In ground pool with no main drain

jk7228June 3, 2012

Our PB wants to sell us an upgrade to a pool without a main drain.

It consists of a Hayward ecostar variable speed pump, low returns for better circulation, and 2 skimmers. This will be for an inground pool approximately 33 x 17.

Is this a good option? Can you really achieve enough circulation without a main drain? Any advice would be appreciated.

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I wouldn't consider this an upgrade except for the pump.
Lowering the returns does not achieve better circulation, would in fact diminish the movement of surface water that actually moves the debris towards the skimmer(s).
This size pool doesn't need two skimmers.
Pools without main drains are becoming more popular since most cleaners can provide the ability to pick up debris at the bottom of the pool and circulate water at the same time. I still like to use main drains, especially with VS pumps because it allows a larger volume of water for the high speed end of these pumps.
What kind of cleaner are you getting? Pressure or suction? And how much is this upgrade?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 2:39PM
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It is an extra $2600.00

The cleaner they are offering is the Kreepy Krauly Ledgend II

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 3:28PM
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Sounds like a upgrade with less work on the builder I wish I was smart enough to come up with this type of upgrade... But why is he mixing equipment Legend is Pentair and then the Hayward pump? Go total Pentair or Hayward and get a 3 year warranty on all your equipment.IMO I would have a main drain. One good example is on aboveground that most of the time do not have a main drain if you want to clear one up faster then you set them up to manual vacuum and turn the vac head up and create a main drain and the will clear up twice as fast. For low wall returns I have had some say that help heat the water faster with a heater but I have never really seen it work so I really can't say one way or another and those pools had main drains to pull from the bottom.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 4:43PM
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Thanks to everyone for all the info. I don't think I'm going to go with this PB. Another one I met with quoted me all Pentair products with a choice of a 2 speed Whisperflo or a Challenger. I felt like the no main drain wasn't really an "upgrade" anyway.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 8:25PM
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I got some more information about the upgrade involving the main drain.

He said they use water volume and not pressure to create a better circulation in the pool. The upgrade also includes an automatic water leveler to ensure the water never drops below the skimmers.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 11:53AM
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I really don't understand the volume comment. What size pipes is he useing? The auto fill in my experance is trouble down the road. All it really is a toilet valve in a box beside your pool that will stick and cover up any leaks in your pool. You will not know you have a leak until your water bill is sky high....

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 5:46AM
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I heard a lecture about this at a pool show once, I wasn't convinced. Part of the idea was to eliminate main drains due to entrapment issues but really, to sell a no main drain pool as an upgrade and charge extra for it is kind of crazy IMO.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 11:28AM
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I have a water leveler. I could never get it to regulate the level correctly, so shut it off. So I would skip on that.

No main drain? I couldn't live without my main drain, its where I push dirt to when I'm brushing the pool so it gets sucked up into the filter. I would think it would be a mistake to not have a main drain. I would hate to drag out the crawler everytime for this.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 11:39AM
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A drainless pool / no main drain pool is the safest and most energy efficient pool. Without a drain you will almost eliminate any entrapment dangers in your pool. If a pool builder just designs a pool without a main drain and puts on a variable speed pump it would not be a benefit to the pool owner. If you place the returns correctly and more returns and move the water consistently the water is constantly circulating. If you have a large pool whether it holds 15,000 gallons or 60,000 gallons the designer never adds more main drains, they add more skimmers and returns. So how can a main drain be more important than returns or skimmers? In a main drain pool you turn off the circulation for part of the day and things settle to the bottom of the pool. In a drainless pool you use less energy, about 80-90% less. This saves about $600 a year in energy. Please contact us, 512-246-7665, I would love to answer any questions. Ask for Richard C.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dan Johnson, Certified Pool Builder, Drainless pool Expert

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 4:03PM
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Wow. We're talking rarities, extremes, and specifics that are altered with every client's demands and desires. Take infloor/pop up cleaning for example without a main drain...pointless.

A "drainless" pool is not necessarily "better", nor should it be sold as any type of upgrade. Furthermore, your builder should be installing an automatic water leveler on every new project, not just this option where he saves money on not installing main drain suction lines, not installing water stops, possibly more valves if he runs it separate from the skimmer, and not installing main drain fittings. Sounds to me like the original bidder for the riginal post was trying to increase his profit margin and disguising this as an upgrade.

I agree, technically speaking a drainless pool is safer, but we all know a pool built to proper VGB codes and properly maintained drains yields nearly zero risk.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 6:27PM
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Aqua-Link Pools and Spas

The problem is that most builders do not know how to properly install VGB compliant drains.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 9:26PM
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^ I would agree that many are not installed to the exact specs, mainly the required sump, but I dont think it's reason to use scare tactics on uninformed buyers that a drainless pool is the "best" way to go. That's strictly a biased opinion.

Im curious if other states besides AZ have to provide pump curves and head loss calcs, along with a sample drain cover showing VGB stamping and gmp ratings, at final inspection?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 12:23PM
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Aqua-Link Pools and Spas

We are not required here to do that.

The sump issue is a big problem here also in Southern California.

Even if the sumps are done correctly the gpm rating on the covers are overlooked and not enough suction inlets are done to compensate for the cover.

I see builders here and on this forum not use the proper sumps or covers to comply with the VGB act.

A lower FPS through the pipes would also be a huge factor in making the suction inlets safer and the pool more efficient.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 8:55PM
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A drainless pool is the safest pool. No suction No Entrapment. This design is featured at the International Pool & Spa convention each year. When you incorporate water hydraulics / movement, you can move more water with less energy. You also mix sanitation better. Please see the attachment and view the link below. If you have more questions please call me at 512-745-9548. Richard

Here is a link that might be useful: Drainless Pools Website

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 4:44PM
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