- Water safety is such an important consideration when considering a pool or spa. There have been many questions in recent news about whether pool drains are safe. There have been product safety recalls, which have left more questions than answers. Below is a FAQ on product drain safety recalls that was put together in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Staff along with the Association of Pool and Spa Safety staff. If you have questions about your pool or spa, please feel free to give us a call. We suggest the following when it comes to your pool or spa:
- Keep your pool and spa equipment up to date with regards to safety and recalls. (Virginia Graeme Baker [VGB] Pool & Spa Safety Act)
- Secure your pool or spa when not in use or under supervision. There are many different safety devices that are available on the market today. Consider the newest product on the market called the Pool Watch Dog. This product monitors your pool or spa 24 hours a day and alerts you if anyone goes into that area without your knowledge.
- Read up on Water Safety information. Be prepared in the event of an emergency.
- Take CPR classes. Get certified by the Red Cross (Opens In New Window).
- Teach your children and those using your pool or spa about water safety and set rules for using the pool or spa.
Drain Safety Recall Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
What is the drain recall all about?
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with several manufacturers, has announced a voluntary recall of certain pool and in-ground spa drain covers. A replacement or retrofit of these drain covers may be required in certain cases.
Why is a recall necessary?
Some pool and in-ground spa drain covers were determined by the CPSC to have been incorrectly rated by independent third-party laboratories for protection against body entrapment.
How do I know if my pool or in ground spa is affected by the recall?
If your pool or spa meet any of the following criteria, they are not the subject of the recall:
- If the drain covers in your pool or in-ground spa were installed before December 2008, your pool or spa is not affected by this recall. All of the drain covers affected by this recall were manufactured or sold after December 19, 2008.If the drain in your pool is a "channel drain"--it is in the shape of a long and narrow rectangle, (typically 3 or 4 inches by 30 or 31 inches or longer)-or is 24" x 24" or larger or 9" x 36" or larger-it is not affected by this recall.Hot tubs (often referred to as portable spas) are not affected by the recall, whether they are free standing, placed in the ground or surrounded by a deck.
- Swimming pools (as opposed to built in wading (kiddie) pools or in-ground spas) that have more than one drain per pump or a gravity drainage system are not affected by this recall.
- If you have a kiddie pool or an in-ground spa or swimming pool with a single drain that has drain covers that were installed after December 2008, the drain covers are subject to the recall:
- A kiddie or wading pool is generally found at public facilities. It is a permanent built in fixture, with its own separate circulation system and a maximum depth of 18-24 inches.
- An in ground spa is a permanent, non factory built structure, typically with a concrete or vinyl bottom, with several return jets.
To summarize, if your drain covers were installed after December 2008, and:
- if you have an in ground spa, or
- if you have a wading (kiddie) pool, or
- your pool has only one drain, and that drain is not a long channel drain, you may need to participate in this recall and should take further action to ensure your pool or in-ground spa is in compliance.
Are there photos of pictures of the types of drains that are affected?
Yes. Please visit the manufacturers' individual websites for photos of affected models.
What do I do if I think my pool or in-ground spa may be a part of this recall?
First, do not attempt to remove or alter your drain cover in any way. If a replacement or retrofit is necessary, it should only be performed by a qualified pool or spa professional. It may not be necessary to remove your drain covers, and doing so may create a safety risk.
Second, please make sure you review the information in number 2 above to determine if your pool or in-ground spa may be affected. Many pools and spas are not affected by the recall. If you believe that your pool or in-ground spa may be covered by this recall contact your pool builder or pool service provider directly.
Which manufacturers have drain covers affected by this recall?
The drain cover manufacturers whose products are included in this recall are: (Links Open In New Browser Window)
The covers vary in size and shape, but bear model # markings and manufacturer name. It will be useful to identify the manufacturer of the drain cover in your pool in order to determine if your drain cover is affected by this recall.
Are wading pools or "kiddie pools" affected by this recall? What about hot tubs?
Yes. Owners or operators of shallow, wading or "kiddie" pools (with a maximum depth of 18 -24 inches, intended specifically for small by children), need to determine if their drain covers are affected by this recall and take appropriate action. Store bought “splasher” type pools are not affected by this recall. Hot tubs are not affected by this recall. In general, if the pool or spa is installed in-ground (generally in concrete) and cannot be moved, it may be included in the recall if the drain covers were installed on or after December 19, 2008. If it is above ground and can be transported, it is not included.
Does this mean my pool is unsafe to use?
If your drain cover and pool or in-ground spa is determined to be among those covered by this recall, it would be most prudent to not use the pool or in-ground spa until a professional has assessed the situation and determined if a replacement drain cover or retrofit is necessary.
Are there any reports of injuries associated with the drain covers affected by the recall?
No, neither the Consumer Product Safety Commission nor the drain cover manufacturers are aware of any reports of injuries associated with the use of these drain covers.
If the drain covers were installed before December 0f 2008, what should I do?
These drain covers are not part of this recall. There have been significant improvements in drain cover technology since the new Federal Law in 2008, however, and we recommend that you consult with a pool industry professional about upgrading your drain covers to make your pool or spa even safer. This would not be part of the recall, however, and would be at your own expense.
What will this likely cost me, in terms of a replacement or retrofit?
Consumers will not incur costs for reasonable replacement or retrofit of recalled drain covers that are installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Pool Owners must register with the manufacturer of the recalled drain cover, and, where applicable, have the service performed by the manufacturer's authorized service provider, in order to avoid incurring costs for the replacement or retrofit of recalled covers.
In order to receive reimbursement from the recalled drain cover manufacturer for installation of an approved retrofit or replacement drain cover, Pool Installers will be required to submit a Recall Verification Form to the recalled drain cover manufacturer.
Should I call my pool maintenance company, installer or pool retailers about this?
After reviewing this information, if you still do not know whether your pool or in-ground spa is covered under this recall, you should contact the builder of your pool or pool service provider, who may be able to provide an answer.
IMPORTANT! It is essential that any replacement or retrofit of a drain cover be performed by a qualified professional. Do not remove a drain cover without having a replacement in hand and a qualified professional ready to install it. These products are not sold directly to consumers. Independent distributors sell the products directly to professional builders/installers.
Are there other steps I can take to make my pool or spa as safe as possible?
Yes. Pool and spa bathers always need to practice basic and simple safety measures,
- Never use a pool or spa that has a broken or missing drain cover
- Never allow any bathers to play with or swim next to a drain cover
- Always make sure children are under constant adult supervision whenever they are in or around a pool, spa or any body of water
For more information, visit www.poolsafely.gov.