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Thread: Pool Returns

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    Helen203's Avatar
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    Pool Returns

    Hey all, most of the pools I see here have a LOT of pool returns -- how many are optimal? The PB we are about to sign with only has 3 in our plans...

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    Catanzaro's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Returns

    I can tell you from my own personal experiences. My pool has 2 main drains, 2 skimmers and 8 returns (2 in the steps). 4 rotate 360 degrees, which creates a lot of water movement all over the pool. With the dark liner, the return system helps keep algae in check and the water warmer. The downside to this is that more things could possibly go wrong (long term), with the returns and PH is constantly rising, therefore having to lower every 3-5 days, depending on how the filter/pump is running.

    In the end, if 3 returns help circulate the water properly, then you should do fine. My friend has 1 main drain, 1 return, 1 skimmer and does fine, except in certain areas he develops algae spots and has to brush more often. His chemicals are perfect and PH never drifts. He uses the TF-100 Kit as well.

    How big is the pool? Can you add extra? I personally like the idea of the 8 returns (It was an upgrade) that was not that much more $$$. Keep us posted!
    14,700 gallons IG Pool Vinyl Liner - Octal Circulation System
    Hayward Pro-Series 350 LB. Sand Filter Model # S270T - 2" Plumping
    Hayward CL2002 Chlorinator - Hayward Super Pump 2 HP Model # k48m2n111
    Hayward AQR9 SWG 25K Salt Cell & TF-100 Test Kit + Speed Stir
    Gulfstream HE125RA - 117K BTU Heat Pump - Date of Build is 11-2013

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    Helen203's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Returns

    Pool is small - 450 sf, 35x16 freeform. PB spec'd one skimmer and we asked for 2 because the many crepe myrtles nearby. We also have 2 shear falls, and maybe two deck jets (PB has extras on-hand, lol, we will succumb.

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    jv92red's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Returns

    You'll appreciate the additional skimmer with the water features you have. My pool is about the same size as yours and I only have one skimmer which is ok for many pools but on my pool the spa spill over rush of water pushes the surface water away from the skimmer so it only catches anything that goes on the surface of a very small area around my skimmer location. I have three returns but I have tried all kinds of different directions for them and cannot overcome the spill over effect on the surface from the spa so for me I'll end up having to get a poolskim and hook it up to a return for the other end of the pool to perform much of the skimming duties. Luckily I don't have a lot of trees around and in CA with no rain bugs don't live here anymore so it's not too bad. For my returns I basically already gave up on them helping me with skimming to rather have them concentrate their work on moving water deep in the pool so I can make sure there is no stagnant water down there.
    15'x35' IG 16,500 gallons w/attached raised 18" spa continuous coping w/underneath spill and ledger stone wrapped, NPT mini pebble aqua blue w/2x pigment & abalone shell finish, 2"x24" travertine coping, 3x Jandy Color LED lights (2 in pool), Jandy Flo Pro 2HP VS pump, Jandy LXI (low NOx) 400K BTU heater, Jandy CL460 cartridge filter, Jandy AquaPure Ei SWG, Jandy Z4 automation with iAqualink and remote poolside PDA, 1,300 sqft Belgard Catalina paver deck with drainage, fire pit that matches the spa with travertine coping and wrapped in ledger stone, Elitewood insulated patio cover, Vinyl gates, back vinyl fence coming soon...
    TF-100

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    Re: Pool Returns

    FWIW, this could be a Arizona thing..
    We have 20 floor returns and 8 wall returns... and 2 skimmers.. for a 35 x 16 rect ..
    2015 build (link)| 16.5 K gal | Salt Water | IG rect | 35'x16' | 568 sf | 105 ft peri | depth 3'-5' | PV3 in-floor | 2 Venturi skimmers | MDX+SDX drains | T-CELL-15 SWG | Hayward Ecostar VS pump | Hayward 7220 DE Filter | Aqua Cal Icebreaker Heat / Cool pump SQ166 | Hayward Sense & Dispense PH Controller| Omnilogic | Pebble Sheen Blue Surf | Ultra UV | Stenner acid pump | Coverstar Automatic | TF-100

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    ozdiver's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Returns

    Take note of your prevailing winds and place one of your skimmers on the downwind edge.
    That will allow it to collect more effectively.

