Putting in a new to use 15x30' AGP with a Sand filter and Sta-Rite 1.5hp pump. I really would like to do this right the first time, so I'm seeking advice.
We live in Montana, so clearly, our swim season is shorter than most, but I've tried to work around that to extend the season as much as possible. The pool will be below grade, so effectively installed in the ground, but not back filled against. I'm insulating the sides and have a nice solar cover.
1) Pump - This pump is probably 5-6 years old, but single speed. Would I be better off upgrading at this time to a dual or variable speed? It seems you have better luck running at low speed for more hours than single speed less. Our electrical rates are very low comparable to other areas, but since we are also heating a spa, every little bit helps. I'm not sure that I could get any ROI with a high priced variable pump though.
2) Remote Location - We have 5 acres, so a TON of area in which I can locate the pump/filter away from the pool. Are there limitations as to where/how far away to location the assembly? I know for in ground pools, I've seen them quite a distance. I'm thinking probably about 50' away at this point. OR, since I will have room under the deck, would that be a better option? I can easily get creative with sound abatement around the pump filter (have done this with air compressors), so I'm fine with either configuration.
3) Solar Setup - I will be plumbing the solar system separately, and using a separate 1" 650gph clear water pump to feed them. I have 8 2x20' panels that will be mounted 50' or so from the pool in an area that will allow me to maximize sun exposure, but keep them out of the way and protected.
-- When plumbing these separately, is there a "best way" to do the inflow and outflow? I'm thinking I'd simply add a bulkhead for each through the pool wall, and have considered using a 2nd skimmer for the intake, opposite the main skimmer. How high should the output be in the pool? Is it better to go high or low for heat and circulation distribution? I've been using a smaller system on my 18' round pool for a couple of years, and it's pretty effective, but not sure on the bigger, more permanent install.
4) Main Plumbing - It seems like everyone recommends 2" for best setup. Do you just reduce down then on both ends to do that? If so, it seems like you lose the advantage since the sand filter piping and pump head are smaller diameter.
Thanks so much for info, would appreciate any other that you can offer!