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Thread: Advice needed please. Pro's and con's of a main drain.

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    Schroedz's Avatar
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    Advice needed please. Pro's and con's of a main drain.

    Doing a remodel on my in-ground pool. Just trying to decide whether to get a main drain installed or not.

    Really need advice on the pro's and con's of having one.

    All and any advice is appreciated.

    Thanks.
    21,000 Gal, 16' x 36' Grecian In-Ground Vinyl Pool,
    Built 1981 ~ Reno/New Liner June/July 2014,
    Hayward Pro-Series 25" 300lbs Sand Filter With Zeobrite Media (SM2506T),
    1 HP Haywood Dual Speed Super Pump (SP2607X102S).
    TFT-100 & Speed Stir ~ Aquabot Xtreme Robotic Cleaner.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed please. Pro's and con's of a main drain.

    Main drains mean good circulation without much effort aiming returns, help protect the pump when the skimmer(s) get filled with leaves, and make it much simpler to drain the pool with the main pool pump. However, main drains tend to fail over time, either developing leaks or getting clogged by debris. It is possible to get good circulation without a main drain, it is just a little extra fiddling.
    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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    Re: Advice needed please. Pro's and con's of a main drain.

    Pro: Improved circulation. Easier to drain.
    Con: Chance of leaks.

    Check out some past discussions for more
    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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    Schroedz's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed please. Pro's and con's of a main drain.

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion View Post
    Main drains mean good circulation without much effort aiming returns, help protect the pump when the skimmer(s) get filled with leaves, and make it much simpler to drain the pool with the main pool pump. However, main drains tend to fail over time, either developing leaks or getting clogged by debris. It is possible to get good circulation without a main drain, it is just a little extra fiddling.
    Thanks for the quick reply!

    I don't have trees near the pool and the neighbors trees are far enough away not to cause a problem. I've already seen how much of the neighbors tree leaves would end up in the pool. I'm more worried about the cost of getting it fixed if it springs a leak. The original light fixture has already been filled in (with cement), I don't know for sure but I suspect it was leaking.

    What is involved with the extra fiddling you are on about? I only have one return and one skimmer.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    Pro: Improved circulation. Easier to drain.
    Con: Chance of leaks.

    Check out some past discussions for more
    Thanks for the info and links Richard! Have read through some of them, will get to the rest later.

    Am I right in thinking you have a main drain? If so, do you find it easier to keep the pool cleaner?
    21,000 Gal, 16' x 36' Grecian In-Ground Vinyl Pool,
    Built 1981 ~ Reno/New Liner June/July 2014,
    Hayward Pro-Series 25" 300lbs Sand Filter With Zeobrite Media (SM2506T),
    1 HP Haywood Dual Speed Super Pump (SP2607X102S).
    TFT-100 & Speed Stir ~ Aquabot Xtreme Robotic Cleaner.

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed please. Pro's and con's of a main drain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Schroedz View Post
    Am I right in thinking you have a main drain? If so, do you find it easier to keep the pool cleaner?
    Yes, I do. I find it eliminates the temperature stratification more than anything else. But what usually happens is just after vacuuming and putting everything away, I spot one stray leaf. With a main drain I can gently nudge it to the drain and let it get sucked away. If I had a vinyl pool, I might hesitate to have one, though, truthfully.
    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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    mrcarcrazy's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed please. Pro's and con's of a main drain.

    purely subjective, but I think you'd be better served investing the time/money in another return or 2, and possibly another skimmer. Adding any of the three sounds like a PITA to me.
    IG gunite/plaster pool/spa Started 1/17/14, Plastered 5/16/14
    Size: 12'-21'x39' free form, depth ranging from 4' to 7, attached 6 person spa with spillover.
    Equipment: Whisperflo 2hp pump, Pentair 30" sand filter, Pentair Mastertemp 400k BTU heater, 1hp Whisperflo for waterfalls, and a blower for spa floor

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    Schroedz's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed please. Pro's and con's of a main drain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    Yes, I do. I find it eliminates the temperature stratification more than anything else. But what usually happens is just after vacuuming and putting everything away, I spot one stray leaf. With a main drain I can gently nudge it to the drain and let it get sucked away. If I had a vinyl pool, I might hesitate to have one, though, truthfully.
    Thanks for the info Richard. My main worry is the extra holes in the vinyl and/or the pipes etc leaking, and that's what has prompted me to ask for pro's & con's...

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by mrcarcrazy View Post
    purely subjective, but I think you'd be better served investing the time/money in another return or 2, and possibly another skimmer. Adding any of the three sounds like a PITA to me.
    Thanks Mrcarcrazy, it's a good idea. Yeah no doubt it's going to be a PITA either way lol... Will run it by the new PB when he comes out Wednesday
    21,000 Gal, 16' x 36' Grecian In-Ground Vinyl Pool,
    Built 1981 ~ Reno/New Liner June/July 2014,
    Hayward Pro-Series 25" 300lbs Sand Filter With Zeobrite Media (SM2506T),
    1 HP Haywood Dual Speed Super Pump (SP2607X102S).
    TFT-100 & Speed Stir ~ Aquabot Xtreme Robotic Cleaner.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed please. Pro's and con's of a main drain.

    With appropriate adjustments it is almost always possible to aim return(s) so that there is good circulation even without a main drain. In some pools this can get tricky to get right, especially since there is next to no visible feedback. A return aimed down to the bottom of the deep end will take care of circulation, but only if there is a return in a location where it can be so aimed.
    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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    Schroedz's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed please. Pro's and con's of a main drain.

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion View Post
    With appropriate adjustments it is almost always possible to aim return(s) so that there is good circulation even without a main drain. In some pools this can get tricky to get right, especially since there is next to no visible feedback. A return aimed down to the bottom of the deep end will take care of circulation, but only if there is a return in a location where it can be so aimed.
    Thanks Jason. I'm thinking of getting 2 more returns put in, instead of the main drain. I believe that one can be installed lower than normal? If so, I'll have one that points down to the deep end to help with circulation. I can get the angle right (hopefully) once the pool is fixed properly and I can get in it.
    Last edited by Schroedz; 05-06-2014 at 08:26 AM. Reason: Added info.
    21,000 Gal, 16' x 36' Grecian In-Ground Vinyl Pool,
    Built 1981 ~ Reno/New Liner June/July 2014,
    Hayward Pro-Series 25" 300lbs Sand Filter With Zeobrite Media (SM2506T),
    1 HP Haywood Dual Speed Super Pump (SP2607X102S).
    TFT-100 & Speed Stir ~ Aquabot Xtreme Robotic Cleaner.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed please. Pro's and con's of a main drain.

    When fiddling with return aiming, look for a good circular motion of surface debris. To checking out deep water mixing it is instructive to add half a bottle of food coloring into one of the return jets and watch how it spreads through the pool.
    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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    Schroedz's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed please. Pro's and con's of a main drain.

    Will do! That's an awesome suggestion. Something I would never of thought of doing lol

    Thanks again!


    21,000 Gal, 16' x 36' Grecian In-Ground Vinyl Pool,
    Built 1981 ~ Reno/New Liner June/July 2014,
    Hayward Pro-Series 25" 300lbs Sand Filter With Zeobrite Media (SM2506T),
    1 HP Haywood Dual Speed Super Pump (SP2607X102S).
    TFT-100 & Speed Stir ~ Aquabot Xtreme Robotic Cleaner.

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