How to Identify Pool Plumbing Lines and Valves

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Pool plumbing can be intimidating at first glance. There are several pipes and valves that are unmarked, making it seemingly impossible to understand. In this guide, we explain how to easily identify the pool plumbing lines and diverter valves. Doing this is one of the first steps toward painless pool maintenance.

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Step 1

IDENTIFY FEATURES - Take a look around the pool and identify the different features that either pull water or return water. This could include skimmers, return jets, main drains, bubblers, waterfalls, slides, vacuum ports, and deck jets.

Step 2

SUCTION SIDE & RETURN SIDE - Understanding the flow of water will help identify the lines. The suction lines will be on the intake side of the pump. The return lines are everything after the pump.

In our picture, the suction side is highlighted green and the return side is highlighted red. 

Step 3

SUCTION LINES - With the pump running, turn the valves on the suction side so that only one line can pull water.

If you are unsure if a line is open or closed, check out our guide titled "How to Set Up Pool Diverter Valves for a Basic System".

Note: Make sure that a minimum of one suction line and one return line remains open at all times. The pump needs to be able to pull water from the pool and return it. Otherwise, you risk damaging the pump.

Step 4

CHECK POOL - Walk over to the pool and examine the suctions points. This would include the skimmer, main drain(s), or vac line.

Step 5

LABEL LINE - Once you have determined which suction line was isolated, label that pvc line.

In our example, the skimmer was pulling water.

Repeat Steps 3-5 until all of the lines have been identified on the suction side of the system.

Click Here to View Plumbing Labels

Step 6

RETURN LINES - With the pump running, turn the valves on the return side so that only one line can return water to the pool.

Step 7

CHECK POOL - Walk over to the pool and examine the return points. This would include return jets, deck jets, bubblers, waterfalls, or slides.

Step 8

LABEL LINE - Once you have determined which return line was isolated, label that pvc line.

In our example, it was the bubblers.

Repeat Steps 6-8 until all of the lines have been identified on the return side of the system.

Click Here to View Plumbing Labels

Step 9

If you are still uncertain about some of the valves or lines, we recommend viewing additional plumbing schematics.

Click Here to View a Full List of Common Plumbing Schematics

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