What we don’t know can hurt us badly, and since there is so much that can go wrong, we should be on alert and seek quality guidance. Fiberglass pools can sound fun up front, but not maintaining pool chemistry can lead to expensive repairs. Concrete pools that have poor water chemistry will look terrible too. It’s about finding balance. Water finds balance all on its own.
Pool Envy believes knowledge and education is the best tool for safe swimming pool ownership. All of us likely own a car and understand the responsibilities, right? Seatbelts, tires, oil changes, air filters, tie-rods, brake pads, and the list can go on, sounds familiar. Onto your swimming pool, how many regularly check the ANSI/ASME or ISPSC or CSPSC or VGBA, NEC, DOE, Local Building Codes?
Swimming pools with a single main drain can cause suction entrapment injuries and drowning. The VGBA was passed in 2008 due to an accident where Virginia Graeme Baker drowned in a backyard whirlpool. More ironic? The law did nothing to force homeowners to make changes to their pools. It did however push major changes in public swimming pools: hotels, condos, schools etc. For us, if we see a flat drain cover, we replace it. Not being negligent is our goal.
Pool pumps draw a vacuum when they are pulling water from the main drain. A body could get stuck over this drain and the pump will continue to run, trapping the swimmer at the bottom of the pool. None of us want that to happen, but many pools in the area continue to have these single drains.
Drain covers are the second issue after suction entrapment comes hair entrapment. Children love to swim and often will do handstands in pools. The problem is when long hair is pulled into an old drain cover and becomes entangled, the swimmer can drown. A fun afternoon can turn to tragedy in a matter of seconds.
The VGBA requires manufacturers to have warning labels on covers, and while the public pool world must replace their covers regularly, many pools we see in the Brown County area are 20+ years old. UV from the sun can damage plastic, bad water chemistry can cause the plastic to become brittle, and as time goes on the risk of accidents only increases.
Solving the problem is simple, just get rid of the main drain. Many of these old pools have 1-1/2” plumbing that is very dangerous. Small pipes increase the velocity of the water and increase the chances of hair entanglement The answer is to slow the water down and use proper drain covers.
One simple option that can be done is upgrading your pool plumbing. Pipes are rather easy to get out of the ground, and upgrading them can not only save energy by allowing you to move more water slowly, but you also reduce the speed of the water which results in a low likelihood of entrapment. Some pools can even eliminate their main drains altogether. Pools clean best using the skimmers, and by adding additional skimmers you can have a cleaner pool and eliminate the suction entrapment risks with convention main drains.