Toy fell into attached SPA floor drain, advice requested!

blebl3

Bronze Supporter
Apr 2, 2017
11
lake charles, la
Good morning,

I am in need of your expertise/advise. I have a fairly new in ground gunite pool with attached spa. Earlier this week, I noticed a toy (fake plastic coin, slightly bigger than silver dollar, only a little smaller than diameter of pipe maybe 5mm thick) sitting within the floor grate in the spa. Yesterday, I foolishly tried to fish it out without removing the grate, and it fell into one of the floor drains! Please see the attached pictures for a better idea of the setup. The arrows mark where the coin fell in. The spa has 2 in floor grates, each with 2 drains (on either edge), plus returns (in the center for spa overflow)
I initially tried running the spa with the pump on high to see if it would suck into the pump basket but it failed to do it.

I've brainstormed some potential options....

A.) Ignore it - as the flow still seems to be ok (but I don't like the idea of having something foreign, potentially obstructive in the plumbing)

B.) Take the grates off and try and plug the other 3 drain pipes to allow better suction of the pipe the toy went in. Any advice on plugs? Any tips on how to remove screws in grate other than elbow grease? When I tried yesterday they didn't seem to want to move.

C.) Buy one of those hose bladders and try and push it back out into spa by sticking the bladder in pump at equipment pad

D.) Call pool builder company

Please let me know what you think!IMG_0469.jpegIMG_3236.jpegIMG_0470.jpeg
 

spd500

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2020
562
Houston, TX
Option C was my first thought before I finished reading the entire post. Trying to get it to go through to the filter is questionable to me because it could get stuck at any point along the way and make it more difficult. You could also try a snake from the spa end, but it doesn't sound like a snake would really grab it.
 

Brett S

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2019
709
Orlando
So looking at the pictures of the pipes while the spa was being built, it looks like the pipe in question has two 90’s and then and joins with another pipe and then the pipe diameter increases significantly. Assuming it made it through that first section of smaller diameter pipe, then I’m guessing it’s stuck somewhere in the larger diameter pipe and that’s probability a bit more problematic in terms of trying to remove it. I think the coin is likely to just kind of settle on the bottom of the larger diameter pipe and not really get blown around as much as it would in a smaller diameter pipe. Additionally it looks like the pipe diameter is reduced again by the time it gets to your pump. So in terms of trying to get the coin out it would have to go through a reduction on one side of that larger diameter pipe or the other and I’m not sure it’s really going to do that on it’s own.
 

blebl3

Bronze Supporter
Apr 2, 2017
11
lake charles, la
Thanks,

I also thought about trying to buy one of those Wifi endoscopes to snake in the spa end to see if i can see it. At least to see if it looks obstructive or not. Looks like many 90 degree turn before making it to pump

Any potential for one of those bladders to cause damage? I'd hate to make a worse situation. IMG_3240.JPG
 

Brett S

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2019
709
Orlando
You could try an endoscope, but I’m not sure if seeing it would really be beneficial, unless it’s still in that first section of smaller diameter pipe. In that case then maybe you could push it back into the spa. But I really think that it’s probably made it into the bigger pipe and at this point no matter which way you push it it’s going to get stuck at one of the reductions. Unfortunately I think there is at least a chance that it could become obstructive if it gets pushed up against one of those reductions and blocks some of the flow, but I’m not sure how likely that is to really happen.

From the pictures of your pumps, it looks like on the pump end it’s reduced just where it leaves the ground. It you were really dead set on trying to get it out I think your best bet would be to dig down a little and cut off the reduction on the larger diameter pipe and then try to push it through from the spa end and/or use an endoscope and something to reach into the pipe and try to grab it. Then it should be pretty easy to put the pipe back together.
 

jtpipkin

Bronze Supporter
Oct 2, 2016
249
albany, ga
I'd remove the grate and come at it with a bladder from the other side. It may not be an issue today, but any obstruction will only compound matters in the future. Could never be an issue, I'm just OCD like that...
 

mattw221

Member
Apr 18, 2008
22
Another Option is trying to use a shop vac and sucking it back out from the spa side while temporarily capping the other drain pipes.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,216
Central California
I would definitely NOT try to force it on towards your pad. It's already jammed somewhere or else you would have found it. Applying more force in that direction is only going to jam it more, which you may have already done. Do not leave it in there, that's not an option. Remove the grate and force it from the other end to get back into the spa. You can disassemble the three-way valve to get access to the other end of the pipe. Start with a garden hose sealed as best you can to the other end, then cross your fingers...
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
20,477
Northern NJ
  • Do not ignore it
  • do not run your spa jets and try and suck it through all your plumbing
  • remove the grate
  • an endoscope may let you see it and assess the situation of how deep it is
  • blowing high volume of air from the pad using a Cyclone used to winterize pipes would be my first try
  • you may need to plug the other outlet if you can see where the object is located
  • I think you can get more forceful with air then water to move it
  • once you see where it is you can better decide if air, water, or cutting is the best approach for removal
  • you can get more forceful with water by plumbing the return side of a pump from the pad into the pipe rather then suction side
 
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