When building an inground swimming pool, there are many important small details. One area that is often oversimplified is the plumbing of the pool. More specifically, installing the main drains, and returns. So, here’s a step-by-step process for each of these, in detail.
Let’s start with your main drains, and you can’t have just one. The two main drains should be at least 3 ft apart from each other at the bottom center of the deep-end of your pool.
To install the main drains into a pool, first, remove the cover and face plate off of each main drain, and tape over the opening, covering the faceplate screw holes with duct tape.
Next, there is a 2″ plug included with each main drain you will use that to plug the bottom hole in each main drain. Wrap some Teflon tape around the plugs before you screw them in, to be sure they won’t leak.
Afterward, screw in a 1.5″ male threaded adapter on the side of each main drain. Flip both main drains over on a level surface and using primer and PVC glue, fit a 3 ft piece of pipe between them. You can use either flex or rigid PVC.
Once it’s dry, cut the pipe in the center and install a 1.5″ T fitting, with the third port of the tee facing a horizontal direction. Run a short pipe from the T fitting to a sweep elbow. This connects to long sections of pipe that run up and under the wall panel and all the way back to the main drain valve. The pipe should run in a narrow, shallow trench across the floor and up the deep end sidewalls to where it exits the pool, just under the wall.
When the connected main drains are securely plumbed together, recheck the finished height and install your pool flooring material on the deep end side walls, covering the small pipe trench. Your floor material should come right up to the very top of the main drains.
After the liner is installed and you have a few inches of water in the bottom of the pool you can now carefully go down to the drains and you’ll see the impressions of the screw holes through the liner. From there, you can place the second gasket and face plate over the screw holes and carefully screw them in. When they are all in and snug, then trim out the inside of the face plate with a razor knife and attach the main drain covers securely.
Remove the 4 screws and face plate and store this safely until the liner is installed. Underneath the face place, you’ll notice a black gasket already glued in place, that is the only gasket you’ll need for the return. After the liner is installed and the water level has reached the wall fitting, you will notice the protrusion of the return and can see the screw holes through the vinyl liner.
The face plate you are putting on will have notches on it – line up the notch over the bump out and firmly push the screws in through the holes. Tighten very snugly, with a #3 Philips head. After you get the screws in, then trim out the inside vinyl with a razor knife and screw in your directional eyeball fitting.
Wall fittings go in from the front of the wall through the panel and the large nut screws on the outside of the wall to hold the fitting in place. To install, remove the large nut and push the fitting through the wall, and tighten the nut up tightly with large channel-type pliers.
Most pools have at least two returns, usually one on each end. Run equal lengths of pipe, to meet each other at a T fitting. If the lengths are not equal, you will get lower flow from the return that is further away. From the T fitting where two return pipes join underground, run a single pipe straight to the equipment pad, on the return side, opposite end from the suction pipes.
Installing pools and plumbing is not as easy as it seems. So, when in doubt, give us a call at Terry’s Plumbing! As your reputable plumber in Pittsburgh, we can help you with your plumbing-related issues. Call today at 412-364-9114.