Main drain~ is it really needed


Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 18, 2011
Grant Park, Illinois
As I'm getting ready to order skimmers and returns for our pool build, I thought I would ask about main drains. I always assumed you had to have one, but I've read where some think they aren't needed. Should we put one in or not?


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Apr 4, 2007
SW Indiana
I have main drain, and would install one again if I did it over. I'd also have two skimmers so that when the wind shifts I wouldn't have debris hanging around the diving board. Completely separate plumbing for each source to the equipment pad.


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
Pleasanton, CA
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
About the only thing a main drain offers is better circulation in the deep end. However, that can be accomplished by other means (i.e. lower returns or a lower wall port) so as others have pointed out, not entirely necessary. I have one but don't use it much since I have a suction side cleaner which is much better at circulation.

But one of the biggest mistakes people make on this forum is in trying to clean up a pool by pushing debris to the main drain which usually ends up clogging the drain.


Aug 1, 2012
when i bought my current house nine years ago it didn't take me long to discover that the main drain to my approx. 50 year old pool didn't work - it had a metal cover over it but the screws had rusted out - periodically i would notice a sulphur-like smell of sewage in the deep end - finally dumped some hydraulic cement in it and smoothed over the drain last fall when i did prep for painting the old cement pond
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