Pool Water Safety Month: The Importance of Pool Drain and Suction Port Covers

By May 16, 2017 January 22nd, 2019 Cleaning & Maintenance
Water Safety Month Tips

May is “Water Safety Month” and we like to think of it as Pool water safety month.  Here are some helpful safety tips on a pool drain and suction port covers.

Pool Main Drain Covers: 

  • The drain cover must be securely screwed in place.
  • It should not be broken or be missing any pieces.
  • The cover should be under 7 years old. Sunlight degrades plastic over time and those parts last about 7 years in normal UV conditions.
  • If you have an old style flat drain cover; you must replace it immediately.
  • The term VGB  signifies a drain cover that passes anti-entrapment, anti-entanglement, and anti-suction safety testing.
  • Virginia Graeme Baker (VGB), the granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker III, died of suction entrapment on a public spa drain;  the Federal Act that governs pool drains is named after her.

Side Suction ports:

  • Years ago to make life easier on pool owners, builders installed side suction ports to plug automatic pool cleaners without having to utilize the skimmer.
  • This new way of vacuuming pools is created to improve hydraulics; however, the negatives far out weight the positives to hydraulics.
  • The problem comes when the APC (Automatic Pool Cleaner) is pulled out of the wall and the side port left open. It creates a bare whole sucking water and anything else into it.
  • Numerous people, children, and adults have seriously injured and killed by these open side ports.
  • At a minimum, they must have a suction safety automatic vac lock on them; however, these devices need frequent maintenance. Those locks are spring activated underwater and without maintenance, they will fail.
  • It is better to utilize a pool professional to re-plumb your system and eliminate the side suction port entirely or convert it to a pressure port.

Water and Swim Safety is everyone’s job. 

  1. Make sure you have at least three layers of protection around your pool.
  2. Make sure your drain and side suction covers are up to date.
  3. Always vigilantly watch children and swimmers when they are in or around the pool.