New (to us) pool, and I don't see how it can possibly work as it should... Help!


May 6, 2018
Paducah, KY
This will be our 2nd year in our new home, and my 2nd year (EVER) with a pool. Thanks to TFP, my 1st year was somewhat successful - but I've always been troubled by some facets of our ancient pool.


1 - Pump and Filter
2 - Skimmer
3 - Returns (Red arrows indicate attempted water flow created by eyes on the returns)

This is an OLD pool, installed in the mid-to-late 70's. Manufactured by Clayton & Lambert, it measures 19' 3" x 37' 2". Stainless steel walls, dirt bottom, vinyl liner. Previous owner dug the deep end to 10' 6" when the liner was last replaced. Shallow end is 3'.

Issue #1: My biggest concern is that there is no drain in the pool. What you see in the deep end is the robotic cleaner, which means the *ONLY* outlet for water is through the skimmer. The 2 returns are fairly high on the wall - approximately 2 feet from the top of the pool. I don't see how this pool can circulate properly, and that caused me to run the pump 24/7 last year. I would love to hear from others as to if this setup/layout is sufficient, or if we need to look at re-working/re-plumbing? A bigger pump would move more water, but even with aiming the "eyes" on the returns, I don't see how I can possibly get movement at the bottom of the deep end?

Issue #2: We want to convert to salt water, but with such an antiquated, minimal design, I'm not sure that it would work. Anyone have thoughts?

If this isn't the proper forum, please let me know. Thanks TFP readers!!

PS - The diving board was installed prior to us buying the home, and it drives me crazy being at an angle! LOL


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
May 3, 2014
Laughlin, NV
Lots of pools run with out main drains. They are really not needed. The chlorine disperses quite well in water and the variation in water temperature from the bottom of the deep end to the surface assists in mixing of the water column. Your robot run every few days will mix things quite well.

I do not see any issues with adding a SWCG.


Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
Northern NJ
Many pools don’t have a main drain and many main drains in pools don’t work and there is no visible difference. Your return placement is not optimal being on the same side as your skimmer. Get a robot pool cleaner to run around the bottom of the pool and it will churn up and mix the water.

Why do you think you have a circulation problem?

Post pics of your equipment pad. You can add a SWG without problems.

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
SouthWest Alabama
As said above, there's nothing in your pools design that precludes you having a swcg.

Here's what I'd do about circulation (though the robot will do a good job.). Buy a Directional Jet Like This and place it in the return at the top right of the picture and aim it down and toward the deep end. then aim the other return as you have it shown and that will create fairly good circulation throughout the pool, and will direct flow past the skimmer. Then the robot will take care of the rest


May 6, 2018
Paducah, KY
Thanks everyone for the re-assurance that we're not in a bad starting place with our current setup.

As for the equipment pad, there is no "pad", but rather a small wooden platform that wasn't built with pressure treated lumber, so it's sagging and about to fall in. My plan is to re-work that into a proper area while installing a swcg system. I'll try to get some pics of it in its' current condition once the rain stops!

The more I learn about pools and their proper maintenance, the more shortcuts and "cheap routes" it appears the previous owners have taken over the years....

Other Threads of Interest