I've been lurking around here for a few weeks and have found so much information. As such I will start by simply saying Thank you to all who contribute . . . and to those of you who post pics of your beautiful and sometimes ridiculous pools!!
Now onto my query. We moved into a fixer upper about a year ago. The one requirement of the home was it had to have a pool or room for one. We lucked out and have a fantastic pool IMO, which has hosted many parties. My issue started with constantly having to fill the pool up with water, which I chose to blame on evaporation in an effort to not admit to needing a new pump and filter. A year later and the situation can no longer be ignored; the situation being that both the pump and the filter are leaking. I don't want to patch the problem, I just want to buy new equipment so I don't have to deal with it for a long time.
Initially I thought bigger was better when it comes to pumps (2hp), but thankfully I believe that is not the case due to reading this forum. The one issue I do have is the suction on the vac is perfect for my "Pool Cleaner 4 wheel," but the suction seems to be too hard for the skimmer because even if the pool level fills up half of the skimmer hole, the skimmer will suck the water down so fast that air will travel through the pump (I assume I may need a pump that changes pressure?)
The pool is about 14,500 gallons (I think based on an online pool calculation). Below ground concrete with the equipment about 1-2 feet down hill from the surface. We live in south east Florida. Has a separate vac and skimmer. I believe there are also four in takes at the bottom of the deep end. We do have a water fall, which has flowed perfectly with the current pump power, but I'm not sure as it has a cracked pipe under the brick so I haven't used it much since it leaks (an easy fix that I just need to spend the time on). The pool also has four bubble jets (jacuzzi) that hook up to a separate pump. Lastly, there is an open pipe on the side, which I have no idea what the purpose is for. Please see the pics below for a better understanding.
In short, I have the following questions:
1. Do I need both pumps? I assume yes since I don't want to always run the bubble jets.
2. What pump and filter combination do I need? Remember I have an issue with pressure differences from VAC and Skimmer.
3. Do brands matter? I feel I'm sold on pentair, but can easily be swayed.
4. A huge problem is the amount of dirt and sand the dogs bring in the pool. Is there a filter that can handle this without being torn to shreds?
5. Is this stuff that complicated to install? I feel I can get it done.
6. Side question, I have two pool lights that used to change colors but no longer rotate through the colors. Any advice on getting these working again? I don't have an issue with draining the pool to fix it.
7. The final picture is of a open pipe on the side of the pool . . . what is this for?
8. If there is a question I'm not thinking of that you see in the photo's or while reading, please chime in.
My goal is to have an affordable system that is reliable and will get the job done. I really am looking forward to no longer sticking the hose in the pool for long periods of time, and if I can save on energy costs, that would be FANTASTIC!!! Again, the pump currently sucks too hard on the skimmer but just right on the vac . . . although the vac has gotten slower.
Here are the pics for better details.
Overall pool shots:
Pump Valves: The top one I believe is for the waterfall, the switch on the right takes me from vac to skimmer, not sure what the bottom left is for
This pump is for the jacuzzi jets around the stairs/seating: The current primary user of the pool as you can see is the american bulldog great dane mix AKA Odin.
Current pump handling the vac and skimmer:
What I believe to be four intakes on the bottom:
Current Electrical Set up: Is this fine?
Pic of the Waterfall in the event it is helpful to analysis:
Lastly, I have no idea what this small pipe is for (dead center of the pic). The only think I can come up with is it keeps the pool at a certain level to help keep it from overflowing. If this is the case, can I cover it for the time being since I'm losing so much water anyway?