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Thread: New owner needs to clean main drain

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    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    New owner needs to clean main drain

    Recently bought a house with a pool. From other things we found around the house, it appears that the previous owners were not the greatest at home maintenance. I suspect that this carried over to the pool as well.

    Three days ago was the first sunny day we had since getting the pool swim ready (after SLAM'ing, because the prev owner let it turn green). While playing with our snorkeling gear, my daughter and I made a few dives on the main drain. The thoughts that went through my mind were, "Hey! That drain's all clogged up... Hey! my ears hurt!". So my daughter, who wasn't bothered by the ear pain, made a bunch of dives, and cleaned out a lot of gunk. Gunk which wound up all over the surface and bottom of the pool. It took me at least an hour of vacuuming and skimming to get it usable again.

    Here is a photo of the drain from the surface:



    Notice the rectangular openings. I managed to clear one of those before the ear pain got to me, and the opening became almost the same color as the cover. So I'm guessing that my daughter didn't manage to get all the gunk cleaned out. Not blaming her. It's not easy to clean out stuff at the bottom of an 8 ft pool. Also note that the cover seems to be off center a bit. I don't think that it's screwed down.

    Now... what do I do about this? I want ALL the gunk out of our "new" (to us) pool. There are two lines coming from the pool to the pump, and we have one drain and one skimmer. One line has a manual valve. I'm guessing that this goes to the main drain. Is this a reasonable assumption? If so, can I just close off the main drain, move the cover, and use the vacuum to clean out the gunk? Would this damage anything, like, say, the pump?

    Any other options?

    Thanks.
    IG 20K gal w/deep end, vinyl, 1 HP Regal Beloit EPC pump, single 120 sqft Haywood C-1200 cartridge filter, Polaris 360 cleaning robot, pool frog (that is not being used).

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: New owner needs to clean main drain

    Experiment with that valve a little. If it goes to the drain, and the drain is clogged, you won't see much difference no matter what position. If it goes to the skimmer, closing it should stop the skimmer flow. In that case, a clogged drain will starve the pump - don't worry, you'll hear it. Or it might suck the crud right into the pump basket. If the valve has no effect either way, look in the skimmer and check for double holes. If so, one probably goes to the drain. You'd need a diverter.

    If you want to move the cover and vacuum, you can try that.

    You might also try plugging the skimmer suction off with something that won't get sucked into the pipes and see if the pump can't suck the clog out.
    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!

  3. Back To Top    #3

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    Re: New owner needs to clean main drain

    After thinking about this a bit, I concluded that the valve MUST be for the skimmer. Otherwise, how would I drain the pool, right? Well, I experimented with the valve, and it appears to control the main drain. This will be great for cleaning out the main drain, but.... Does this sound right? Why would you want to have a valve only on the main drain, and not on the skimmer?
    IG 20K gal w/deep end, vinyl, 1 HP Regal Beloit EPC pump, single 120 sqft Haywood C-1200 cartridge filter, Polaris 360 cleaning robot, pool frog (that is not being used).

  4. Back To Top    #4
    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: New owner needs to clean main drain

    You have 2way valve on the main drain line and no valve on the skimmer line? How about a pic of the plumbing? I have a 3way valve on the suction side that can control all skimmers, all drain or blend. Pic in my build thread in sig.
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    Re: New owner needs to clean main drain

    Here's a photo of the plumbing:



    You can see two lines going to the pool, and two coming from the pool. Three of these lines have valves. Only one doesn't, and it seems to be the one coming from the skimmer.
    IG 20K gal w/deep end, vinyl, 1 HP Regal Beloit EPC pump, single 120 sqft Haywood C-1200 cartridge filter, Polaris 360 cleaning robot, pool frog (that is not being used).

  6. Back To Top    #6
    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: New owner needs to clean main drain

    If what you've figured is correct, it makes things easy for you.

    Kill the pump. Close off the skimmer. Open the pump strainer and remove the basket. Feed a drain king down the pump intake and turn on the hose. Any debris in the line or main drain will be blown backwards into the pool. Then put things back together and either vacuum the stuff up or leave things on main drain and brush it in slowly so it gets whisked away.

    Note: if the main drain line is currently clogged and you clear it, you might not get enough suction when you connect the vacuum to the skimmer.

    Drain King:
    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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