Main Drain for AGP

by Cindy
(Saskatchewan)

I am waiting for my new 18 ft Trevi pool to come. I would like to know if I have to install a main drain or can I bypass that step.



Hi Cindy. I have never known of a main drain kit to be mandatory for an above ground pool. These are usually just options that you can install if you want to.

Installing a center drain on an above ground pool complicates the installation in many ways. If you have never installed one before there are many things that can be done wrong. Any of these could cause the liner to leak in the future. One of the biggest downsides to a center drain is that when they leak there are no signs that's where the water is leaking from. Anytime your pool gets a leak the drain is the first thing you will think of and it's nearly impossible to do much about it.

Another complication to a drain is the plumbing. The entire system would need to be converted to PVC pipe. This is not a bad way to do it, but maybe not something you want to invest the time or the money into at this time. Converting your filter flex hose to flex PVC is an excellent investment for a future upgrade but that can be done at any time.

While drains were common many years ago the are not today. Automatic pool cleaners have replaced them and are a much better option.

I have written more about center drains on this page.

Above Ground Pool Main Drain

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Main Drain

by Kenny Johnson
(Pinewood, SC)

I am going to replace my liner in a 24' round X 52" deep pool. When I purchased the pool the installers put both a main and side wall drains. I would like to only use the side drain but am concerned the pool won't stay clean. I've heard from several people, some say it's needed and others say not. Any help on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Kenny



Hi Kenny. I have written quite a bit about main drains, below are some links to other pages. I'm not in favor of them. For one they aren’t needed and for two they are a possible cause for leaks.

pool cleaner for above ground pool
Automatic pool cleaners have made main drains obsolete. They basically do the same thing, they draw water from the bottom of the pool into the filter system. They clean the pool also, which is an added plus. Center drains draw water from the bottom which helps in circulation, helps but not at all necessary, as pools do just fine without center drains or cleaners. Drains can also help clean the pool, but only when you are manually pushing the dirt to the center with a brush.

So are they needed? No. My biggest complaint, however, is that they are another hole in the liner and another place for a leak. The problem is it's the hardest place to identify a leak, there are no signs of water leaking. Yet, it's always the first place people with drains suspect when they are loosing water in the pool. They always think it's the drain leaking, it seldom is, but it's always suspect.

The only thing you can really do is drain the pool and maybe tighten all the screws or replace the gaskets. All other holes can be found and patched without draining the pool. Yet, the drain is always the first place people want to look.

Anyway, I would cap it off and do without. Here’s some more reading about drains and cleaners.

Above Ground Pool Main Drain

Center Drain Installation

Above Ground Pool Cleaners

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Liner Install With Center Drain

by Rich Niko (Always Perfect pools)
(Buffalo,NY United States)

I'm installing a new liner for a customer on an aboveground pool. It also has a main drain, for the life of me I cannot remember when to cut the liner. I haven't done an install with a main drain in about ten yrs.

I know you cover the holes and glue the bottom gasket. And after there's about 2-4 in. of water in the pool and the wrinkles are out you attach the grate and then cut the liner. But my question is, how do you cut the liner with the grate on? There's 1-2 inch holes all over the grate. Any pics or advice would be great.



Hi Rich. To answer your last question, there should be an outer faceplate type of ring the goes on first. It's held in place with about 8 screws. After that is put on, the liner is cut and the grate is then installed. It is held on with just 2 screws.

If the screws have been taken out of the holes, and if there is any chance the holes have dirt or sand in them, I clean them out first. I do this with a small drill bit that puts a tiny hole in the bottom of each one, allowing the dirt and stuff to exit. I then check each hole to make sure the screw will go all the way in.

I had a few times, in my early days, where I had the liner installed and could not get all the screws to tighten. Now that's a pain in the butt.

I also scrape off the old gasket and clean the drain up real nice. I set the screw back into the holes while I finish smoothing the base and work on the drain just before getting out of the pool. I remove the screws and glue the gasket in place.

And like you said, when there is a little water in the pool and the liner is all set, I install the face plate, cut the liner and install the grate.

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Bottom Drain for Doughboy Above the Ground Pool

by Cynthia
(California)

Can a drain be installed at the bottom of an above ground Doughboy pool? Are there any kits or parts especially made for this besides going to the local hardware?

Thanks, Cynthia



Hi Cynthia. Some pool stores may have a kit available. I once worked with a store that would put together a drain kit when needed. Putting one together yourself is not that hard.

You would need to buy the center drain from a pool store, the rest can be bought at the hardware store. All the parts needed are basic PVC parts and PVC pipe. If the drain is threaded with 2" threads you should reduce down to 1 1/2" at the drain and use 1 1/2" pipe. Outside the pool you want to elbow up out of the ground. This pipe should then go into a three way valve. The skimmer line comes down into the top of it and the third port goes to the pump.

You can read more about my feelings regarding center drains on this page.

Above Ground Pool Main Drain

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