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Thread: Pool remodel in Torrance CA needs help

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    Pool remodel in Torrance CA needs help

    Hi all,

    I am an owner/builder undertaking a "major" pool remodel of a 1959 built inground concrete pool and I could use some help from this forum. I have been researching this project for several years now and I have found this forum to be a great resource. As you can see in my signature below, I have quite an ambitious project planned and I am anxious to get it started. I have researched this forum but I haven't seen any "major" remodel projects like I'm planning.

    I already have my certified structural plans from PEI (Ron Lacher's company) and have pulled most of my permits; however, I am having problems locating local subcontractors that have experience with pools. I have contacted some local Concrete, Electrical, and Plumbing subs but I have only received one response in over a week. At this pace it will take weeks just to get my subs lined up!

    Here are a couple of questions:

    1) What is the best way to find pool subs? I could especially use a lead for an experienced rebar sub.

    2) I have an old brass main drain with 1.5" copper plumbing and I would like to replace it with a VGB compliant one and replace all the copper with PVC. However, I don't seem too have many options. My structural drawings provide a method for cutting into the floor and walls but I'm concerned that might be opening up a can of worms and jeopardize the structural integrity. I have also read some posts that suggest eliminating the main drain all together and add a dedicated vac line and extra returns instead; but I'm not crazy about that option either. A third option is to eliminate the main drain and install a drain a few feet below the skimmer and tie them together. However, I don't like that option either because I would like to keep my main drain separate from the skimmer. I am really tempted to go with my first option to cut into the concrete, but I would like to get some input here from the TFP experts. Any thoughts?

    Here is a drawing showing most of my planned upgrades:



    Thanks for your help in advance,

    Jeff
    Jeff
    Existing Pool: 1959 built inground concrete, 14'x30' rectangular, 8.5 ft deep end, 20k gal, Hayward Super II 1 hp pump, Hayward Progrid 36 sq ft DE filter.
    Planned remodel to include the following additions: Raised Bond Beam, 2 benches/swim-outs, 36" Sheer Descents w/LED (2x), Laminar Deck Jets w/LED (2x), 250k BTU Gas Heater, Pentair Easytouch 8 automation, Vacuum line, Autofill, Waste line and extra return line.
    R&R the following: Plaster, Skimmer, Main Drain, Coping, Tile, Pump, Main pool light w/ LED multicolor, all existing copper lines w/ 2.5" suction and 2" returns lines.

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    Re: Pool remodel in Torrance CA needs help

    but I'm not crazy about that option either.
    Main drains have been removed successfully from many situations. What are your objections that makes it a not-so-good option??
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Pool remodel in Torrance CA needs help

    Hi Duraleigh,

    Thanks for chiming in.

    It's probably just my lack of experience, but it seems like there would be better water circulation for distributing chemicals. Also, I would think that a main drain would assist in a cleaner pool as dirt and debris migrate to the deep end of the pool.

    Jeff
    Jeff
    Existing Pool: 1959 built inground concrete, 14'x30' rectangular, 8.5 ft deep end, 20k gal, Hayward Super II 1 hp pump, Hayward Progrid 36 sq ft DE filter.
    Planned remodel to include the following additions: Raised Bond Beam, 2 benches/swim-outs, 36" Sheer Descents w/LED (2x), Laminar Deck Jets w/LED (2x), 250k BTU Gas Heater, Pentair Easytouch 8 automation, Vacuum line, Autofill, Waste line and extra return line.
    R&R the following: Plaster, Skimmer, Main Drain, Coping, Tile, Pump, Main pool light w/ LED multicolor, all existing copper lines w/ 2.5" suction and 2" returns lines.

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    Re: Pool remodel in Torrance CA needs help

    The chemical distribution would not be an issue. What additions you would make are easily input and mixed in front of a return or in the skimmer.

    Certainly, there is some advantage in having a main drain with a deep end but I don't think the benefit you would get justifies trying to fix the old one.

    If the old one functions (isn't plugged up), I would be tempted to work with it or just not have a main drain. You can get the circulation you need by pointing returns downward or even installing deep end returns if you like.

