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Thread: Budget automatic make-up water system

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    Budget automatic make-up water system

    Hi all,

    I've really been wanting to figure out how to do an auto-makeup system for our pool. Years ago on a family pool I managed to fab up something that basically used a toilet valve with a PVC line going from a hose into the skimmer, however my new pool doesn't have a hose outlet anywhere near a skimmer so that idea is out. There is a outdoor water supply very near the pump which I was thinking perhaps I could run a line from that into the pump room, and put a fresh-water inlet somewhere.. thinking just before pump entry , or perhaps work down a tee into the pressure gage fitting somehow?

    Then use a combo of an electronic float swith in one of the skimmers wired to a servo valve.

    Obviously there'd be a fair amount of "design" work to get it all sorted out, and decent looking but it seems like it should be simple enough.

    Any reason it's not OK to run makeup water into the pump plumbing? Only alternative would be to somehow get underground pipe all the way out to the skimmer but that would be a pain.
    ~30kgal in-ground concrete
    Hayward S-240 300lb sand filter
    Hayward 1HP pump

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    Re: Budget automatic make-up water system

    First you need a listed backflow preventer. Not one you pick up at a pool store or in the irrigation section at HD. A listed backflow preventer from a plumbing supply house.

    What you are describing will work in theory. I've never seen it and it will make it difficult to use that skimmer. I realize installing a manufactured one is a lot of work but once installed they are piratically set and forget.
    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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    Re: Budget automatic make-up water system

    Hm, I hadn't thought of that but it makes sense, and for the prices I see for rated ones, it basically kills the idea.

    What are the manufactured ones? I honestly didn't know there was such a thing.

    Automatic Pool Water Filler

    This is something like what I made before, but somehow we got it to fit inside the skimmer, but I wanted to avoid the hose laying on concrete. However I'm thinking one of these plus a heated hose (another thing I recently discovered!) may be just the thing to get me through the winter. Our pool is apparently un-winterizable, so we have a freeze guard to run the pump when it's cold. We *shouldn't* lose enough water that it matters, but since I can't easily see the water level I'd hate to have a slight leak and kill the pump.
    ~30kgal in-ground concrete
    Hayward S-240 300lb sand filter
    Hayward 1HP pump

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Budget automatic make-up water system

    Like these
    Pentair Automatic Water Filler T40FW. Pentair T40FW.
    Pentair Automatic Water Filler T40BW. Pentair T40BW.

    Do you have a bottom drain? Split the suction flow between the skimmers and bottom drain and there will always be water flow to the pump.
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    Re: Budget automatic make-up water system

    Looks like that would somehow be installed in the concrete surround for the pool?

    When you say split the suction flow, yes we will always have water flow to the pump, but if it gets low the skimmers still gulp air. The valve to shut off the skimmers is not 100% sealed (probably needs to be replaced), so even with the skimmer valve closed it pulls in some air. Is that enough to not worry about damage to the pump?
    ~30kgal in-ground concrete
    Hayward S-240 300lb sand filter
    Hayward 1HP pump

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    Re: Budget automatic make-up water system

    Yes, those autofills are normally installed in the pool deck. Sort of like skimmer baskets.

    The suction side of my pump has two plumbing lines feeding it, one from the skimmers and one from the bottom drain. Flowmis controlled by a 3 way valve so I can have all skimmer, all bottom drain or blended flow. There is a pic of my equipment pad in my build thread, link in sig. I usually keep it about 75% skimmer and 25% drain so that when my skimmers fill with leaves it will still draw water from the bottom drain. I am using a VS pump on a low speed so the suction isn't that strong to cause it to empty the skimmers and suck air.

    You can close the suction from the skimmers and have it wide open from the bottom drain and it will still suck air? It is not good to let your pump suck air, that can cause lots of problems. I assume your pump is one speed? If it is two speed run it on low. Post a pic of the plumbing and maybe we can help.
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    Re: Budget automatic make-up water system

    Google and Amazon have a lot of these tools and are great for dreaming up your own solutions to the problem.

    When we had a massive pool leak and couldn't do anything about it until Spring, I found this little gem on Amazon. Recognizing that is was nothing but THIS and some PVC pipe, I made one for less than $20.





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    Re: Budget automatic make-up water system

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    Yes, those autofills are normally installed in the pool deck. Sort of like skimmer baskets.

    The suction side of my pump has two plumbing lines feeding it, one from the skimmers and one from the bottom drain. Flowmis controlled by a 3 way valve so I can have all skimmer, all bottom drain or blended flow. There is a pic of my equipment pad in my build thread, link in sig. I usually keep it about 75% skimmer and 25% drain so that when my skimmers fill with leaves it will still draw water from the bottom drain. I am using a VS pump on a low speed so the suction isn't that strong to cause it to empty the skimmers and suck air.

    You can close the suction from the skimmers and have it wide open from the bottom drain and it will still suck air? It is not good to let your pump suck air, that can cause lots of problems. I assume your pump is one speed? If it is two speed run it on low. Post a pic of the plumbing and maybe we can help.
    Yes one speed pump.
    Here ya go
    Attached Images Attached Images
    ~30kgal in-ground concrete
    Hayward S-240 300lb sand filter
    Hayward 1HP pump

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Budget automatic make-up water system

    Is one pipe from the skimmers and one from the main drain? Where does the far pipe go after it passes the tee to the pump?
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    Re: Budget automatic make-up water system

    The farthest is bottom drain, next is skimmers and closest is return line. The grey running along the floor is the backwash/waste.


    ~30kgal in-ground concrete
    Hayward S-240 300lb sand filter
    Hayward 1HP pump

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    Re: Budget automatic make-up water system

    Oh, I see, the gray line isn't teed in with the line from the main drain. Picture angle weirdness. My suspicion is that the ball valves are failing and can't close off the skimmer line to stop the suction from the skimmers. Those ball valves are not very reliable and don't usually last more than a few years. Jandy or Pentair never lube valves are a lot better. You could replumb with a single 3 way valve to control the suction.
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    Re: Budget automatic make-up water system

    ~30kgal in-ground concrete
    Hayward S-240 300lb sand filter
    Hayward 1HP pump

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    Re: Budget automatic make-up water system

    Yes, that is the one. Pentair makes a similar one that is just as good imo and cheaper. I have both and they are pretty much the same.
    Pentair 3 Way PVC Valve 263028. Pentair 263028.
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    Re: Budget automatic make-up water system

    Thanks, might have to look into one of those. Like that idea, as the skimmers were a little weak this summer, and might be nice to reduce bottom drain flow to get more powerful skimmers.

    Price isn't terrible, and shouldn't be terrible to do myself. Thanks for the suggestion!
    ~30kgal in-ground concrete
    Hayward S-240 300lb sand filter
    Hayward 1HP pump

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Budget automatic make-up water system

    You're welcome.
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