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Thread: To Actuate or Not to Actuate...that is the question

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    To Actuate or Not to Actuate...that is the question

    I'm building a pool and spa but I have a ton of questions.

    I really like the concept of actuators and automation. The PB will be installing a Jandy PDA 6 and an extra actuator(so I'm told). I'd like to install actuators on all of the valves frankly but is this overkill or nonsensical?

    I know I can do it afterwards but is there something that needs to be provisioned before hand in order for me to perform the upgrade later?

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    ozdiver's Avatar
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    Re: To Actuate or Not to Actuate...that is the question

    Nonsensical.
    There are some valve that it makes sense for; the ones to switch from Pool mode to Spa mode for instance.
    But other it would simply be non-functional.
    In the case of skimmer lines, you don't want an on-off switch (which is what an actuator gives.
    You actually use these to balance the flow rates by opening one fully while the other might be 3/4.
    Other valves are merely there to isolate parts of the system during maintenance.
    Well, you are standing right there when you are cleaning your filter, so no benefit in automating.
    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,
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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: To Actuate or Not to Actuate...that is the question

    I agree completely with ozdiver.
    In reality, only the Pool / Spa valves need to be remotely actuatable (is that a word?)
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
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    Re: To Actuate or Not to Actuate...that is the question

    I'm curious as to why they're offering the antiquated PDA. The jump to the iAqualink wifi control would be a minor increase in price - if at all. In fact, it might be less.

    Once your pool is on wifi you can control it with practically any mobile device.
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    Re: To Actuate or Not to Actuate...that is the question

    Good point ozdiver, I thought that actuators actually allowed you to open and close them to positions not just open and close. This setup here looks quite extensive but there are some valves that are still manual. Every setup that I've seen with multiple actuators still has some manual valves; now I know why. I'm wonder how this will all work with a spa with 16 jets and two pumps.

    The setup will have two water bowls, a spa with 16 jets and a 13x26 pool. As far as I read the unit I'm getting comes with 2 actuators and they've suggested that I get one more. They haven't asked me any details about how I'd like to have the jets functions so I know I need to worry about this.

    If I wanted to run either 16 jets, 12 jets or 6 jets what would I need to accomplish this...more actuators and plumbing

    Will it be either all jets or just half(I'm getting two pumps)?

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    Re: To Actuate or Not to Actuate...that is the question

    Hey poolkid,

    It's a bit perplexing how they don't actually educate you on what you're getting while you're paying 5 figures for a pool . I'm waiting to know the exact model numbers of everything but the quote just says PDA 6. Their Jandy brochure shows this PDA unit which is white and not the old slow blue one. My unit costs $3500 and it definitely should include the iaqualink in my honest opinion. Things that should cost anything are high priced like a 2HP blower costing $782. This pool is being built by local company but financed with a new home so the home builder puts a juicy markup on everything and some things are double priced.

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    Re: To Actuate or Not to Actuate...that is the question

    Can you bail on the in-house pool builder and shop for your own builder? I used to work for a large PB in Phoenix and they paid an average of $2000 ransom to the home builder. It didn't make the pool any better, it just padded the home builder's bottom line. We were instructed to make sure those pools got the cheapest of the cheap everything. What a racket.

    I just looked... I pay (at my wholesale level) about $250 less for the iQ904PS iAqualink system than the the PDA-PS6. The only difference is that the iQ904PS only has 3 extra auxiliary circuits where the PS6 will have 5 extras. There is no "bundle kit" for the upgraded iAqualink, and it jumps to the PS8 with 7 aux circuits.

    To get the extra 7 you have to piece it together. Those parts add up to about $200 more (wholesale) than the PDA6 they're offering.

    Oh, and a 2HP blower should RETAIL for about $300 to $350 - fully installed.
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    Re: To Actuate or Not to Actuate...that is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by poolkid View Post
    Can you bail on the in-house pool builder and shop for your own builder? I used to work for a large PB in Phoenix and they paid an average of $2000 ransom to the home builder. It didn't make the pool any better, it just padded the home builder's bottom line. We were instructed to make sure those pools go the cheapest of the cheap everything. What a racket.
    I was given two options of PB's that I can use but otherwise I'd have to wait until the home was finished and finance it separately. I was told by that I'd be giving up at least $6,000 extra just to go through the HB's PB's.

    Quote Originally Posted by poolkid View Post
    I just looked... I pay (at my wholesale level) about $250 less for the iQ904PS iAqualink system than the the PDA-PS6. The only difference is that the iQ904PS only has 3 extra auxiliary circuits where the PS6 will have 5 extras. There is no "bundle kit" for the upgraded iAqualink, and it jumps to the PS8 with 7 aux circuits.

    To get the extra 7 you have to piece it together. Those parts add up to about $200 more (wholesale) than the PDA6 they're offering.
    So If I want to keep my current system and it's aux circuits I add $200 after install and get iaqualink?

    Quote Originally Posted by poolkid View Post
    Oh, and a 2HP blower should RETAIL for about $300 to $350 - fully installed.
    I figured it out, on most electronics I pay double the price except for the heat pump or gas heater. They want $2500 for a salt chlorinator.

