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Thread: Advice on equipment replacement

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    chumbley's Avatar
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    Advice on equipment replacement

    I recently purchased a home with an older in ground pool. The home is in eastern PA (Doylestown area) and is on well water (with low Ph but no other major issues noted). The pool needs a lot of work, including new tile and plaster. We'll save that discussion for later... The first order of business is to get it clean and swimmable for the rest of this season.

    I have some pool experience, as I maintained my pool in Texas for 15 years. I can do the plumbing, wiring, etc. What I don't know are the hydraulics and other aspects of selection, nor which selections are better (I know that is subjective).

    The first order of business is that it needs all new equipment. It currently has a 1.5 hp pump, a cleaner boost pump, an old DE filter, manual valves, an old style clock timer, and a pool heater. The filter is leaking at the bottom valve, the pump motor is noisy and the pump is leaking, the manual valves are stiff and many handles are broken off, the pool heater is disconnected from propane (so no idea if it works), and the cleaner booster pump is frozen. It is a mix of 2" and 1.5" plumbing. I did get it to circulate, so am at least making progress in getting the pool cleared up. But, it's time to start over with new equipment.

    I would estimate the pool to be 20K to 25K gallons. It is irregular shaped with a shallow end and a deep end (estimate 10'). It has one 1.5" main drain and two 1.5" skimmers. There are 2 pool returns (from a 1.5" line), with eyeballs. It has an attached spa with an overflow into the pool. The spa has one 2" drain, 5 returns (from a 2" line), and an air blower (with non-functioning air switch).

    I would like to add a solar heater, as there seems to be a great location for it on the roof of the covered patio (1 story high, maybe 50' from the pool equipment) and I want to extend the season as much as possible without using the propane heater.

    And so the questions begin...
    - Type and size of filter? My previous pool was a sand filter, so I'm comfortable with that. Not opposed to cartridge either, though it would seem I would need a pretty big one for this size pool. I'm not familiar at all with DE, is it worth the effort to learn? Recommendations?
    - Two speed pump to cover the pool / spa / solar? Multispeed? Separate pumps for pool and spa? How big? What brand? Recommendations?
    - Controller recommendations? I know the range is broad here. Looking for automation of the routine cleaning / solar valve operation / switch to spa mode, etc.
    - Solar panel options?
    - Pressure side or suction side cleaner? Booster? Brand? (my previous pool was pressure side, non-booster polaris, so familiar with that but would probably prefer the booster route so the cleaner doesn't run the entire time the pool is filtering)

    The pump and filter are my first priority, as I'm not sure how long I'm going to be able to babysit what is there and sort-of working today.

    Thanks in advance!

    (edited to correct pool returns and add plumbing sizes)

    Jeff
    28K free form IG pool, pebble finish, spillover spa, Pentair IntelliFlo VS, IntelliChlor IC40, Easy Touch 8 PS, Quad 60 DE, Aquabot Supreme, Hayward LP heater

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on equipment replacement

    Everyone has their own favorite type of filter. If you are used to sand, that is probably what you will be happiest with. They each have advantages and disadvantages, which different people rank very differently.

    Get the largest filter you have room for and can afford. Get a two speed, or variable speed pump. Variable speeds are usually only justified when electric rates are above $0.20/kwh, otherwise two speed pumps are most cost effective.

    An entry level automation system should be fine in that situation, enough to control solar and switch between pool and spa modes.

    Cleaners with booster pumps cost more to use in the long run. The Pool Cleaner doesn't need a booster pump and gets very good reviews.

    The largest issue with pump size is making sure you have enough flow to make the spa work well. How are the jets with the pump you have? Can you find the SF number from the motor name plate? That will help figure out what size your current pump really is, so you can match it, or get something a little larger or smaller as appropriate.

    Solar panels are great, by far the most cost effective heating system, if you have somewhere to put them.
    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: Advice on equipment replacement

    I have a SWG and spa with 2hp pump and 2" lines. Was designed that way in 2003. So when I have to replace the pump am I limited with what will work economically, 2 speed, variable or stay with what I got because of the flow rate in 2" plumbing. It does get a little confusing with all the choices.

