Pool Plumbing: What You Should Know

pool plumbing
Elaborate pool plumbing

When it comes to your pool’s plumbing, there are a couple things that the builder can do.  There are a couple types of “pipe” that can be used.  I think that the majority of builders in southern states use rigid schedule 40 PVC pipe.  In northern states, many builders will tend to use what is know as “flex pipe.” There are a couple differences between the two.  Flex pipe comes rolled up and is able to be manipulated more easily than the rigid.  This makes plumbing a bit easier because the flex pipe will not have to heat up to bend the way they it needs to be.  That will save quite a bit of time and allow builders to get the pool finished faster.  The reason that builders in southern states prefer the rigid pipe is that flex pipe is made using cellulose which is also found in wood and incidentally is what termites feed on.  A lot of builders in northern states can use the flex pipe without worry because the frigid winters we get make it so termites are not a huge concern.  So, if you live in a southern state and see your builder unrolling white flexible PVC, you may want to ask if they will plumb the pool  using the rigid pipe instead just to be on the safe side.

Now let’s say you have a pool that has three returns, two main drains, and one skimmer.  You will notice that the builder will tie the two main drains together and run one plumbing line to them.  The reason for this is that by law there has to be two main drains at least three feet apart from one another.

You may also notice that they will generally tie all of the returns together into one plumbing line.  Builders will usually do this within the trench leading to where your pool equipment will be.

The skimmer will get its own plumbing line all the way to where the equipment will be.  The lines should be placed in a specific order in the trench.  Usually, the skimmer line and the main drain line will be next to each other.

This will allow them to tie the lines into a three way valve which will allow the main drains and skimmer to be isolated for the purpose of vacuuming the pool.

So to review, there are now three plumbing lines at your equipment pad.  Each line should really have what is know as a union installed on them.  This union will allow the plumbing to be taken apart for the purpose of winterizing the pool, or pressure testing the lines if needed.  From there the builder will use his/her best judgement when plumbing the system.

I have included a basic plumbing diagram for
reference.  Keep in mind that no matter how the system is plumbed it should be done in a way that looks nice.  This is just a basic diagram.  It is ultimately up to the builder to determine the best way to plumb the system.


Bad Pool Plumbing

If you have lines going every which way without any rhyme or reason, then there is a good chance that the person plumbing the system was inexperienced.  This will also make it more difficult to follow and see what is what.

This is just some basic information regarding your swimming pool plumbing.  The reason I created this post was just to give some information to those who are planning on getting a pool.  I prefer to have information about what is going on anytime I hire someone to work around my house and I can only expect that there are others like me.  If anyone has any questions regarding this post or any of my posts please don’t hesitate to ask.

One Comment

  1. I have a friend who is wanting to get a swimming pool installed in her backyard. She knows that if she gets one that I will be over there everyday in the summer and so she has asked me a couple questions to help her figure this all out. She isn't sure how all the plumbing and stuff like that works. I will have to share the information in this article with her and hopefully she can get it all figured out and get the pool installed soon so that they can have it all summer long. http://www.sunsetpools.biz/process.html

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