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Thread: pool/spa plumbing problems

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    pool/spa plumbing problems

    Hello all,

    I have a 20,000 gal swimming pool with hot tub. It has been running about 5 years and has never worked quite right. My system includes a Hayward Northstar 2hp motor that runs the pool and spa combo. In the loop I have a De72 filter, Aquacal heat pump and Hayward h400 gas heater and Jandy Aquapure salt system. Controlling the whole think is Jandy automation. Normally the system draws from the main drain and skimmers and returns to pool returns and spa bubbler. When I activate spa mode 3 Jandy valves pull from the spa, water is sent through the gas heater instead of heat pump, and returned to spa jets. I also have a Hayward 1 hp for a waterfall. Pressure in the de filter is 20psi and I change powder at 30 psi.

    The problem is that when I pull from 2 of 3 sources(main drain and skimmer or main drain and spa) the system works fine. When I go to one source(the spa is the worst) the pump slowly loses the prime and the pump is only about half full with water. It makes the spa unusable and the gas usage huge. If I can overcome this problem my wife and kids would be very happy!

    The spa is plumbed with 2" pvc about 100 feet away from the pump and includes about 15 elbows. It has 5 jets.

    A few questions:

    1. I have been told that the pump is way overkill and I should change it. The recomendation is to go to 1hp 2 speed. Would that be enough? Good recomendation or is variable speed better?

    2. I believe the plumbing run is too long and the pvc is too small. If I go t a 2.5 or even 3" and remove the elbows will it help. I can get down to 90 feet with 4 elbows. I can get to within 2 feet of the spa drains and jump to the bigger pipe and run it to the equipment. If I increase the size of the suction pipe, do I need to increase the return to the jets also? Can a pump be expected to run effeciently that far even with 3" pipe? I have 5 spa jets. Then what size pump should I get?

    3. Since I believe the plumbing needs changing is there a better manner to plumb a pool/spa/waterfall combination?

    4. I presently have a Jandy actuator that either feeds the heat pump or gas heater depending on whether I am in spa mode.Is it a good idea to run the heat pump and gas heater in series to increase efficiency of the heating(I would use the Jandy actuator as a bypass when they are not in use).

    5. I wonder if I should use 1 pump(perhaps variable speed or 2 speed for pool/spa bubbler/waterfall) and 2nd pump for spa jets?

    I wish the system was designed properly in the first place but now need to reengineer. Moving all the equipment is the one issue that I really cannot change(about 90 feet run to the spa, and 30 feet to the pool). But the plumbing in the ground, pumps, and layout is all on the table. Thank you in advance for any help, advice or guidance.

    Regards,
    Useless hot tub

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    Re: pool/spa plumbing problems

    Why aren't the heat pump and gas heater in series?

    You should only need to draw water from the pool or the spa, never both at the same time.

    When in normal mode, the pump should only draw water from the pool suction. Return water should go to both the pool and spa if the spa has a spill over into the pool or if it has waterline drains that lead to the pool to prevent overflows. The valve actuators are adjustable so that the proper amount of water is sent to the spa during normal filtration cycles.

    When in spa mode, the pump should be getting it's water solely from the spa and sending it back to the spa. If you lose prime, you have a leak or if flex pipe was used for construction on the suction side, a collapse is possible..

    Spa Fill/Spa Drain modes should be Service Mode items only.

    Pool skimmer and drain valves should be manually adjusted unless a Deep end heating mode is programmed that closes the pool drain off from the suction side and opens the return flow so that returning water can go to the drains, turning them into deep end returns.

    The waterfall pump should have it's own drains in the pool. This keeps it from being able to drain the spa.

    90' is a long way from the pool. The additional power may be needed.

    You said there are 5 spa jets. What jets were used? How much flow were they designed to work with and what is the maximum they can take?

