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Thread: Ideas for efficient pool plumbing

  1. Back To Top    #1

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    Ideas for efficient pool plumbing

    I ran across the name of a "pool efficiency" company named Pool Power (www.poolpower.net) while perusing Pool Forum. Here are a couple of "before" and "after" pictures of what they consider an efficient hydraulic system.

    The gray "pipe" they are using appear to be standard radius PVC conduit elbows. In 2" conduit, this is a minimum of 9.5 inches. PVC conduit elboys can also be ordered in "special radius" sizes also. For Carlon PVC conduit in their 2 inch size, elbows can be ordered with 18, 24, 36, 48, and 72 inch radii. One additional advantage of using PVC conduit over standard PVC pipe is that PVC conduit is rated sunlight resistant and rated for outdoor use, whereas PVC pipe must normally be painted to protect it from UV degradation.

    I am a little confused by the first set of "before and after" photos because they appeared to change a single 3-way valve into a pair of ball valves for what appear to be the pool and spa suction lines. And Pool Power's idea of replacing small, undersized filters with large oversized filters is obvious and has been discussed here many times.








    This is an animation of how the PVC conduit elbows are hydraulically superior to standard PVC pipe 90's.




    Also, Pool Power appears to be a fan of The Pool Cleaner (a pressure side cleaner which does not require a booster pump). Certainly, I can see if (big if) The Pool Cleaner can really replace a Polaris (or equivalent) cleaner and the attendant booster pump, the energy savings would be tremendous. http://www.thepoolcleaner.com/poolprofessional.html

    " -It's a wunderkind cleaner !!!
    Your contribution to the pool industry has been enormous, yet is highly under-rated. Each of your cleaners is the best available on the market in its category"
    ---Eric Walters www.poolpower.net
    None of the above is meant in any way to promote Pool Power. In fact, I know nothing about them whatsoever other than what is posted here. I am sure there are other "pool efficiency" companies out there. Rather, my intent here is to jump-start a discussion on what makes an efficient hydraulic layout at the equipment pad and in the plumbing to the pool. Do you agree or disagree with Pool Power's ideas? Why?

    The above, of course, is stimulated by my need to redo some PVC piping at my equipment pad in order for my new Ikeric variable speed pump (Hayward Tri-Star wet end) to be installed. If some of these ideas make my retrofit plumbing easier - great. If some of these ideas make my equipment pad plumbing more efficient hydraulically - woo hoo!!

    Hopefully, the above will also help those of you who are about to embark upon new pool construction. I'm sure that PVC conduit wll be more expensive than PVC pipe (for example, the 2" PVC conduit elbow is around $4 or so), but I would be willing to bet that the installation labor cost for the pool plumibing dwarfs the actual cost of the pipe and associated fittings. And I would be willing to bet the installation labor would be no higher using PVC conduit as compared to PVC pipe. So one could potentially end up with a hydraulically superior pool for a very modest upfront cost.

    Another interesting product idea appears at www.flexpvc.com

    I am especially keen to hear Waste and JasonLion's thoughts on the above musings.

    Titanium
    24,000 gallon inground freeform pool/spa circa 1983 (113 ft perimeter, 625 sq ft) with 350 gallon attached spill-over spa
    2007 2 HP, three-phase Hayward TriStar pump which is powered by an Ikeric VS-200 variable speed drive system
    1983 Laars XE Pool/Spa Heater Type ES 400,000 BTU, 1998 Hayward Super Star-Clear C-4000 cartridge filter (400 sq ft, 4 separate cartridges)
    1998 Polaris 380 pressure-side cleaner w/ 3/4 HP booster pump
    One skimmer :( and one PoolSkim :), One Supervision Galaxy LED pool lamp, Second story solar panels
    Hayward/GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 (replaced 1983 vintage dual circuit Intermatic timer)

  2. Back To Top    #2
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Their approach is sound. You want to have as few sharp bends as possible and use the largest diameter pipe that is practical. The larger radius bends produce less turbulence and thus less dynamic head. Lower dynamic head means more water moved per unit time, so shorter pump run times and less electrical usage. Having larger filters is the same basic idea, less water resistance, with the added benefit of less frequent filter cleaning.

