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Thread: Intellichlor with copper pipes

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    Intellichlor with copper pipes

    Iím currently deciding whether to go with a Stenner/bleach or an SWCG for chlorine automation; itís tied to a complete electrical upgrade and prep for solar, so the finances get interwined a bit (e.g. an Easytouch with IC40 isnít much more expensive than a Stenner + SunTouch).

    This is a 60 year old pool with copper piping underground; do I have to worry about that with SWCG levels of salt in the water?

    The deck is concrete; the only other metal nearby is the light niche (the conduit and light itself is going to be replaced, but the conduit will need to be red brass to maintain bonding), the diving board supports, and some metal support posts for the shade structure roof (already showing some rust, so Iíll clean and paint them anyway). All vintage 1960s.

    When calculating cell life, is it the time actually generating chlorine, or the time with power available and water flowing? E.g. If I have a 10000-hour rated cell, running 8 hours per day at 50%, that should be 2500 days (~7 years if year round), not 1250 days (~3.5 years), right?

    Sizing -- looking at the IC40 for my 21k-25k (depending on how I feel about it pool. Last summer, the peak days with the cover off saw up to 4ppm use @ 40ppm CYA, but the summer before when we moved in, at 80ppm CYA I think it was closer to 2ppm FC/day. Since Iíll up the CYA level, it seems an IC40 can add 2.5ppm in 8 hours if I calculate right. Most days use less esp. with the cover on, and having to boost with a bit of liquid on a few heaviest use days doesnít seem like a big burden, but I donít want to have to do that every day. The IC60 is enough more expensive (and isnít available with an EasyTouch bundle with the transformer built in) that I donít want to do that unless necessary.

    Anything else I should take into account? Iím wavering between this and a Stenner solution; for what Iím doing they end up pretty close in cost over time once I calculate chlorine, cell replacement, etc. Like I said this is part of a bigger electrical overhaul, so Iíll have more questions and posts as we get farther.
    21000gal IG plaster, Sacramento CA area (late 1950s/early 60s)
    Filter: Cartridge, Pentair CCP420 (2014)
    Main pump: Pentair IntelliFlo VS (2015)
    Boost pump: 3/4hp (2011), Polaris 280 cleaner (unknown age)

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    Re: Intellichlor with copper pipes

    The erosion of copper piping into a pool is most always caused by low pH. Swg's typically deliver HIGH pH to the pool so that should not be a problem.

    I cannot comment on the high pH resulting in some scaling on the copper but perhaps others have some thoughts.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Intellichlor with copper pipes

    I have an IC40 for a 20k gal pool and it makes plenty of chlorine. Even in Texas sun with plenty of swimming every day. I do supplement with bleach sometimes for pool parties and all day swim days. Mine is over 3-1/2 years old so far with no issues. Most people seem to get 5-7 years. I keep my CSI slightly negative and I have never had to acid wash my cell as there has never been any build up in it. Seems like that should help it last longer.
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    Re: Intellichlor with copper pipes

    What is the copper pipe size?

    Is there copper in the water or copper stains on the plaster?

    Can you post a full set of readings?

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    Re: Intellichlor with copper pipes

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesW View Post
    What is the copper pipe size?

    Is there copper in the water or copper stains on the plaster?

    Can you post a full set of readings?
    The pipes are 1.5" (at least at the pool pad where they transition to PVC above ground); I know the return line branches underground and appears as ~1" lines there, but not sure where.

    There is some brown staining on the plaster, but I don't know from what; I suspect just paint/finish wearing off (no idea when it was last resurfaced or painted). I did find an empty bottle of copper algaecide from the previous owners, but haven't had the water tested for it. None has been used in at least the last 20 months. Can't get a picture in the dark

    Water test from tonight:
    FC: 6.5
    pH: 7.8 (I let it drift to 7.8-7.9 then MA down to 7.3-7.4)
    CH: 375
    TA: 80
    CYA: 50
    21000gal IG plaster, Sacramento CA area (late 1950s/early 60s)
    Filter: Cartridge, Pentair CCP420 (2014)
    Main pump: Pentair IntelliFlo VS (2015)
    Boost pump: 3/4hp (2011), Polaris 280 cleaner (unknown age)