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: pool/spa plumbing problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Hobie5

    The spa is plumbed with 2" pvc about 100 feet away from the pump and includes about 15 elbows. It has 5 jets.
    That is probably your biggest problem. Using 100' of 2" pipe with a 2 HP pump on the suction side of the pump will probably force the pump to draw in air from other places and lose prime. If the pump works fine with the suction on both pool and spa, that is likely the problem.

    If you are planning a repipe of the spa, then there a couple of options that you have. At a minimum, I would replace the spa plumbing with 3" for the suction and 2.5" for the jet return. Second, you could put the jets on a separate loop from circulation but then you would need to add a separate return line and have a separate circulation pump. A single multi-speed pump would also work but I think having two pumps each dimensioned for the job makes for a better design.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: pool/spa plumbing problems

    Hello,

    I also believe that to be the problem. Since I have the Jandy Aqualink RS-8, I am thinking of going with the Jandy Epump and a replumb of the spa. Someone recommended the Pantair Pentair IntelliFlo VS SVRS but I am affraid that it might not marry up to the Jandy Aqualink very well. My wife likes the hot water coming from the jets so I think this would be best if I could get it to work(2 speed of variable speed pump). IF you have strong feelings about it please let me know.

    Doing a replumb of the suction and return: if I use a 3" suction and 2.5" return, how does the fact that the pump goes down to 2" and the spa has 2" drain lines that I need to connect to affect the flow?

  5. Back To Top    #5
    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: pool/spa plumbing problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Hobie5
    Doing a replumb of the suction and return: if I use a 3" suction and 2.5" return, how does the fact that the pump goes down to 2" and the spa has 2" drain lines that I need to connect to affect the flow?
    It doesn't affect it much. I would suggest stepping down to 2.5" plumbing at the pad, and then to 2" at the pump. This will make it a little easier to plumb the pad.

    On the return side, you can stick with 2.5" for most of the connections and stepping down to 2" were needed to connect to the equipment.

    If it is too hard to plumb with 2.5" on the pad then you can go with 2" on the pad and then step up to 2.5"/3" for the runs to the spa. It just means a bit more head loss on the pad but you will be fixing most of the problems with the spa by changing the long runs so the pad plumbing is less of an issue.

    Also, having a single variable speed pump should work fine with the pipe size change. Given you have only 5 jets, that should provide enough flow rate to the jets. The VS is nice for the spa jets as you will be able to control the strength.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: pool/spa plumbing problems

    Hello Mark,

    My spa main drains are 3' 10" apart, center to center. The opening is 6" currently with sp 1048 covers. The pipe is 2" glued to the drain and then the 2 are teed together. I could dig under the spa and step up to 2.5" then 3" with a run to the pump about 90 feet and 1 T 4 elbows(or substitute 45 degrees for each elbow)and then 3 way valve to pump. Of course I need to step back down to 2" before the 3 way valve at the pump. For the return I could do essentially the same except jump to 2.5" for the length of run. Would a pump be able to handle this and is the spacing of the drains safe enough?

    Would you recommend I use the Jandy Epump or the Pentair Intelliflo svrs. I have Jandy Aqualink RS-8 with firmware L. With Jandy I need the upgrade firmware and with Pentair I lose features.

    Steve

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: pool/spa plumbing problems

    Digging under the spa would be way too much work, dangerous and probably not much benefit. Really you will get most of the benefit by replacing the long run of pipe and any fittings you can easily get to. Short runs of 2" are not that bad. It is the long run of 2" that is probably causing the problem so just transition as close to the spa as you can.

    As for pump recommendations, I don't have much experience with either pump other than efficiency evaluation but both seem to be pretty good. I would look into the controller issues and see if they both can be controlled sufficiently. Also, if you have dual drains in the spa, you really don't need the SVRS.

    One other thing to look into before you start replacing pipe is what the spa jets actually require in terms of flow rate. If they are low flow jets, then you might be able to just reduce the flow rate to the spa with the VS and alleviate some of the problem. However, if you ever really want to have strong jets, then larger pipe would probably be necessary.

