Need a way to shut off/cover up main pool drain

pineconesundae

New member
Aug 6, 2018
2
Fort Washington, PA
Greetings, folks! Recently purchased a house with a pool and found that the main pool drain in the bottom of the deep end and the skimmer plumbing are tee'd. By that, I mean there's only one "pool" input to the filter equipment and no way to shut off either the drain or the skimmer, essentially dooming them to 50/50 for all eternity. This wasn't a problem until the robot cleaner died and I pulled out the manual vaccuum. There isn't near enough suction in the skimmer to work the manual vac. So, short of tearing up everything to replumb the lines, is there an acceptable interim solution? My only thought is some sort of cover, maybe like a circular piece of vinyl or something, that I could put over the main drain when needing to vaccuum so as to increase the pull in the skimmer. Searching online for "pool main drain covers" only turns up the anti-entrapment products. Is there such a real thing as a temporary total cover for a bottom drain? Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide!
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Hello and welcome! :wave: If you are sure they are tied together (Tee'd) underground and the drain doesn't go under the skimmer (i.e. 2 holes in skimmer), then perhaps you can obtain a rubber closure plug for the drain. Dive down and plug it up that way. :snorkle: Just some initial thoughts. I'm sure more will follow. Great to have you with us.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
13,026
Bedford, TX
pcs,

Welcome to TFP... a great place to find the answers to all of your "Draining" questions... whether "Washington" stayed in your "Fort" or not... :shark:

I would be willing to bet a Pine-Cone Sundae, that your main drain is plumbed into the bottom of your skimmer... Look under the skimmer basket and see if you have two holes.. If both holes are open (no plugs) than the hole closest to the water goes to the main drain. Basically in this configuration, the main drain is not even in use unless you install a special diverter. The likelihood that they are "T'd" underground is remote. Some older skimmers with just one hole do have an internal diverter system.

What happens when you hook up the vacuum?

Thanks for posting,

Jim R.
 

pineconesundae

New member
Aug 6, 2018
2
Fort Washington, PA
Thanks to both of you for the prompt responses!

You are both also correct - when I lift out the skimmer bucket, I do see two holes, both open. My assumption they were tee'd was due to what the "pool guy" told me. Let me know how you take your sundaes. As for the vacuum observations, those are all mine. When I put the skimmer plate into the skimmer (making sure to flush all air out of the hose before doing so), it seems to attach fine, but has very little suction. I can easily pull it right out of the skimmer. Tried it with and without the basket. I remember as a kid when I would vacuum my mother's pool and the suction would be so intense, I would have to stop the filter before I could remove the plate. This is nothing like that. When I leave it hooked up, the suction at the other end of the hose is abysmal. Vacuum equipment, filter, and pump are brand new.

So if the second hole in the skimmer goes to the main drain, if I don't plug it when I vacuum, won't that prevent good suction because it will be pulling through the open drain line?
 

Grape Ape

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 12, 2009
121
Seattle, WA
When was the last time you cleaned your filter? I have trouble pulling my skimmer plate off, but never bother to close the pipe to the main drain.

Or you can be like my wife. Just pull the basket out and stick the hose in the line to the pump. This will mean all the big junk ends up in the basket on the pump...
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
13,026
Bedford, TX
pcs,

I was assuming that you were just sticking the vacuum hose in the skimmer. I have never used a vacuum plate.. It would not hurt to plug the MD hole in the skimmer and see if that helps. My guess would be that for some reason you just don't have a good seal between the vacuum plate and the skimmer. Or, if you are sucking a lot of air you would not have much of a suction seal either..

Jim R.
 

BestJoeyEver

Well-known member
Oct 9, 2015
306
Niagara Falls
Hey there. This will depend on the brand of your skimmer, but for example. I have a Hayward skimmer, the Hayward skimmer plate had a tube you can screw in to the main drain hole, and the there's an adjustment on the plate so you can balance the suction between both lines. If yours doesn't have that, then for sure you can stick a plug in the main line and then use your vaccum plate as you normally would.
Tell you what, post a couple pictures of your skimmer... Top down with and without cover, and with and without the basket in. As well as a picture of the pasket and the vacuum plate. If you can do that, I'll post a pic of my vac plate so you can see what I'm talking about.

J
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
13,026
Bedford, TX
I have had a robot cleaner for the past 4 years. If it died tomorrow, I'd have a new robot in my pool before you could even get your vacuum hose uncoiled... :p

Jim R.
 

Meadow

Well-known member
Jun 10, 2016
477
Temecula, CA
@OP,
Posting pics of your skimmer should help us help you better. Don't you have a separate vacuum port by the wall in your pool?

I am guessing, what you have is a combo skimmer as shown below.
The main drain tied into the front hole of the skimmer on the poolside and the back hole or the deck side hole is connected to the pipe that runs back to the pump. There are two main types of diverters used in a combo pool skimmer (see pic below). If you close the valve underneath the float valve, the skimmer is closed and the pump will pull water from the main drain. Try to connect your vacuum hose to the deck side hole. This should prevent the pump from pulling water from the main drain. Hope this helps.

More on Combo Skimmer here > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ab-_Ux7ogCY




 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
13,026
Bedford, TX
What do you have Jim? And would you buy the same one again?
At my house I have the Dolphin Premier... It works perfectly for me.. It is an older design with a small bottom basket. It would not work for someone that gets a lot of big leaves, which is not a problem for me.

I also have a couple of very old Dolphin Diagnostics, that I bought used, at two rent houses.. They have the old cloth bags, which are a pain to clean, but can capture a truck load of stuff.

When one of them dies, I plan to go with the newer top loading models, like the S200 or 300 or whatever they are called this week.. :p

Thanks,

Jim R.