I enjoy reading the forum, and now find that I need some advice. Pool (details in signature) was built several years before we bought the house. It’s completely in the shade, and mostly too chilly to use except for a few weeks in the middle of the Texas summer. I installed six SunHeater solar panels in an attempt to raise the temp enough to enjoy the pool. Panels are on the ground with the 1.5 inch pvc going into the first panel about 50 feet from the pump. The return from the panels is about 80 feet including the 20 foot length of the panels. I’m getting a 6-8 degree rise in temperature; enough to make the pool enjoyable.
I’m wondering about the pump, though. Pool has 3 returns, main drain, and two skimmers – one midway down the length of the pool and one at the opposite end from the pump/filter. The furthest doesn’t have much suction at all, and I can easily block the returns with my hand…not much resistance. And, of course, the Polaris 360 connected to a return doesn’t move. Pump is at least 9 years old and is listed as a MagnaTek Century Centurion 1.5 HP 208-230 volts. With the water diverted to the solar panels the pressure gauge on the filter reads about 27 PSI; closing the valve to the panels results in about 20 PSI.
My question is: should I consider replacing the pump? Would a larger HP unit give me better return, suction on the underperforming skimmer, and allow the Polaris to run? A local pool supply store told me there was no reason a newer 1.5 HP pump would not be sufficient for this and was steering me toward the TriStar or Whisperflo 1.5 HP full rated pump. Is this accurate, or would I need to go with a larger pump? Any and all advice is appreciated.