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Thread: Did I make a mistake? - no separate water feature pump

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    Did I make a mistake? - no separate water feature pump

    Did I make a mistake by not having a separate pump for my water feature?
    Here is my build. We have gunite and are about to pour the deck.

    5- Pool Returns
    3- Stone Scuppers
    2- Skimmers
    2- VGB Main Drains for Pool
    2- VGB Main Drains for Spa
    6- Spa Jets
    3- LED lights, 2 in pool, 1 in spa

    Equipment:
    DE filter, 60 sq. ft. FNS Plus
    Pentair IntelliFlo VF 3hp Pump
    406,000 BTU Pentair Master Temp Heater
    1 1/2 hp Silencer Blower
    Polaris 280 Black Max Cleaner
    Pentair IC-40 Salt System
    IntelliTouch Controller
    Automatic chlorinator

    I thought I would save $ by eliminating the separate pump to power the 3 scuppers, instead controlling them by an actuator and ramping up the IntelliFlo VF. At the time, I felt the only drawback was not being able to use the scuppers while in the spa. Now I am having second thoughts... Should I have the PB add a separate loop (and VGB drains) and pump now?

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    Re: Did I make a mistake? - no separate water feature pump

    Hey beels, that is a nice set-up you've got there! I understand your intention to save a little money (and you certainly COULD run everything off that one pump); but it will limit which features you can run at the same time. I would suggest adding a second pump to take full advantage of all that great equipment!

    You have a few different options if you choose to add another pump to the equation - you could add a specialty pump designed specifically for water features, OR you could add a pump dedicated to your spa jets.

    I am eager to see what other people suggest; and let us know what you decide/how it works for you! Pics welcome too!

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    Re: Did I make a mistake? - no separate water feature pump

    It is usually recommended here to run your spa jets on a separate pump loop without the head loss of the heater, etc. And to use the main loop to heat and filter the spa when in spa mode. But for that you need separate piping for the jets and returns. Not sure if you have that already?
    15,600 Gallon, 16' x 32' In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    Pentair VS 3050 pump, Quad DE 60 filter and SunTouch controller
    8 gallon Liquidator, Aquatherm EcoSun Solar Panels, 2 wheel ThePoolCleaner

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    Re: Did I make a mistake? - no separate water feature pump

    Plumbing and pump wise, my system is similar. I can't run my two fountains when I'm in spa mode, but that does not bother me at all. Turns out that we rarely use the fountains.

    However, if I had it to do over again, I would have used my 2 HP pump for my spa only, and installed a one HP (or even a 3/4 HP) pump for the pool (assuming it would be enough for the two fountains). This might help with the rising pH. I suppose I could still do that . . .
    9,200 gal. Gunite Luna Quartz French Grey pool with spill over spa, two fountains on tanning ledge (rarely used)
    Pentair Whisperflo 2HP, Pentair CCP Cartridge 420 Sq. Ft., Polaris 280 with booster pump
    Pentair EasyTouch 4, RayPak LoNox 266k Natural Gas heater, Aqua Rite SWCG T Cell 9, Borates, TF-100 test kit

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Did I make a mistake? - no separate water feature pump

    Ideally, you want a pump for every feature but that can be cost prohibitive. So if I had to choose, I would pick the spa jets for the second pump over the scuppers. You really want to avoid sending high volumes of water that spa jets require through the pad equipment and especially the filter. The scuppers can be run with the pool returns so that makes sense to keep it together. The only downside is that you won't be able to use the scuppers when heating the spa.

    But one thing to consider is to plumb the pool as if it had three pumps even though you may only use one or two. That way, down the road, you can easily change you mind and add a pump. A by product of this is it will make the pool more efficient.
    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

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    Re: Did I make a mistake? - no separate water feature pump

    These are some great suggestions, but why oh why didn't I ask earlier?!

    The gunite is already in, so any change at this point will require a jackhammer. It can be done though...just a question of dollars and time. The PB quoted about $3K to add a loop and pump for the 3 scuppers.

    I do like the idea of a separate pump for the spa jets, but I don't really like the idea of jackhammering the floor to add another pair of drains for the second loop. Seems like major surgery that could result in some bad side effects, not to mention the cost. At this point, I'm kind of numb to the cost though if it needs to be done.

