Above Ground Pool Center Drain
We are getting ready to install a new liner in our above ground pool. Some of our neighbors have above ground pools and upon their installation they installed a center drain.
We want to do this when we install a new liner because we live in an area where there is a really fine dusting of coal dust and I hate to see that settled on the bottom of the pool floor.
Do you have any installation recommendations? Also I am not a big fan of these micro fine flying bugs that sometimes land in the pool and just swirl on top of the water. Any good suggestions for keeping them directed to the skimmer and not around me!!
Center drains have not been popular for many years. Automatic pool cleaners have taken their place in most pools. They act as a suction device drawing water from the pool bottom the same as a drain but they move around to get the dirt instead of you having to push the dirt to the center. The other big advantage to a pool cleaner is you do not have to cut a hole in the liner. You are not creating another place where the pool liner could leak. Center drain leaks can be very difficult to detect and even harder to fix.
Here are the basics if you do decide to go ahead with the drain. The intake side of the filter system should be converted to 1
1/2" pvc pipe. This will easily adapt to the 1 1/2" pipe coming from the drain. The pipe should come out of the ground and go into a three way valve. One side goes to the pump and the other one to the skimmer. This valve will regulate the flow of water from the skimmer and the drain. When you are skimming or vacuuming the pool, turn the drain off. When you are brushing the dirt to the center you would have the skimmer off. Other times they can both be open.
When installing the drain I dig the hole big enough and deep enough so that it will hold about a half bag of concrete and end up the lowest spot in the pool. You want enough concrete around the drain to keep it from shifting. You want to slope the ground around the drain enough so that the top of the drain becomes the lowest spot in the pool.
I run the pipe out the side of the drain and plug the bottom opening. The pipe should run under ground to the filter area and come up at least a foot from the pool wall on the outside.
If your skimmer is not working properly you may need to try changing the direction of the return fitting until you find the perfect spot for proper circulation. If your return eyeball does not allow you to change the angle you can make a simple pvc return that will properly direct the water around the pool.