As I’ll be away from the computer over Thanksgiving, I’m trying to ‘step up’ these threads.
As I noted in part 4 – you need to think about your plumbing lay out BEFORE you set up the panels. Most kits you can buy will have a very basic plumbing layout included (like 1 skimmer and 1 or 2 returns – BAH!)
Again, I’m going to take a 18 X 36 pool with center stairs in the shallow end wall as the example. For a pool that size you’ll be better off having 2 skimmers. I’ve decided just to tell y’all how we do our pools and let the discussions go from there for the plumbing.
With the 18 X 36 we would have 2 skimmers on the same wall (the panels with precut skimmer holes come in 8’ lengths and can be either ‘right’ or ‘left’ justified). Get one of each and place them right next to the corner panel with the skimmer cut out away from the corner, this will give you symmetry and a good coverage for the pool’s surface. On this size pool we would have 2 returns opposite the 2 skimmers and 3 on the skimmer side (1 in the center of the 2 skimmers, or as close as the wall seams would allow, and 1 ~18” off of each corner seam) – this will give excellent return action to push any floating debris into the skimmers! We also install returns in the stairs, 1 pointing up towards the surface to keep the stairs from being a ‘dead zone’ and 1 pointing down at the treads to stir up any debris that gets tracked in by bather’s feet. As opposed to a main drain, we install 2 ‘low suctions’ on the walls of the deep end to improve lower circulation (they are 14 3/8” up from the bottom of the panel and opposite each other) The returns are plumbed with 3 lines, 1 for each side and 1 for the stairs and the skimmers each have their own line and the low suctions are tee’d together to 1 line. We also plumb in a couple low returns (same height as the low suctions) 1 in the shallow end and 1 in the deep, which help move the lower water in the pool and also can be used to more efficiently heat the pool if you have a heater – these also are tee’d together on a separate line. If you need to know how to run the lines to equalize the flow from a line which has 2 or 3 ports on it, I’ll tell you.
RESERVE LINES: We use the second port of each skimmer to plumb in a ‘reserve line’ – this get’s run over to the filter pad and stubbed up next to the main lines, but not plumbed in unless the main line breaks/ get’s damaged (this way you have the line already run and won’t have to break up the deck or dig up the yard IF something happens to the main line) they are plugged from within the skimmer and capped on the filter side. We also run a reserve return line similarly (which doesn’t get cut out in the pool after the water is up). It is less expensive to run these lines now than to have to break up a new deck or dig up the yard in the future!
As we’re trying to keep this fairly simple 1 light in the center of the deep end ought be sufficient. If you want 2 (or folks with only the deep end light chime in and say they wish they had more light) have them face away from the house, it’s better that way.
OK, now it’s your choice how you want to plumb the pool and light it – just remember to lay out the panels correctly before you bolt them together! (it sucks!! To have to unbolt a couple of panels to move them around )
Until part 6 ….