    The point about not hammering the pad equipment with the high spa pressures is a good one. I did consider this earlier, and asked the builder if a 60 sq ft filter would be a better choice than the 48 he originally specified, to which he agreed.

    I forgot to mention that this is a fairly small pool, freeform, about 16' x 30' and 3 1/2 - 5 1/2 feet deep, so maybe 11K - 13K gallons. Does this relatively small size and with a VF 3 HP pump change any opinions/advice? I'm stumped.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Did I make a mistake? - no separate water feature pump

    Ok since the pool already has gunite, sorry I missed that, here are a few other options.

    First, for the spa, you could put in a pad bypass. When in spa mode, it will bypass most of the water around the pad equipment but have enough of the flow going through the filter and the heater to keep those working properly. This will need to be valved appropriately such that it only bypasses in spa mode.

    As for the scuppers, at this point, you need to decide for yourself if it is worth the extra money to add the second pump. But you could probably add a second pump with the existing plumbing system so that you can run the scuppers from the pool drain/skimmers. Nearly anything can be done with valves but it would be complicated. However, you would want to make sure that the scuppers pump and the Intelliflo together do not draw too much water from the drain/skimmers at the same time. Also, this would depend on what the suction side plumbing design. How many suction lines go from the pool to all the way to the equipment pad and what is their diameter?
    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

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    Re: Did I make a mistake? - no separate water feature pump

    On the suction side, there is a pair of skimmers and a pair of main drains. For the skimmers, the plumbing is 2", but I believe drops down to 1 1/2" at the skimmer fixtures. I assume they are routed separately, though one comes around the pool from the opposite side, so has a much longer run. I assume the 2 drains share a main run back to the pad, safety feature.

    Regardless of cost, I guess I'm hesitant at this point to tear up the pool floor to add the drains for a scupper pump unless I can be convinced it's really necessary.

    The pad bypass sounds like a good work-around for the spa jets. Is the idea to relieve excess pressure off the filter grids? If so, how necessary is that with such a large filter?

    Thanks for all the discussion and advice!

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    Re: Did I make a mistake? - no separate water feature pump

    Maybe PB could add an actuated valve in one of the skimmer lines to select either a skimmer pump or the main pump. Thererfore, with scuppers off, I would draw from both skimmers and drains, but with scuppers on, the main pump would draw from 1 skimmer and drains while the scupper pump would draw from the other skimmer.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Did I make a mistake? - no separate water feature pump

    Quote Originally Posted by beels
    Maybe PB could add an actuated valve in one of the skimmer lines to select either a skimmer pump or the main pump. Thererfore, with scuppers off, I would draw from both skimmers and drains, but with scuppers on, the main pump would draw from 1 skimmer and drains while the scupper pump would draw from the other skimmer.
    Thats what I was thinking as well as long as the runs come all the way back to the pad. Don't assume they are separate because some PBs connect them at the pool and run a single pipe back to the pad. Even if they are currently connected near the pool, that could easily be changed unless you have already poured the deck.


    Quote Originally Posted by beels
    The pad bypass sounds like a good work-around for the spa jets. Is the idea to relieve excess pressure off the filter grids? If so, how necessary is that with such a large filter?
    High flow rates through DE filters can cause caking in the filter not to mention high head loss which is more of an efficiency issue. But depending on the spa design, the Intelliflo may or may not be able provide enough flow rate even at full speed with the extra head loss. BTW, what is the spa setup. Number jets, jet size (3/8", 7/16") and what pipe size did the PB use for the run to/from the spa?
    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

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    Re: Did I make a mistake? - no separate water feature pump

    I'm not completely sure about all these lines, but here is my best guess:

    To Pad
    - 1 line From Spa is 3"
    - 3 lines from pool are 2 1/2" (not 2" like I said above) - I assume this is 1 from each skimmer and 1 from the drains

    From Pad
    - 1 line To Spa is 3" - this has a check valve (I think that's what it's called - a valve body with a clear window)
    - 2 lines to pool are 2 " - 1 of these has a check valve. These may be the spa fountain and tanning ledge bubbler.
    - 3 lines to pool are 2 1/2" - I'm a little confused here, because I thought PD said each scupper had its own valve, but he may have been talking about the spa and bubbler. I remember he said it's good to valve them so they can be controlled as desired. Maybe he split the 6 pool returns into 2 groups of 3 and used 1 for each group of returns and 1 for the 3 scuppers.

