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Thread: Help with Renovation of 1979 pool

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    Help with Renovation of 1979 pool

    I’ve had my pool for over 30 years and little to no problems with it, other than cosmetic. Yes, I have replaced the pump and filter tank about 12 years ago. Now redoing plaster, tile, coping, decking, new skimmer, adding auto fill, and dedicated vac line. I took my time selecting and screening a pool contractor for all this work, but have run into some problems (not mentioned in this post), and now have some questions.

    Researching your forum, I didn’t realize everything was so complicated. I have a 15-gal pool, no spa or heater, 1hp pump, 300sq ft Hayward filter. I live in Las Vegas.

    I am having pavers installed for the decking by a different contractor. He pointed out that the vacuum line PVC installation is questionable in that the 1.5” pvc pipe immediately increases to 2” after it comes through the gunite, has two 90 degree elbows elevating it approximately 6” before the pipe continues to the pump and back down more than 6” on this run of about 30 feet where it joins the skimmer plumbing at a newly installed 3-way Jandy valve at the pump.

    He says, I’m no plumber, but it looks like they should have trenched a little deeper and just used one elbow for the turn after it comes through the gunite instead of elevating the line, only to have it slope down on the run in order to go under other plumbing. (He has some concerns using the compactor over this plumbing.) So I did some research and also looked at my neighbor’s plumbing which has 1.5" for vac line going into a 3-way valve before the pump. So now I am very confused. Should they have used 1.5” pvc or is 2” ok? Will it lose pressure as is, with the 2”? From my research, it seems I have more hp and filters than I really need, and that’s not necessarily a good thing? How deep should the plumbing be? The vac line hole was drilled out about 8” below the tile line. The lines have not been backfilled yet. What should they be filled with considering use of the compactor?

    I am new at forums but just need some feedback to feel more confident about all this that is going to be buried. Thank you!

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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Help with Renovation of 1979 pool

    Welcome to TFP! I'm having a hard time picturing your issue, but it sounds like he's concerned the pipe isn't buried deep enough? Can you post a picture? 2" pipe is fine (better in fact), but if it's really shallow he's right that it could cause a problem.
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    Re: Help with Renovation of 1979 pool

    Do you know if he plans to use a mechanical compactor to compact the base for the pavers, or a compactor to level the pavers after installation?

    Are you saying that the entire run is 1.5", but that after the 1.5" pipe goes through the gunite they stepped it up to 2"? Perhaps the cleaner/vac adapter only attaches to 2" pipe.
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    Re: Help with Renovation of 1979 pool

    He will use mechanical compactor to compact the base of Type II, and use it again after the polymeric sand is added to the installed pavers.

    After the 1.5" pipe goes through the gunite, they stepped it up to 2" into the first 90 degree elbow. The second 90 degree elbow is on top of the first. The two together raises the line 6" as well as making a 90 degree turn. Then 2" pvc is used for the 30 ft run to the pad where it is raised by another 90 degree, about 24" to joint the skimmer line pipe at the 3-way newly installed Jandy valve. I know a picture is worth a thousand words but my only camera is my phone camera which doesn't show dimension very well. (My neighbor's pool vac line is 1.5" going into their 3-way valve)

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Help with Renovation of 1979 pool

    Lots of people use their camera phones ... better than nothing.

    There is no problem with using the 2" pipe. I am wondering if maybe it was originally 1.5" and got cracked/leaked and when the repaired it the put the new 2" pipe higher so they did not have to dig everything up??? Fewer turns is always better, but the 1 or 2 that sound like are added should not really cause much head loss rise ... especially given the use of 2" pipe and couplings.
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    Re: Help with Renovation of 1979 pool

    I downloaded several pictures from my phone to pc, but your site wouldn't upload it. Maybe too large?