    Thanks
    Mike
    11,000 gal., Cartridge filter, IG SWG, pebbletec, pentair 2hp, 150gpm, sf 1.1

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    chumbley's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on equipment replacement

    Thanks Jason. The service factor on the existing 1.5hp motor is 1.3.

    I have no idea how well it drives the spa ports today - but I suspect it's a little weak driving 5 of them - and that's why there is a blower installed. The current system is barely circulating water...

    We're at $0.09 per kwh, so two speed sounds like the better answer. I am assuming that since the spa drain and return are 2", I should size the rest of the system to 2". With a two speed pump, will it handle the solar panels on low speed?

    Recommended 2 speed HP and brand / model?

    Appreciate it!

    (btw, I updated the original post with correct pipe sizes and number of returns)
    28K free form IG pool, pebble finish, spillover spa, Pentair IntelliFlo VS, IntelliChlor IC40, Easy Touch 8 PS, Quad 60 DE, Aquabot Supreme, Hayward LP heater

  5. Back To Top    #5
    chumbley's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on equipment replacement

    Update - I'm closing in on a solution, and would like your feedback.

    I'm concerned that a 2 speed pump won't cover what I need, in that low speed will be insufficient to run the solar. So I've started looking at VS. This lead me to consider the same VS motor brand as the automation (which I am adding) for better integration and reduced costs, which eventually lead me to consider a salt generator as well (since those are also integrated options in the automation).

    Option 1: Pentair
    Easytouch 4 + iC40 + Wired Controller + VS3050 Intelliflo pump

    Option 2: Jandy
    Aqualink RS4 + Powercenter + One Touch Controller + AquaPure + ePump

    Thoughts or suggestions?
    28K free form IG pool, pebble finish, spillover spa, Pentair IntelliFlo VS, IntelliChlor IC40, Easy Touch 8 PS, Quad 60 DE, Aquabot Supreme, Hayward LP heater

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    Re: Advice on equipment replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by chumbley
    Option 2: Jandy
    Aqualink RS4 + Powercenter + One Touch Controller + AquaPure + ePump
    My experience with Jandy AquaLink control equipment has been outstanding. I've had an AquaLink RS6 + Power Center + All Button Controller since 1996, without ever a failure. This includes my Jandy Valve Actuators (JVAs). My AquaLink equipment is outside, in a West facing setting, and thus takes the full brunt of hot temperatures in the Summer (Dallas location). And my pool stays operational year round, requiring freeze control in the Winter - have never had a cold weather failure, again out in the elements.

    If you do go with AquaLink, I recommend an RS6, not an RS4, to give you some additional capacity. You're going to use 1 'channel' for the Hi speed of your filter pump, another channel for your cleaner pump, another channel for your filter pump's Lo speed, another channel for the lights for your pool, and another channel for a waterfall or some other feature you may have. That's 5 channels already, 1 more than an RS4 can supply. With an RS6, if this example is representative of your situation, you'd be able to accommodate the equipment and have a spare channel for future use (pool water fill control, or separate control of spa versus pool lighting, for example).

    Hope this helps.

    Best regards,

    Bill
    30 KGal IG plaster pool with diving board & spa, built '96; 2 speed (2.2/0.28 THP) AO Smith B2983 hi efficiency motor for circ (3 skimmers w/ 1.5" lines & drain w/ 2" line) (replaced original 1 speed Sta-Rite Max-E-Glas II 2.0 THP pump in 2011); waterfall w/ Sta-Rite Max-Glass II 2.5 THP pump w/ 2.5" lines, Polaris 280 pressure-side cleaner w/ 3/4 HP pump, Sta-Rite System 3 Vertical Grid 53 sqft DE filter, AquaLink RS6 P&S w/ 52 pin Rev K.33 controller, Rainbow offline tri-chlor erosion feeder, 450 KBTU/hr Rheme gas-fired heater, Dallas climate, 10/kwh current electric rate, energy monitoring system at http://www.welserver.com/WEL0043

  7. Back To Top    #7

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    Re: Advice on equipment replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by chumbley
    Pressure side or suction side cleaner? Booster? Brand? (my previous pool was pressure side, non-booster polaris, so familiar with that but would probably prefer the booster route so the cleaner doesn't run the entire time the pool is filtering)
    I recommend looking at a robotic cleaner. From a pool operating cost point of view, I think you're in the 'sweet spot' of those who can get the biggest return on the investment. Here are my thoughts.

