A main drain is simply an additional way to circulate the water in your above ground pool. Adding a main drain to an above ground pool allows water to be drawn in from the floor of the pool much like inground swimming pools do. This is a huge improvement in water circulation as opposed to just skimmer the water’s surface. Pulling in water from the depths of the pool ensures debris and impurities that sink to the pool floor are removed, not just those floating in the top few inches of water.
While there are other ways to improve water circulation such as automatic pool cleaners or additional return jets, the main drain is the best option for the task. The problem with the automatic pool cleaner is that they typically plug into the skimmer to operate, so when in use the skimmer can no longer function as skimmer. Another issue with the automatic cleaner is it must be put into the pool manually and removed when bathers enter the water. This often makes pool cleaners a hassle to use.
The installation of additional return jets is a good idea as they will stir up the water more, but they’ll do little to move the heavier debris that has sunk to the pool’s floor. An additional jet or two along with a main drain is the best way to improve water circulation in your above ground pool.
The only downside to the main drain is the fact it must be installed during the pool installation or during a liner replacement. It can be done by those with basic plumbing knowledge and installed using this special drain kit available from some pool stores. The necessary PVC pipe and fitting needed to complete the install are available from your local home improvement store.
Installation of main drains in Lakeland area above ground pools typically run about $350 including parts and labor. If you are going to do the install yourself please note that main drain kits are only sold in quantities of two by most pool stores. This is because many states have regulations requiring two drains be installed together, so check with your local building department for all code requirements before installation.