Many suction outlet covers that were installed to comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act soon will be in need of replacement.

This December, it will be five years since the deadline for ensuring that all commercial pools in the United States are outfitted with covers that meet the code.

Manufacturers were required to state a life span for each cover and, while some are as short as three years, the majority fell between five and seven. Thus, many covers that were installed before the deadline soon will be due for replacement.

While a massive recall in 2011 meant many covers were replaced, some only needed an alteration, such as adding a spacer ring to provide added height and distance from the sump. Those may be up for replacement as well.

Some professionals are beginning to act. “There are some [drain covers] that have already been getting replaced … and our distribution sales on suction covers has gone up again a little bit,” said Steve Dunn, vice president of Commercial Pool Systems in Martinez, Calif. “Just in the last two weeks we’ve had a big increase in the number of orders for suction covers.”

When replacing the covers, professionals should take certain measures, both technical and administrative. First, make sure you choose the right cover. It should be tested and certified for the flow rate that the pump can produce on the installation.

“What was originally installed and approved back in 2008 may not exist anymore,” said Javier Payan, owner of Payan Pool Service, San Diego. “You want to make sure that whatever you put in is going to fit the frame, and you just want to make sure you put them in correctly, so you don’t want to modify things.”

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