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    Re: Intellichlor with copper pipes

    Quote Originally Posted by jmastron View Post

    Anything else I should take into account? Iím wavering between this and a Stenner solution; for what Iím doing they end up pretty close in cost over time once I calculate chlorine, cell replacement, etc. Like I said this is part of a bigger electrical overhaul, so Iíll have more questions and posts as we get farther.
    I went through the same process and when I took into account our CA tier-4 power cost of 30 cents a KWH, the Stenner was the winner for me. Consider the extra pump run time (good you have a VS) and the power consumed by the cell. I found a chart on TFP (thanks Chem Geek) that helped me with that.

    You also need to consider the cost of picking up your liquid chlorine, but for me I get fresh 10% at Home Depot and I'm there at least twice a month for other needs, so no incremental cost.

    I've had my Stenner for 1 year now and it's been perfect. I think I'll do some photos and wright-up soon. Good luck!
    20' x 40' 30,000 gallon IG Plaster with Spa, wading pool, fountain built 1993
    Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo / 2HP fountain pump / 2 HP spa jet punp / Jandy Ji8000 controller with IntelliComm II interface to IntelliFlo
    Crystal Water Aqua Clean 60 Sq ft DE filter / FlowVis Flow / Stenner DIY Chlorinator / The Poolcleaner 4-wheel / Taylor K-2006

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    Re: Intellichlor with copper pipes

    The cell life is reported as hours of chlorine production, so 10,000 hours of "ON" time. This is why TFP recommends (and now the SWG manufacturers have started to as well ) that you use 60-80ppm of CYA as that allows for maximum protection against UV degradation and thus shortens the cells "ON" time.

    As for your pipes...any idea if the copper pipes are properly bonded to the other metallic components of the pool and equipment pad? One cheap thing you could do for some peace of mind is dig down and bond the pipes together to the rest of the equipment on the pad and add a sacrificial anode (zinc would work in typical soils and magnesium is indicated if the soils are very conductive). Normally Cu pipes are very stable in almost all soil types, but there is a form of Cu pipe corrosion called "copper-in-soil-copper-in-concrete" corrosion (see this PDF for a good primer on underground Cu corrosion). It's up to you on how far you want to go with the pipes.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Intellichlor with copper pipes

    What ever you do, Make every attempt to stay away from the SunTouch controller! You'll be much happier with the EasyTouch.
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    and Paramount pool cleaning systems.

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    Re: Intellichlor with copper pipes

    Quote Originally Posted by CA92807 View Post
    I went through the same process and when I took into account our CA tier-4 power cost of 30 cents a KWH, the Stenner was the winner for me. Consider the extra pump run time (good you have a VS) and the power consumed by the cell. I found a chart on TFP (thanks Chem Geek) that helped me with that.

    You also need to consider the cost of picking up your liquid chlorine, but for me I get fresh 10% at Home Depot and I'm there at least twice a month for other needs, so no incremental cost.

    I've had my Stenner for 1 year now and it's been perfect. I think I'll do some photos and wright-up soon. Good luck!
    Fortunately our power is cheaper (top tier ~18 cents/kWH), but yes, the flexibility to run the pump as slow or as little as I need to cleaning purposes is definitely an advantage of a Stenner. Using the RPM,Watts=>GPM spreadsheet I found here for my pool 1500RPM/254W = 25GPM, which isn't too bad. Running at 1000RPM/128W wouldn't be sufficient for the SWCG, but would only save $40 a year or so.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    The cell life is reported as hours of chlorine production, so 10,000 hours of "ON" time. This is why TFP recommends (and now the SWG manufacturers have started to as well ) that you use 60-80ppm of CYA as that allows for maximum protection against UV degradation and thus shortens the cells "ON" time.

