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Replace VGB outlet covers before they expire

Since 2008, new pool owners have had to install suction outlet covers that were compliant with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. Meeting the code ensures that swimmers are safe from the potential harm of getting caught on grates that were not properly covered. At the time, manufacturers had to include a lifespan for every cover sold, with the average being between five and seven years.

However, with the Phoenix summer fast approaching, many of these original covers may be up for expiration, Pool and Spa News reported. The industry experienced a massive recall in 2011 that resulted in the replacement of many VGB covers, some of which had a lifespan as little as three years. But a few owners only needed to make slight alterations, such as adding spacer rings to provide added height and distance from the sump.

While the actual maintenance should be handled by a professional from the local Phoenix pool service company, owners can take certain steps to adequately prepare for the impending replacement.

Determine the life span
According to The Pool Management Group, every outlet cover has an expiration date stamped on the front of it. Owners need to determine the expiration date in accordance with the VGB deadline set for this year. If it's been five years or more, and wasn't replaced during the 2011 recall, it needs to be removed before the pool can be used by friends and family.

Pick the right cover
Before going out and purchasing a new one, it's a good idea to determine the correct drain cover for replacement. It should coincide with the flow rate of the swimming pool's pump, or the flow meter reading when the filters have been flushed out and strainer basket is empty and clean. It's dangerous to assume the same cover is the right choice, as certain components of the product could have changed since its initial installation. Check with manufacturer websites to ensure that the cover matches the flow measurements of the pool.

Inspect the area
Make sure that the plaster rings and screw holes are intact – if not, they will need to be fixed. Additionally, if spacers were added to the cover they will also have to be replaced. The frame/should be structurally sound, and if the screws don't have at least 3 thread engagements, they must be removed and upgrade with newer ones, The Pool Management Group explained. It's important that owners don't reuse the old screws, as their integrity could be compromised and lead to issues with the replacement cover.