    For kicks, I ran a couple of scenarios with your setup. With your current setup and pump:

    7/16" Orfice Jet:
    80 GPM @ 78' of head
    16 GPM/jet and 8 PSI which is really weak.

    3/8" Orfice Jet:
    74 GPM @ 80' of head
    15 GPM/jet and 12 PSI which is moderate strength.

    If you were to change the plumbing and go to a Jandy E-Pump at full speed:

    7/16" Orfice Jet:
    99 GPM @ 66' of head
    20 GPM/jet and 12 PSI which is moderate strength.

    If the jets are 3/8" orfice:
    88 GPM @ 72' of head
    18 GPM and 17 PSI which is a pretty strong jet.

    So it matters what size jet you are using as to how strong it will feel. The larger the orfice jet, the more flow rate is needed to make the jet feel strong. So overall you would improve the performance of the spa either way.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: pool/spa plumbing problems

    Hello Mark,

    The 5 jets are plumbed with 2" to a threaded flange with an opening of 1.75". Then the jet is screwed in and I have 3 jets with double openings that spin. Then there are 2 single hole jets of 1/2". The 3 spinning jets have never spun correctly so I am sure that I have never had adequate flow.

    Will the fact that there will be a couple of feet of 2" near the spa and around the pump heater area still allow the system to benefit from the increased size of suction and return?

    Steve

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: pool/spa plumbing problems

    Yes, even with short lengths of 2" of plumbing, most of the benefit will come from the longer lengths.

    Also, if the jets are not working properly, then you probably will need more flow rate. It doesn't sound like you have the standard small nozzle jets so it is hard to know what you will need in terms of flow rate. If there is a way to get a part # off the jet, then maybe you can find out how much flow rate you need and then size the pump accordingly. The JEP 2.0 E-pump may or may not have enough HP for those types of jets but I would strongly suggest finding that out first before planning anything else.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Re: pool/spa plumbing problems

    If I plumb 3" suction and use sweep 90 instead of regular 90, how does that affect equivalent length? I am unable locate a part number on the nozzles. The insert that screws into the flange on the spa is 1.5" and then the nozzle snaps inside. The 3 spinning nozzles are 7/16" each and the 2 single hole is 1/2 inch opening. The only part number I see is the same on both is 216-1040.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: pool/spa plumbing problems

    Just going with 3" plumbing tends to give you most of the benefit. Standard 90's for 3" pipe is about 8' of equivalent length, swept 90s about half that. Usually changing a few 90s isn't really worth it because total head loss changes by such a small amount but if there is a lot of them it might make a difference. However, by going with 3" pipe, most of the head loss will be pushed to the jets themselves so changing 90s might not help that much. Plus it might be hard to find swept 90s in 3".
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Re: pool/spa plumbing problems

    I did find the flange is Hayward sp1022 but that is all I can find. Do you think if I did all the changes with the suction and return and putting the Jandy Epump 2.0. the system will work? Hate to put all the time, effort and money into the pool unless I know if it will work.

    I am also considering putting a flow meter on the system. Blue-white makes a product. Any thoughts?

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    Re: pool/spa plumbing problems

    The Aqualink, at 5 years old, will need an updated control board. It won't know what an E-Pump is.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Re: pool/spa plumbing problems

    Scott brings up a good point on the controller. That could influence your decision on pump choice.

    One thing I would suggest is to open the pool main drain, skimmers and spa main drain and see if the jets seem to be ok from a pressure point of view. Also, record the filter PSI. Do the same with just the spa main drain. From both of those measurements I may be able to determine the approximate flow rates from both configurations. If the first is ok from a pressure poiint of view, I can then see what it would be with the larger pipe and just the spa drain.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: pool/spa plumbing problems

    Do you see your jets in either of these of pics?




    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Re: pool/spa plumbing problems

    Hello,

    I checked the pressure on ny system and this is what I found.

    1 Everything open(all supply, heater selector, and returns) and the pump is now a Hayward NS 1.0 hp.(I switched the 2 and 1 hp around).
    Pressure on Hayward de72 is 15psi. When I returned all the flow to only the spa jets pressure increased to 20psi and jet performance was marginal at best.