    For most setups this kind of treatment is not going to make a significant difference. Much of the dynamic head usually comes from the various required fittings (skimmer, main valve, filter, heater, return) and the length of the pipe run. The added dynamic head of a couple of 90 degree bends is not usually that high a percentage of the total head. Now there are some setups, particularly on older pools where there have been many changes over the years, where there are way to many elbows in the plumbing and they used smaller pipes and a small filter and large improvements are possible.

    For an ideal system you also need to balance the total dynamic head of the system to the highest efficiency point on the pump curve. There are occasionally situations where the plumbing isn't balanced with the pump and adding a few 90s actually improves the efficiency of the system. Of course the amount of calculating needed to figure this level of optimization out is hardly ever done since most systems already fall reasonably close to the optimal point.
    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

  3. Back To Top    #3

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    What would most of you rather use for your suction valving?

    A 'T' with two separate single valves?

    Or a single three way valve?
    Fortune favors the well prepared

    The build...
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    Freeform 24' x 38' IG gunite. 3 1/2' to 8' deep. 28,500 gallons. AutoPilot Total Control SWCG. Pentair Intelliflo VF. Pentair CCP520 cartridge filter. Colorlogic LED lights. Tahoe Blue Diamond Brite. 1200 sq ft stamped concrete deck.
    More details as they happen...

  4. Back To Top    #4
    mas985's Avatar
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    If you only change the pad plumbing then I suspect the impact is fairly minor for probably a lot of work.

    Based upon a complete hydraulic model of my pool, when removing all of the pad fittings, not just replacing them but removing them, the PSI dropped by only 1 PSI, head loss decreased by 2 feet and flow increased by 2 GPM. Not much of an impact so the result of poolpower would be much less.

    Removing all of the fittings, skimmers, returns for the entire pool results in a PSI drops about 3 PSI, head loss drop of 14 feet and flow increase of 18 GPM. A bit more significant but impossible to do.

    Another option instead of using minor bends is to increase the diameter of the pipe on the pad. By replacing all of the plumbing on my pad with 2.5" instead of 2.0" pipe has nearly the same effect as removing all of bend, valves and fittings and is probably a lot cheaper.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

  5. Back To Top    #5

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    belldiver said,

    What would most of you rather use for your suction valving?

    A 'T' with two separate single valves?

    Or a single three way valve?
    Well, if the pipes in quesion were for the pool and spa suction lines, having two separate single valves woud make it much more difficult to apply motorized valve actuators for automation and remote operation, whereas the single three valve makes this a very simple retrofit to add motorized valve actuators.

    Titanium
    24,000 gallon inground freeform pool/spa circa 1983 (113 ft perimeter, 625 sq ft) with 350 gallon attached spill-over spa
    2007 2 HP, three-phase Hayward TriStar pump which is powered by an Ikeric VS-200 variable speed drive system
    1983 Laars XE Pool/Spa Heater Type ES 400,000 BTU, 1998 Hayward Super Star-Clear C-4000 cartridge filter (400 sq ft, 4 separate cartridges)
    1998 Polaris 380 pressure-side cleaner w/ 3/4 HP booster pump
    One skimmer :( and one PoolSkim :), One Supervision Galaxy LED pool lamp, Second story solar panels
    Hayward/GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 (replaced 1983 vintage dual circuit Intermatic timer)

  6. Back To Top    #6

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    JasonLion and mas985,

    Thanks for your thoughts. This is interesting that the change to 2.5" piping would be almost as good as removing all of the 2" bends, valves, and fittings.

    The new Hayward Tri-Star pump that came with the Ikeric variable speed system shows in the owners manual that 2 inch pipe is the minimum and 2.5 inch pipe is recommended.

