Cracked main drain

Sep 21, 2007
We had our pool installed 2 years ago, and our main drain has never worked properly. When the drain is opened there are bubbles that come out of the returns. After much fighting with our pool company, they finally came out and pressure tested the main drain and found that there is a leak, and it is under the pool/decking. Their fix was to disconnected the main drain at the pump and plugged the drain in the pool. I am sure they do not want to have to fix the drain due to cost and structural integrity, however compensation for a defective pool is a whole other issue that I will not go into here...

Their comment is that we do not really need a main drain, due to the fact that we have a very open backyard with few trees and not much debris, which is true.

My concern is, since I do not really trust them at this point, what are, if any, the long term consequence's of not having a main drain. I realize the water circulation/turn over will be reduced, which is not really a problem when the pool is being used. The deep end of the pool tends to be a bit dirtier and I just run the Polaris more often, but is there anything I should be worried about if I permanently shut off the main drain? The drain has not worked for the first 2 years, but what about the next 20?

Thanks so much for any insight you can shed on this situation.
Sep 21, 2007
Sorry, I am new to the forum and thought my pool profile would show up, but it did not. Here is the info on my pool regarding the post above.

34x16 gunite pool 3-7ft deep
8x10 sitting area 12" deep
25K gal
Hayward pump
saltwater chlorine generator
DE filter
3 returns
2 skimmers
diving rock
MY 2 cents here

i have a almost 60,000 gallon pool, have no main drain and im 2 feet deeper than you, im not sure about circulation but i dont think i have never had trouble, water is always crystal clear.

i would fight to have them fix it, you paid for it, they should make it work, dont let them off easy just because their lazy.


TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
Silver Spring, MD
They should either fix it or give you money back.

My pool doesn't have a main drain and I only rarely miss having one. When I am closing it would be nice to have a main drain, having one would make it much simpler to pump down the pool below the skimmer. Other than that it doesn't come up.
Sep 21, 2007
OK, that was my main concern, that there would be a detrimental effect from not having the main drain. So to disconnect it only causes a few minor inconveniences (winterizing/pumping down), but not anything that will really cause problems down the road?

Yes, we are in negotiations to figure out how to compensate for a defective pool. Either make them fix it, which might compromise the structural integrity of the pool if they have to cut it, as they say they will have to to be able to get to the drain. (I am sure they don't really want to do since I am sure it will cost them quite a bit to correct the problem), have them upgrade some features or give a partial refund.

I'll let you know how this all works out.


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
Coastalish 'down easter'
Hi and welcome!! :wave:

If the leak is in the line itself, they have NO reason to cut into the pool!!!! :evil: If the MD pot itself was compromised, they would have to cut out part of the bottom to replace it. For a broken line, all you need is a couple of 'tunnel rats' with shovels to dig under the deck and down to the break -- it would truly 'suck' for whoever had to do the digging and would take a lot of work and quite a while. (They aren't going to want to do this, but it gives you a little leverage in negotiations :wink: )

I think that if they were to give you a robotic cleaner to compensate for the extra debris and lack of low circulation, it would 'make up' for their error - don't let them talk you into a suction side cleaner as you'll loose a lot of surface cleaning! This is their mistake and they are responsible for fixing it or adequately compensating you for the problem!

I've been in the industry for almost 20 years and will defend builders when I think they are 'blameless' but in your situation - you deserve compensation - the lines should have been pressure tested before and while the floor and walls were 'shot'/ poured.

I wish you well with getting this settled! :-D If I can give you any more help on this, or any other question, never hesitate to call on me! (If you want to know how to lower the pool for winterizing, hook the vac up to 1 skimmer and close the other 8)


Well-known member
Mar 29, 2007
Ontario, Canada
If the only option for fixing was to cut into your pool I would go for the compensation option. Its like fixing a car that has been
in a major accident. sure its ok, but it may never drive the same way again.


LifeTime Supporter
May 8, 2007
Katy, TX
I had the "tunnel rats" that Waste mentioned go to work under my deck right after our pool build was completed. They had a return line and a bubbler line mixed up. Anyway, I was there watching them do this and they did HATE it. So much that they did a really crappy job backfilling the "tunnel". They eventually got it right (after two more attempts).

If you end up having this done, just keep a watchful eye!
Sep 21, 2007
All they know is that the leak is under the pool, they don't know if it is the drain or just under the decking. They have said I don't want to have it fixed (nice of them to make up my mind for me) so I know they do not want to do the work. As long I feel comfortable not having the drain working, which I think I do now that I have heard your feed back, I will work on other compensation. We have a waterfall in the back of the pool that my wife has never really liked, so we are trying to get them to replace it with stones that do not "bleed" and discolor the tile grout. What where they thinking on that? I think I also want some pool closing included, not sure how many but a bunch, maybe 10. Is that too much?

I am not sure what it would cost them to fix the main drain, any thoughts?

Would using a Polaris make up for the lost circulation? It does a pretty good job of keeping the deep end clean. Not perfect, but not bad.
Sep 21, 2007
Oh, and thanks for the info on how to drain the pool with the vac hose and closing the other skimmer. I never thought of that. I have been using a pump to drain the pool down and it takes quite a few hours. I am closing the pool on Friday and will definitely do it this way.