1950s Pool - To replumb or not?

Jayandtea

Member
Nov 2, 2017
5
Los Angeles
I have a 30gal pool from the 1950s that hasn't been touched much since then. (Maybe it was resurfaced in the 70s or 80s?) We have to resurface it because the lining is totally gone. We will also have to split the main drain and bring the light up to code. My big question is weather we should replumb/repipe the whole pool. This would be significant added cost because it would mean that we have to demo and replace all of the concrete. The piping is definitely original galvanized pipe with only one return line in the deep end (Seems like there used to be two in the deep end but one has been plugged up.) We recently replaced our DE filter and pump so those are good as is. If we replumb we would consider adding a heater or salt system. Would love to hear your opinions.
 

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Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
11,518
NY
Oooooof. That’s a hard choice on the wallet. I personally wouldn’t want to risk damaging the nice new finish (which also wasn’t cheap) if/when the antique plumbing fails. Your resurfacing can last 15 years, will the plumbing make it to 85 years ? (Holy cow it’s already 70 years old)

‘Now’s the time’ they say, But *they* also don’t have to pay for it, so there’s that.
 
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yblaser

Well-known member
Apr 21, 2010
46
Torrance, CA
Although our pool is not quite that old it did have copper plumbing. When we redid it this spring we opted to have all the plumbing redone. We did have a leak so that helped the decision. We did abandon the main drain and added split suction on the wall in it's place. All in all they ended up taking about 1/3 of the concrete pool decking out to do the plumbing.
 
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Jayandtea

Member
Nov 2, 2017
5
Los Angeles
Thanks for the opinion skt. I am definitely leaning towards not doing it only because it would double the price. I am curious if we have leaks though. yblaser, how did you find out you had a leak? We do lose water every week but it's hard to tell if it's a leak or just evaporation.
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
11,518
NY
We do lose water every week but it's hard to tell if it's a leak or just evaporation.
Have you done a bucket test ? Its simple and pretty decisive. In case you haven't read about one yet, put a brick in a bucket and put it on your second step and fill the bucket as high as the pool water. Check for a few days and if they evaporate the same, there are no major leaks. If the pool lowers more than the water in the bucket, you are loosing water and then can calculate how much.
 
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mguzzy

Gold Supporter
I love the old classic pools.. looks like you have kept it up well.

I would also factor in your pool equipment. If its been a few decades since it was updated you are going to want to update that as well. I see you already have a VSP so it looks like some of your stuff has been updated to the pending codes for CA.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
29,667
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Thanks mguzzy! Fun fact - the original owner got a prescription for aquatherapy in order to put in the pool. Not sure why that was necessary at the time but we found it when we pulled permits.

Tax deduction on the pool installation as a medical expense.
 

doug.hillmer

Member
Apr 3, 2011
10
San Diego, CA
Back to your original post, I do not see much response on the last sentence about new heater and/or salt system. I suspect you can decide those things independently of the replumb (i.e. you can still add a heater or SWG even if you do not replumb).

I assume you have had people come out and look at it and give you the quotes. Did any of them take a camera and run it through the existing plumbing to see what the condition of the pipes look like inside? Redoing all the exterior part of the plumbing is much easier then what is actually connected to the pool (i.e. runs through the walls).

FWIW we resurfaced our pool in 2000, so now 20 years. We did not replumb. The original pool was built in the late 1970s, so maybe now half the age of yours. As others have said, the main drain is not worth any investment. The question becomes whether or not the rest of the plumbing will suffice to keep the water circulating. I personally would NOT replumb unless there is an obvious problem with the existing configuration. It may not be optimal, but it is hard to justify the expense and extra TIME to get it redone (IMnsHO). Of course without being able to see/inspect it in person I may be way off base.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
29,667
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Probably worked in the 1950s. Today it would get you a visit from the IRS and a nasty penalty!

It can still be done today with proper documentation. Although the tax deduction was higher value back then with higher tax rates...


If swimming and other water exercise are prescribed as a treatment or physical therapy, the cost of constructing a home swimming pool, hot tub, or swim spa may be partly deductible as a medical expense. However, the IRS is likely to question the deductions because of the possibility that the pool may be used for recreation. If you can show that the pool is specially equipped to alleviate your condition and is not generally suited for recreation, the IRS will likely allow the deduction.

Example: The IRS allowed a deduction for a pool constructed by an osteoarthritis patient. His physician prescribed swimming several times a day as a treatment. He built an indoor lap pool with specially designed stairs and a hydrotherapy device. Given these features, the IRS concluded that the pool was specially designed to provide medical treatment.
 
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