I recently purchased a house with a ~18k gallon in-ground concrete pool (rectangular 16x30, ~3.5 deep on one end to ~6.5 on the deep end, plus a ~6x4 spa). I'm beginning to feel like I'm in the deep end!
The age of the pool is unknown, but I do know it was replastered in 2006. It's definitely no older than 1969 (when house was built).
You can see the pool here:
http://nakedpattie.com/houses/final%20w ... ge/018.jpg
And the equipment here:
http://nakedpattie.com/houses/final%20w ... ge/003.jpg
(Yes I know the URL looks... suspicious. Don't worry, the entire site is SFW)
The pump is an old bronze-head Anthony wet end, powered by an AO Smith Centurion motor (unknown hp; I need to get a camera or mirror on site to read the label; I'm guessing 1.5 as it appears to use 10kwh to run 5-6 hours). It seems to work fine, gets good suction, pushes the water up to the solar.
The underground pipes are believed to be 1.5" copper, while almost everything above-ground is 2" (or 2.5"?) PVC. There is one skimmer and one drain in pool, one drain in spa. Has 2 returns in pool (one on either end) and 3 returns in spa. The only evidence of copper pipes are a 1.5" copper pool return pipe and a 2"(?) copper spa return pipe, both on the pad.
The filter is an old Anthony(?) Flowmaster 4000, DE filter.
There is a solar heating system, controlled by an old Goldline? controller (~8 years old). The solar heating is one story up on a ~45 degree slanted roof. I think the heater is a Hayward gas heater; it's really only needed for the spa. No sign of the solar heating leaking during recent roof inspection.
There are 3 valves in total - one to control intake from pool or spa (I think?), one to control return to pool or spa, and one with an actuator to redirect water into the solar system. Two of the valves (the non solar ones - the intake source valve and return valve) are metal, and I suspect both leak a tiny amount; I know the return valve has a slow leak.
The previous owner used an Aquabug, which is only meant for above-ground pools. I wanted to switch to a Kreepy Krauly, but a salesperson at Leslie's told me that it would get caught up on edges near steps and even the rounded corners of the pool, and suggested I get a Hayward Pool Vac (either classic or XL).
I want to replace the pump with something more efficient, such as an EcoStar, but it was suggested that I should not go with anything greater than a 3/4 horsepower whisperflo or I will have cavitation issues with 1.5" copper pipes, and that this pump will not be able to both push water up to the solar AND drive an automatic pool vac. However, the current pump (HP and GPM unknown) does not appear to cause any issues, and the suction on the skimmer line seems just as strong even when the solar is active.
The filter is old, and after the pump shuts off it makes hissing and gurgling/ticking noises for a good few hours. The hissing is coming from the clamp (at the dome top), the gurgling/ticking from within. It runs at about 20 PSI when the pump is on (believed to run high). Servicing the pump would be about $100 and it was suggested (by my more local pool store guy, not Leslie's) that this may not fix the hiss, so I am thinking the money may be better spent on a brand new filter.
When the pump first starts up there is a LOT of gurgling and air coming out of the returns for about a minute - whether solar is active or not - and then it's a smooth flow (no telltale champagne-bubbles of an air leak). When the pump shuts off it sounds like all the water remaining backflows out and air rushes into the system. Is either of this normal? According to the neighbor it's done this as long as he's known (9+ years).
The heater is my least concern right now, as it's not needed except to heat the spa - which is actually quite enjoyable with just the jets and no additional heating (the solar gets the pool up to 90). However, I may consider getting it replaced with the rest of the equipment anyway if it doesn't add more than $500-700 to the costs.
Do these concerns have any basis in reality? Should I avoid the Ecostar due to the plumbing? Can I mix a pool vac with solar heating and 1.5" copper plumbing? If the suction isn't an issue, will a kreepy krauly work in a non-lagoon pool? Should I be budgeting to rip the plumbing out and redo everything from skimmers/returns on back to the pad?
Someone throw me a life preserver... or at least a pool noodle or two! Please!
Edit: when I mentioned to the Leslie's salesperson that I was looking for an FAS-DPD kit, and needed something to read 5 ppm or better of Chlorine, because with my CYA around 55-60 I was trying to keep the Chlorine at 6-7 PPM, he was shocked that I would keep it higher than 1-3... sigh.