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Thread: New pool (home) owner: Questions on spa, solar power heater, and switches

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    New pool (home) owner: Questions on spa, solar power heater, and switches

    We recently purchased a house (in South Florida) that has a pool, spa, heater, and solar power heater. I have no experience with pools, though I am an engineer and am good at fixing things, especially electrical. I do have a pool maintenance person coming on once a week, and a pool heater person who has been here twice but not completely / correctly answered all my questions. Therefore, I turn to you all.

    I'll list my questions first, for context, as you read about our spa / pool:

    1) Is there a way to replace the 4-way air switch with a regular switch so I can test if the items hooked to that switch (spa pump) work?

    2) Can the air line that has been cut be fixed?

    3) is there a way to heat only the spa, and not the pool?

    4) Does it sound reasonable to pay $2,155 to gut all the plumbing and switches, replace it with a wireless (iPhone) system, and which can heat the spa without heating the pool using only the one main existing pump (and no need for a second pump) due to a check valve design?

    5) What do the switches in Figure d do? One is the pool lights, another is to the black box show in Figure e whose function I cannot determine. The third switch I cannot figure out.

    All the pictures are here:
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/1...52093551704593

    Background:

    When the pool's main pump is turned on, it pumps water through the spa (4 - 5 jets), where it then falls into the pool (which only has 2 jets, one of which isn't working). It is controlled by an Intermatic T104R timer (Figure b, Figure i). Additionally, there's a solar power heater (Figure h). The solenoid only directs the water up to the roof for heating (Figure g) if it is turned on, the temperature is right, and if the main pump is on. That causes hot water to pump into the spa, which then falls over into the pool (Figure a).

    I got the spa as high as 98 F here in August in south Florida, with the pool a little less since the water from the spa just falls into the pool. There is a four way air switch (Figure f) that is connected to a now broken air line (Figure b), a second pump (Figure c), and the blower to the spa. The repair person told me the second pump (Figure c) is to keep the water in the spa. He says the 2nd pump is broken, preventing the water in the spa from staying in the spa, which is why it falls into the pool and thus heats the pool (though when the solar heater is on, the one jet in the pool is hot). He said I wouldn't be able to operate the blower since the air line on the four-way switch is broke (Figure b) but the switch on the blower (Figure j) DID turn it on and off. There's also a regular pool heater that he feels was leaking refrigerant and therefore broken. I question if I even need a regular pool heater since I have the solar power heater.

    The offered two options. Option 1 is to repair the pool spa pump and the 4-way switch for $1000. Before I consider that, I'd like to know if there's a way to verify that the 4-way switch is broken, and if that cut air line can even be fixed. I'd also like to know if there is any other way to keep the water in the spa in the spa, without falling over to the pool. The second option is to gut the plumbing and electrical, though we keep the main pump, and have a system controlled by an iPhone. He said that with a check valve design, that one main pump can keep the water in the spa, or pump the whole pool, though it can't do that now. That would cost $2200. He also says with that option, we should fix the pool heater ($3400) and it would backup the solar power heater. As I said, since we live in South Florida, not sure I want to replace that heater. Does this make sense?

    There are also lights in the pool, controlled by the right bottom switch in Figure d and Figure g. Another switch there controls the black box in Figure e, but I can't figure out what that box does. There was a strip of lights that went around the pool, but I ripped them out on the recommendation of my pool maintenance person. Would it make sense for this black box be connected to it? Is there a way with these switches could provide even more control of the solar power heater, though they are nowhere near the solenoid, or allow me to keep the the spa from falling into the pool?

    All the pictures again are here:
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/1...52093551704593

    2014-08 Pool Pictures.jpg

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    Re: New pool (home) owner: Questions on spa, solar power heater, and switches

    Lots of stuff going on there. From a high level the dollars look reasonable to have someone do the work. Keep in mind if you have the skills most of this stuff is moderate DIY.

    On the Spa pump - is it just not turning on or does it make crazy noises? I'll do some chewing on the rest and come back with responses.
    TFP Moderator Chris V. ~16K Pool & Spa, 48NSF DE, IG Plaster Circa 2000, Intermatic PE653, Challenger pump with a 2 speed B2984, 20gal stenner chlorine injection, Houston, TX
    One cannot follow Islam and Christianity at the same time, nor can one follow pool store methods and TFP at the same time.
    Pool School -- Pool Math -- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: New pool (home) owner: Questions on spa, solar power heater, and switches

    Can you get me a closeup picture of the broken air line and a type of material it possibly is made from (plastic, copper (unlikely) or vinyl tube) If it is of the right material, a compression union or a barbed union will fix that.
    Randy H.