    There are 6 Spa jets, I don't know what size because they aren't installed yet. The lines are 2" at the Spa.
    The 6 return lines are also 2" at the pool (not 1 1/2 like I said above)

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    Re: Did I make a mistake? - no separate water feature pump

    Hmm. Since you have a blower for the spa, do you still need to have such high flow through the spa returns to get the spa effect? For our pool, we have two pumps and one is dedicated to the waterfall, and has its own intake separate from the skimmer and main drain. The advantage to this setup is that the waterfall pulls its water from the pool and not from the spa. So, we can independently heat up the spa without wasting that heat on the pool, it just recirculates in the spa. As the waterfall uses a different pump, there is no hot water going into the waterfall. I do wish we had at least a two-speed pump for the water feature, since a 2HP Whisperflo pumps alot of water and that waterfall gets pretty loud. Also, I recently plumbed the waterfall circuit for a backflow mode through the dedicated cleaner vacuum line and skimmer line using two new ball valves. This allows me to reverse flow through these lines to help eliminate clogs, which has worked wonderfully. It's too bad that the PB didn't think of setting up a dedicated line for the water features, as this wouldn't have cost that much overall. If you have but a single pump for this and the spa, then you are necessarily heating the water going into your features when you are in spa/water feature mode.

    Since the plumbing is already in place, I guess the best way forward would be to put an extra pump on the spa circuit. Using valves, you could divert water through the heater directly, bypassing the filter, and get good flow to the spa. With the valves plumbed properly, the existing pump could handle pool recirculation through the filter, with some (or all) of the return flow routed to the water features. This way, you can enjoy a nice and warm spa and still be able to turn on the water features. This would only require a new pump and some replumbing with additional valves at the equipment pad. This could also be automated, but might require more than one vacuum and return valve/actuator to make this work.
    38K in ground pool with attached spa. Current equipment: Easytouch 8 (521150) with IC-60 SWCG with web control by Autelis, 1x Pentair IntelliFlo 011018 pump (for filter), 1x Pentair 2HP WhisperFlo pump (for waterfall), 2X Pentair IntelliBrite 5G 12V lights, Pentair MiniMax400 NG Heater, Pentair SMBW2060 DE filter. Zodiac Barracuda MX8 cleaner on dedicated cleaner line. Lighting/home automation controlled by Insteon/ISY-99i.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Did I make a mistake? - no separate water feature pump

    Quote Originally Posted by CraigMW
    Hmm. Since you have a blower for the spa, do you still need to have such high flow through the spa returns to get the spa effect?
    Yes. Air has very little mass so high water flow is required in order to get therapeutic effect from the jets. The air in the stream just makes the water flow break up more to get a pulsating feeling but the strength of the jet is determined by the flow rate and that is why each jet size has a recommended flow rate. Depending on the jet size, the flow rate required for 6 jets will need to be between 90-150 GPM which again why a bypass is usually a good idea.


    beels,

    The lines you have should be sufficient to add a second pump but you have to decide if you want it on the jets or the scuppers. The scuppers might be a better choice since they do not require the heater. You could also run the scupper off the second pump all the time. If you got a small pump just big enough for the flow rate required, it would probably not be that much more inefficient than using the Intelliflo at a higher speed.

    One suggestion on the plumbing is to bring the three suction lines into a 3" header and have both pumps connected to the single header. A check valve on the output second pump will prevent any recirculation when it is off. The output of the second pump could then be dedicated to the scuppers so you wouldn't need any extra valves but you will need to run the second pump when ever you want the scuppers. But again, if sized properly, it shouldn't be that bad.
    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

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    Re: Did I make a mistake? - no separate water feature pump

    Thanks for all the input.

    I'm am going to speak with my pool builder about adding a spa bypass line and the two scupper ideas, 1) valving one of the skimmer lines and adding a pump, or 2) having all the suction lines on a single header and adding the pump and check valve.

    Glad to have some good ideas that don't involve a jackhammer! Thanks!

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