Hines Pool & Spa

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pool & spa safety

Hines Pool & Spa knows swimming pool and spa safety

We maintain relationships with City and State health organizations to better provide information commercial and residential pool operators require to keep their pool environment safe. From barrier codes to anti-entrapment, we can answer your questions and head you in the right direction. Pool and spa safety is the responsibility of everyone in our industry and we are glad to offer in-depth information concerning code compliance and the safety of your swimmers.

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Recreational Waterborne Illnesses

Cryptosporidium and other Recreational Waterborne Illnesses (RWI’s) are on the rise. This parasite is chlorine resistant and causes severe diarrhea for up to 2 weeks. Luckily, Crypto and other parasites can be prevented with UV systems or Pulsar® CRS crypto removal systems.

Code Compliant (VGBA) Drains and Child Safety

A missing or broken single main drain cover can allow a child to become stuck to the powerful suction, causing drowning or severe injuries.Code (VBGA) Compliant drain configurations spreads the suction and is much safer than traditional, single drain designs.

VGB stands for Virginia Graeme Baker, a young girl who lost her life due to an entrapment issue.

VGBA stands for The Virginia Graeme Baker Act. The goal of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act (VGBA) is to eliminate the hazard of swimming pool and spa drain entrapment. THE VGBA is a federal law enacted by Congress and signed by the President on December 19, 2007. The effective date was December 19, 2008. Congress directed the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to protect the public “against unreasonable risks of injuries associated with consumer products.” Drain covers are classified as “consumer products” that are regulated by CPSC Standard ANSI/APSP/ICC_16-2017 (the successor standard to all previous standards).

Learn more about the Virginia Graeme Baker Act

FAQ's for Virginia Graeme Baker Act for anti-entrapment

The term “main drain” is misleading; a main drain doesn’t drain the pool, it is actually a main point of suction, typically on the floor of the pool, which allows your pump to pull water from the pool and send it to your filter and then back to the pool. You can typically identify the main drain by looking at the floor of your pool. If you see a grate on the floor, you have a main drain.  Main drains can take a variety of shapes - round, square, rectangular, and even large circular similar to a bicycle tire.

The answers is – it depends! In most cases you should see 2 grates on the floor of your pool and the floor of your spa. Most residential pools built in the last 20 years used an 8” round grate. While commercial pools used at a minimum 12” square grates, but in many cases have 18-24” square grates. In more recent years, manufacturers have come out with unblockable drains, in which case you would likely only have 1.  Even if you see 2 grates, they may not be code compliant.

In the past, the entire drain was the grate and the frame or ring which the grate was screwed/attached. Pool builders would make what is called a field manufactured sump, a process of carving out the concrete around the suction pipes coming through the floor to create a bowl, then cut off the pipe and install the frame and grate. This is no longer allowed. The grate is now one part of a “Suction Outlet Fitting Assembly” or SOFA, which also includes a manufactured sump. The grate screws directly into the sump. Manufacturers must submit their SOFAs to be tested to meet CPSC Standard ANSI/APSP/ICC_16-2017.

Also, in the past, builders would use undersized plumbing and oversized pumps. There are now standards on how fast water can move through the plumbing. Matching the pump size, plumbing size, and the SOFA together is the proper way to ensure safety and code compliance.

At a minimum, if your pool has 2 grates, they should be 36” apart, this is called split suction. While you will not be able to visually verify, split suction uses 1 pipe centered between the drains (in the concrete) with a Tee which splits into 2 pipes going out 18” to the grates. The point of split suction is if one drain is blocked, the other drain should allow enough flow of water to allow a person to remove themselves from the other drain.

Unblockable drains come in 2 main forms – rectangular and large (think bicycle tire) circles where the wheel is the grate. The reason these drains are considered unblockable is they are tested with 18”x23” element which represents the dimensions of a 99th percentile male. If this element cannot block the entire grate and water can still flow through the grate and into the sump, then it will not hold someone to the grate.

Ready to Turn Over your Pool Maintenance to the Professionals?

Simply click the button below to connect with our maintenance department!

Ready to Turn Over your Pool Maintenance to the Professionals?

Simply click the button below to connect with our maintenance department!

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