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Thread: Operating Polaris Pump without Pool Pump

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    Operating Polaris Pump without Pool Pump

    On a "standard" pump system (sand filter) with a separate Polaris pump installed can you operate (safely) the Polaris pump without having the main system pump on. The Polaris pump draws water from the line returning water to the pool from the main filter. I have what is referred to as a flooded system. There are times when the main pump (timer) has cut-off while I am not at home and happen to run the Polaris pump for cleaning. I just want to ensure there won't be any problems. It doesn't appear to be damaging or straining the system when this has occurred. In fact, I may be seeing better service from my Polaris since it is operating unaffected from the flow of the normal filtering system.

    Any thoughts?

    Lee
    33000 IG Vinyl, Sand Filter, Circupool SWG, Polaris 180 w/Booster Pump, Mosquito Misting System, Home Automation

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    Fellow Memphian here wondering the same thing. I've heard it's a no-no, but I don't really believe pool experts (unless they're on TFP.)

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    It sounds like your system is not wired correctly. I had a polaris 380 (still have it and would gladly sell it to anyone that wants it) and it was wired such that it had two timers and the one on the polaris was fed off the main pump timer so that it would only get juice when the main pump was running. The reason for this is the polaris pump is a booster pump and it is designed to have a fair amount of pressure already going to it. If you run it without the main pump (as long as it has water) you probably won't damage it but the polaris won't be getting enough pressure to operate properly.

    I put the polaris in the shed last year when the pressure line under my deck started to leak. It was going to cost as much as the system cost to repair the line and the decking, so I bought a blue pearl robot instead and have not looked back. The robots clean much better and they are much more economical to operate as you run a small 24VDC motor rather than a pair of 220VAC pumps.
    20x40 IG vinyl, heatpump and solar and 3 siberian huskies, 10kw PV solar electric system. Nikon Photographer D800e dSLR.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    A boster pump typically takes it's input from the return line of the main pump. If the main pump is off and the boster pump is on there is going to be less resistance to draw water in from the return, rather than drawing water through the other pump and the filter. Drawing water in the return is not the best idea. I don't see any reason it would be likely to cause damage right away on most pools, but on some configurations it could drain a spa and start drawing in air, or something similar, which will cause problems quickly. Even without short term problems, long term it is going to get clogged, there is no skimmer on the return.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Per the Polaris Installation Guide:

    The Polaris Booster Pump requires a dedicated return
    line. Plumb the booster pump into the system so that
    it always receives flow from the filtration pump.
    Josh
    Josh Ulfers - josh@saltpoolguys.com - 888-725-8766
    SaltPoolGuys.com - AutoPilot Pool Pilot Systems, Parts & Cells - AquaCal Heat Pumps

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    I'm not an expert with plumbing so I'm really trying to understand what you are saying guys.

    1. My system is like Abxflyr. Polaris 280 receives water from pipes leading away from filter back to pool. It does have a dedicated return line. Is this correctly connected. Some water comes through that return as long as the pump is running even if polaris pump is not on.

    2. If it is connected correctly, it sounds like you should NOT run the polaris w/o the filter pump also running.

    3. To add to this, is it normal for filter pressure to drop from 5 places when polaris is on?

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Yes, that is all normal. With a standard setup like that you should not run the boster pump unless the main pump is running.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Thank you once again JasonLion.

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    divnkd101's Avatar
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    Lee,

    Here is a response I received back from Polaris on your question:

    QUOTE: Yes, most likely you will burn up the booster pump. The impeller inside will melt and when it stops spinning it will bond to the motor housing. Then it is totally shot. This also voids the warranty. The booster pump does not self-prime, so with out water flow from the circulation pump, it gets extremely hot.
    MIKE

    21K Inground Custom w/ Spa (Gunite/Plaster), SWCG, Hayward Northstar, Polaris 280, Hayward Color Logics, Jandy PS-8

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    Thanks to everyone for the replies (I've been out of town for a day or two).

    The pump is wired correctly as an independently powered pump, it could also (correctly) be wired so that is can only be powered with the primary pump in operation. I do not believe either way is incorrect, and from a wiring perspective it is simpler to set it up independently..especially for maintenance purposes.