    I think what I will take away from this is that if any opportunities present themselves during the pump installation to replace a pipe 90 with a conduit elbow, then that is what I will do. The cost differential between a PVC pipe 90 and a PVC conduit elbow will be minimal. But I won't just go and replace perfectly good existing 90's just for the heck of it.

    If I were to ever build a new pool, I think I would be specing out 2.5", or even perhaps 3", piping to the pool and spa. Although the use of lower flows (either by use of a smaller hp pump or a variable speed pump) along with greater hours of operation somewhat reduces the advantages that larger pipe brings. And using large radius sweeps in the piping (either by heat-bending PVC pipe in the field or by the use of conduit elbows) both at the equipment pad and in the pool/spa runs would seem to incur a minimal upfront cost while yielding decades of benefits.

    Has anyone here had any experience, good or bad, with using flexible PVC piping at the equipment pad? The reason for using flexible PVC piping could be either the desire for laminar flow or the solution to awkward piping layout/fitup.

    Here is one guy who has written about using flexible PVC piping for his pool equipment pad. http://www.troubleshooters.com/pool/repipe/index.htm

    Titanium
    24,000 gallon inground freeform pool/spa circa 1983 (113 ft perimeter, 625 sq ft) with 350 gallon attached spill-over spa
    2007 2 HP, three-phase Hayward TriStar pump which is powered by an Ikeric VS-200 variable speed drive system
    1983 Laars XE Pool/Spa Heater Type ES 400,000 BTU, 1998 Hayward Super Star-Clear C-4000 cartridge filter (400 sq ft, 4 separate cartridges)
    1998 Polaris 380 pressure-side cleaner w/ 3/4 HP booster pump
    One skimmer :( and one PoolSkim :), One Supervision Galaxy LED pool lamp, Second story solar panels
    Hayward/GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 (replaced 1983 vintage dual circuit Intermatic timer)

  7. Back To Top    #7
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    As the article you link to points out, flexible pipe is less reliable long term. The difference isn't dramatic, it will usually last for a reasonable amount of time. Flexible pipe is fairly common on above ground pools and you see it on solar installs sometimes so the pipes can follow the roof contours.
    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

  8. Back To Top    #8

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    An interesting aside on discharge head. When I first started up my pump and filter, none of the returns had nozzles. Just the 1.5" NPT fittings. With this arrangement, the discharge pressure at the filter was about 2 psi. Once all of the returns had nozzles, the pressure increased to about 10 psi. There are a total of four returns. I also have an alternate discharge with three "therapy jets". When discharging through the therapy jets the pressure increases to 20 psi. So if you want to decrease your head losses, remove all of the nozzles from all of your returns!
    7,500 gal, IG pool, L shape 22' x 15', 1.5 hp pump, cartridge filter, AquaPlus SWG/Controller, Pebble-Tec liner.

  9. Back To Top    #9

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    Titanium, boy- you asked for my input and I will give it.

    My first thought was that their "modern" system was put together when I still thought that playing with Tonka toys was more fun than 'playing' with girls. The other thing that caught my eye is that they used non- pressure fittings going into the pump - I like all my fittings to be at least SCH 40 and made for pressure. Jason and Mark gave you the rundown on the reality of the 'supposed' improvements If I remember this stuff correctly, you can very slightly reduce the head by replacing every 90 with 2 45s - but it really isn't worth it.

    I personally don't like the look of the conduit sweeps - the mix of gray and white pipe/ fittings strikes me as 'Franken-plumbing' (though you could always scare the kids with it at Halloween ). I suppose you could just paint the pipes, I think sky blue is nice for pool pipes - it's almost like you're seeing the water pass through them .