    2. When I went to spa mode and the valve was almost at the closed position the pump began to lose prime and when closed to spa side, the basket was about half full with lots of water coming in and pressure was now 14psi. Jet performance even worse.


    The jets look like Waterway deluxe 3 adjustable 224-1000 and duluxe pulsator type 224-1041

    This is what I have come up with so far.

    1. I will replace the drain covers

    2. Looking at my RS-8 it lookl like I have only 1 channel left. I know with the Epump I need the Aqualink firmware upgrade but I am getting conflicting info about if I also need the upgrade with the Pentair Intelliflo. If I go with the Jandy Epump it should interface OK. But if I go with the Pentair Intelliflo VS and the Intellicom 2, I believe that I need a channel for each speed I want. That would be only 2 speed as I understand the Jandy Aqualink/Pentair Intelliflo interaction. Still not clear on the interaction of Jandy Aqualink and Pentair Intelliflo. What would your choice be?

    3. SVRS is something that sounds nice. Definately a pro in Pentair's corner but concerns of integration issues. Vac-Alert definately an option.

    4. I have emptied the spa, removed covers,checked all drains( ran a snake through), looked for leaks and have found no problems. Pulling from 2 sources(even 1 source as long as it is not the spa) gives full prime, no bubbles and good performance so I do not think I have a leak of any sort.

    5. I plan to replumb. Since the spa is the worst this is what I plan. Spa drain to be plumbed together with a T. 2"x2"x3". Run 3"pvc with sweep 90's as far as possible to pump. Plumb Aquacal H155 and Hayward h400 inline for effeciency. Plumb return to jets with 2.5" with sweep 90's and tie into spa jet return line at spa. Run will be bout 90 feet for both.

    6. Put either Jandy Epump 2.0hp and firmware upgrade to P. Or Pentair Intelliflo VS or VF w/or w/o SVRS and Intellicom 2 to communicate to Aqualink RS-8. Still wonder what interfaces better.

    7. Put Blue-White flow meter after pump(unless I get Intelliflo VF)

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    Re: pool/spa plumbing problems

    Empty the spa. Remove the drain covers. Check for blockages. If none, then the line is likely a collapsed flex line or a chunk of plaster/gunite is blocking things somewhere. It may be possible to blow a blockage out but a collapsed line needs to be replaced.

    I had a link to a small pic of Waterway jets under the Haywards. Anyone know what happened to it?

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

  18. Back To Top    #18
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    Re: pool/spa plumbing problems

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    I had a link to a small pic of Waterway jets under the Haywards. Anyone know what happened to it
    The link seems to be valid, but it doesn't display. Try deleting it and uploading again.
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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  19. Back To Top    #19
    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: pool/spa plumbing problems

    Hobie5,

    I had assumed that you already had checked for blockage in the spa suction line. That should be your first order of business. Even try a snake or drain king to make sure it is completely clear. Also, a few more questions:

    When configured for pool only suction, does the pump still lose prime or do you even see some air in the pump basket?

    What is the pressure reading when suction and return is set to pool only?

    What size diameter is the pool suction line and how many runs from pool to pad?

    If the pool mode works fine and the suction line for the pool is also a single 2" line, than it should perform similar to the spa. That would definitely indicate a problem with the spa line.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

  20. Back To Top    #20

    Re: pool/spa plumbing problems

    With 1 hp Hayward NS pump. When the draw if from pool(main drain and skimmer both open) and back to pool through a single heater the pressure is 18 psi and no bubbles. If I draw from the from the skimmer only(run about 35 feet, same pressure and no bubbles), if I draw from main drain only(run is around 70 feet) then pressure drops to 16 psi and I get some air.

    All the plumbing is 2". There are 2 skimmers plumbed together that is the shortest run. There are 4 pool main drains plumbed together that is next and the spa has 2 drains plumbed together that is farthest run.

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