    As for your pipes...any idea if the copper pipes are properly bonded to the other metallic components of the pool and equipment pad? One cheap thing you could do for some peace of mind is dig down and bond the pipes together to the rest of the equipment on the pad and add a sacrificial anode (zinc would work in typical soils and magnesium is indicated if the soils are very conductive). Normally Cu pipes are very stable in almost all soil types, but there is a form of Cu pipe corrosion called "copper-in-soil-copper-in-concrete" corrosion (see this PDF for a good primer on underground Cu corrosion). It's up to you on how far you want to go with the pipes.
    I don't know what's bonded where; I would have assumed that they did whatever was "right" in ~1960, but there's evidence in some places otherwise The copper comes out of the ground; can I bond it where it's accessible? I am getting electrical quotes to repair the light and replace the subpanel; I can have simple bonding additions done then.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pool Clown View Post
    What ever you do, Make every attempt to stay away from the SunTouch controller! You'll be much happier with the EasyTouch.
    What issues do/have you had with the SunTouch? It is definitely more limited in functionality than the EasyTouch, but seemed like it would address my basic needs (IntelliFlo, synchronizing the cleaner booster, solar). I'll add in the comparision of using a Stenner with an EasyTouch also; looks like $300 more but if it really is easier/better that's worth it.
    21000gal IG plaster, Sacramento CA area (late 1950s/early 60s)
    Filter: Cartridge, Pentair CCP420 (2014)
    Main pump: Pentair IntelliFlo VS (2015)
    Boost pump: 3/4hp (2011), Polaris 280 cleaner (unknown age)

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    Re: Intellichlor with copper pipes

    Suntouch interface is horrible. I suppose that if you were agree-able to learn it, and hone your skills every couple of days, it would be OK. Navigating the SunTouch is definitely a perishable skill. You have to know what button to push, to get to the proper menu, for control.

    EasyTouch buttons are labeled, or can be labeled, and most functions are a single button push.
    Factory Warranty Station for:
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    and Paramount pool cleaning systems.

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    Re: Intellichlor with copper pipes

    Quote Originally Posted by Pool Clown View Post
    Suntouch interface is horrible. I suppose that if you were agree-able to learn it, and hone your skills every couple of days, it would be OK. Navigating the SunTouch is definitely a perishable skill. You have to know what button to push, to get to the proper menu, for control.

    EasyTouch buttons are labeled, or can be labeled, and most functions are a single button push.
    Thanks. Between your input and more research, I'm convinced. For what it's going to cost to run new conduit to the pool light, new cable back to the house, and replace the subpanel, a couple hundred additional for the EasyTouch (which will be the subpanel) is small potatoes and seems worth it.

    I just have to decide whether to get the EasyTouch with IC40 or not. I'm back to leaning toward the Stenner pump now. The SWCG would probably be fine, but I know for sure that liquid chlorine works great in our pool vs the slight chance of salt issues, and isn't that big of a deal to haul once a month if I am freed from pouring it in every day. Still willing to be convinced to go SWCG though!
    21000gal IG plaster, Sacramento CA area (late 1950s/early 60s)
    Filter: Cartridge, Pentair CCP420 (2014)
    Main pump: Pentair IntelliFlo VS (2015)
    Boost pump: 3/4hp (2011), Polaris 280 cleaner (unknown age)

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Intellichlor with copper pipes

    I am on my second saltwater pool and I love it. Need more chlorine push a button, need less chlorine push a button. I still use bleach to supplement when we swim a lot or are going to have a pool party. For sheer ease and convenience you can't beat SWG. I also use bleach when the water temp drops below 70, but of course the demand is much lower so not much to add. But, ultimately all the SWG does is save you the chlorine expense during the swim season, hauling it home and filling up your reservoir. I also have no fear of going on vacation for a week or more. Just drop the PH to 7.2 and go. But, you would probably be ok doing the same with the Stenner.
    TFP Moderator
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    Re: Intellichlor with copper pipes

    Aside from the possible extra cost, you don't need to decide weather to get the ic40 integrated into the ET box now. You can always get a stand alone iC-40 at a later date and still be able to fully integrate it into the system.

    Also, there would virtually be no Chlorine on site to spill, get into, poison, etc.
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