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Thread: New Intex 16ft Ultra - Questions on Custom Plumbing, Solar

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    New Intex 16ft Ultra - Questions on Custom Plumbing, Solar

    Hello All,
    New to the forum and pool ownership. Just got an Intex 16ft ultra frame. After what felt like weeks of leveling and careful yard prep, it's setup and running now with the stock filter, but I have a Hayward C550 cartridge filter system with 1HP pump on order. I have also purchased three 20ft x 30" cheapo solar panel kits on Amazon. I'm hoping that the Hayward 1HP will be able to pump 50ft horizontal, 11-12ft up, through the three panels that will be end to end 60ft long, and back down to my pool. So I have some questions.

    1) How important is it for me to replumb my Intex for 1.5" versus the 1 1/4 that comes out the stock valves? I'm pretty sure I'm going to do it regardless, but it sure would be nice if someone said "nah, don't bother!" to save me a load of trouble.

    2) Is there any clever way I replumb without draining the pool below the ports? I was thinking about getting a plunger from Home Depot (we need another one anyway) and have my wife make a good seal from the inside of the pool while I swap out the fittings. What could go wrong?

    3) Is there a recommended automatic skimmer that pairs nicely with this pool? I'm noticing it's bug central right now, and I'm getting sick of skimming constantly.

    4) Any other tips or advice on my setup as described? I'm making this up as I go along!

    Thanks,
    Nathan
    Intex Ultra Frame 16ft x 48" 5061 Gallon AG
    Hayward Easy-Clear C550 w/1HP Single Speed Pump
    Hayward Skimmer Mod
    Installed July 2013

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    Re: New Intex 16ft Ultra - Questions on Custom Plumbing, Sol

    U can use a big salad bown held from the inside in order to cut new holes..

    A 1 hp should do the trick I just did a complete replumb and relocated my filter here...
    intex-18x48-filter-plumbing-upgrade-relocation-project-t65490.html

    I am using inch and 1/4 plumbing with my 1 hp pump and sand filter, but I'm using 3 suctions and returns and 2 inch supply and return lines to the filter.
    28k gal, IG plaster, 2 HP Hayward pump, 425 sq ft Hayward Swimclear cartridge filter, Pentair auto chlorine feeder, Hayward Navigator suction cleaner, spa w/spill over to pool, Hayward Super II pump running waterfall feature

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    y_not's Avatar
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    Re: New Intex 16ft Ultra - Questions on Custom Plumbing, Sol

    A through wall skimmer mod is the only way to fly. You'll be sooo happy you did it too.
    Search the forum for threads on doing this to Intex pools, lots and lots of people have done it.
    It sure beats Intex's rinky dink floating skimmer.

    As for the pump, yeah, the smaller the better. IE. The smallest you can get away with.
    I do hope, for the sake of your electric bill, you order a 2-speed pump??
    1/3rd the power draw on low @ 1/2 the flow rate for daily filtration needs = savings!

    As for the 1-1/4" > 1-1/2" plumbing, yeah, it makes a pretty big difference. Especially when you're hooking "real" equipment up to it and with an in-wall skimmer. Not to mention a lot of Intex's fittings make the pipe even smaller than it appears, so you gain even more head loss and lose even more flow rate.

    Check out the pipe sizing chart here (for PVC, not flexi-hose, which I would think is even more loss):
    hydraulics-101-have-you-lost-your-head-t915.html
    Chart
    Thanks for reading... - Tony
    Da' Pool: Intex 15'x42" 3284gal AGP EasySet (Inflatable Ring) - (Summer 2014: 27' round EW /w 6.5' deep end @ 22,500gal)
    Pump & Cart Mod: 1000gph Cart. 5ft² - 2 nylons, 24/7 OP. Traps bugs/bits, lasts longer/cleans easier = Happier Pool Owner!!
    The Bible for a "Trouble Free Pool" life = PoolSchool, the BBB method a TF100 test kit(Recommend Kits Compared). - Cleaning a Sand Filter
    Water looks like GLASS, if yours doesn't...SLAM IT! Feels nice and never been happier!!! :D

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    Re: New Intex 16ft Ultra - Questions on Custom Plumbing, Sol

    Thanks for the info!

    1) Good call on the skimmer! I actually ordered the Hayward one via Amazon last night before even seeing your post, after doing some more reading on the forum. I think what I may do is use the skimmer as the 1.5" input, and just use both the existing ports simultaneously as outlets. That should give me no restriction on the flow, and bypass the need to do any plumbing changes at the moment.