    Returns, you want enough to not leave 'dead' spots without circulation.
    It is their effect that prevents areas where the FC can be consumed and not replenished.
    40k gal freeform, IG pebblesheen, 9'x'6' raised spa, 2-1/2 hp Whisperflo, 520 sq/ft cartridge, Legend w/ booster, Intellibrite 5g in pool @ spa, Rainbow 320 Chlorinator(retired),
    Mastertemp 400k BTU, 3x3 hp Whisperflo Swimjets, 2x2 hp Whisperflow for 15ton moss rock waterfall, Intelitouch Controller, 850 sq/ft Travertine deck, Gas/Wood firepit,
    Autofill, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir

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    Catanzaro's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Returns

    Quote Originally Posted by Helen203 View Post
    Pool is small - 450 sf, 35x16 freeform. PB spec'd one skimmer and we asked for 2 because the many crepe myrtles nearby. We also have 2 shear falls, and maybe two deck jets (PB has extras on-hand, lol, we will succumb.
    The pool you are building is not small. Add the extra main drain, extra skimmer and few extra returns. Do not allow the builder to talk you out of it. You have only one chance. Looking back, I would have put a Polaris and spent the extra few dollars. Even though, it is not a big deal to vacuum manually (as the pool stays very clean), they never asked. Do you homework and be patient. Ask around. People love to talk about their pools. Then you can decide which options are best for you and which are not.
    14,700 gallons IG Pool Vinyl Liner - Octal Circulation System
    Hayward Pro-Series 350 LB. Sand Filter Model # S270T - 2" Plumping
    Hayward CL2002 Chlorinator - Hayward Super Pump 2 HP Model # k48m2n111
    Hayward AQR9 SWG 25K Salt Cell & TF-100 Test Kit + Speed Stir
    Gulfstream HE125RA - 117K BTU Heat Pump - Date of Build is 11-2013

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    Re: Pool Returns

    My pool has I think 5 or 6 returns and it is the size of yours. Do you know if they are putting normal returns or the fancy ones that let you change the flow direction? My pool has venturi skimmers that supposedly create suction and then the returns are directional so I can change where they spew (yes that is my technical term) to force water and leaves near the skimmer so they'll get sucked in. I am not sure how well this stuff works and how much marketing mumbo jumbo it is but we'll see.
    Pool is done! Only took 17 months! - Natural shape in-ground pool: 37x23, 505sq ft, 96ft perimeter, 7ft deep end, 18,950 gallons, tanning ledge, blue surf pebble sheen/luminous blue blend, Belgard coping, 910 sqft paver deck/walkways, retaining walls out the yinyang. Jandy SWG, 2 LED Color lights, VS 2HP Pump, 460sqft cartridge filter, PDA RS P8 controller. My build

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    Re: Pool Returns

    My pool is 380 sqft and I have 5 drains (3 pool, 2 spa), 6 returns (4 pool, 2 spa) and 2 skimmers. I think a lot has to do with the shape as well as size (round would probably need less returns than a kidney shape for example) in determining the returns and skimmers.

    The 5 drains shocked me, but I guess regulations require safety drains located at opposite ends/sides of the pool.
    12300gal IG PebbleTec w/7' raised Spa & Waterfall. Built Aug 2015
    Pentair IntelliFlo VS Pump, Pentair 420 Cartridge Filter, Ultra UV, Auto Fill
    EasyTouch control w/ Remote, Infloor Cleaner w/1.5HP Pump and Leaf Canister
    Stenner 45MPHP10 w/15gal tank, Rainbow 320 Chlorinator, TF-100 Test Kit.

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Returns

    My pool is 40x20 rectangular and I only have 3 returns with 2 skimmers. Neighbors 40x20, new build has 4 returns, 2 skimmers. I almost always wish I had one or two more returns.

    EDIT:

    With a free form pool, I would think you'd need more returns to get adequate circulation. It's pretty easy to get a clockwise (or reverse) surface flow with two returns in my rectangular pool, with the third being aimed down into the deep end.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    Re: Pool Returns

    Quote Originally Posted by TexKSAH View Post
    My pool is 380 sqft and I have 5 drains (3 pool, 2 spa), 6 returns (4 pool, 2 spa) and 2 skimmers. I think a lot has to do with the shape as well as size (round would probably need less returns than a kidney shape for example) in determining the returns and skimmers.