    No, this vac line and port is new install. My old system was Kaneco that I always called "snakes." I abandoned it long ago, and I don't think those parts are even available anymore. However, they cored through the gunite at the Kaneco cleanout adding a 1.5" pipe that will have the vac lock installed after the plastering. On the pool side is 1.5" pvc. It comes through at 13" below the top of the gunite, then pipe size increased to 2" at the first elbow which is 90 degrees UP, immediately connecting into the second elbow which makes a 90 degree turn to run the pipe (now about 7" below the top of the gunite) "parallel" with the pool, curving by the new skimmer plumbing and following the trench down to the pad. Down meaning about 14" below ground level, running under other pipes, before the third elbow brings it up to the pad, one more elbow, then to the Jandy valve. They put heat to this 2" pipe so it bends and curves.

    I was wondering if there will be enough pressure with the increase pipe size, and if it is deep enough at the 7" below gunite beam, I think it is called. That will be built up an inch or so, and then the coping width is 1.5" thick. So 7" deep will become about 9 or 10" deep. Pavers are about 2.5" thick, then sand bed, and type 2 pack.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Help with Renovation of 1979 pool

    I am not sure about the depth issue ... might kind of depend on the how much freezing you get ... please add your pool details and location as described HERE

    Is this a suction vacuum or a pressure side cleaner? If it is suction, then the larger pipe will allow more water flow and you will certainly have enough suction. If it is pressure side, they usually can get by with smaller pipes because the flow rate is lower, but should work equally well with larger pipes.

    I think you just do not quite grasp the connection/terminology of pressure vs. water flow vs. suction ... which is fine and not really required.
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    Re: Help with Renovation of 1979 pool

    So by questioning the depth, your saying it could be trenched in deeper. Meaning it's possible to trench it in deeper.

    The good news is that by going with a paver deck, it is possible to remove some pavers to repair a compacted pipe....just kidding

    I remember questioning everything that was done during my pool build, at some point i had to trust the contractors. This may be that point for you. I'm still wondering how much compacting they will be doing, possibly by hand for pavers. Surely not with one of the stand behind hand held compactors intended for dirt, the ones with the small plate on them.
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    Re: Help with Renovation of 1979 pool

    RE my first post, I meant to say 15,000 gal! in-gound, gunite, plaster, no spa or heater, 1hp pump, 300sq ft Hayward filter. I live in Las Vegas. (We who live here just assume everybody knows VEGAS, when in fact there is a Las Vegas in New Mexico also!) Summer is hot, but it occassionally gets below freezing, and my pool is on the north side of my house which gets no sun in the winter on the vac/skimmer/autofill side. I've never had below ground pipes break from freezing, and I have a lot of sprinkler lines. No, I do not understand the relationship between pressure, flow, suction. I don't know the difference between suction vac or pressure side cleaner??? And I haven't done my tax return yet either, but that is another story! I don't have my pool cleaner picked out yet, but I think it is going to be a Pool Ver-Nugen.

    I think the paver contractor was referring to a mechanical compactor with the plate that you stand behind. I have a paver patio already and this decking will be an extension. And yes, one reason I decided to go with hot, rough pavers is so that they can be removed if things go wrong.

    And no, I don't trust my pool contractor. His crew sandblasted my windows and French doors while sandblasting the plaster. Then the first crew of plumbers installed the new skimmer 4" too high, not level or square, used pvc glue on the abs skimmer, and come-on didn't even clean the burrs off the cut pipe. I decided to "trust" this second plumber who installed the second skimmer, although the weir doesn't open and close without force, and he didn't install a vacuum breaker on the autofill. But when the paver contractor questioned the plumbing, I got anxious all over again... thus my postings on your forum, and becasue of your responses I feel better already...not completely, but better! Now my pool contractor is probably reading this forum also...ouch!

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Help with Renovation of 1979 pool



    Sounds like the depth should not be a problem as far as weather ... I am not sure why the compactor would necessarily have a problem with it either ... but I have no experience.

    What type of cleaner do you have or going to get? A suction cleaner is on the suction side before the pump and literally sucks the dirt into the filter. A pressure cleaner runs on the return (pressure) side of the pump and the incoming water moves it around and the dirt is captured in a bag on the cleaner.