    Flex pipe can be used. If the system is exposed to sun and the elements, it will quickly take on a 'diseased' look - the pipe is still fine, but it looks nasty

    Belldiver, for only 2 suction ports, the 3-way valve is probably the way to go - however, when you've got 4+ suction lines, I find you can better control the flow from each with the ball valves - sometimes the way the 3-ways have to be plumbed will limit your ability to fully control the flow to certain ports.

    Fun thread, glad I was invited!
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    waste,

    Don't hold back. Tell us what you REALLY think. :P :P


    Seriously, have you ever heard of or seen PVC conduit used for pool plumbing? I'll admit that the result does look very strange and does not look professional.

    Titanium
    24,000 gallon inground freeform pool/spa circa 1983 (113 ft perimeter, 625 sq ft) with 350 gallon attached spill-over spa
    2007 2 HP, three-phase Hayward TriStar pump which is powered by an Ikeric VS-200 variable speed drive system
    1983 Laars XE Pool/Spa Heater Type ES 400,000 BTU, 1998 Hayward Super Star-Clear C-4000 cartridge filter (400 sq ft, 4 separate cartridges)
    1998 Polaris 380 pressure-side cleaner w/ 3/4 HP booster pump
    One skimmer :( and one PoolSkim :), One Supervision Galaxy LED pool lamp, Second story solar panels
    Hayward/GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 (replaced 1983 vintage dual circuit Intermatic timer)

  11. Back To Top    #11

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    For those of us living in California, here is what the State and PG&E have been up to:


    Draft report for Residential Swimming Pools by PG&E and Sempra Energy, February 19, 2007

    http://www.energy.ca.gov/title24/2008st ... G_POOL.PDF



    Study - Residential Swimming Pool, PG&E and Davis Energy Group, July 12, 2006

    http://www.energy.ca.gov/title24/2008st ... _POOLS.PDF


    Titanium
    24,000 gallon inground freeform pool/spa circa 1983 (113 ft perimeter, 625 sq ft) with 350 gallon attached spill-over spa
    2007 2 HP, three-phase Hayward TriStar pump which is powered by an Ikeric VS-200 variable speed drive system
    1983 Laars XE Pool/Spa Heater Type ES 400,000 BTU, 1998 Hayward Super Star-Clear C-4000 cartridge filter (400 sq ft, 4 separate cartridges)
    1998 Polaris 380 pressure-side cleaner w/ 3/4 HP booster pump
    One skimmer :( and one PoolSkim :), One Supervision Galaxy LED pool lamp, Second story solar panels
    Hayward/GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 (replaced 1983 vintage dual circuit Intermatic timer)

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Titanium,

    Thanks for posting that draft. It is one of the best things I've read about pool design.

    I think all pool builders should read it, however, they are motivated by profit not efficiency. I think the average pool builder could get more business if they explained to potential customers how thier pools are more efficient than the competition.
    11000 Gals, Intelliflo, Sta-Rite Cartridge, Polaris 360

    Pool I built in my old house: my-new-pool-build-t4534.html

  13. Back To Top    #13

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    cobra46,

    I think all pool builders should read it, however, they are motivated by profit not efficiency.
    Well, I can't really get down on any businessman who is motivated by profit. Profit is what makes the world go around.

    And I think pool buyers share some blame here. Everybody wants a pool for the lowest absolute cost. Some of that attitude is bound to rub off on the pool builders.

    I agree with your statement that [edit] the PG&E drafts are [/edit] one of the best things on pool design. I have been waiting to hear mas985 weigh in on these documents, especially since he lives in PG&E territory also.

    Titanium
    24,000 gallon inground freeform pool/spa circa 1983 (113 ft perimeter, 625 sq ft) with 350 gallon attached spill-over spa
    2007 2 HP, three-phase Hayward TriStar pump which is powered by an Ikeric VS-200 variable speed drive system
    1983 Laars XE Pool/Spa Heater Type ES 400,000 BTU, 1998 Hayward Super Star-Clear C-4000 cartridge filter (400 sq ft, 4 separate cartridges)
    1998 Polaris 380 pressure-side cleaner w/ 3/4 HP booster pump
    One skimmer :( and one PoolSkim :), One Supervision Galaxy LED pool lamp, Second story solar panels
    Hayward/GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 (replaced 1983 vintage dual circuit Intermatic timer)

  14. Back To Top    #14

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    I fell for PoolPower

    Joining in here, but I feel this is appropriate.

