Having a swimming pool is a lot of fun. But, if you are a first-time pool owner, there are a number of aspects of a swimming pool that you might not have thought about. One such aspect is the swimming pool plugs. They are a small yet important part of a swimming pool. Available in a wide range of colours, sizes, and shapes, they can be used for several purposes.
- Winterisation plugs
During the winter season, you have to take several steps to ensure that your pool remains safe. One of these steps is to blow out the water lines by using air. This way, water won’t freeze in the pipe, causing the latter to expand and break. Once the pipes are blown out, winter plugs can be used to ensure that there is no moisture in the pipe. The plugs also protect the pipe during the weather months. It is the perfect accessory to protect your pool and pool equipment from the winter season.
There are a lot of names for winter plugs, including rubber plugs, pool bugs, expansion plugs, hole plugs, and freeze plugs. Their basic stricture is a tapered rubber plug that has two stainless steel washers. Passing through the centre is a plug. When you turn the oversized wingnut, the plugs expand. Even during the cold weather season, you won’t have any issues gripping them. You will have a full seal with a great fit.
Make sure that you choose one made from high-quality rubber, marine-grade stainless steel washers, and a stainless steel or plastic wingnut. When taken care of properly, they can last for many winter seasons. If there is any deterioration, make sure that you replace them immediately.
- Filter plugs
There are different types of filter plugs that you can use for your swimming pool. One of these is the Pentair sand filters that come with the two-stage plug. The butterfly plug of ¼-inches can be used for filtering the water for repairs or for winterisation. There is an O-ring attached to the ¼-inch plug which is crucial to get the proper seal. However, if you can’t find an O-ring, you can also use Teflon tape. Wrap the tape three times around the filter plug, and your plug will be sealed.
In case you get rid of the tank’s assembly, sand will start getting drained as well, which is not good for your filters or pool. Another issue with this type of plug is putting the Spigot back tightly. For this, you should carefully clean the threads. You can also use silicone for improving the seal.
Other types of sand filters have a cap made of plastic threading into the drain tube. These caps’ seal is made using an O-ring or a cap gasket. If you don’t have the gasket, silicone can be used, along with the Teflon tape wrapped three times as a substitute. The size of the caps of the filter drain can vary depending on the drain tube attached to them. For large sand filters, the caps might be in the range of 3/4 inches to 2 inches.
- Pump plugs
Pump plugs are a must-have for almost all types of swimming pool plugs. A pool pump usually has two pump drain plugs. One of these is in the front, located at the base of the pump pot or the lint and hair strainer. You will find the other one further back towards the impeller housing or the motor that drains the volute.
Most of the pumps already come with a ¼-inch threaded plug. These might or might not have the O-ring. Pumps that don’t have the O-ring require you to seal using Teflon tapes, wrapped three times. In case there has been a build-up of the Teflon tape, remove the old tape first, or else it will increase the plug’s size a lot and crack your pump housing. Contact a local Melbourne pool builder for assistance in sourcing a pool pump plug.
It is also possible to substitute the ¼-inch threaded plug as they are universal. Make sure that the replacement is on the National Pipe Thread design (NPT). However, in the case of a pump plug with O-ring, you might have trouble finding a replacement ¼-inch plug that doesn’t have a O-ring that gives you a tight seal.
- Heater plugs
Heater plugs mostly are ¼-inch plugs that can be found on the front header or heat exchanger’s either side. The bronze or cast-iron headers have a butterfly valve plug or a brass plug of ¼-inches. In the case of a modern thermoplastic header, you will find the plastic plug with O-ring. You can lube the brass plugs with green lube to prevent the build-up of rush on the cast-iron headers’ threads. If you are facing the issue of internal rust, you can tap the headers using a number 20-¼ inch tap.
- Test plugs
A test plug is quite similar to winterising plugs. The primary differences between the two are that the test plugs are untapered, have straight sides, and come with oversized wingnuts providing a strong tight grip. Some of these are inflatable, some are ridges, and others are smooth. In most cases, these types of plugs can be used to pressure test plumbing as the straight sidewalls provide secure line plugging. If you use a tapered plug, they might not work, especially during high pressure.
There is another test plug with a hole running through the plug’s centre and a threaded top of valve stem-style. It is capable of pushing compressed air inside the pipe, meaning that it can be used to blow out the pipes for winterisation or for the purpose of pressure testing.
- One-way plugs
This is another type of plug that can be used when winterising your pools. When the air gets blown through the plug in one direction, the water is pushed out of the pipe, and it is sealed to stop water from entering the pipe. Once this is done, to provide more protection against water that enters the pipe again, the plastic cap is pushed on the plug.
So, these were some of the common types of swimming pool plugs. We hope that this article helped you get a better understanding of what these plugs are and how you can use them. However, if you are still unsure, you can always reach out to a pool professional for more information.
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