    Not sure you care or not:
    Larger pipes allow more water to move more easily. To get the "jet" effect back into the pool for example, you have a smaller diameter eyeball. The pressure is the same in the pipe and at the eyeball, but because the diameter decreases, the velocity of the water must increase to maintain the same flow rate. Same on the suction side, with a smaller opening in the vacuum, the velocity has to be higher that it is in the larger pipe.

    My 70s pool also originally had the tube-cleaner-things based on all the returns around the pool. Luckily it also has a normal set of returns, but when we remodelled I opted to keep the all the tube returns as well on a 2nd circuit as a backup in case there is ever a problem. I guess my wife grew up with a pool that had them as well ... said they were fun to catch and squirt at people.
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    Re: Help with Renovation of 1979 pool

    It will be a suction cleaner that connects to my new dedicated vac line so the dirt will be sucked into the filter. More than likely I will get a leaf cannister to put on the hose also so that I won't have so much debris in my pump filer basket. I've heard good things about the Pool Ver-Nugen, so that is why I am selecting that one, as of now.

    Thanks for your explanation of the suction/velocity... I guess I am confused why the port for vacuums would be 1.5" while the rest of the line to the pump filter basket is 2"??? I would think pressure/suction is important in a vac line, and increasing volume of water with 2" pipe would reduce pressure that a 1.5" line would provide? Am I still confused? Since I will be sharing the 1hp pump with the skimmer line and the vac line, I'm afraid I will lose pressure in one or the other, or both??? The old snake line I had operated off the return line just to stir up dirt, so the suction side of the pump was never compromised.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Help with Renovation of 1979 pool

    Since my robot died, the 2x Pool Cleaner and the MX-8 are on my short list as well. Leaf canister is a good idea.

    On the suction side there is no pressure ... well it is a negative pressure differential.

    You will have to set your 3-way valve such that you have the correct amount of suction in the vac line and then the rest of the suction will come from the skimmer.

    Think of it this way. Say you are drinking lemonade (frozen margarita?) by the pool. Do you want to use a straw the size of a coffee stirrer or a big fat sewer pipe of a straw? Which is easier to pull more through and get a brain freeze faster?
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    Re: Help with Renovation of 1979 pool

    Good one, thanks... and I'll take the margarita

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    Re: Help with Renovation of 1979 pool

    I suppose the depth of this pipe is not as important as to how well it is filled in around it when it comes to the compactor. If there are voids, the compactor could move the pipe causing stress; if there are sharp rocks or objects touching the pipe, the compactor force could cause the rocks or objects to puncture the pipe. The pool contractor will probably just fill the trenches with the existing fill; I think maybe pea gravel should be used, but then again I am only guessing...I don't know. There was no coordination between the pool contractor and the paver contractor.

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    Re: Help with Renovation of 1979 pool

    I'm renovating my 1979 pool with new skimmer, autofill, vac line, plaster, coping and tile, and paver decking. (15,000 gal, in-ground, gunite, 1hp pump, 300 sq ft Hayward filter, no spa, no heater)

    Nothing had been done since my last post, until Friday when the contractor backfilled the pipe trenches with #16 silica sand, and my existing clay soil on top of the sand. Also put the sand and clay under and up a few inches on my new Pentair skimmer, and watered-in the sand and clay well. Tomorrow the tile and coping guy is to come in and start his work. No mention of when and how they plan to concrete around the skimmer. I'm thinking that the skimmer needs to be secured in place before the tile and coping is done, and I'm not happy with their using the clay which hasn't even dried yet, here in the Las Vegas desert after nearly 48 hours, and has cracked like clay does, all around the skimmer.

    I'm thinking the clay needs to be removed around and under the skimmer before they pour concrete, but I know little about concrete, and nothing about skimmer installation except what I have tried to find on-line.

    Any advice and skimmer installation info would be appreciated. Also the new skimmer weir doesn't freely open and close, dragging on the skimmer walls. The skimmer is not set perfectly level. Is that a problem? I'm afraid it might be a problem for the paver guy, if not causing the weir problem. Thanks

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