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Thread: DIY IG LINER POOLS -- part 5 -- plumbing and lighting

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    DIY IG LINER POOLS -- part 5 -- plumbing and lighting

    Hi all!

    As I’ll be away from the computer over Thanksgiving, I’m trying to ‘step up’ these threads.

    As I noted in part 4 – you need to think about your plumbing lay out BEFORE you set up the panels. Most kits you can buy will have a very basic plumbing layout included (like 1 skimmer and 1 or 2 returns – BAH!)

    Again, I’m going to take a 18 X 36 pool with center stairs in the shallow end wall as the example. For a pool that size you’ll be better off having 2 skimmers. I’ve decided just to tell y’all how we do our pools and let the discussions go from there for the plumbing.

    With the 18 X 36 we would have 2 skimmers on the same wall (the panels with precut skimmer holes come in 8’ lengths and can be either ‘right’ or ‘left’ justified). Get one of each and place them right next to the corner panel with the skimmer cut out away from the corner, this will give you symmetry and a good coverage for the pool’s surface. On this size pool we would have 2 returns opposite the 2 skimmers and 3 on the skimmer side (1 in the center of the 2 skimmers, or as close as the wall seams would allow, and 1 ~18” off of each corner seam) – this will give excellent return action to push any floating debris into the skimmers! We also install returns in the stairs, 1 pointing up towards the surface to keep the stairs from being a ‘dead zone’ and 1 pointing down at the treads to stir up any debris that gets tracked in by bather’s feet. As opposed to a main drain, we install 2 ‘low suctions’ on the walls of the deep end to improve lower circulation (they are 14 3/8” up from the bottom of the panel and opposite each other) The returns are plumbed with 3 lines, 1 for each side and 1 for the stairs and the skimmers each have their own line and the low suctions are tee’d together to 1 line. We also plumb in a couple low returns (same height as the low suctions) 1 in the shallow end and 1 in the deep, which help move the lower water in the pool and also can be used to more efficiently heat the pool if you have a heater – these also are tee’d together on a separate line. If you need to know how to run the lines to equalize the flow from a line which has 2 or 3 ports on it, I’ll tell you.

    RESERVE LINES: We use the second port of each skimmer to plumb in a ‘reserve line’ – this get’s run over to the filter pad and stubbed up next to the main lines, but not plumbed in unless the main line breaks/ get’s damaged (this way you have the line already run and won’t have to break up the deck or dig up the yard IF something happens to the main line) they are plugged from within the skimmer and capped on the filter side. We also run a reserve return line similarly (which doesn’t get cut out in the pool after the water is up). It is less expensive to run these lines now than to have to break up a new deck or dig up the yard in the future!

    As we’re trying to keep this fairly simple 1 light in the center of the deep end ought be sufficient. If you want 2 (or folks with only the deep end light chime in and say they wish they had more light) have them face away from the house, it’s better that way.

    OK, now it’s your choice how you want to plumb the pool and light it – just remember to lay out the panels correctly before you bolt them together! (it sucks!! To have to unbolt a couple of panels to move them around )

    Until part 6 ….

    Ted
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: DUY IG LINER POOLS -- part 5 -- plumbing and lighting

    Hi waste! I'm betting pool season is gearing up for ya.

    I have a question. I went into the pool store today and am in the process of getting a quote on an 18'x40' pool. I told her I wanted 2 skimmers and she asked me how many returns and I said 4. 2 in the steps and 2 in the wall. After reading through this, I'm wondering if I need more returns on the wall?

    Also, she asked me if I wanted to buy the plumbing myself or if I wanted flex hose? I'm wondering if I should get the flex hose? Is it worth it or would pvc be sufficient? I told her I wanted to run another line from the skimmers for that "JUST IN CASE" fiasco and she said it would be way too much money and not worth it. I on the other hand think I should cuz you never know when something bad is gonna happen and the extra time and money I spend is probably far less than busting up concrete to fix a broken line if I don't have too 10 years down the road. I know you know what I mean. 8)

    So, is flex hose worth it's weight in gold or is pvc okay? She said the the weight of dirt could crush the PVC. <I thought you back fill with stone and not dirt because dirt could shift or whatnot when freezing?>

    I was also asked about the pump but told her I would order my own and she asked me what kind and I said a Pentair IntelliFlo <sp>

    She said it sounds like I know what I'm talking about!