    In my case, last year I consumed about 7000 kWh last year to run my various pool pumps (filter, pressure-side cleaner, waterfall). If you assume a national average of 12¢/kWh, that's about $850 just for electricity last year. The pumps had classic single speed conventional technology motors.

    So as the pump motors wear out, I'm replacing them with current technology motors - in my case 2 speed for the filter and waterfall pumps, and robotic cleaner for the cleaner.

    Looking at the numbers: my 3/4 HP Polaris 280 booster pump runs at 1200 watts for 3 hrs per day. Annually, that's about 1300 kWh, and at 12¢, that's an electricity cost for cleaning of about $160.

    A robotic cleaner has the motor in the cleaner, and thus it's a much smaller motor. It's therefore the same principle as the 2 speed pumps: much less power consumption over a longer cleaning cycle yielding a much lower energy cost.

    The new robotic cleaners, though, cost a lot, though. Let's assume $900 just as an example.

    I looked up the operating power for one at about 180 Watts. To accomplish the same cleaning, let's assume 6 hrs. That's 1.1 kWh per day, or about 400 kWh annually. Again at 12¢, that's about $50 cost for the year. Net operating cost difference is thus $160 - $50 = $110 (savings) per year.

    For me, to suddenly replace my perfectly working Polaris 280 with a robotic, my break even point is way out to $900 / $110 = 8 years. That's too long and in my opinion is not a good move.

    But in your case, you have a not functioning cleaning system presently. So you have a cost to do something. My guess is your least expensive option is to replace your motor, plus parts, etc. for overhaul of the cleaner itself. Let's say $500 total. Now your incremental cost to go to the robotic is down to $400 ($900 - $500).

    In my case, if the cost to go to a robotic was $400, that's a 3.6 year break even point on the additional investment, which isn't great, but certainly much more reasonable.

    Summary? If your cleaner is broken such that you're looking at upwards of $500 or more to fix / replace it, I'd look hard at a robotic cleaner to take advantage of much lower operating costs.

    Hope this helps. Note that as your cost of electricity goes higher than 12¢, a robotic will pay for itself faster. In my case, where my electricity cost is 9¢, it doesn't make any sense to replace my fully functioning cleaner with a robotic until my current cleaner is no longer useable.

    Best regards,

    Bill
    30 KGal IG plaster pool with diving board & spa, built '96; 2 speed (2.2/0.28 THP) AO Smith B2983 hi efficiency motor for circ (3 skimmers w/ 1.5" lines & drain w/ 2" line) (replaced original 1 speed Sta-Rite Max-E-Glas II 2.0 THP pump in 2011); waterfall w/ Sta-Rite Max-Glass II 2.5 THP pump w/ 2.5" lines, Polaris 280 pressure-side cleaner w/ 3/4 HP pump, Sta-Rite System 3 Vertical Grid 53 sqft DE filter, AquaLink RS6 P&S w/ 52 pin Rev K.33 controller, Rainbow offline tri-chlor erosion feeder, 450 KBTU/hr Rheme gas-fired heater, Dallas climate, 10/kwh current electric rate, energy monitoring system at http://www.welserver.com/WEL0043

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Re: Advice on equipment replacement

    I thought I've read of people estimating $100-200 per year in maintenance on the robotic cleaners? Plus if they break outside of warranty it's very expensive to fix them?
    13k gallon IG plaster, DE filter, 3/4hp Pump

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