Sump Systems – The Correct Way to Prevent a Floating Vinyl Liner
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Do you have clay as your soil base? Do you have a high water table? Do you have water issues?
Water takes the path of least resistance and will essentially find any gap around your pool to fill into. If you have a high water table or a soil base that doesn’t allow water to run through it easily, you can get what is called a “floating liner”. When the ground water pressure is more than the water pressure inside the pool, it essentially pushes the liner off the vermiculite bottom.
The pool water in the pool didn’t have enough pressure to hold back the ground water. While this can happen to anyone that doesn’t have enough water in the pool, it can also happen when your pool is completely full of water. The way to prevent this is to find a way to remove all the water from underneath your pool.
The Traditional Way to Create A Sump System for Swimming Pools
- Dig a 3′ – 4′ deep hole next to the pool
- Put a 4″ – 5″ diameter piece of PVC into the hole
- Fill the bottom with washed rock
- Put a sump pump into the pit to take out all the water
There are Major Flaws with this System
- It doesn’t work, we replace liners all the time that have customers who accept the fact that liners float
- The majority of the time liners float in the deep end where the most water collects, traditional sump systems only go 3′ – 4′ down
- What happens in the winter when the discharge pipe freezes and the water has no place to go?
A swimming pool sump system should do two things: first, it has to catch the ground to allow it seep into the earth. And, secondly, it has to have a way to pump the water out when it gets full.
How Penguin Pools Builds Sump Systems
Penguin Pools builds sump systems for vinyl liner pools and fiberglass swimming pools much differently than anyone else. We over-dig the depth of the pool 24″ – 36″ in the entire deep end hopper. For this 8′ deep pool we hit ground water at 6′ down.
Our Sump Pump Process
We then fill in the over-dug hopper with roughly 12″ of 1″ washed rock. This rock doesn’t have any fine shards or powder in it, allowing water to run through it with no resistance . . . yet it will not settle!
When there is a good base of stone in the bottom of the hopper, Penguin Pools places a PVC rectangle in the bottom of the hopper. The rigid PVC (1.5″ or 2″) has holes drilled into it every 2″ – 3″, allowing water to fill up in the piping. This will be our way to remove the water with the pool pump . . . Yup, we run a plumbing line directly to the pool pump. * Notice how the rock doesn’t settle as the guys walk on it, even with it being saturated with water on wet clay!
Once the PVC grid is placed on the washed rock, cover it with landscape fabric to help prevent dirt from clogging it up over the years.
Fill the sump system with rock, holding the felt in place, until you get to the elevation you need for the vermiculite.
You can now pour your vermiculite like normal knowing that you have a completely functional sump system in the pool.
The sump system that Penguin Pools builds, allows water to collect at the lowest point of the pool and naturally drain into the ground. It also allows you to simply turn a valve and remove all the water from under your pool. You will have to install a discharge pipe if you use a cartridge filter (3 way valve after the filter) or simply turn your sand filter valve to waste if that is what you use.
While Penguin Pools has never had a floating liner with this system, there is nothing to say that we can’t. However, this system uses standard home building practices to remove water while allowing the ground to absorb as much as it can.
Penguin Pools can also use an existing main drain line to create a sump system and get rid of your water issues. We take out the liner, cut the main drains out, and build the above system using the already run main drain line for your sump system. This process is usually best when you get your vinyl liner replaced so you aren’t paying for you liner replacement twice.
Here is a sump system that we installed in Muskego, WI. Notice how the ramp also gets washed rock, that way any water that gets to the ramp will drain to the bottom where it can be sucked out.