    You don't have to rush on an answer if you're busy because I'm in no hurry, I just want to run this by you before I actually start paying for the kit. I wanna get the most cannon balls out of my money!
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: DUY IG LINER POOLS -- part 5 -- plumbing and lighting

    Quote Originally Posted by waste
    As opposed to a main drain, we install 2 ‘low suctions’ on the walls of the deep end to improve lower circulation (they are 14 3/8” up from the bottom of the panel and opposite each other) The returns are plumbed with 3 lines, 1 for each side and 1 for the stairs and the skimmers each have their own line and the low suctions are tee’d together to 1 line. We also plumb in a couple low returns (same height as the low suctions) 1 in the shallow end and 1 in the deep, which help move the lower water in the pool and also can be used to more efficiently heat the pool if you have a heater – these also are tee’d together on a separate line. If you need to know how to run the lines to equalize the flow from a line which has 2 or 3 ports on it, I’ll tell you.
    *raising hand* I have a question...

    These low suction lines... they are sucking water right? The pool kit is said to come with two main drains at the bottom in the deep end. Do I need these low suctions?

    Also, I see you note low returns in the shallow and deep ends. Should I do this too if I add 4 returns on the wall <1 in the middle of skimmers, 2 off the corners and 1 on the other side wall and 2 for the steps?> That'd be a total of 6 returns... am I thinking right? Is it too many and should I do low returns?

    Sorry for all the questions. Again, no hurry.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: DUY IG LINER POOLS -- part 5 -- plumbing and lighting

    Casey, though things are getting busy for me now - I'll always answer your questions

    We tend to 'over plumb' the pools we build (this is a good thing because my boss always sells a larger pump than the pool requires - the extra suction and return lines helps keep the system closer to optimal - as I've said, talk to Mark (mas985) or JasonLion on those issues).

    If you have main drains, you don't need the low suction lines I was talking about We only install them, as opposed to the main drains, because if a main drain line fails, you have to plug the drain and can't repair it without draining the pool and probably replacing the liner and having to repair the floor

    I wish I could draw pictures of the flow patterns from various return placements - but things have changed so much in the 20 years since i learned how to do it on a computer - I don't think I can (but am willing to try, if you need diagrams - I'll just get my wife to help me :P ) Having 3 returns on the 2 skimmer side and 2 on the opposite side, pointing at the skimmers, gives any surface debris little chance of sinking (thereby needing to be vacuumed up). And a couple returns in the steps helps the steps from collecting tracked in dirt and keep them from being a 'dead zone'. The low returns, pointed ~ downward help provide circulation in the bottom of the pool.


    Now let's talk pvc ----

    Hard pipe (schedule 40) is FAR preferable to the flex pipe - it's cheaper and more resilient! (my boss has us use the flex pipe because we run 100's of feet from the pool to the filter pad and it's quicker to use the flex, as opposed to coupling and gluing on the elbows for that many runs)

    Please move to the head of the class! Your questions are good and you seem to be paying attention to what I've been trying to say

    Please know that I'll help you any way I can in getting your IG pool!
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: DUY IG LINER POOLS -- part 5 -- plumbing and lighting

    So... 3 returns on skimmer wall, 2 on opposite wall pointing straight on, 2 for the steps and 2 low returns <would opposite wall of skimmer be best for low returns or doesn't it matter?> So... that's a total of 9 returns. Sound about right?

    PVC 40 it will be!

    Yay for you Mr. Teacher! Now, on with the beer!

    I appreciate all you have contributed to these threads for me and any other person wanting to save thousands and DIY!
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: DUY IG LINER POOLS -- part 5 -- plumbing and lighting

    Casey, if I lived a few hours closer to you, I'd be there every weekend helping/ advising on the build

    You know I'll give you ALL the help I can via the internet 8)

    L & L
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: DUY IG LINER POOLS -- part 5 -- plumbing and lighting

    I am assuming we are talking a fairly standard oval vinyl liner pool. I would go simpler, three suction lines, three returns, and one spare pipe. Having lots of returns can be very cool, but every liner penetration is a potential leak and extra work on opening and closing.

    I would have two skimmers, one on each long side, and a dual main drain, for a total of three suction runs back to the equipment pad, all 2". Then one return on each side and one return for the steps, for a total of three return runs back to the equipment pad, all 1 1/2" and mounted fairly high. Finally, one extra pipe for a possible pressure side cleaner or fountain or whatever, but not connected up at the pad.

    Of course, there are many different ways to set things up that will all work. The number of returns you are talking about is totally fine, it simply is not my style. Either way, what you described or what I described, you want at least three runs each direction from the pool to the equipment pad. Suction should be one size larger pipe than the returns. Rigid PVC for sure.