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    Re: To Actuate or Not to Actuate...that is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by rottlover0 View Post
    I was given two options of PB's that I can use but otherwise I'd have to wait until the home was finished and finance it separately. I was told by that I'd be giving up at least $6,000 extra just to go through the HB's PB's.
    The mind boggles...

    So If I want to keep my current system and it's aux circuits I add $200 after install and get iaqualink?
    No... and Yes. The PDA system uses a different processor chip. You need to start with an RS main system so that the iAqualink wifi device can be added. Alternatively you could allow them to build the project as specified and then add the iAqualink iQ20A (about $300 online) device later. In order to make that work you need to change the processor. Jandy/Zodiac used to include a processor with the "A" kit but now they don't. However, they will ship you an RS processor for free if you promise to return your PDA version. With the new processor you will have to reprogram everything from scratch. Also, your handheld PDA remote will no longer have full functionality. It will still allow you to turn things on and off, but will not allow deeper programming and setup features.

    I figured it out, on most electronics I pay double the price except for the heat pump or gas heater. They want $2500 for a salt chlorinator.
    Cripes!!! I'm recommending the SGS chlorinator, and at full-boat retail the Breeze 540 (40K gal capacity) is about $1200 installed. With salt.
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    Re: To Actuate or Not to Actuate...that is the question

    Consider the interest you'll be paying on the pool build expense rolled into the mortgage over 15 or 30 yrs, as well. The total cost of financing on the pool is going to be much larger than if you funded it separately and paid cash, obviously, but with inflated costs tacked on, it's not just what you're paying up front, but interest on that inflated price for a LONG time.

    i would think going with a completely separate construction project after the home is built would yield better quality and materials, and as a long term investment, makes the most sense. Not everybody stays in their homes for the rest of their lives, though.
    July2015 New - 12,900gal IG Clorine Pool: Free Form Shot/PebbleSheen, Ceramic Waterline/Travertine Coping/Deck, Paramount PV3 In-Floor, Pentair 3050VS Intelliflo Variable (3000rpm High/1000rpm Low), Pentair Clean & Clear 420 Cartridge, Venturi Skimmer, MDX/SDX Drain, Paralevel, Rock Waterfall +3/4" Aireator, Intellibrite 5G LED, EasyTouch4, and Tab Floater.

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    Re: To Actuate or Not to Actuate...that is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by LongDuck View Post
    Consider the interest you'll be paying on the pool build expense rolled into the mortgage over 15 or 30 yrs, as well. The total cost of financing on the pool is going to be much larger than if you funded it separately and paid cash, obviously, but with inflated costs tacked on, it's not just what you're paying up front, but interest on that inflated price for a LONG time.

    i would think going with a completely separate construction project after the home is built would yield better quality and materials, and as a long term investment, makes the most sense. Not everybody stays in their homes for the rest of their lives, though.
    Agreed!
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    Re: To Actuate or Not to Actuate...that is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by LongDuck View Post
    Consider the interest you'll be paying on the pool build expense rolled into the mortgage over 15 or 30 yrs, as well. The total cost of financing on the pool is going to be much larger than if you funded it separately and paid cash, obviously, but with inflated costs tacked on, it's not just what you're paying up front, but interest on that inflated price for a LONG time.

    i would think going with a completely separate construction project after the home is built would yield better quality and materials, and as a long term investment, makes the most sense. Not everybody stays in their homes for the rest of their lives, though.
    I've thought and thought about this for some time, especially with the way things are going in regards to the lack of information I'm getting. I'm getting a really solid deal on financing and I have other things that I'll need to finance which trump a pool. If I don't build the pool now I'll probably never build it.

    The PB actually has a pretty good name so I'm not worried about the build quality so much as the mark up.

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    Re: To Actuate or Not to Actuate...that is the question

    Well, here's a quick point of reference; we waited 8 years after living in our house to be sure the economics worked out - but we're patient people, and I wasn't willing to finance the pool. We're conservative with expenses and though my wife wanted to work on this years ago, our jobs weren't guaranteed and I didn't want to start a project, get laid off, and then have a half-finished pool. That said, the timing was right this year and I'm glad we did it this way. Plus, the expenses that go along with pool maintenance are nothing to sneeze at (TFP method is the most cost-efficient, though): water evaporation & replacement bumped up our household usage by 20%, electric to run the pump even during off-peak hours was up 25% in cost, and chemicals are looking to be somewhere around $400-500/yr (liquid Cl & Muriatic acid).

    With these monthly and interval costs in mind, I'm glad we got some other stuff paid off before diving into the pool (pun). Everyone's situation is different, and I wish you luck in whatever you choose,
    July2015 New - 12,900gal IG Clorine Pool: Free Form Shot/PebbleSheen, Ceramic Waterline/Travertine Coping/Deck, Paramount PV3 In-Floor, Pentair 3050VS Intelliflo Variable (3000rpm High/1000rpm Low), Pentair Clean & Clear 420 Cartridge, Venturi Skimmer, MDX/SDX Drain, Paralevel, Rock Waterfall +3/4" Aireator, Intellibrite 5G LED, EasyTouch4, and Tab Floater.

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