Add more return lines? Replace skimmer?

Hello all, I can't tell you how happy I am to have found this website, I've been reading for hours!

I have an early 1960's rectangle cinder block pool, 15' x 30' that is 3ft shallow end and 7ft deep end.

I have a single suction line to a sump like pool skimmer on one corner of the deep end and a single return on the same side but other corner 12 feet away.

My problem: I have an air leak on the suction side and it's underground below my concrete deck; I've confirmed it's a broken pipe. It's a 1 1/2" brass pipe in the skimmer and I'm not sure what it is underground. Either way I plan to saw cut the concrete and replace the piping on both the suction and return line.

I've decided to tackle this by myself because a pool contractor told me he'll have to replace the skimmer and add two more return lines while he's replacing the leaky suction pipe. He said I should also add a separate suction/vac line in the side of my pool for my Kreepy Krauly pool cleaner. He quoted me $3000 just to do the plumbing and skimmer work, I would have to do all the concrete and trench work. I can't afford $3k right now and am going to tackle this myself.


I plan to replace both pump (suction and return) lines with 2 1/2" PVC, is that a good idea even though I won't be replacing the 1 1/2" at the sump/skimmer and what looks like a 1" eyeball?

Is it true I will shorten the life of my Pentair IntelliFlo variable pump if I don't add additional return lines (this is what the pool guy said)? It's an expensive pump and I want it to run as efficiently as possible.

Is it that important to add a separate vac line for my pool cleaner? I currently just stick it into my skimmer.


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Apr 4, 2007
SW Indiana
Welcome to TFP!

I'd think 2" lines would be more practical than 2-1/2", just for availability of fittings.

Your pump doesn't mind the restriction of a single return, though if you have trouble with dirt or debris in the pool, extra returns may help the skimmer capture more of it due to the better circulation.

If you add returns, be sure to plumb them so the run to each return from the pump is the same length. That makes for some inefficient piping as you double back to bring the pipe to the returns closer to the pump.
I'd prefer to just replace the existing lines and be done with it but the pool guy kind of scared me into believing my pump life would be "cut in half". I plan to jackhammer the concrete today and see what's lurking below. If I decide to add a line, can I just add another return below the existing return, or would that be a waste of time?


TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
Silver Spring, MD
The pump lifetime will be the same regardless of the pipe size. Switching to 2" pipe is a great idea, especially if you have to tear up the deck anyway, but aside from the leak there wouldn't be any point in tearing up the deck just to install larger pipe.

Unless your pipe runs are fairly long, say 50 feet or more, 2" pipe is just fine, no need to go to 2 1/2". Small areas of smaller pipe are fine. As long as you replace most of the length with larger pipe you will get most of the benefit.

The plumbing isn't really all that much work compared to the trenching. Digging and refilling the trenches along with repairing the deck are most of the work.

There is no point in having two returns right next to each other. Adding a second return near the skimmer might be a good idea if you have the skimmer line dug up anyway. Adding a second return is a minor improvement, nice to have but not a dramatic improvement. Adding a second skimmer would make more of a difference, but is more work/money.


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
Sebring, Florida
Replace the existing if that's what you want to do. The pump life has no bearing. As JohnT suggests, 2" would be far more available and perfectly adequate. I see no real reason to add another return directly below an existing one.
Well then 2" it is, thank you. I guess my next question, and perhaps I should create a new topic for it, is about the level of difficulty of adding a vacuum line for my pool cleaner. For the past 20 years I've just plugged it into my skimmer. As I mentioned it's an 18" cinder block pool so this would be more like a core drilling project but I'm up for it if having the Kreepy Krauly and skimmer going at the same time is an improvement, and assuming I can get the info I need from TFP about materials and appropriate cement/epoxy used.

Divin Dave

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 2, 2013
Longview, Texas
IMO, if you are ok with plugging the kreepy krawly into the skimmer, then keep doing it.
Anytime you drill through the structure, it just adds one more point for a potential leak to occur.

The additional line would be more for convenience in plugging and unplugging the kreepy krawly whenever you want to use it.

I guess the swimming pool environment would determine if there is any real benefit beyond convenience, if there is any real benefit to running the kreepy krawly and the skimmer at the same time.


Well-known member
May 24, 2009
I guess I'm in the same camp as Divin Dave. Besides, when I used my Kreepy Krawly, I had to shut down one skimmer to have enough suction.

If you're gonna plug your Kreepy Krawly directly into the suction line, get an inline filter/leaf trap. Traps leaves & big debris before it gets to the pump. Traps some sand & dirt, too. Got one three seasons ago, wish I had got it 20 years ago!

Good luck!