    It's not a black and white issue but cutting into your shell opens the potential for other bigger problems perhaps and the work-arounds should be just fine.

    Sorry to change the subject but do you just have one skimmer planned? Adding another skimmer would be pretty beneficial in helping keep the pool clean.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Pool remodel in Torrance CA needs help

    Hi again Duraleigh,

    I totally agree with your perspective and that is why I wanted to pose the question. Like you, I am concerned that cutting into the shell is a little risky.

    If I eliminate the main drain, then that means I will have to rely more on my vacuum in case the water level got too low. Even though, I plan on installing an auto-fill, I just don't feel comfortable not having a backup suction line.

    Regarding skimmers, my original plan was to go with one skimmer, two returns and a main drain. If I don't get a consensus from this forum about what to do with my old copper main drain, I will probably do away with it and just go with the one skimmer and 4 returns in a loop. It doesn't seem to be a big enough pool to warrant another skimmer, but I'm curious as to why you think it is and please tell me how you would place them. Right now, the one I have is placed in the middle of the long edge of the pool. Do you think a venturi based skimmer would be useful?
    Jeff
    Existing Pool: 1959 built inground concrete, 14'x30' rectangular, 8.5 ft deep end, 20k gal, Hayward Super II 1 hp pump, Hayward Progrid 36 sq ft DE filter.
    Planned remodel to include the following additions: Raised Bond Beam, 2 benches/swim-outs, 36" Sheer Descents w/LED (2x), Laminar Deck Jets w/LED (2x), 250k BTU Gas Heater, Pentair Easytouch 8 automation, Vacuum line, Autofill, Waste line and extra return line.
    R&R the following: Plaster, Skimmer, Main Drain, Coping, Tile, Pump, Main pool light w/ LED multicolor, all existing copper lines w/ 2.5" suction and 2" returns lines.

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    Re: Pool remodel in Torrance CA needs help

    If I eliminate the main drain, then that means I will have to rely more on my vacuum in case the water level got too low. Even though, I plan on installing an auto-fill, I just don't feel comfortable not having a backup suction line.
    Sometimes I am a bit slow-witted and don't interpret well. rephrase that again.....I am not sure what you mean by a backup suction and how that's related to an auto-fill.

    As for the skimmers, others will chime in but I think two would, of course, do twice the skimming and make your entire workload easier....all at not too much extra cost. I have two and wish I had four on my large pool.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Pool remodel in Torrance CA needs help

    Sorry for the confusion. What I mean by backup suction is that, without a main drain, my skimmer would be my primary suction line and my vacuum would be my secondary (or backup) suction line. In other words: I would have more than just the skimmer feeding the pump if my vacuum line is active.

    The autofill is only related to the vacuum line in the sense that if the autofill failed, my skimmer would not be effective as the water level dropped due to evaporation. In that case, my vacuum would start becoming the primary suction line for the pump.

    However, now that I think of it, I guess my skimmer has a secondary entry port a foot or two below the mouth of the skimmer. Even so, I'm not sure that would be able to keep up with the pump in a worse case scenario. I guess I am concerned that my pump would start sucking air if it was running at a high enough flow rate and my water level fell below the skimmer level.

    I will give your two skimmer idea some thought. The more I think about it, the more I'm liking the idea because I just don't think my skimmer will be able to keep up with the flow rate I will require to run all the water features. The sheer descents and the deck jets will require about 80 gal/min total by themselves. If I add a waterfall in the future, I'm not sure one skimmer will keep up. But please tell me where you would place the second skimmer. If I place it directly opposite my existing skimmer, then it seems that my skimmers would be competing against one another in terms of moving the surface water.
    Jeff
    Existing Pool: 1959 built inground concrete, 14'x30' rectangular, 8.5 ft deep end, 20k gal, Hayward Super II 1 hp pump, Hayward Progrid 36 sq ft DE filter.
    Planned remodel to include the following additions: Raised Bond Beam, 2 benches/swim-outs, 36" Sheer Descents w/LED (2x), Laminar Deck Jets w/LED (2x), 250k BTU Gas Heater, Pentair Easytouch 8 automation, Vacuum line, Autofill, Waste line and extra return line.
    R&R the following: Plaster, Skimmer, Main Drain, Coping, Tile, Pump, Main pool light w/ LED multicolor, all existing copper lines w/ 2.5" suction and 2" returns lines.