    Intex 18' X 48"
    G.A.M.E. Sandpro 75 Sand Filter (Single Speed 3/4 HP, 75 lbs sand, 2650 GPH, 7-way valve)

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    Re: New pool (home) owner: Questions on spa, solar power heater, and switches

    Thank you all for replying.

    On the spa pump, I don't have a way to turn it on since it is controlled by the air switch. The technician who came out blew into it (yuckky) and then said it was broken.

    So it is DIY? i'll see since I am overwhelmed with projects these days, and I'd rather work on the indoor ones and pay someone else for the outdoor ones. But does that sound correct to have ONE main pump that can both pump water and keep the water in the spa?

    Tomorrow morning I'll take a picture of the air line.

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    Re: New pool (home) owner: Questions on spa, solar power heater, and switches

    Here is a picture of the air line - but one problem, I can't find the other end. Maybe I just need to look more carefully.

    https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/1...27563253073716

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    Re: New pool (home) owner: Questions on spa, solar power heater, and switches

    Sorry, your reply got lost in the shuffle and i missed it.
    Wondering if you found the other end of the air switch tube, or whats the status of your repairs.
    Randy H.

    Intex 18' X 48"
    G.A.M.E. Sandpro 75 Sand Filter (Single Speed 3/4 HP, 75 lbs sand, 2650 GPH, 7-way valve)

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    Re: New pool (home) owner: Questions on spa, solar power heater, and switches

    Thanks for checking back in. I have not gone back through that area to look for the other end of the airline. I've had other updates though.

    I was having trouble with the T104R timer turning on my pump so I purchased a new tripper from Home Depot. The person there also mentioned a good pool shop that he used to work at. I went over there with the same pictures and sought his help. While he didn't have much comment on the air line, he did state that it should be possible to keep the water in the spa by reducing flow. He told me everyone these days uses a one pump system. She encouraged me to look for ways to control those valves. I also mentioned that some of the jets in the spa and pool don't work and he again suggested that perhaps something was turned off. I went back to my system and saw that from the main pump, it splits into three. Some of that split have valves on them. So I plan to try them out this weekend. At the same time, I'll look for an air line. Here are more pictures:

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-L...307355_HDR.jpg

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-1..._183317620.jpg

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/--...508021_HDR.jpg

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-T..._183312957.jpg

    He did not recommend fixing the air switch, saying they are old and expensive. He said I should though disconnect the power line to the 2nd pump (from the air switch) and hook it to regular power and determine, to determine, once and for all, if the 2nd pump is working.

    So I have some answers to #1 and #3 now, #4 sounds possible, and #2 may be possible. #5, that switch, still looking for, but with finding new valves, they may be controlled by this switch.

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    Re: New pool (home) owner: Questions on spa, solar power heater, and switches

    Im sorry, i misread your first post. What i thought you had said was that electrical was not your strong point. I know you made it clear, my fault, on that note, yes replace the switch. The only downside is where the air switch is located at and the ability to access it easily. You could always extend the wires to a new location once you know if it works or not so that really doesn't make it an issue.
    Randy H.

    Intex 18' X 48"
    G.A.M.E. Sandpro 75 Sand Filter (Single Speed 3/4 HP, 75 lbs sand, 2650 GPH, 7-way valve)

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    Re: New pool (home) owner: Questions on spa, solar power heater, and switches

    Quote Originally Posted by one_knight4u View Post
    Im sorry, i misread your first post. What i thought you had said was that electrical was not your strong point. I know you made it clear, my fault, on that note, yes replace the switch. The only downside is where the air switch is located at and the ability to access it easily. You could always extend the wires to a new location once you know if it works or not so that really doesn't make it an issue.
    The 4 way air switch is pretty accessible. However, before I do that, i want to confirm that the pump it is connected to is working. The blower that it is connected is working.

    Both the vendor and the shop owner said replacing the air switch would be close to $400. Replacing that pump would be $600. On the other hand, it would be $2,200 to replace that whole system so it is controlled by one pump, and wireless connectivity. So may or may not, after I investigate some more. And if I could control the water in the spa by adjusting the controls in the pictures in my most recent post.

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    Re: New pool (home) owner: Questions on spa, solar power heater, and switches

    Just an update. I found the other end of the airline. But not sure what to do with it.

    As far as testing the motor that is hooked to the air switch, this may be more challenging to do it safely. It's 240 V so I need to figure how to get 240 to it. Either I can hook it up to the power terminals on the air switch, or try to patch it into the other motor with wires and such. Also need to make sure I do this safely.

    Also, when I first posted, I mentioned I was trying to figure out what the switches were in Figure d. So one of the switches is the fiberoptic light (Figure E). When looking around that area, I saw the unit is actually plugged into an outlet. There's another plug underneath. I wouldn't be surprised now if the second switch in Figure d that I can't figure out is the other outlet where the fiberoptic is hooked to. I may test when I get home tonight.

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