    2) Ugh. No, unfortunately the Hayward filter system I ordered does not come with a 2 speed pump.
    Intex Ultra Frame 16ft x 48" 5061 Gallon AG
    Hayward Easy-Clear C550 w/1HP Single Speed Pump
    Hayward Skimmer Mod
    Installed July 2013

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    y_not's Avatar
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    Re: New Intex 16ft Ultra - Questions on Custom Plumbing, Sol

    Quote Originally Posted by NathanF
    Thanks for the info!

    2) Ugh. No, unfortunately the Hayward filter system I ordered does not come with a 2 speed pump.
    Sure thing! Glad to do what I can.

    Bummerski!
    What are your electric rates?

    BTW, please fill in your signature according to the instructions in the 1st line of Pool School. Your location should be filled out under profile, in the user control panel link @ top.
    This helps us help you better, knowing what equipment and type of pool you have, as well as your climate.
    Thanks!
    Thanks for reading... - Tony
    Da' Pool: Intex 15'x42" 3284gal AGP EasySet (Inflatable Ring) - (Summer 2014: 27' round EW /w 6.5' deep end @ 22,500gal)
    Pump & Cart Mod: 1000gph Cart. 5ft² - 2 nylons, 24/7 OP. Traps bugs/bits, lasts longer/cleans easier = Happier Pool Owner!!
    The Bible for a "Trouble Free Pool" life = PoolSchool, the BBB method a TF100 test kit(Recommend Kits Compared). - Cleaning a Sand Filter
    Water looks like GLASS, if yours doesn't...SLAM IT! Feels nice and never been happier!!! :D

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    Re: New Intex 16ft Ultra - Questions on Custom Plumbing, Sol

    Quote Originally Posted by y_not
    Bummerski!
    What are your electric rates?

    BTW, please fill in your signature according to the instructions in the 1st line of Pool School. Your location should be filled out under profile, in the user control panel link @ top.
    This helps us help you better, knowing what equipment and type of pool you have, as well as your climate.
    Thanks!
    Done, and hello fellow Oregonian! To answer your question, our power rates are about 10-11 cents per kilowatt hour, so if I run my planned pump 10 hours a day that will be $43 a month...not terrible, but it doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling. It's coming via Amazon, so I could just reject it, and buy a C550 unit and a pump of my choosing. My only problem is that I really don't know how much power I need to get the job done, and I fear the low speed on a 2 speed might not be enough.

    I attached a picture that shows placement and distance. My current plan is to put my 20ft solar panels end to end on my roof. The highest point should be 11-12ft. Any thoughts on the lowest HP I could get away with?
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Intex Ultra Frame 16ft x 48" 5061 Gallon AG
    Hayward Easy-Clear C550 w/1HP Single Speed Pump
    Hayward Skimmer Mod
    Installed July 2013

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    y_not's Avatar
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    Re: New Intex 16ft Ultra - Questions on Custom Plumbing, Sol

    Hey there Portlandian!
    Glad to see another Oregonian on here, not many present and accounted for.

    What pump did you buy? What are the heads on your panels, can they do 2" or only 1.5"?

    I know mas985 our amazing resident pump and hydraulics expert runs his 1/2 HP pump on low part of the day and high for a few hours. He may have a heater too, not sure. But he does have solar, also, It's on the roof IIRC. The general consensus was that the 2-speed Hayward Powerflo Matrix 3/4 or 1hp pump would do just fine with solar. Also the Waterway Hi Flo which is cheaper on Amazon and has a 2yr warr. Either one though.
    Thanks for reading... - Tony
    Da' Pool: Intex 15'x42" 3284gal AGP EasySet (Inflatable Ring) - (Summer 2014: 27' round EW /w 6.5' deep end @ 22,500gal)
    Pump & Cart Mod: 1000gph Cart. 5ft² - 2 nylons, 24/7 OP. Traps bugs/bits, lasts longer/cleans easier = Happier Pool Owner!!
    The Bible for a "Trouble Free Pool" life = PoolSchool, the BBB method a TF100 test kit(Recommend Kits Compared). - Cleaning a Sand Filter
    Water looks like GLASS, if yours doesn't...SLAM IT! Feels nice and never been happier!!! :D

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    Re: New Intex 16ft Ultra - Questions on Custom Plumbing, Sol

    The pump I ordered is part of the Hayward easy clear filter kit. It's a 1 HP Power-Flo LX.