    The 5 drains shocked me, but I guess regulations require safety drains located at opposite ends/sides of the pool.
    Weird because I am in the City of Austin and I only have one drain. It is a special drain that is really wide that prevents kids from being sucked down. Maybe it is either have a ton of normal drains or a safety drain.
    Pool is done! Only took 17 months! - Natural shape in-ground pool: 37x23, 505sq ft, 96ft perimeter, 7ft deep end, 18,950 gallons, tanning ledge, blue surf pebble sheen/luminous blue blend, Belgard coping, 910 sqft paver deck/walkways, retaining walls out the yinyang. Jandy SWG, 2 LED Color lights, VS 2HP Pump, 460sqft cartridge filter, PDA RS P8 controller. My build

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Returns

    Codes vary by location, but the standard these days is two linked main drains with a minimum distance between them or a very large main drain. Both cases limit the chance of entrapment. I don't think I've ever heard of requiring more than 2 drains linked to a single line.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    rdshackleford's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Returns

    Quote Originally Posted by Helen203 View Post
    ...only has 3 in our plans...
    Can I assume the single return my pool has is not an optimal number? LOL.

    Is circulation the primary concern? Are there any other factors?
    29,085.1 gal inground grecian vinyl, Hayward Super Pump VS, Hayward S-240 sand filter, Dolphin Nautilus Plus (aka Agador Spartacus), Taylor K-2006 kit, nice pool brush, crappy leaf net, frogs

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    ozdiver's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Returns

    Returns circulate water to ensure even distribution of chemicals.
    The can do other things, but they are distant 2nd's
    40k gal freeform, IG pebblesheen, 9'x'6' raised spa, 2-1/2 hp Whisperflo, 520 sq/ft cartridge, Legend w/ booster, Intellibrite 5g in pool @ spa, Rainbow 320 Chlorinator(retired),
    Mastertemp 400k BTU, 3x3 hp Whisperflo Swimjets, 2x2 hp Whisperflow for 15ton moss rock waterfall, Intelitouch Controller, 850 sq/ft Travertine deck, Gas/Wood firepit,
    Autofill, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir

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    Re: Pool Returns

    I'm not sure why (guess I should ask the PB) but we have one main drain (Paramount MDX-Anti-Entrapment drain) and 2 high flow safety drains (Paramount SDX) in the pool plus 2 SDX drains in the spa. I'm guessing the MDX goes to the leaf canister for the In-Floor cleaning system which is on a closed system with separate pump.
    12300gal IG PebbleTec w/7' raised Spa & Waterfall. Built Aug 2015
    Pentair IntelliFlo VS Pump, Pentair 420 Cartridge Filter, Ultra UV, Auto Fill
    EasyTouch control w/ Remote, Infloor Cleaner w/1.5HP Pump and Leaf Canister
    Stenner 45MPHP10 w/15gal tank, Rainbow 320 Chlorinator, TF-100 Test Kit.

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    Daxton's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Returns

    6 returns, 2 skimmers, and 2 main drains linked, +1 pressure cleaner. You can see the size of my pool in signature and I would not want less. Great circulation and skimming action. Less work for me.


    Free form | 14k gal | 81 pf | 3.5' - 5' - 4' | Dolphin M500 | intelli FLO VS 3 hp | heat pump ultra temp hp 90 | quad 60 DE | ic40 swcg | Aqua blue mini pebble | 5g LED

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    Ukie's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Returns

    You need returns to move/mix pool water in one direction. What is the shape of your free form pool, does it have deep end, what are the prevailing winds, skimmer locations? All this stuff matters to know if three returns are enough.
    Lagoon shape, 23,600 Gal, steel walls by International Swimming Pools, "ultra-seam" liner by Latham, Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo 3HP Variable Speed Pump, PentAir CCP420 filter, Heat Siphon Z575HP, PentAir IC40 SWG, 2 LED Lights (Pentair Intellibrite 5G, 110V). 4 x 1.5’’return lines, 2 x 2’’skimmer lines, 1.5’’ waterfall line. All plumbing is "TigerFlex" pipe, all lines plumbed individually. Deck: travertine glued over concrete.

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