    It is hard to go wrong with an oval pool with no major water features. You can skip the main drain and add a third skimmer or deep suction ports, add or remove extra returns, etc. Plumbing is not the expensive part of the pool, pipe is cheap compared to a lot of other things.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: DUY IG LINER POOLS -- part 5 -- plumbing and lighting

    Thanks for chiming in Jason. The pool would be an 18'x40' rectangle.

    I will be reading your response again to let it sink in. *just woke up*

    Okay, so pool store kit comes with mandatory <2> main drains in deep end with the least possible depth of 8 1/2' because of a diving board. I have to go with 40' length because of the depth. I could have stayed with a 36' length but the extra half foot depth in deep end would eat my shallow end up. I want a nice area for little ones and any others who would want to chill there without treading water.

    I think I should be fine without suction lines because I do have the 2 main drains and I'm not planning on any robotic cleaner. I think I should also be fine with 3 returns on skimmer side at the basic height and 4 opposite the skimmers, two high, two low for bottom circculation and 2 in the steps, one high, one low.

    My dad will be plumbing the pool for me with my help. I would probably have him tell me what to do and do it myself with his guidance just so I don't over work him. I may even call him tonight and invite him over so he can read up on this part of the thread and get his opinion too. He may think it's too much too but we'll see.

    Thanks for everything waste and Jason! 8) Your insight is very much appreciated! 8)
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: DUY IG LINER POOLS -- part 5 -- plumbing and lighting

    Quote Originally Posted by waste
    Casey, if I lived a few hours closer to you, I'd be there every weekend helping/ advising on the build

    You know I'll give you ALL the help I can via the internet 8)

    L & L
    I know ya would! You are helping me emensly already and my inground is on it's way to becoming a reality thanks to you! 8) She lives in my mind! I know without a doubt if I didn't have you hear teaching me, I'd have to take a mortgage out on my home just to get my pool! I don't have to with you here and that means alot to me in this day in age. Besides, I like to get dirty.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: DUY IG LINER POOLS -- part 5 -- plumbing and lighting

    Casey,

    A few things I would recommend.

    First, have you thought much about the pump? I didn't see anything mentioned about what type/size of pump you are planning. Also, will there be any water features or spa? All these choices will have an impact on some of the plumbing choices and design.

    As for plumbing, I would recommend that your run all the suction and return pipes all the back to the pad. Sometimes plumbers will use only one suction and one return pipe and split it at the pool which is less than ideal and reduces the efficiency.

    This means that you will have 3x2" lines for the suction going from the pool to the pad, one each for the main drain pair and each skimmer. I would also add a valve at the pad to each of the suction lines so that they can be isolated. This is useful when draining the pool below the skimmers with the main drain suction only as well as troubleshooting problems. Skimmer placement is important so take into account wind direction when deciding where to place them.

    Having a return line for each return is a little overkill so I usually recommend one line for every pair of returns and at most a run for every 4 returns but then use larger pipe. With a rectangle pool, it might be best to plumb the returns a few feet from the corners so that they can be directed down the length of the adjacent wall without having to adjust the eyeball for sideways return as this is more restrictive. This should create a nice circular movement in the water while reducing the dead spots in the corners. The idea is to place two surface returns in opposite corners which are each aimed down the long side of the pool with a skimmer in the corner opposite each return (i.e. other corners). This would be very efficient at moving debris directly into the skimmer and at the same time creating a nice circular motion in the water. This setup avoids placing returns too close to the skimmers as this may move debris past the skimmer too quickly. The 2 step and the 2 lower returns are fine and are probably a good idea but plumb each pair with it's own return line. For each pair of returns, I would use at least 1 1/2" lines but it wouldn't hurt going with 2" lines. So if you go with 2 surface returns, this will mean a minimum of 3 return lines from the pad. Adding valves to each line would also allow for more fine tuning of flow rates to each set of returns although you may just leave them all open all the time.
    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: DUY IG LINER POOLS -- part 5 -- plumbing and lighting

    Thanks for your response mas985. Again, I will be re-reading.

    As for the pump of choice, I would like to go with a Pentair IntelliFlo 3.2 KW. Any thoughts on the pump? I would be ordering it seperate from the pool.

    As far as water features besides the returns I will be adding a 6' slide. That's it... no spa, swim outs or anything fancy like that.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: DUY IG LINER POOLS -- part 5 -- plumbing and lighting

    For clarification...

    If I have two main drains and no use for a robotic cleaner, do I have to install suction lines?