    My solar panels are the cheap $140 Ecosaver system on Amazon. I just got my calipers out, and all I can say is ugh. They are far worse designed that I had imagined, though I knew what I was getting was not going to be any where near professional. Here are the numbers based on my measurements and math based on the area of a circle:

    Headers: 1.298" inside diameter (1.32" square inches area)
    Individual collection tube outlet from header: 0.138" inside diameter (0.015 square inches area)
    Total number collection tubes (44) x individual tube size: Virtual 0.92" diameter pipe (0.66 square inches)

    So basically because of how small the collection tube ports are, the whole system is essentially the equivalent of a single 1 inch pipe.
    Intex Ultra Frame 16ft x 48" 5061 Gallon AG
    Hayward Easy-Clear C550 w/1HP Single Speed Pump
    Hayward Skimmer Mod
    Installed July 2013

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    Re: New Intex 16ft Ultra - Questions on Custom Plumbing, Sol

    OK, I realized since I have three panels, I can run them in parallel. 3 x 0.66 square inches is 1.98 square inches. A circle with that area is 1.588." So in principle, my system should support 1.5" if it is split into 3 runs through the 3 panels and then recombined back into 1.5" at the end.

    Thoughts? (Incidentally, I plan to install a diverter so that I can bypass the solar system entirely or adjust its flow as necessary)
    Intex Ultra Frame 16ft x 48" 5061 Gallon AG
    Hayward Easy-Clear C550 w/1HP Single Speed Pump
    Hayward Skimmer Mod
    Installed July 2013

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    Charlie_R's Avatar
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    Re: New Intex 16ft Ultra - Questions on Custom Plumbing, Sol

    A better solution would be to run a parallel system instead of the series you have diagrammed. It does mean more pipe, but you will increase the flow rate and thus the collection ability from the panels you have.

    I just saw that you already have that in mind, before posting this.

    A diverter would be a great addition to this. If the pool gets too warm, you could run it at night to help cool the pool as well.
    15'x48" 4500 gallon Intex pool, buried 1.5 ft. Pac-Fab Dynamo 3/4 hp pump. Hayward S180T sand filter, bought used. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Rocket mass heater based wood fired pool heater.

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    Re: New Intex 16ft Ultra - Questions on Custom Plumbing, Sol

    Quote Originally Posted by NathanF
    To answer your question, our power rates are about 10-11 cents per kilowatt hour, so if I run my planned pump 10 hours a day that will be $43 a month...not terrible, but it doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling. It's coming via Amazon, so I could just reject it, and buy a C550 unit and a pump of my choosing. My only problem is that I really don't know how much power I need to get the job done, and I fear the low speed on a 2 speed might not be enough.

    I attached a picture that shows placement and distance. My current plan is to put my 20ft solar panels end to end on my roof. The highest point should be 11-12ft. Any thoughts on the lowest HP I could get away with?
    From mas985's article: "Hydraulics 101", the Solar Panels section. url here: hydraulics-101-have-you-lost-your-head-t915.html
    Solar Panel Considerations:
    If the solar panels are on the ground, most any
    pump can handle the extra dynamic head.
    However, when placed on a second story roof, a
    pump must overcome the initial static head of
    the panel's height during the priming phase of
    the panels. After the panels are primed, the
    static head going up to the roof is offset by the
    static head dropping from the roof.
    In order to ensure proper priming of the solar
    panels and the closing of the vacuum release
    valve at the top of the panel, the pump's head
    loss at 40 GPM should be twice the height of the
    panels. For example, if the peak height of a
    panel is 25 feet, then the pump should handle a
    minimum of 50 feet of head @ 40 GPM. Most
    full speed pumps will handle this fairly easily.
    However, most two speed pumps at low speed
    will not have sufficient power to prime panels
    on a high roof since the maximum head at low
    speed is usually below 25 feet. The water may
    reach the top of the panel but there will not be
    enough pressure to close the vacuum release
    valve. If the valve does not close, then the static
    head loss will remain, total head loss will be
    high and flow rates will be very low.
    In addition, even when the panels are primed
    and the pump is switched to low speed, there
    may not be enough pressure at the top of the
    panels to ensure that the vacuum release valve
    stays closed. So it may not be possible to run
    solar on low speed of a two speed pump. It may
    be possible for panels on a single story house
    but probably unlikely for a two story house.


    To me that makes senses as Mark (mas985) runs his on high and low each day. So you still save a lot of money with a 2-speed motor as you don't need to run the solar all day, every day. That's where a diverted valve comes in. You just bypass is when you don't need it. Ie. Cloudy day, pool temp is fine, winter, etc..
    Running a pool your size, 10 hours per day is probably a bit excessive. At full speed I'd think around 4-6hrs/day should cut it, on low for daily filtration, maybe 2hrs mixed with 2-3hrs or so on high for solar.

