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Thread: Unions or not?

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    JamieP's Avatar
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    Unions or not?

    I had read on this site the recommendation to have all equipment at the pad hooked up with unions to allow for easy removal if there should ever be a problem. One of the builders we are considering said he doesn't like to use them because they are a place of potential failure, but that he leaves enough pipe between things for future cuts if necessary. What do you think of that? Is having unions something to insist on?
    28,000 gallon freeform, Stonescapes Tropics Blue Minipebble with abalone, 3.5' to 8.5' depth. 2 skimmers, 5 returns, dedicated vacuum port, Dolphin Z5 robot. All Pentair equip: EasyTouch 8, IC60 SWG, VS pump, 520 Cartridge Filter, 3 Intellibrites, 2 Color Cascade Bubblers. TurboTwister Slide and 8' Salt System Jump Board. TF-100. My Jan-Mar 2016 build:
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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Unions or not?

    I haven't had a union leak in 6 years now. I say put them in for convenience. And STILL give you all the extra pipe space he can! Best of both.
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    Re: Unions or not?

    Absolutely agree with Woody.
    20X36 IG vinyl (18,000 gal), 3 sheer descents, Max-Flo 1.5hp VS 2300, Aquarite T15 SWG, C3030 filter, 250,000 BTU heater, Sharkvac XL (Hayward equip)

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Unions or not?

    +1 on never seeing a union leak and get some space too for adding other stuff later. One thing is for sure, almost everything on that equipment pad will need to be replaced at some point.
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    Re: Unions or not?

    Unions take time and cost more so PB don't like them.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Unions or not?

    If you have a top mount multiport on a sand filter, I'd say unions on the pump and return side of the multiport should be MANDATORY. There are other places where they make a lot of sense as well.
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    n240sxguy's Avatar
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    Re: Unions or not?

    Between the three unions I added, the ones on the swg, and the ones on the pump and ball valves, there's not a single piece of pipe that I can't take off if I need to. Definitely have him put unions or you will be doing it later when you need to work on something. Yes, technically, it is another point that could fail, but they aren't any more likely to fail than any other joint that they glue in the plumbing. If they trust the rest of them, they should trust a union too.


    30K gallon IG vinyl. 1.5HP 2-speed Waterway Mustang pump. 600 lb sand filter. Polaris 280. Circupool SI-60+. TF-100

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Unions or not?

    I would also have valves so you can shut off all water coming out of the pool.

    Unions and valves make an easier life caring for a pool.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    JamieP's Avatar
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    Re: Unions or not?

    Thanks everyone! I was kind of thinkng they'd be better to have than not, but it's hard to know where to push back when some of these guys act like they know it all.

    Another related question would be, (and based on what kimkats said), how important is it to have each return individually plumbed and valved? Most say they plumb them in a loop and admit that you get unequal pressure from the returns, but that's the way they do it. One guy said they could plumb them all separately for $800 more (on a 43'x22' freeform pool). Is that reasonable, and worth it?

    Is there any other way to do the returns so you'd get individual control over each one?
    28,000 gallon freeform, Stonescapes Tropics Blue Minipebble with abalone, 3.5' to 8.5' depth. 2 skimmers, 5 returns, dedicated vacuum port, Dolphin Z5 robot. All Pentair equip: EasyTouch 8, IC60 SWG, VS pump, 520 Cartridge Filter, 3 Intellibrites, 2 Color Cascade Bubblers. TurboTwister Slide and 8' Salt System Jump Board. TF-100. My Jan-Mar 2016 build:
    Waxahachie, TX Owner Build - A race to beat the baby!!

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Unions or not?

    You just went over my head LOL I have an above ground pool so only have 1 return.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    n240sxguy's Avatar
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    Re: Unions or not?

    Usually the returns will be plumbed all together and you can use different size return fittings to make the flow equal. I have a 20x40 and have a valve for each skimmer and another valve for the main drains. I have two valves on the return side. One goes to the two returns on the steps, and the other goes to the three returns in the pool. There's also another return that goes back for my pressure side cleaner. I wouldn't spend the money to have each return plumbed individually.


    30K gallon IG vinyl. 1.5HP 2-speed Waterway Mustang pump. 600 lb sand filter. Polaris 280. Circupool SI-60+. TF-100

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Unions or not?

    I agree that the returns plumbed together are not the end of the world, but all other devices are easier to control with home run piping to the pad and valves on each. If you have any water features like a waterfall or sheer decent it should be separate. If you have multiple skimmers and an main drain each of those should be separate. Again, each should have it's own valves. Many pool builders will try to save a few dollars on pipe by having the main drain go to skimmer 1, then skimmer 1 to skimmer 2 then back to the pad. If yo need to isolate something it becomes difficult when set up that way.

    As to the original question, unions make life easier down the road. Installed properly they should not leak.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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