    Couldn't I drain the pool with the two main drains on the floor of deep end if needed?
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: DUY IG LINER POOLS -- part 5 -- plumbing and lighting

    You need a suction line (pipe) for each skimmer and for the main drain, but you don't need one for a suction side cleaner or a low wall suction if you don't want to have them.
    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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    Re: DUY IG LINER POOLS -- part 5 -- plumbing and lighting

    DUH! I'm so silly! Thanks for bringing me back to earth Jason!
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: DUY IG LINER POOLS -- part 5 -- plumbing and lighting

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985
    With a rectangle pool, it might be best to plumb the returns a few feet from the corners so that they can be directed down the length of the adjacent wall without having to adjust the eyeball for sideways return as this is more restrictive. This should create a nice circular movement in the water while reducing the dead spots in the corners. The idea is to place two surface returns in opposite corners which are each aimed down the long side of the pool with a skimmer in the corner opposite each return (i.e. other corners). This would be very efficient at moving debris directly into the skimmer and at the same time creating a nice circular motion in the water. This setup avoids placing returns too close to the skimmers as this may move debris past the skimmer too quickly.

    The 2 step and the 2 lower returns are fine and are probably a good idea but plumb each pair with it's own return line. For each pair of returns, I would use at least 1 1/2" lines but it wouldn't hurt going with 2" lines. So if you go with 2 surface returns, this will mean a minimum of 3 return lines from the pad. Adding valves to each line would also allow for more fine tuning of flow rates to each set of returns although you may just leave them all open all the time.
    I will be studing this more but I drew up a flimsy plan and would like some feed back on whether it's good or if something needs tweeked. I kinda like your idea mas <no offense waste> so tell me what you think.



    I'm open to constructive critizism.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: DUY IG LINER POOLS -- part 5 -- plumbing and lighting

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985
    The 2 step and the 2 lower returns are fine and are probably a good idea but plumb each pair with it's own return line.
    So I can run the 2 low returns on their own run lines together but use seperate lines for each side of the pool? I.E. they can share the run line?

    For each pair of returns, I would use at least 1 1/2" lines but it wouldn't hurt going with 2" lines.
    Would 2" return lines be better for surface and low returns? Because if it is, that's all I'll buy.
    Thank you!
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: DIY IG LINER POOLS -- part 5 -- plumbing and lighting

    Casey, I love the way you posted the proposed diagrammed pool - I'll have to start doing that 8) (my wife just bought us a new camera, so now I'm allowed to use the old one for pool stuff [I want to take and post some pics of the pools we build and the different phases, but especially the plumbing]) I'll show you drawings of what/ how I (we) do things on the pools we build vs. your proposal and perhaps one of a 'tweek' on your pic

    As it's not something you are going to layout and plumb this weekend, give me ~ a week to show you a couple other ways of laying out the plumbing (it's mother's day weekend and I'll be hosting my MIL and SIL - WAAAYYY too much estrogen for me to be able to actually do what I want to , but we will play numerous rubbers of bridge )

    Time for bed Have a good night!
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: DIY IG LINER POOLS -- part 5 -- plumbing and lighting

    That's awesome waste! I will be looking forward to seeing yours too! I'm sure we could come up with something that will work efficiently that will get the job done and learn in the process.

    P.S. I have no idea how to use my computer so I do what works for me. Glad you like it.

    Hope you and yours have a Happy Mother's Day weekend! Take Care! 8)
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: DIY IG LINER POOLS -- part 5 -- plumbing and lighting

    Casey,

    That is close to what I was thinking about but not quite. First, I don't think you need that many deep returns. 2 is more than enough and I would place them on opposite walls in the deep end and low of course. These returns will be pointed downward and their purpose is to return warm water to deeper parts of the pool when solar or a heater is used and to ensure a decent mix of chemicals. They really won't contribute much to surface circulation and skimming.

    Also, I was thinking that the skimmers should be opposite the return so put the around the corners from where they are so they face the opposite return.

    There are many different ways to place returns and skimmers so waste might have some ideas as well.
    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: DIY IG LINER POOLS -- part 5 -- plumbing and lighting

    I would have replied sooner but I had to rush ds to the E.R. He was mauled pretty bad on the arm by a dog.

    I understand what you mean now mas. I was in the process of re-drawing the pool sketch up when I had to bolt. Thanks for clarification.

    I think I'll wait to see what waste has to offer with all the good pics of his builds later on. You guys have been great! I can't thank you all enough for all the info you've given me so far! 8)
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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