Good morning from Ontario, Canada. We've purchased a house with a pool back in 2014 which is an inground 18x36' pool that is approximately 25,000 gallons with a vinyl liner. I "think" I have gotten up to speed with a lot of the concepts and ideas quickly but know that there is a heck of a lot more to know. I fantasize from time to time when I get frustrated with it that I want to stock it with Koi. I've read a lot (bought a pool "bible" book) and researched quite a bit on the forum but I've reached a point where I need some expert help - hence this forum . I'll be forward when I say I try and be a bit more exact than my father (just dump it in) as I measure things and use spreadsheets (I know...). I'm really quite stumped now with what to do next...
Key Issues now:
- Filter is leaking between tank and valve (it is a Hayward S244T from 1996 I think). A shut off valve is being used on the waste port (spider gasket probably gone). One has said that the filter is not using the right style of clamp (newer design vs. old metal design). Other pool shop said don't worry about the leaky multi-port - the shut off valve is "normal" and I should not be concerned - just add a new gasket and replace the sand and inspect the laterals. My existing multi-head has 1.5" inlets (SP0714T multi-valve and was told that could get a 2" 24" filter for 499.99 so considering just swapping it out with new tank, etc.). It needs to be backwashed every several days. Sand gets blown into the pool after you backwash it. Planning on replacing the sand but need to know if I am rebuilding it, buying a new multi-port replacement (1.5") or buying a new filter. Currently the unit is a Hayward 24" that does 63GPM. Have the model number if that is helpful (previous owner kept the sticker after it peeled off). Regardless, i'm plumbing in a union so I don't have to cut it out if I need to work on it in the future.
- Pump Presently have a 2 year old Pentair superflow 3/4 that works out to .92hp when service factor is factored in. Energy rates are brutal (.18/kwh during the day) and I've been running 24/7 since I finally got the pool clean after it being opened 2 weeks ago (green algae). I have a timer and historically ran it during the night for 12 hours which is not efficient. Looking at a variable speed pump but I don't currently have a way to measure the GPM or really have any idea what the true TDH is so am on hold. Pool shoppes say that I am simply making things too complicated - not a big deal as long as the pool seems clear and use a system of trial and error. The place that installed the liner when I bought the house said don't use a timer and just run it 24/7. I disagree. You can't program it (IMO) if you don't know what the flow is to ensure proper circulation.
- Piping - seems a bit frankensteinesque...have 1 skimmer that I thought was 2" (looks like bottom of skimmer pipe is 1.5" ID but it is 2" that comes out of the ground) and 2 x 2" returns. Looks like the suction line is reduced to 1.5" also coming out of the ground to the Pentair pump and then 1.5" flex line to the filter. Note black line coming from the ground was for a main drain that prior owner had disconnected. I would like to cut out and replace with straight pipe to avoid potential multi-valve issues and reduce potential TDH resistance. Was told by a pool shoppe to leave until it starts to leak. Also looks like 2" piping reduced out of filter to heater (which we don't use) to 1.5". Not quite certain of what plumbing "method" they used for the heater (lots of silicone) but I really don't want to disturb it unless I have to as it presently does not leak.
Hydraulics - Did some estimates from the plumbing I can see and came up with 63.42 TDH which, looking at the Pentair performance table for this pump, seems theoretically impossible. So much for 2 hours of measuring pipes with a tape measure, counting pipe fittings, crunching numbers, etc. That said, the filter and pump are quite a distance from the pool so the estimate could be right. Currently looking to order a vacuum gauge and a pressure gauge and tap into the PVC (or put in a T fitting with a plug and tap it that way since I don't think I should or even can attach to the drain holes in the Pentair pump) which is what I've seen recommended on other sites. Guess I am just concerned if you strip/damage the threads to your pump drain - could be a big deal...
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Thus my proposed strategy:
- Think I need to determine the actual TDH since don't know what is really buried. Nothing in the pool documentation and know that new return lines were put in after the pool was installed (likely due to the heater installation I am guessing). They didn't replace the lines for the skimmer. Don't think my TDH estimate seems right (although the pool skimmer is around roughly 63' from the pump, for example) even though I counted all the fittings, etc.
- Planning on ordering vacuum and pressure gauge to calculate the TDH which should permit me to calculate the GPM with the existing pumps. No pool shops carry a flow meter and special ordering them for a blue-white one (which is highly recommended) is around $200. Planning on just tapping them into 2" PVC (which is really hard to find up here BTW) unless I should use some sort of T fitting and bushing combination (smallest I have seen is 2" to 3/4" and I need to go down to 1/4 NPT).
- Originally was planning on ripping out the 1.5" piping but am a bit concerned about the 1.5" pipe below the skimmer so now wondering if it makes sense now (and if I should even consider upgrading my sand filter intake from 1.5" to 2"). Was toying with multi-valving the heater connection out to avoid the 1.5" reduction there. Regardless, I do want to rip out the multi-valve for the disconnected bottom drain. When the new liner was installed in 2014 the installer stated that the previous owner had the bottom drain removed.
- Based on above and feedback from the forum, repairing/replacing my 24" filter so it does not leak/properly sized for my system. Am concerned about putting any money in given I don't know the GPH or the TDH or the requirements that I really should be doing (i.e. is the filter big enough, etc.).
- Based on the above, will look into a variable speed pump. Ideally was looking at a Pentair Intelliflow but have had some local dealer issues (i.e. not really great customer service) and don't really want to spend $200 to have someone wire it in (had to rewire the original installation since the wire was not protected from the weather) and connect two unions. My understanding is that you don't get a 3 year warranty if you don't get it professionally installed via the dealer. Have been told that the Hayward Tristar would be ideal given the size of my pool.
- Planning on keeping the koi plan out as the wife and my 9 month old son really like the pool .
Sorry for all the questions with everything but really don't know what best next steps should be..
Thanks very much in advance for taking the time to review this.