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Thread: Attached spa...what do I need to make it work?

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    Attached spa...what do I need to make it work?

    I return to the TFP once again. We have lived in houston for almost 4 years to a house that has a large pool (40,000 gallons) and an attached spa with a water spillway into the pool. When we moved in, the previous owner said that the hot tub had no heater and that it had been removed years ago. At the time we didn't care, it wasnt why we were buying the home. Now, four years later, we are replacing the deck all around the spa and thought...if we are ever going to get the spa going, this is the time, while everything is exposed.

    Here is the question. What would it entail to get this spa going, how do the jets function (is it part of the pump), how do we keep all of the heated water from spilling into the pool, and is this a monstrous repair? Does the Heater go near the spa, or with the rest of the pool equipment? Our pool doesn't have or need a heater.

    I know these are probably lame questions, but with all of the awesome help I have been given on TCP, I thought it couldn't hurt to ask before we lay the TREX next weekend.
    Thanks guys!
    ---Leslie

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Attached spa...what do I need to make it work?

    Likely it should be pretty easy to tie a heater back into the plumbing. But we would need to see pictures of the equipment pad to see what you are working with.

    Usually there are 2 valves that are switched (one suction and one to the jets) so that the water is pulled from, heated, and returned to the spa.

    Posted from my Droid with Tapatalk ... sorry if my response is short
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Attached spa...what do I need to make it work?

    So I messed with everything today and it appears that if I turn off the pool skimmers, turn off the pool return, set it to spa suction and spa return, it gets awesome pressure from one jet, some pressure from the other jets and only has minimal water over into the spillway. I am not sure where the heater was before the previous owners removed it. Would it usually be near the pool equipment or near the spa? And how can the heater not heat the pool if it is heating the hot tub.

    There is also a motor that looks similar to the polaris booster pump, sitting underneath the deck near the hottub. What could that motor be?

    There is one other mystery that I don't understand. Around the decking permimeter of the pool, there are several white PVC pipes that come up just above deck level. When the water level gets high on the spa, sometimes water spills out of those pipes. When we turned on all the return to the spa on the hottub today, there was a tremendous amount of gurgling in those pipes. What are they for? Can we cut those below deck level when we lay the new decking.

    My husband says I have a week to figure this all out before we lay the trex decking next saturday and the idea of a hot tub gets me "fired up" (no punn intended). I have replaced the pool pump myself and do every other kind of home maintenance. Why not tackle a spa heater as well..

    Thanks so much for all of your help. I'm in love with this site.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Attached spa...what do I need to make it work?

    A lot of guessing with no pictures provided.

    If the suction is fully on the spa, there should be no real spillover into the pool. The heater is just plumbed in after the filter often, but only turned on when in spa mode so it only heats the spa ... it could technically be used to heat the pool.

    The other pump could be for the jets or for something else ... depends on the type of pump.

    The pipes near the spa could be to draw in air to make bubbles when in spa more.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Attached spa...what do I need to make it work?

    So I think I have quite a bit figured out but I have another question. I can see where they probably had the ok heater near the pool equipment, however I don't see any gas lines and there is an electrical box and old switch right there. What is the best and most economical way to heat the tub. I could run electical myself, I couldn't run a gas line but the gas meter is right out at the pool equipment location so it may not be too expensive to run a natural gas line. I'd rather not spend two grand on the heater, but also don't want to pay $75 in electricity every time we heat the hot tub. We would like to use it in the winter, but this is houston....this state doesn't even know what winter is. What would you suggest and what kind of dough are we looking at in set up and energy cost?

    Thank you so so so much for your help!

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Attached spa...what do I need to make it work?

    Natural gas is usually the cheapest option that allows you to heat the spa quickly when you want it hot.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Attached spa...what do I need to make it work?

    Trying to figure out the most economical route here. I have my gas meter right at the pool equip. And my nice neighbor who has a heating/ac business will stub out the gas line, but how big of a heater do I need. The hottub is about 600 gallons, I don't need to heat the pool and would like to keep my cost down, but don't want it to take 48 hours to heat the tub. How many BTUs do I need?

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Attached spa...what do I need to make it work?

    600 gallons is 4500 pounds. Plus there will be some in the pipes and filter, let's call it 5000 for easy math.

