Water is drawn from the pool at the skimmers, main drains, vacuuming point, overflow or infinity-pool weir (known as Suction Inlets) and returned to the pool at the return jets, waterfall, fountain or other feature of the individual pool
Drains: - there should be at least 2 drains to prevent entrapment death. The suction of the pump is easily strong enough to hold a person trapped underwater if there is just one drain and for this reason a minimum of 2 drains should be installed. If one drain becomes covered by a bathers body all the suction is instantly transferred to the other drain(s) and suction inlets and there is no risk of entrapment.
Drains are installed at the deepest part of the pool to facilitate better circulation and to allow the pool to be pumped dry when the occasion calls for it. All drains should be fitted with a plastic or metal grille to prevent hair, hands, feet or foreign objects from being drawn into the suction line and these grilles must be replaced at the first sign of damage.
Older plastic grilles become brittle and present a very real danger to swimmers. A person jumping in to the pool could land on an aged, cracked grille and go right through it, possibly trapping their foot. Do you think that this sounds a little far-fetched? It happens dozens of times a year and some of those trapped bathers die, just inches below the life-giving air at surface. It's good safety practice to replace plastic grilles after 4-5 years as a matter of routine but metal grilles last pretty much for ever in a chemically well-balanced pool
Skimmers: - draw water from the top couple of millimetres of the pool. The shape of the skimmer body and the suction of the pump combine to create a vortex within the skimmer. The vortex reduces the surface tension of the pool for quite some distance from the skimmer opening. As far as dust, dirt and smaller floating debris is concerned this makes it a 'downhill slope' to the skimmer and they are naturally drawn into the entrance. You may notice a part-submerged leaf, for example, float serenely past the opening of the skimmer but what you can't see is the suntan and body oils, microscopic dust, algae and fungi spores, skin-flakes, etc., which are pulled in and captured by the filter
Skimmers are fitted with a strainer basket which is, in effect, the first stage of the filtration system. It will catch leaves, insects, hair and floating toys, etc., and must be emptied regularly. Replace the strainer basket if it becomes cracked or otherwise damaged
A floating weir, AKA 'skimmer flap', is fitted across the inlet. These work well, as the waves generated by swimmers knock the weir down and when it floats back up it traps any floating debris
A typical skimmer showing the individual parts
The water is pumped through the filtering system and back into the pool at the Return Jets, installed around the side of the pool. The jets should gently ripple the water and push the surface towards the skimmers
Vacuum Port: - this is where the floating hose of a vacuum cleaner or auto-cleaner is connected when vacuuming the pool. The vacuum points may have their own dedicated pump but are more usually connected to the circulation pump. They are a grave danger to swimmers if left uncapped because if the vacuum valve is accidentally left open with no hose connected the suction generated at the vacuum point is easily enough to kill a child or adult, or to draw a child's' arm into the suction line. See Suction Inlets for more information
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Ken Walker - MyPoolGuru©