    What follows is a post that I made at PF that I wanted to post here because it is relevant. I could go on and on about Poolpower, but I will tell you that the pipes are the same type of pipes that most people use on their pools. They do have a patented process that allows them to bend them into specific curves prior to the install. They just paint them to make them look cool. They left mine black (after the reinstall to fix mistakes!!!). I'm not happy with the results of their rebuild. I am saving $$$ on electricity, but at a cost in performance and I could have closed my pool and saved even more. Their "warranty" was that they would make my pool work better than before and use less money, but in fact it does save $$$ but doesn't run as well. It is slower to heat, slower to clean (although The Pool Cleaner works well, it takes at least twice as long to sweep the pool as a booster Polaris), is less "automatic," and does not skim the surface anywhere near as well. They made a lot of mistakes that I had to catch.

    I have been working on our budget lately and realized that I spent over $15,000 on my pool in two years. Some of that was money well spent, but most of it was not. I overtrusted "expert" pool guys who really didn't know how to analyze cost.

    I moved to my current home two years ago and fell in love with the sparkling pool. They had a service at $95/month that took care of everything and most of the equipment was fairly new and top quality. I could have continued that and saved my $$$$. I decided to do it myself. I have an engineering degree, at one point even designing water treatment/wastewater treatment plants. I should be able to get a handle on this myself.

    I did, but made a lot of costly mistakes.

    The good stuff I did and would keep any day:
    -They used pucks and the cya was really high. I realized that pucks would just add cya and didn't want to do the drain because my pool is large and it just seems a hassle. Saltwater pools feel great and the "gadget queen" in me won out. I did fix the chemistry of the pool by installing a swg and letting the cya drop naturally and through winter rain dilution. I am very happy with this, but I should not have gone with the first product from Leslie's. The fittings are only 1.5" and I have since had a bypass installed to avoid restricting flow so much (my pipes are all 2"). I also would have installed a bigger swg that could keep up with the pool in the summer. I have to supplement with liquid chlorine or bleach on hot days when we have heavy usage.

    -Kept a great filter and clean it infrequently. I let it work and it works well.

    -Learned the Jandy system inside and out

    What I wish I hadn't done:
    -Solar. I know you won't believe this one, but let me explain. I had 3 guys come and bid on it. One refused to bid because he claimed that it would not be worth it. My pool is too large and the roof I wanted it installed on was too small. I charged ahead with the other bidders, but I should have believed him. He was so right. I could have run the pool for less than 1/2 the time and these days power costs are so high....It also increases the pressure and reduces flow, further increasing run times. I made another huge error by getting dazzled by a solar guy who claimed that if I installed coils on an east-facing roof and mats on a small south-facing roof, I would optimize my system. It turns out that this is too complicated and not optimal at all. Payback on this might never come. I could have run the heater 300 hours/year even if I look at a 5 year payback. That is not even including the costs of the extra maintenance, the roof integrity issues down the line, and the extra wear that the higher pressures subject the rest of the pool equipment to.

    -new heater. I though that my heater was breaking down because I noticed black flecks at the return locations. This is probably true, but I could have run it longer and I should have thought of that when looking at the cost of the new heater. The old heater was also the only "old" equipment on my pool when I moved in. It had only 1.5" so it restricted flow and it had a pilot so it wasted gas. But, it worked. As I remember, it heated my spa from ice cold to 104 in 30 minutes. My new one does it in 15 minutes. Big deal. I should have known to install a bypass to address the restriction issues and saved my $$$$. Payback on this might never come.