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    Re: Pool remodel in Torrance CA needs help

    I gotcha' now, Jeff. However, if the water line drops too low for the skimmers, your system will suck air anyway, whether through a main drain or through that suction port.

    Most folks set up the returns in their pool to force a constant circular flow of the water. The idea being for surface debris to flow past the skimmer mouth and be sucked in.

    The movement of surface water is not controlled by the skimmers but by the position and direction of the returns. With that in mind. skimmers placed on opposite walls don't compete but rather give the debris two chances to get sucked as it flows by the skimmer mouths.

    Somewhat off the subject, but autofills can be an issue. They will mask a leak in your pool. Naturally, it's convenient but if you have a little time to spend (say 10 minutes) with your pool each day, you will find adding water yourself to be painless enough. That's just a personal opinion and either way is fine.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Pool remodel in Torrance CA needs help

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    The movement of surface water is not controlled by the skimmers but by the position and direction of the returns. With that in mind. skimmers placed on opposite walls don't compete but rather give the debris two chances to get sucked as it flows by the skimmer mouths.
    I should have had 2 skimmers, not really a problem since I have no trees over the pool, but I can see that it would be a benefit at times. Even when the returns are circulating the water the wind can push the debris to another spot away from the skimmer.
    DONE, 20 x 40, inground gunite, 30" raised bond beam with 3 12" sheer descents, 8' diving board, pentair 420 cartridge filter, vs-3050 pump, intellechlor ic-40, auto cvr, Tahoe blue pebble tech, 6ea 4' x 12.5' & 2ea 1' x 12.5' helicol solar panels, legend robotic cleaner.

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    Re: Pool remodel in Torrance CA needs help

    Cool. I just figured out how you guys are able to attach quotes. Small thrills for a newbee!!

    Quote Originally Posted by bobby1017
    Even when the returns are circulating the water the wind can push the debris to another spot away from the skimmer.
    Hi Bobby, I have had the same problem with my pool in the past and that is why I am concerned about the positioning of of the skimmers. However, to be fair, my pool was running on one return which I doubt generated much of a whirlpool effect. Your pool is much bigger than mine, so I can certainly see how that could be a problem. How many returns do you have and how are they positioned?

    Also, I'm assuming you have a main drain. Because my pool is smaller I think I would normally be fine with just one main drain and one skimmer. But because my main drain will be going away, I think I'll be needing that 2nd skimmer for sure and I may even have the skimmer in the deep end tied to another drain installed a few feet below the skimmer. That should comply with the VGB act, give me plenty of options, and ease my concerns about having a suction backup and enough water flow for the pool fixtures.

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    if the water line drops too low for the skimmers, your system will suck air anyway, whether through a main drain or through that suction port.
    Okay Duraleigh (or is it Dave? Not sure if you have a preference.), I get your point, but I still think it would be less of an issue for a pool with a main drain. However, you have given me some good things to think about and I appreciate your input.

    BTW, I checked my skimmer and the second inlet is only about 6 inches below the mouth of the skimmer. It is obviously there for the purpose of feeding the pump in case the water level drops below the mouth.

    If you don't mind take a look at my drawing below and let me know what you think. I have added the 2nd skimmer and 2 more returns.

    Jeff
    Existing Pool: 1959 built inground concrete, 14'x30' rectangular, 8.5 ft deep end, 20k gal, Hayward Super II 1 hp pump, Hayward Progrid 36 sq ft DE filter.
    Planned remodel to include the following additions: Raised Bond Beam, 2 benches/swim-outs, 36" Sheer Descents w/LED (2x), Laminar Deck Jets w/LED (2x), 250k BTU Gas Heater, Pentair Easytouch 8 automation, Vacuum line, Autofill, Waste line and extra return line.
    R&R the following: Plaster, Skimmer, Main Drain, Coping, Tile, Pump, Main pool light w/ LED multicolor, all existing copper lines w/ 2.5" suction and 2" returns lines.

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