    Say the pool water is 70 and you want it to 100, that's 30 degrees.

    30 * 5000 = 150,000 BTU needed, in a perfect world. A 150,000 BTU heater will heat it up in about an hour. With inefficiencies and heating the shell, a little longer. Most of us want to get in soon after we decide to do it, so to heat it in half an hour would require a 300,000 BTU heater.

    I'd ask the neighbor guy if you'll be able to feed a heater that big without upgrading the gas meter. I know the one I have is considerably larger than the meter hanging on the side of my old house that didn't have a pool.

    I have a 400,000 heater, and it takes 20 to 30 minutes to get the spa up to temperature. I speed it up by lowering the water level to allow for the displacement when we get in - no point heating it just to have it spill into the pool - and capping the air intake on the return line. No good reason to inject cool air into hot water. A solar blanket also helps a huge amount, and a spa sized piece of bubble wrap is easy to handle.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Attached spa...what do I need to make it work?

    Thank you so much for the post. It finally makes sense to me. You are awesome. I am hoping to find a used one, as we won't be using it very often, but now I am clear on what I am looking for. Thanks!

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    Re: Attached spa...what do I need to make it work?

    OK, so here are the photos that I needed to show to explain my issues.....

    This shows my pool/ spa equipment. The area to the left of the filter is the pad where I am sure there was a heater for the spa at one time. It now has the polaris booster pump right in the middle of the pad, but I can move that if I add a heater.


    Here is a picture of the valves where I can turn off the pool suction and isolate only the spa suction and spa return.



    I imagine that I can just move the polaris booster pump over and run the gas line to the pad to install a new heater for the spa.

    The last question that I have, is under the decking near the spa, there is a pump motor. It looks like a regular pump motor, but then has this odd green fixture on it. It seems to have only one, very large PVC line to it and it is probably a 2-3" line. It looks very old. It has flexible conduit coming from the power supply, into a small switch box (with just a blank cover on it) and then it goes to this motor. It then travels about 12 feet to the hot tub which is attached to the spa. What could this motor be? I am including the photos below.





    So, I can get power to this pump for whatever its for....if I need it. If it has to do with more power to the jets...that makes sense, since only one jet seems to really be blowing.

    I can have my next door neighbor install the gas line for the heater T-ing off of the meter which is right next to the pool equip.

    I can rerun the booster pump line for polaris to make room on the pad.

    With all this said, I have access to a used Hayward 150 BTU heater for $150. I know that would never heat my 35,000 gallon pool, but if I understand correctly, it would heat my hot tub up about 30 degrees within an hour.

    I'm so new to this, but feeling confident. Am I making sense?

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Attached spa...what do I need to make it work?

    Your image hosting site is blocked by my firewall ... so I am having to guess.

    The motor with 1 pipe sounds like a blower that would force air into the hot tub to give more bubble action.

    Can't really address anything else.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Attached spa...what do I need to make it work?

    It looks to me like that is just a really old pool pump with brass/bronze pump. That big green thing with the two T-handles on it is the strainer basket.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Attached spa...what do I need to make it work?

    That is so wierd. I know it's a huge line, but it's nowhere near any other pool equipt. No filter..etc. the other equipt. Is 55 feet away. If its for the hot tub jets, I would want to replace it but obviously not if its an old pump. How could I know for sure? More photos?

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Attached spa...what do I need to make it work?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2428dakota
    That is so wierd. I know it's a huge line, but it's nowhere near any other pool equipt. No filter..etc. the other equipt. Is 55 feet away. If its for the hot tub jets, I would want to replace it but obviously not if its an old pump. How could I know for sure? More photos?
    Turn opn what you do know and check flow in or out of all the ports. If you come up with something that doesn't appear to go anywhere...
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Attached spa...what do I need to make it work?

    Ok. Now it may be coming together. There is a skimmer on that side of the pool that doesn't seem to work. It never has. It is the third skimmer and we haven't really needed it, so we just tuned it off. It does have a valve at the main equipt. line however, but even when opened it doesn't appear to suck. Beyond that, when we isolate the spa on the main equipt, one jet pushes like crazy and the others do hardly anything. Does that help at all?

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