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Thread: Installing a polaris 380 in a pool w/o a cleaner return

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    Installing a polaris 380 in a pool w/o a cleaner return

    First off, I've been lurking on this forum for awhile and have learned a lot!

    I recently purchased a used polaris 380 and a booster pump. My pool does not have a dedicated cleaner return. Instead, it has a single pipe leading from the outlet of the filter to the pool that feeds two returns. There must be a "T" close to the pool to enable the single pipe to feed both returns. I've excavated the pipe from the filter and almost made it to the edge of the concrete decking around the pool (have another 8 feet or so to go). Still no sign of the "T".

    If I can get to the "T", I'd like to cut one of the pipes leading from the "t" to one of the returns. I'd then run a pipe from this return back to my pad and hook that to my booster pump. The return would then become my cleaner return.

    Is there any reason this isn't doable or otherwise not a good idea? I've already thought about feeding the cleaner with a hose draped over the edge of the concrete decking (i.e., an over-the-deck setup), but really don't want to do this for aesthetic reasons.
    ~26000 gal gunite with steel walls (aka "hybrid"), sta-rite sand filter - T-200-BP1, 3/4hp Pentair Whisperflo pump, figure-8 shaped pool, polaris 380 and booster pump, borates, Compupool CPSC 36 SWCG.

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    Re: Installing a polaris 380 in a pool w/o a cleaner return

    Do you have a vacuum line?

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    Re: Installing a polaris 380 in a pool w/o a cleaner return

    Nope. Wish I did! Only have two skimmers and a main drain. The pool is probably 30 or so years old.
    ~26000 gal gunite with steel walls (aka "hybrid"), sta-rite sand filter - T-200-BP1, 3/4hp Pentair Whisperflo pump, figure-8 shaped pool, polaris 380 and booster pump, borates, Compupool CPSC 36 SWCG.

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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Installing a polaris 380 in a pool w/o a cleaner return

    33000 gallons is an awfully big pool to have only one return. Have you considered a robotic cleaner? That would be my recommendation in your case.
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
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    Re: Installing a polaris 380 in a pool w/o a cleaner return

    You're right, 33k is big to have only one return.

    But - I have had good results in the past with running my pump for only 8hrs a day. I anticipate running the polaris for the same amount of time as my pump, and thus really won't have just one return (i.e., the polaris acts as a return).
    ~26000 gal gunite with steel walls (aka "hybrid"), sta-rite sand filter - T-200-BP1, 3/4hp Pentair Whisperflo pump, figure-8 shaped pool, polaris 380 and booster pump, borates, Compupool CPSC 36 SWCG.

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    Join Date
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    Re: Installing a polaris 380 in a pool w/o a cleaner return

    The return driving a pressure-side cleaner wants to be placed in the "middle" of a "long side" of the pool. Then you use enough hose to reach the far corners of the pool from that point. This ideal might be compromised in any given situation (like in my own pool) but that's really what you want. Where is the return that you are going to convert to drive the Polaris?

    Alteratively, is it at all feasible to punch a new hole for this purpose? While it's normally below the surface, it doesn't have to be (mine isn't).
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

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    Re: Installing a polaris 380 in a pool w/o a cleaner return

    The pool is shaped like a figure 8, although I've heard some refer to it as being shaped like a peanut. The pool is about 40 feet long, and the width of the first half of the peanut is about 18 feet (this is the deep end), while the width of the second half of the peanut is about 23-24 feet (this is the shallow end).

    One return is located about mid-way from one end of the pool in the first half of the peanut in "the long side" of the pool. The second return is similarly located about mid-way from the other end of pool in the second, larger half of the peanut. This second return is also in the "the long side" of the pool. I could convert either of the returns to run the polaris.

    I suppose punching a new hole in the pool is an option. But, I'll have to tunnel under three feet of concrete decking. The sidewalls of the pool are steel (about 36" high), and while drilling through those wouldn't be too big of a problem I'm unsure if there is concrete behind the walls. I suspect there isn't.

    My pool is kind of an odd design that I've heard referred to as a hybrid pool. Supposedly they were popular in the mid-west 20-30 years ago. I'll post some pics once I get the cover off in the next couple of weeks.
    ~26000 gal gunite with steel walls (aka "hybrid"), sta-rite sand filter - T-200-BP1, 3/4hp Pentair Whisperflo pump, figure-8 shaped pool, polaris 380 and booster pump, borates, Compupool CPSC 36 SWCG.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Installing a polaris 380 in a pool w/o a cleaner return

    To maintain good circulation is a pool that shape you really want to have both existing returns acting as returns. Yes, the polaris will act as a return, but when it is on the other side of the pool, there won't be a return on the side it is plumbed from and the circulation on that side will be terrible.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Installing a polaris 380 in a pool w/o a cleaner return

    Well I've decided to tunnel underneath my concrete decking and add a dedicated cleaner return. Any thoughts where I should place the return vertically with respect to the water line? 8 inches below the waterline? Lower? Higher?
    ~26000 gal gunite with steel walls (aka "hybrid"), sta-rite sand filter - T-200-BP1, 3/4hp Pentair Whisperflo pump, figure-8 shaped pool, polaris 380 and booster pump, borates, Compupool CPSC 36 SWCG.

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    accidental chemist's Avatar
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    Re: Installing a polaris 380 in a pool w/o a cleaner return

    If you go below the water line, and there is a problem, then it will be much bigger than a problem above the water line. PaulR says his is not below the water line. Unless you are confident that you can do it without leaks, I would go in above the water.
    Why is it most people that work in a pool store know nothing about pool chemistry?
    37,000 gal lined inground, Aquarite SWCG, ORP & pH cont, 30 gal acid tank, and Digital Timer w/ Freeze probe. All integrated with interposing relays to keep pump from shutting down if feeds are running.

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    Re: Installing a polaris 380 in a pool w/o a cleaner return

    Yeah, well, I can't say I'm exactly thrilled about having it above the water line; when people are in the pool and I take the Polaris out, it's like a little water feature. (I quickly learned to disable the timer on the booster pump when I take the Polaris out, too!) And my pressure relief thingy spits when the unit is running. But it works, and the other stuff is tolerable.
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Installing a polaris 380 in a pool w/o a cleaner return

    Cleaner lines are typically installed at a height just below the bottom of the skimmer.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Installing a polaris 380 in a pool w/o a cleaner return

    thanks, guys. I ended up installing mine right below the water level. Hopefully I can get the rest of the plumbing run back to the booster pump this week and get the polaris working.
    ~26000 gal gunite with steel walls (aka "hybrid"), sta-rite sand filter - T-200-BP1, 3/4hp Pentair Whisperflo pump, figure-8 shaped pool, polaris 380 and booster pump, borates, Compupool CPSC 36 SWCG.

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    Re: Installing a polaris 380 in a pool w/o a cleaner return

    Ran the line this weekend and finished the plumbing the other day. Cleaner works great. Now I just need another time clock for the booster pump. And another section of hose.

    Any opinions on the cheapest source of polaris parts on the web?
    ~26000 gal gunite with steel walls (aka "hybrid"), sta-rite sand filter - T-200-BP1, 3/4hp Pentair Whisperflo pump, figure-8 shaped pool, polaris 380 and booster pump, borates, Compupool CPSC 36 SWCG.

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