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Thread: Replacing return lines - good idea?

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    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Montreal
    Posts
    9

    Replacing return lines - good idea?

    Hi,
    My inground pool seems to have two leaks - one in each return line (vinyl liner pool). Given I have a 3ft cement deck all around the pool, the pool technician who found the leak suggested installing new return lines given the current lines are about 30 years old. Instead of breaking the cement decking to pass new lines, he suggested digging a 1 foot deep path just outside the cement deck in the grass and only breaking the cement when connecting the lines to the jet in the pool. I thought 1 foot was not enough given I am in Canada, but he said given I empty my lines in the winter, it didn't matter that they were only 1 foot deep instead of the usual 3ft or so. I was curious to know if anyone sees any issues with this solution? It's definately much more cost effective and I like the idea of having my return lines in a spot that is easier to access.

    Second question - he is going to run a line to each jet, connect them to a T and from the T, run a line to the machine (all underground). I was thinking of running each jet individually to the machines, with the T placed in an accessible spot at the machines. Any issue in doing this?

    Thanks for the help!

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    dw9000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    NW Ohio
    Posts
    178

    Re: Replacing return lines - good idea?

    Assuming the pool is winterized correctly, the depth of the return lines shouldn't make a difference. Just make sure those returns are blown out really good and plugged at the pool end.

    Assuming when you say machine, you mean your pump/filter - As for running one line with a T to each return, versus individual 'home run' lines, there certainly is some advantage to being able to control the individual returns with a Jandy 3-way valve or something,, but I wouldn't say that is a huge deal. I have my 3 returns as individual home runs and have 2 Jandy valves controlling the 3 lines,, but rarely do I adjust them.

    You will obviously have a seam where the new concrete is poured over the returns (and the concrete deck color will be slightly different), if that isn't a big deal to you I would say go for it.
    In-ground block / vinyl liner 33' x 22' x 5',, approx 25k gals
    Cartridge Filter
    Floor drains, 2 skimmers, 3 return lines (2" plumbing ultra-flex PVC)

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    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    426

    Re: Replacing return lines - good idea?

    I would run individual lines from the returns to your pad. This way if there is ever a leak in one you can isolate it. The cost can't be much more.
    1200 Sq Ft 41,000 Gal. Gunite, JANDY SVRS VS pump, JANDY JXI 400,000 BTU, Polaris 280 w/ 3/4 BP, Rockwall and Grotto (w/6 jets and blower), 2 JANDY Lam Jets, 2 LED Bubblers, 5 Ledlights, AQUALINK P16 RS, 90% Quartz, SWF 185 GMP BP, SWF 125 BP, Levelor K1100 Autofill, AP Digital SWG, 2 skim and 5 returns, and mostly 3 inch piping

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    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Aberdeen/NJ
    Posts
    11

    Re: Replacing return lines - good idea?

    I have a leak in one return line and a leak in my robot cleaner line. Our pool technician also suggested running new lines for the same reason of having the cement pad all around the pool. He said that the line only needs to b a few inches underground as they are emptied during winterizing. The coat would be around $1500. I cannot afford that, so I am considering doing the job with my two sons. I was looking into the cost of the flexible pipe that the pool builder used when I realized that it would be more work but much cheaper to use regular rigid PVC pipe. Since the pool technician is assuming the leaks were caused by termites and the flexible pipe is known to allow termite damage, the use of regular rigid PVC pipe will be cheaper AND not susceptible to termite damage. I had built two flower beds behind a cement block wall that surrounds the pool and has 4" drainage piping at its base. I figure I can rent a cement saw from Home Depot and cut the pad at each location about 1.5 feet wide. I'll cut the old lines and install the new PVC pipe and run it in the drainage ditch in front of the cement block wall. I have a few questions:

    What type of thru-the-wall connection will I find when I dig to the lines? Will it be a screw in type connection or union that I can attach the new line to without lowering the water level?
    I noticed that there is PVC glue specifically made for pool PVC pipe called Pool-Tite. Any better or worse that the usual PVC glue?
    I want to pressure test the line before I cover it up. Is there an easy way to make an air tight pressure tester so that I can use my shop vac to blow air into the line to see if the pressure holds?
    I saw some videos that showed that the cement cut should not go to the pool edge coping but istead stop 4 or 5 inches from the pool edge. This allows enough room to get at the pipe without increasing the complexity of pouring cement right to the pool edge.

    Is there anything else I should be aware of in tackling this job?
    I live in Aberdeen, NJ and have a 38 ft long 16 ft and 24 ft wide 'L' shaped pool. The pool has stainless steel walls and vinyl liner. There is a 3 ft concrete pad around the half the pool and larger concrete pads along one side and behind the diving board.

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