    -Pool "optimization." I should have waited to do this when my pump eventually breaks. I got scared by high energy bills and forgot to think about reducing pump run times to save energy costs. (Of course, if I hadn't installed solar, this wouldn't have been an issue.) My 2 hp Whisperflo was running fine and it could have run for several more years. My Polaris 280 was good for my pool and just needed less than $100 repairs every year. Small price to pay for a reliable system. Yes the new system saves a lot of energy, but it moves a lot less water, even at higher levels. The pool is clean, but on closer inspection is much dirtier at the scum line because of the reduced surface action. It is also much more fiddly with valves that require adjustment when I just want to remove the cleaner. The installer made a major error on their first install. I caught it, they didn't. It was big enough that should have had them put everything back the way it was and demanded a refund. The monetary payback on this will be 2 years, but I will always suspect it because of the errors that were made on the installation....

    Now, if I look back with the knowledge I now have under my belt, I would keep my old system with the heater running a few hours a week and definitely add an swg (bigger and better) and add a couple of bypasses to optimize things.

    I really hope that this venting of my experiences will help someone. When you consider a change, consider keeping it simple.
    Salinda
    owner of ~37,000 gallon plaster IG pool/spa combo. Intelliflo VS+ filter pump, 2 hp whisperflo spa jet pump, Jandy Aqualink RS-6 with iAqualink upgrade, The Pool Cleaner 4x suction cleaner, Clean & Clear Plus 520 cartridge filter, Zodiac Clearwater LM2-40 SWG, Sta-rite 400k heater, solar heat pads and coils, Solar-Breeze NX.

  15. Back To Top    #15
    I used flex PVC between my filter and heater and have had no problem at all. You can also heat regular pvc and bend it to whatever shape you need.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    21,000 gal Fiberglass (Indoor)

  16. Back To Top    #16

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    Andy, hi!

    Yes you can heat and bend regular PVC, but you've got to be careful not to heat it so much that it becomes 'slag' and also that you don't bend it so much that it crimps (or goes 'out of round') -- either of these will KILL any benefits of doing the bending vs. elbowing the line.
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    I didn't think that conduit PVC was pressure rated?
    Fortune favors the well prepared

    The build...
    viewtopic.php?t=3974
    Freeform 24' x 38' IG gunite. 3 1/2' to 8' deep. 28,500 gallons. AutoPilot Total Control SWCG. Pentair Intelliflo VF. Pentair CCP520 cartridge filter. Colorlogic LED lights. Tahoe Blue Diamond Brite. 1200 sq ft stamped concrete deck.
    More details as they happen...

  18. Back To Top    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by waste
    Andy, hi!

    Yes you can heat and bend regular PVC, but you've got to be careful not to heat it so much that it becomes 'slag' and also that you don't bend it so much that it crimps (or goes 'out of round') -- either of these will KILL any benefits of doing the bending vs. elbowing the line.
    Yep, there are lots of different ways to heat and also different ways to keep it from crimping.
    Just some examples:
    Heat: pvc box heaters, heat blankets, heat guns, torch, etc....
    Keep from crimping: springs, sand, plug ends(pressure) etc....
    21,000 gal Fiberglass (Indoor)

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Since my pool pump and filter are in a "pump house", I decided to go with this product when I redo the filter lines this Spring. I'm going to 2 inch (three 1 1/2 inch lines; two skimmers and one bottom drain) just before the pump and back to 1 1/2 after the filter (two inlets).

    The new pump and new filter both have 2 inch fittings.

    http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/produc ... 5Fid=25231


    I went with the 2 inch.

    http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/varian ... 5Fid=60708


    When it came, I was surprized at how flexiable it was.
    Hotrod30

    20 X 40 foot vinyl Borates and Salt Pool
    Rolachem Chlorine Feeder
    Hayward 27 inch sand filter with 80 lbs of pea gravel
    Jacuzzi Splash Pak SP55 DE filter in parallel
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