Clogged Skimmer Drain Pipe


New member
Mar 21, 2017
Queen Creek, AZ
Hi, I am a new pool owner and I am getting to know my equipment pretty well. I really like to know the intricate details of anything I own, and the pool is no exception. I have it pretty much figured out, except for one part that is baffling to me. I have 2 drains at the bottom of the pool. At first I was trying to figure out why I had no plumbing from the drains to the filter, but then I read online that the drain line probably runs to the skimmer, and that the skimmer probably has 2 pipes going to it, one to the filter and the other to the Drain, with the Drain having no actual pressure pulling or pushing water in or out of it. I guess it acts like a safety feature for the skimmer, so that if the water drops below skimmer line, it doesnt ruin the pump? I guess there are different theories about it, but I am not sure. Anyway, the big issue is when I checked the pipe closes to the pool, which is I guess the drain is clogged, and feels like its plugged up by a hard concrete like substance. Very grainy, rocky feel to it, but definitely very hard. My questions are:

1. Is this a big problem for me? Are the drains clogged up going to affect much, since they werent piped to the filter\pump anyway?
2. Can I leave the drain clogged or do I need to start chiseling it out?
3. I read about a valve switch or something so that you can switch it so it starts to suck water from the pool drain, instead of the skimmer?

I attached some drawings of my setup, but I don't think they will help you any more than what I have told you.

I need some guidance, I feel very lost on this particular setup. Thx!
IMG_0976small.jpg Pool Layout.jpg Pool Layout.jpg

Thank You!


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
Bedford, TX

I guess my first question is are you sure the valves in front of your pump are not for Skimmer, Main Drain, and Spa???

If you know for a fact that the vacuum is for a port in the side of your pool that you know works.. then the main drain should be plumbed into the bottom of your skimmer..

The reason I ask is that the Skimmer, main drain, and Spa would be more of the normal set up.

I suspect the port under your skimmer that has the rocks in it is really plugged underneath and the hole has just filled with junk.

Stick a wet/dry vac in the port and suck the stuff out and see what it looks like.

In any event... you do not need a main drain.. I have two rent house pools, where the main drain has not been used in years. These are old pools and both have the main drain plumbed into the skimmer.

To make the main drain work, in a pool where it is plumbed into the bottom of the skimmer, you need what is called a diverter plate. I have found them more trouble than they are worth...


Jim R.