    The runtime is a somewhat educated guess and varies pool to pool, you don't really know until you get it setup and run it. But the idea is, minimum HP, minimum runtime and minimum gpm to keep your pool clean and clear. There's no "runtime formula" that gives you a precise number based in volume and the like. It's just all a bunch of hocus pocus. It's not about HP, but flow rate at a given head for your equipment and plumbing setup. Ignore everything else. That pump you ordered is probably more in line with a 1/4-1/2 HP pump, as it's "HP Rating" is grossly over inflated. See Mark's writeup.

    That still makes the 2-speed money well spent, even with the solar. You'll still save money.

    Also, I was incorrect in regards to the energy consumption of a 2-speed motor on low, it's not 1/3rd, it's 1/4 the power draw of high.

    Lastly, I would also read Mark's section on "Pump Speed" just above solar.

    BTW, those panels are spec'd as having 1-1/2" headers near as I could find. That data just simply isn't readily available for your panels. The Water Bear panels are 2" headers.
    Thanks for reading... - Tony
    Da' Pool: Intex 15'x42" 3284gal AGP EasySet (Inflatable Ring) - (Summer 2014: 27' round EW /w 6.5' deep end @ 22,500gal)
    Pump & Cart Mod: 1000gph Cart. 5ft² - 2 nylons, 24/7 OP. Traps bugs/bits, lasts longer/cleans easier = Happier Pool Owner!!
    The Bible for a "Trouble Free Pool" life = PoolSchool, the BBB method a TF100 test kit(Recommend Kits Compared). - Cleaning a Sand Filter
    Water looks like GLASS, if yours doesn't...SLAM IT! Feels nice and never been happier!!! :D

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    Re: New Intex 16ft Ultra - Questions on Custom Plumbing, Sol

    Thanks for all the great info, it is much appreciated, and has saved me a load of problems. I'm going to probably get a lesser pump - possibly a 2 speed, or maybe a 1/2 or 3/4 HP. Will crunch those numbers later. In the mean time, I've decided not to use these cheap junk panels.

    I spent the last hour coming up with an idea for a home made system made out of schedule 40 PVC painted black. (2000ft of half inch PVC pipe, as a matter of fact.) I priced it out to my local Home Depot and Lowes. It's basically 2 inch headers that I would tap pipe threads into for threaded to slip half inch adapter. There would be 35 runs 60 feet long, yielding around 150 sq ft collector area. Total price, $450-ish with glue and primer.

    Now, I looked up Water Bear after you mentioned it - I would need 2 panels to get 160 square foot, which is $586 via Amazon.

    Thoughts? I'm kind of leaning towards mine...I like the idea of rigid stock PVC pipe for its strength and repairability compared to a proprietary, thin walled tubing. My PVC version I think would also be easier to mount on the roof with less sagging issues...though not as easy to get up there.

    Thoughts? Now that I think about it more. my PVC idea sounds insane, and I should just spend the extra money on something purpose built. Especially since it's removable and transportable. Grr...pool cost $349.99 on Walmart.com. Accessories: Never ending money pit easily north of 1k by the end of this.
    Intex Ultra Frame 16ft x 48" 5061 Gallon AG
    Hayward Easy-Clear C550 w/1HP Single Speed Pump
    Hayward Skimmer Mod
    Installed July 2013

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    Charlie_R's Avatar
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    Re: New Intex 16ft Ultra - Questions on Custom Plumbing, Sol

    You might want to try http://pvcfittings.com/ for some of what you are needing.

    So why not make your collector out of black poly tubing, used a lot for underground supply lines?

    Link above has barbed manifolds that you can gang for as many laterals as your heart desires.
    15'x48" 4500 gallon Intex pool, buried 1.5 ft. Pac-Fab Dynamo 3/4 hp pump. Hayward S180T sand filter, bought used. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Rocket mass heater based wood fired pool heater.

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    Re: New Intex 16ft Ultra - Questions on Custom Plumbing, Sol

    Again, thanks for all the great info everyone. I decided to forget my home made panel idea (wanted solid PVC since price wasn't much higher, and I thought it would be less of a mess on the roof, to answer the question about why I didn't want to use black poly) and go with two Fafco Solar Bear 4x20 panels with 2" headers. I just did a separate post on sizing a pump and filter system here: new-pool-opening-w-diy-solar-assistance-with-pump-filter-t66676.html

    I'd like to get the smallest single speed pump I can get, OR a dual speed pump whose low is just what's necessary to do my system. (I like the latter, since it gives me room to grow later if I get a larger pool.)
    Intex Ultra Frame 16ft x 48" 5061 Gallon AG
    Hayward Easy-Clear C550 w/1HP Single Speed Pump
    Hayward Skimmer Mod
    Installed July 2013

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