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Thread: Rebuilding after wildfire: Plumbing

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    Unhappy Rebuilding after wildfire: Plumbing

    Hello all,
    We had the unfortunate distinction of being right in the middle of the burn zone of the Tubbs fire in northern California last October. Our home and everything above ground on the property was completely destroyed. Fortunately the gunite pool survived, however all the equipment and plumbing above ground is toast. I'd like to get the pool up and running again for this summer. I have a bunch of questions (and looking for advice/people's experience), but I think I'll try to split them up into multiple posts so I can focus on each issue separately. I wasn't sure where the appropriate forum was for this (I considered Under Construction but this is sort of a unique case), anyway, first up is plumbing so I thought this forum fits for now.

    Here's the equipment pad with (left-to-right) the heater, cleaner booster pump, filter pump and DE filter, along with the brand new Intermatic PE653 controls I had just installed last year
    IMG_20171022_153937.jpg
    And now that we've had the debris removed, here's what is left (the septic contractor bent my electrical conduit with his tractor when moving a tree out of the way):
    IMG_20180201_074117.jpg

    My question is, how should I proceed with getting the plumbing back? As you can see, the existing pipes are melted back into the pad. I'm assuming it's probably a lost cause (and/or bad idea) to try to attach to the pipes inside the pad, and I also assume it would be more expensive (with little benefit) to remove and replace the pad than to deal with the plumbing and electrical as-is. There are 5 plumbing lines to and from the pool: 2" supply and return from the pool, 2" supply and return from the spa, and a 1" (I think) line from the booster pump to the cleaner. My current plan is to dig down on the left side of the pad (the side toward the pool) to locate the pipes, and bring them around the back side of the pad to connect with the replacement pumps, filter and heater. Is this a reasonable approach?

    I'm not sure about the requirements for electrical conduit, etc. (Does it need to be in the pad? Can I find and reuse the existing conduit?) Unfortunately my bonding wire is broken off flush at the pad so I'm hoping I can find that and extend it as well. But that's probably a topic for a separate post.
    17000(?) gal in-ground plaster freeform pool/spa combo
    Hayward H400 LP heater
    Hayward Pro-Grid DE4820 with cellulose fiber, 96 GPM design flow rate
    1 HP Pentair Whisperflo pump plus 3/4 HP booster for Polaris 380 cleaner (named "Squirt")

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    Mod Squad Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Rebuilding after wildfire: Plumbing

    Wow. My heart goes out to you my friend. I can't imagine. In any case, you have several questions in this scenario, and the one thing that keeps coming back to me is that because of your circumstances, you have the ability to wipe the (equipment pad) slate clean and start over. Not by choice of course, but it's there now, so take advantage of it. I too would be suspicious of any residual plumbing or wiring near the surface that may have been damaged by the fire. Whether you leave the pad or work around it I suppose is a personal choice based on necessity and aesthetics. Unless there's an NEC code requirement specific to CA, I'm not aware of a mandatory requirement for the electrical conduit to be routed through the pad, but I'm sure someone else will reply. While your plumbing lines to/from the pad are established, you have the option to reconsider the 1" booster pump line as many folks today are opting for the automated robots which seem to be taking-over the cleaning market. In any case, I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your property. I know everyone says how "things can be replaced" and it's true, but I'm sure that experience was a tough one. As far as the pool goes, we'll be happy at TFP to do all we can to help get you back on your feet - or flippers - or whatever we call it. Keep us posted, reply to this thread as much as needed, and if we ever think we need to move something to another forum, we'll handle that later.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
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    cfherrman's Avatar
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    Re: Rebuilding after wildfire: Plumbing

    Looks like you get a redo! Yeah it's not as fun as it sounds. I hope you were properly insured.

    I have repaired pvc lines underground and you need a lot of room to cut and slide a collar back on them. So you will need to do a little digging. I would recommend making your splice with as much room as possible and as easy as possible as this will guarantee the best chance for a fix. Probably have to hand dig or a real good backhoe operator

    Nearly everybody is going robot now and since it will eliminate one pipe and one pump this is probably the best option for you, there are some recent threads over this.
    Casey
    Intex 24' x 52" closed for winter 2018, 2 Main Drains, 1 Skimmer, 1 Return, PVC
    1/2 HP Intex Pump 633T w/ Taeglus TA-40 175 lb 19.5" Sand Filter, Auqabot Extreme Robot
    TF-50 and Taylor 2006 Test Kits, Quality Well Water, Fleck 5800SXT Water Softener

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Rebuilding after wildfire: Plumbing

    I have a HUGE sad for you and those around you

    I am going to ask a PB about the code for the plumbing and electric coming THROUGH the pad and see what they have to say.