    I understand the comments on drawing from the return line for the feed side of the Polaris pump (unfiltered and reverse flow). As far as damage to the pump itself, such as locking up, melting, or the impeller to spell check into the sunset, I do not see that as an issue overall. My system being a flooded one (pump lower than skimmer level) has no priming issues or concern with running dry. The pump appears to be at it's normal level of 'hot' regardless. The pressure and operation of the Polaris unit itself appears unaffected in my system, simply meaning that it runs around the pool with the same pressure and speed as it does with the pool pump operating as well.

    However with all that said, I will continue to run with both pumps operating as a normal practice. I was just initially concern with an occasional time or two when the main pump would cut-out (timer) when I left the Polaris booster operating. I usually only operate the Polaris for a few hours twice a week depending on debris.

    Thanks again for all the information and comments!
    33000 IG Vinyl, Sand Filter, Circupool SWG, Polaris 180 w/Booster Pump, Mosquito Misting System, Home Automation

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    Abxflyr,

    Hi-jacking the thread, but it seems that flooded system (whichI don't recall seeing) is a real advantage over most sytems where losing prime is a constant issue. Do you like it? Are there any drawbacks?
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    In a fully flooded system water comes out fairly quicky while you have the pump strainer basket open. To avoid this you end up having to have valves that block the water flow on both intake and return in order to do even basic maintinace which risks leaving them in the off position by acident when turning the system back on. On level ground you have additional problems because the equipment pit must be kept dry. Pool pumps are not submersible, yet both rain and pool water will try to fill that pit.

    I prefer an almost flooded system, where the pump strainer basket lid is above water level but by just one to four inches. There will be water in the pipe within a couple of inches of the pump chamber, hardly anything to prime. This way there is no need for valves and the chance of flooding is greatly reduced.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    I assume you have an above ground pool, as a flooded suction does not make sense (to me atleast) for an inground). Polaris does not recommend ever running the pump without the main pump on which is why they want you to hook the timer up the way I suggested before which prevents it from ever running without the main pump on.
    20x40 IG vinyl, heatpump and solar and 3 siberian huskies, 10kw PV solar electric system. Nikon Photographer D800e dSLR.

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    To answer your question....I do like my flooded system and I prefer it over one that is not. When I empty the pump strainer basket, or if I wish to clean the impeller, I simply close the multi-function valve, close the valve to the main drain and skimmers. After doing that I have no flow when I remove the top to access the strainer basket. When restarting I open the valves and start the pump, it primes immediately and I never have any problems with it.

    For a clear understanding, the filter and pumps, etc are located on a concrete pad that is NOT in a enclosed area or pit. In fact the pump is only about 6 - 12 inches below the level of the skimmer(s). It is not like there is a huge difference in the level between the location of the pump/filter and the pool, it just happens to be low enough to provide for a positive flow. If I didn't close valves then it does allow for fast draining of water through the strainer basket with the top off. It would only drain as low as the skimmer level and no water comes from the main drain as it is 9 feet deep.

    I'm sure either way is fine, I just know that even my son or wife could easily start and stop the pump without cause any cavitation or priming problems.

    If you were wondering....I have an inground vinyl 33000 gallon pool with sand filter and Polaris. I use chlorine chemical since we do not have a salt system.

    Lee
    33000 IG Vinyl, Sand Filter, Circupool SWG, Polaris 180 w/Booster Pump, Mosquito Misting System, Home Automation

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    Hi, Lee,

    Yeah, I would like that set-up, too. My very good pump still works pretty hard to prime itself....it's located almost 3.5 feet above the pool level. I essentially have to close the same valves you do but do it to retain prime not to prevent flooding.

    By neccesity, my equipment couldn't be anywhere else but I sure like the way yours is set up....thanks for sharing
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  16. Back To Top    #16

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    abxflyr...who built your pool. We used Rite-Way.

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    Our pool is a Foxx pool. It was installed by the previous owner of the home, although I believe they used Brewer Pools as a contractor. I can not speak for nor aganist them, but we do have a pretty nice set-up with extra concrete, a BBQ area, and very, very extensive landscaping. I recently (this summer) installed a mosquitio misting system to control/elminate mosquitos and airborne pests; works like a charm. I can email you some pictures if you like, although you'll need highspeed to download them (larger size pic files).

    Lee
    33000 IG Vinyl, Sand Filter, Circupool SWG, Polaris 180 w/Booster Pump, Mosquito Misting System, Home Automation

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