Main Drain Plugged

ady5

Active member
May 9, 2017
27
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
#1
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
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
20,328
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
#2
Welcome! :wave:

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?
 
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ady5

Active member
May 9, 2017
27
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
#3
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.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,260
Pleasanton, CA
#4
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.
 

Rollercoastr

Gold Supporter
May 18, 2016
806
West Bloomfield, MI
#5
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.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,260
Pleasanton, CA
#7
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.
 
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ady5

Active member
May 9, 2017
27
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
#8
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.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
May 3, 2014
12,729
Laughlin, NV
#9
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.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,260
Pleasanton, CA
#10
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.
 

rynoshark

Silver Supporter
Mar 8, 2018
29
Seattle, WA
#12
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.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
4,377
Central California
#13
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...