Swimming Pool Drains & Inlets
Every pool has drains at the bottom and inlets or jets along the side. They serve a very important purpose. Both are a part of your pool’s filtration system. Water is sucked down the drain, through a skimmer and then filter. It you have a heater, it will move through the heater next. Then it will be pushed back out into your pool through the inlets.
Safe Pool Drains
For safety, most pools have two drains that are placed at the deepest points and covered with a grid-like cap. Much like a vacuum cleaner, the drains have powerful suction. If the drain is not covered, a swimmer could get their arm, leg, or head caught in the drain. Even with a cover, hair and jewelry can still get sucked into a drain. That’s why it is important to teach anyone who swims in your pool to be careful around drains.
If young children are swimming in your pool or you would like to take extra precautions, it is a smart idea to have a safety vacuum release system installed. This system will make the pump automatically shut off if it senses that something is trapped in the drain. Installing this system can prevent swimmers from drowning.
Before it became mandatory for pools to have two drains, dozens of people in the U.S.A. used to die every year from drowning because they were stuck to a drain. Becoming stuck to a drain is called main drain entrapment. After the granddaughter of former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker died in a family hot tub because of main drain entrapment, regulations for pools changed. This is when it became a requirement for pools to have two drains. New domed drain covers were also designed at this time to help prevent main drain entrapment.
A two-drain system is safer because, if something is stuck to the drain, the suction for that drain can switch off and transfer to the second drain.
If you’ve ever placed your hand over a pool inlet or jet, you know that the water comes out with a lot of force. The reason why jets are designed with high water pressure is to help water move through the pool. This improves the circulation of the chemical additives in the water that keep it clean.
A pressure-relief valve is a mechanism in your drain that is useful if your pool is below the natural groundwater table. If your pool is empty, pressure from groundwater can crack your pool even if it is made of concrete. The purpose of a pressure-relief valve is to prevent this from happening.
If all the water is drained from your pool for some reason and groundwater is pushing again the bottom of the pool, the pressure-relief valve will open the drain to allow some groundwater to gently flow into your pool. This will relieve the pressure that the groundwater is exerting against the pool and prevent it from being damaged.
Want to learn more about pools? Check out more of our blog posts! If you need help maintaining your pool or need pool repairs, give our team a call!