For Skip Phillips, suction and return fittings not only were laced with safety and sanitation concerns, but he also didn’t like the way they interfered with the sleek look of his vessels.
As a specialist in creating the smooth, glassy look of vanishing-edge and perimeter-overflow designs, he took this issue to heart.
“It made no sense to continue down this road, where we’re increasing the number of ugly fittings, when the solution that I could see would be cosmetically and functionally superior,” says the Genesis 3 co-founder and president of Questar Pools and Spas in Escondido, Calif.
He changed this by inventing a new drain cover, which he also miniaturized for return fittings. “We’ve tried to minimize the visual impact of both the fittings and the results of what happens when the water is received by the pool,” Phillips says.
The fitting is rectangle-shaped and measures approximately 18-by-36 inches for drains and 6-by-6 inches for returns. The only opening is a narrow slot around the perimeter of the fitting where water leaves or enters.
The material used for the pool’s interior finish is placed in the center to blend with the rest of the surface. “So we have these pipes with a little slot, and the water is emitted through these slots, so you don’t see the pool returns at all,” Phillips says.
The units are made of stainless steel with a plastic type coating to help resist corrosion. Phillips chose steel because other materials might flex, which could compromise the ability of surface materials such as tile or pebble to stay in place during application.
Not only are the designs visually non-obtrusive but, in the case of the drain cover, it meets safety concerns, as it is too long to be blocked by an adult male. They also allow very slow flow rates, increasing safety and eliminating any surface disturbance from the returns.
These low flows also keep the returns from disturbing the water’s surface. Phillips has invested four years into the design and fine-tuning of the product and had it stamped by an engineer. He has no plans to mass produce them or sell the design to a vendor, but will continue to have units custom-fabricated for each of his own clients.