Why do each of my skimmers have an extra port?

dclynds

Well-known member
Apr 29, 2016
84
Houston, TX
Pool Size
17500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I have two skimmers, one on the west side and one on the east side of the pool. Each of them have two holes at the bottom, but the skimmer on the east side has the 2nd port plugged off with some kind of cap. The west skimmer's 2nd port is not plugged off, but doesn't seem to serve any function as I cannot establish any kind of circulation through it and it has some debris in it. I was thinking maybe it has something to do with the drain at the bottom of the pool, since I cannot figure out for the life of me how to establish circulation through that thing. :confused:

What do you experts say?
 

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dclynds

Well-known member
Apr 29, 2016
84
Houston, TX
Pool Size
17500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
No, I don't have that plate. I did just take a vacuum hose and hold it in the suction port so there was good circulation through the other end of the hose which I started to put in the 2nd port. However, when I did, the suction became so great that I almost lost the hose in the suction port. This tells me that if the 2nd port leads to the main drain, there could be some blockage in the piping. Thoughts?

If I did have that diverter valve and put it in my skimmer with a block in the main drain plumbing, what would happen?
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
23,933
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
My guess is that the extra port goes to the main drain and it's either plugged up with fine sludge from disuse or someone put a plug in it and never removed it. Try using a drain-king rubber bladder in the mystery hole and see if you can blow it out. If it's years' worth of fine dust, you'll see it coming up out of the main drain. Picture clay dust... grow your own sedimentary rock. The alternative is to swim down and try to remove the drain cover for a look, and that's no fun at all. A good way to give yourself a heart attack if you ask me, since you'll be trying to unscrew screws while you're running out of air and buoyant.

As for massive suction when connecting the vacuum, don't let the hose get stuck in there. People have had all kinds of grief when the collar pulled off the hose and got stuck in the plumbing. What I did, since I can't stop the suction to the main drain and use a skimmer plate, is stick a threaded PVC adaptor in the hole. It's just the right size to fit in the hole and sit on the lip inside. The vacuum hose will easily cram into the threaded end and stick there by friction.

If you do get the line open to the main drain, here's how a diverter works
attachment.php
 

dclynds

Well-known member
Apr 29, 2016
84
Houston, TX
Pool Size
17500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Yeah, thanks Richard! That drain king idea is great. I have one and i love using it so I'll give it a whirl. Cheers

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
 

dclynds

Well-known member
Apr 29, 2016
84
Houston, TX
Pool Size
17500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Drain King didn't work because that 2nd port is completely sealed. You can see in the picture where the sediment is...well, that's all there is to that pipe! I initially thought it curved and continued onward to the drain, but not so. It's just a completely sealed-off piece of pipe. So weird. Now if I could somehow remove that 6" piece of dead-end pipe from the port, I may establish circulation through the MD, but could also unearth some terrible secret about the pool that the previous homeowners fixed by inserting that plug. I'll probably just leave it like that since I don't think I could remove it anyway. Been 2.5 years without working main drain and my water is perfectly balanced...so I would venture to say my pool doesn't need an MD.

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
 

viking68

Silver Supporter
May 9, 2010
70
Lake Mary, FL
My guess is that the extra port goes to the main drain and it's either plugged up with fine sludge from disuse or someone put a plug in it and never removed it. Try using a drain-king rubber bladder in the mystery hole and see if you can blow it out. If it's years' worth of fine dust, you'll see it coming up out of the main drain. Picture clay dust... grow your own sedimentary rock. The alternative is to swim down and try to remove the drain cover for a look, and that's no fun at all. A good way to give yourself a heart attack if you ask me, since you'll be trying to unscrew screws while you're running out of air and buoyant.

As for massive suction when connecting the vacuum, don't let the hose get stuck in there. People have had all kinds of grief when the collar pulled off the hose and got stuck in the plumbing. What I did, since I can't stop the suction to the main drain and use a skimmer plate, is stick a threaded PVC adaptor in the hole. It's just the right size to fit in the hole and sit on the lip inside. The vacuum hose will easily cram into the threaded end and stick there by friction.

If you do get the line open to the main drain, here's how a diverter works
attachment.php

I always wondered what that thing was in my skimmer. It's been there for all the 12 years I've lived in this house and "guessed" it had something to do with vacuuming or safety or some such. My Polaris keeps the pool clean - i have an old vacuum hose in the shed somewhere - never hooked it up; would not know how to use it.

So, for my use, where should that swing plate be positioned?

AND, when I tried to do a partial pool water change (super high CYA some years ago), when the water level hit the skimmer, I did not know how to make the pool pump suck out the water. So, I used a submersible pump (one of those garden-hose cheapies) and it took forever. Is that the right way to do drain? Or, is there a way to make the pool suck water from the drain only???
 

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bakerboy

Well-known member
Dec 29, 2015
205
Chino/CA
I drained water from my pool this past weekend and was running into that issue of the water level getting below the skimmer level and sucking in air, what I did was hook-up my hose to the skimmer with my Hayward vac connected. So it was basically still sucking water out, just from the bottom of the pool!
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,238
Tucson, AZ
I just keep the flap about half way so a little flow is pulled from the floor.

These float diverters are not designed to be air tight to allow you to drain the water from the floor well below the skimmer (although I know from experience that it is possible to drain a fair amount of water even with some air leakage). Better to rent a submersible pump if your floor is plumbed to your skimmer and not directly to the pump and controlled by valves.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,238
Tucson, AZ
Some skimmers have suction and returns and some are plumbed with only suction, the second port is sealed off before the skimmer is installed. I might be misinterpreting your question.
Best of luck
No skimmers have returns. The 2nd port can either be plumbed to the floor, another skimmer, or a hole in the wall called an equalization line.
 
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