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Thread: Main Drain Plugged

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    Main Drain Plugged

    The main drain in my pool is plugged. I am not sure why, but I believe it was a leak and previous owners chose to plug rather than fix. I've had the house a few years now running with one skimmer as the only means of circulating water. I'm concerned about the water on the bottom of the pool not circulating well. From what I understand, it is very expensive to repair the main drain on an in-ground pool. As I see I have three options.

    1. Fix the main drain. It will be expensive but necessary.
    2. Buy an automatic vacuum and an attached skimmer. This will help circulate water on the top and bottom. Looking at Hayward Navigator Pro.
    3. Do nothing. Just run the skimmer, brush and vacuum once a week.

    I've done #3 up to now, but I am thinking of going to #2. Any advice would be appreciated.

    About my pool:
    8,600 gallons
    33 ft x 8 ft rectangle
    in-ground
    Diamondbrite
    Haward cartridge filter
    3/4 horse power pump (0.80 THP)
    Chlorine (suncoast powder shock and float tablets) - switching to liquid.
    Screened patio
    Main drain plugged
    One skimmer in deep end
    Two eyeball returns

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Main Drain Plugged

    Welcome!

    Question: are you positive it's been plugged? As in, you've removed the grate and looked and can see a pipe plug in the hole? Or is just that you don;t feel any suction?

    Are there any mystery pipes sticking up out of the ground, capped or not? Any valves whose function is uncertain?

    In the bottom of the skimmer well, how many holes are there, and are they open or plugged? On the pool wall in the immediate vicinity of the skimmer, and there any mystery holes or returns with no water coming 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.
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    Re: Main Drain Plugged

    Thank you for your reply. I had someone go down and check and they said that it was plugged with concrete.

    The only think sticking out of the ground, which we don't use because it hasn't been operational since we bought the home, is an automatic chlorinator. The only value I know of is the one where you can close off the main drain, the skimmer, or allow both to operate. It is set to skimmer only.

    There are no mystery holes in the pool. We have a skimmer on the deep end and two returns. One is on the opposite end of the skimmer and the other is in the shallow end near the steps. Both are functional.

    Hope that covers all your questions.

    Thanks again.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Main Drain Plugged

    You really don't need a MD to get proper circulation. Can you point one of the two returns toward the deep end? That should be sufficient to get proper circulation.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Main Drain Plugged

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985 View Post
    You really don't need a MD to get proper circulation. Can you point one of the two returns toward the deep end? That should be sufficient to get proper circulation.
    Especially in a long and narrow pool like yours - my money is that you'll be fine without it.

    The MD in my old pool had been refitted with a 1" pipe sometime in the past. When the poolbuilder noticed that, he recommended plugging it off anyway during the re-surfacing project. When time came to drain the pool, I realized it was already plugged/non-functional. I get excellent circulation without it. I don't have the luxury of pushing small debris to the drain with the brush, but all I have to do is use the net (or vacuum) instead. No worries.
    12,000 gal Diamond Brite indoor​ pool. Pentair Triton TR-60 Sand Filter +added DE, Lochinvar Energyrite ERN-200 gas heater, Pentair Multi-valve, Pentair SuperFlo VS pump, TF-100 kit, Pool Math App - iOS

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    Re: Main Drain Plugged

    pool2.jpgpool1.jpg Here is my pool with the skimmer and returns marked. Thanks.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Main Drain Plugged

    Just point the return in the deep end downward. But it doesn't look that deep anyway so it may be fine as it is. Have you ever had any issues? If not, don't worry about it.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Main Drain Plugged

    If I point the return in the deep end down, then the pool skims very poorly. That is why I thought of an automatic cleaner with an attached skimmer.

    My main issues are dirt just sits on the bottom and doesn't move around, and I've read about things like chemical hot spots when the water on the bottom doesn't circulate. Thanks for your help.

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    Mod Squad mknauss's Avatar
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    Re: Main Drain Plugged

    The shape of that pool looks great for a robot. That would solve any perceived issues of 'stagnant' water. Better than a suction cleaner as you have to run the pump at normally higher RPM's to run it.

    Take care.
    6000 Gallon IG Fiberglass with integrated Spa;Pentair CCP240 Cartridge Filter with Pentair Intelliflo VS Pump and HTR250 heater. IC40 SWG. EasyTouch 4. Dolphin Active20 Robot "Roadrunner", TF 100 Test Kit w/SpeedStir!
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    Marty

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Main Drain Plugged

    My main issues are dirt just sits on the bottom and doesn't move around, and I've read about things like chemical hot spots when the water on the bottom doesn't circulate. Thanks for your help.
    A MD won't help the dirt. Most MDs have very little pull and will only clean a few inches around the MD. They just aren't made for that.

    As for circulation, that is a bit of myth. A MD helps with a very deep pool and/or where the returns are far from the deep end. In your situation, it shouldn't matter much. If you did a dye test, I bet you would find that the pool gets very good circulation in all parts of the pool.

    But I would encourage you to get a robot cleaner. They do a great job of cleaning the floor and they really mix up the water well so you need even less run time from the main pump.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Main Drain Plugged

    Thanks for all the help.

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    Re: Main Drain Plugged

    My MD is also plugged. Below the skimmer basket there is a plug into the main drain exit AND a broken part on top that routed all suction to the skimmer intake pipe. Why wouldn't pool owner's who have a MD that they want to block (for safety) somehow just convert it to a deep end return? I only have a return in the shallow end of a 32'x16' pool and would think that a second return would be an excellent addition with only minimal work to get piping to the skimmer basket area and down to the existing main drain hole. About 1-2 feet of concrete would have to be replaced.
    3216 18k-gal IG Fiberglass (San Juan Waikiki Deep), 6' Octagon Spa (San Juan), 1.5" PVC skimmer/return pipe (2" in pool house)
    Intelliflo VS 011018, Pantera P70 250-lb sand filter, AquaRite ARQ-15 SWCG, AquaCal SQ155 135k BTU heat pump + Jandy Lite2 250k BTU propane, Intermatic PE635RC controller, PE140+ Jandy valve actuators, FloVis/Jandy check valve

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    Dirk's Avatar
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    Re: Main Drain Plugged

    Ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto, hmmm, yep, ditto, ditto, ditto...

    For what it's worth, I just removed my main drains in a recent remodel. Bye, bye. No problems.

    A main drain can be dangerous because of the possibility of entrapment. People have drowned getting stuck to a main drain. Laws have since been enacted to address this problem (special drain covers, splitting the main drain into two drains, drain locations, etc), but a single main drain is the most dangerous. If you have cleaning and circulation issues, they can be addressed in other ways, as others have suggested. I say count yourself lucky your main drain is not drawing water and leave well enough alone...
    12300 gallon IG pebble, freeform 19x28, 1 skimmer, 3 returns, no floor drains, auto fill. Pentair: EasyTouch PSL4, ScreenLogic2, Indoor Control Panel, Intelliflo 2 VST, IntelliChlor IC40, IntellipH, CCP320 Cartridge Filter, MasterTemp 250 Heater, Rebel Suction-Side Cleaner, IntelliBrite. Solar and cleaner actuators. Heliocol HC-50 8-panel solar heating. FlowVis Flow Meter. Taylor: K-2006 and K-1766 Test Kits, SpeedStir. City/softened water.

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