the hydrostatic valve.
    16x32 IG Vinyl, 13,000 Gals. Hayward S-244T sand filter, SP2810X15 pump
    (1.5 HP motor) Raypak PR266AEN (266k btu) gas heater. TF-100 Test Kit.
    Dolphin E10 Cleaning Robot.

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