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Thread: How much to suction from Skimmer vs. Drains?

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    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Sacramento, CA
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    How much to suction from Skimmer vs. Drains?

    My skimmer and drains are on the same valve with a hand crank. I can have water suctioned through one or the other, or partial from both. I have always kept it right in the middle -- 1/2 drains, 1/2 skimmer. I understand the importance of having at least some water coming back from the drains in case the skimmer basket gets clogged, but what is the ideal proportion? I heard someone does about 1/3 drains, 2/3 skimmer. If I know my skimmer isn't going to get clogged, is it better to leave the drains off most of the time? What is everyone else doing?

    Thank you so much! This site has been a lifesaver!
    Sacramento California

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    Join Date
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    Sacramento, CA
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    Re: How much to suction from Skimmer vs. Drains?

    I should have mentioned... we hardly get any leaves in our pool, but we get lots of pollen/dust. Also, I don't use a pool cleaner at all.
    Sacramento California

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    Re: How much to suction from Skimmer vs. Drains?

    Most of the time I have about 20% main drain, 80% skimmer. I do it this way because I figure most of the pollen and other debris stays on the surface for a while, and the ratio I use makes it easier to get this stuff filtered before it sinks. If I'm introducing chemicals like borax or baking soda into my pool, I usually set the valve to about 50% main drain, 50% skimmer. When I run the Aquabot I usually set it at 50/50, so the main drain can filter out all the stuff on the bottom that the aquabot stirs up. After a big storm when alot of debris is on the surface I switch the pump to high and the skimmers to about 95%.

    Tom
    In gound vinyl L, ~41,000 gallons, Pentair Clean and Clear Plus 420 cartridge filtter, Pentair 2 speed WhisperFlo pump

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    May 2007
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    Silver Spring, MD
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    37,879

    Re: How much to suction from Skimmer vs. Drains?

    The skimmer/drain setting is usually fairly flexible. You want enough flow going through the skimmer(s) so that they skim well and enough flow through the drain so the pump won't lose prime if the skimmer(s) become blocked. In the average pool that usually leaves you quite a bit of range where it really doesn't matter. However some pools with smaller pumps need most of the flow to go to the skimmer(s) so they will skim correctly, and a few pools with especially large pumps need a lot of flow to come from the main drain so the pump won't lose prime.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
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    San Dimas, CA (LA County)
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    Re: How much to suction from Skimmer vs. Drains?

    I watched the turbulence in the skimmer with no diverter to the drain and adjusted it so visually it looks the same with some flow to the drain. In my case, it's about 60/40 on the diverter. In reality, I'm sure it's less, because it has to pull the water through more plumbing.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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