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Thread: anti vortex pool drain cover

  1. #1

    anti vortex pool drain cover

    A pool store told me that new California (Bay Area) code says that all pools must have anti vortex, anti hair drain covers on. If I don't install one then a building inspector can shut down my pool and not approve any new construction occuring at the time even if the new construction has nothing to do with the pool.

    Is this true or is this guy just trying to make me buy something?
    Thanks
    25K Pool Kidney Shape
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    320Sqft Pentair Clean and Clear Cart Filter
    1.5hp Pentair WhisperFlo pump
    400k BTU Hayward LoNox Heater

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    I saw a sign at the local Leslie's saying the same thing, although the store employees never mentioned it.

    Separate from a law requiring the new safer covers, I like to have safer covers for my family. How do I tell which type I have?

    My in-ground spa has two drains, so I don't think the newer covers would do anything for safety. And the pool has both a main drain and a skimmer.

    Titanium
    24,000 gallon inground freeform pool/spa circa 1983 (113 ft perimeter, 625 sq ft) with 350 gallon attached spill-over spa
    2007 2 HP, three-phase Hayward TriStar pump which is powered by an Ikeric VS-200 variable speed drive system
    1983 Laars XE Pool/Spa Heater Type ES 400,000 BTU, 1998 Hayward Super Star-Clear C-4000 cartridge filter (400 sq ft, 4 separate cartridges)
    1998 Polaris 380 pressure-side cleaner w/ 3/4 HP booster pump
    One skimmer :( and one PoolSkim :), One Supervision Galaxy LED pool lamp, Second story solar panels
    Hayward/GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 (replaced 1983 vintage dual circuit Intermatic timer)

  3. #3
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    Re: anti vortex pool drain cover

    Private swimming pools undergoing renovations, liners, etc... that are not equipped with them shall be.
    Private pools under construction must meet similar needs to public pool needs when it comes to suction entrapment safety.
    Public pools = commercial. If a hotel's pool doesn't meet VGB requirements, it is closed until it is VGB compliant. The same goes for swim clubs like the YMCA, water parks, and educational institution owned pools.
    Many municipalities also have additional requirements.
    All Non-VGB compliant drain covers were pulled from all US distribution and retail outlets as of mid December of 2008.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

  4. #4
    Guest

    Re: anti vortex pool drain cover

    f18fdg-

    You are fine (California is broke anyway, and can't pay inspectors to check commercial properties, let alone private residences!) and cannot be "shut down". The building inspector is not really allowed to look at old work and write you up. If you do do any pool work, the pool company will put the appropriate drain covers on, like PoolGuyNJ said.

    Covers are cheap, so if you are worried, go buy some and install them yourself. Not a bad idea if you have the old style anyway.

  5. #5
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    Re: anti vortex pool drain cover

    I have been hearing about these as well. Do you have to drain your pool to replace the old cover?
    13,000 Plaster IG Pool approx
    Hayward C5030 Cart Filter
    Emerson 1081 EB653 1.0 HP 1.40 S.F. 3450 RPM
    Pool Calculator, Pool School, TF Test Kits

  6. #6
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    Re: anti vortex pool drain cover

    Not required. You do have to be able to hold your breath. Normally, it's just 2 Phillips head screws to get the old one off. Most covers I have seen have replacement screws that are longer. They are needed since the drain openings are at different levels, the actual height of the cover is thicker and the screw holes are higher up.

    Holding your breath and staying down is difficult without some weights to counter the buoyancy of filled lungs. I tape two lump hammers and a piece of rope together and lower this near the cover. It give me the weight I need to hold still while turning the screw driver. Be careful with liner pools. Be sure the hammers don't have protruding nicks or splinters. I set the screwdriver down before going up for air. Dropping screws and screw drivers is a risk to be conscious of. Wear goggles to improve vision.

    Hope this helps someone.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

  7. #7
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    Re: anti vortex pool drain cover

    What is the purpose of the anti vortex cover? If you do not run your pump while swimming is this still a danger?
    13,000 Plaster IG Pool approx
    Hayward C5030 Cart Filter
    Emerson 1081 EB653 1.0 HP 1.40 S.F. 3450 RPM
    Pool Calculator, Pool School, TF Test Kits

  8. #8
    Guest

    Re: anti vortex pool drain cover

    An anti vortex (A/V) cover is safer than the old style covers, but they are all safer than no cover at all! Typically, when there is/has been an entrapment, it is because there was no cover installed and the drain was wide open. Any time that the pump is running, and suction is present, there is the possibility of entrapment, even though very slight.

    The VGBA law and compliant covers are something that have value of course, but never should have been an issue if people paid more attention to their pools! A missing cover is not only unsafe, it is irresponsible! The fact that a Senators granddaughter had to die pushed the legislation, or else we would probably never have changed drain covers much.

    I get pretty wound up on this stuff. I've been building pools for almost 15 years now, and I was taught from the beginning to use split main drains. This is even more important in the "one pump chump" pools where an oversized circulation pump is installed for the sole purpose of being able to supply jets in a spa when in spa mode. There is, in my opinion, absolutely no reason to cheap out with one pump to save a couple of bucks (if you can afford to build a pool you can afford one more pump!) when building. It costs more money in the long run in electricity, and creates higher suction rates, increasing entrapment opportunities.

    OK, I am getting off my soap box now; rant over! Be a responsible pool owner, replace your cover(s) and enjoy your pool!

  9. #9
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    Re: anti vortex pool drain cover

    For now, in the SF bay area, commercial pools need to comply now. Residential pools must comply if you pull a permit to ANY work on your property.
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