    Just to be make sure we all understand what you are thinking:

    -you want to find the pipe and power line coming from the pool to the left of your current pad as that is the side the pool is on (solid thinking!)

    -once you do you want to connect to it and bring it up behind the current pad to connect to the new equipment that will be on the current pad

    we will help you get the pool going again. I agree lets just keep it all here. We will hit it one issue at a time.

    I am putting the call out now. Hold on a bit until they can get back to us.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Rebuilding after wildfire: Plumbing

    The electrical doesn't need to go through the pad, in fact that a bad idea for any plumbing or electrical lines to be encased in concrete.

    I would suggest demoing the pad completely, fixing your plumbing and electrical runs and then either pour a new pad or use the prefab pads for a pool equipment supplier.
    -Brian-

    Pool/Spa, Pentair Equipment

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    PoolGate's Avatar
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    Re: Rebuilding after wildfire: Plumbing

    Has your house been rebuilt yet? If not, are you planning on just coming to your lot and swimming? Is electric on in the neighborhood?
    29k Gallon Free Form Gunite Pool, 3 floor returns, 2 wall returns, 1 vacuum pressure port, 2 skimmers, Main drain, Jandy 2.7HP VSP, Jandy JXI400N Gas Heater, Jandy CV340 Cartridge Filter, FusionSoft 1400 SWG, 2 Watercolors LED, iAqualink with PDA, Sheer Waterfall, Rock Waterfall, 9' Deep End w/Diving Board, SunDeck, Polaris 9650iQ, TF-100 - Pool Build - 2017 - Google Photos

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    Re: Rebuilding after wildfire: Plumbing

    Thanks for the kind thoughts. Sorry for the late reply. I didn't get any email notification of replies to this thread and was away from my computer most of the day yesterday. My original thought was to remove the pad; in fact I thought it was going to be done by the debris removal contractors. The county organized a government clean-up effort with FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers, but their marching orders have changed since they started and they're removing less stuff than they did on the earlier lots (5000+ lots to clear just in the Tubbs fire area...!) I had just wanted them to break up the pad before removing it, to avoid ripping up long stretches of plumbing & electrical, but instead they just cleaned it off and left it. It's going to be hard for me to remove it by myself without heavy equipment, that's why I *think* it's going to be best to leave it in place and work around it. I'm planning to do pretty much all the work myself (including hand digging).

    Electrical was restored to the neighborhood quickly, even as they were still fighting the fire. They were finishing up the first time I was allowed back to the property, after about 2 agonizing weeks (We knew the house was gone only a couple days after, due to some aerial photos). No, the house is not rebuilt, and probably won't be for at least another year if not 2. My plan was to just get our pool back because it's something I can do, and the kids really enjoy it. My neighbor (also lost his house) just a couple doors down owns an electrical contracting company; I was going to ping him about getting a temporary power pole installed. We'll likely need one anyway for rebuilding.

    I've considered going with a robotic cleaner, but our Polaris 380 has been working great for quite a while and it's been pretty good at picking up stuff. It was inside the pool and seems to have survived, even the line floats. The thing I don't like about the robotic cleaners is having a power cord running over the pool deck. I know it's low voltage, but it's a trip hazard and kind of ugly. If they could replace the need for brushing the pool, though, I could be seriously tempted.

    Just so it's not all a downer, here's a picture of the pool right after we got it resurfaced in 2015 (the one significant home improvement project we've done, and the only thing to have survived). The house is to the right of this photo, and the equipment pad is directly behind me as I'm taking the photo, about 10-15 feet away.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/X7C89orWHg9BcA7V2
    17000(?) gal in-ground plaster freeform pool/spa combo
    Hayward H400 LP heater
    Hayward Pro-Grid DE4820 with cellulose fiber, 96 GPM design flow rate
    1 HP Pentair Whisperflo pump plus 3/4 HP booster for Polaris 380 cleaner (named "Squirt")

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    Mod Squad Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Rebuilding after wildfire: Plumbing

    Gorgeous pool. Looking forward to another "after" photo once you get all your affairs in order. Best of luck to you on the re-build, and don't hesitate to reply back if you have any questions.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
    If you enjoyed your TFP experience, please consider donating to Support TFP!

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