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Thread: Need advice & guidance...

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    Need advice & guidance...

    Just stumbled upon this site, this is my first post, and by what I've seen so far I think I'll be on here daily trying to absorb as much as I can.

    Here's my situation. I'm in South Florida, just moved down last June, for job reasons, from Maryland. Bought a house with a pool (was a requirement) but it, along with a good portion of the house, seemed to have been somewhat neglected. I have no prior pool experience other than swimming in the neighborhood ones.

    I've finished much of the interior renovations my wife and I wanted to do, and we’re now focusing on the outside, starting with the pool. The pool is and was usable, meaning we enjoyed it most of the hot & humid summer. I took pool samples to the local PinchAPenny and they told me what to do chemical-wise. The pool is 15 years old and has an attached spa that waterfalls into it. Not sure exactly how may gallons it is, I'm thinking maybe 7,500 to 10,000?

    Here’s a picture of it just after TS Faye (which why the water level is so high)


    The coating on the pool has brown stains that don’t come off with scrubbing. I read in some other posts a recommendation to hold a vitamin C tablet against them to see if it clears up in that spot. I am going to try that but I think it is the original coating on the pool. I honestly don’t know hand have absolutely zero history on it. Here’s what the staining looks like:


    There are some hairline cracks I’d like to patch. What can I use underwater to repair the cracks?
    I had the pump replaced and a new cartridge filter put in. The skimmer looks to have been replaced/serviced at some point as the concrete around it looks like something done at a later time (see the pool picture above – the skimmer is at the top, you can see the dark area around it.)

    My biggest issue with the pool seems to be between the spa and the pool. If I change the valves so that the water is returned through the spa and waterfalls into the pool, after the pump shuts off the spa water level will ultimately drop to the level of the lowest return line. I did a test by marking the pool water level and the pool level would drop when the pump was on, then several hours later the spa level is down and the pool level is back close to where it started. I say close because it seems like some water is lost somewhere but I can’t pinpoint it. There’s a tile that needs to be replaced in the spa but I can’t imagine water being lost.

    I’m going to try a bucket test to see if there’s a leak but I don’t think so. I think the problem is a bad check valve that is allowing the water to flow back into the pool.

    This brings me to what I ultimately want to do and that is to completely redo the plumbing. The suspect check valves are non-serviceable and can’t be cut out due to how they were placed. I’ll have to do a good amount of replacement so I figure why not go all the way and replace all of the other aged components with new.
    There’s a rusted out Raypak spa heater that leaks if the water is plumbed to the spa so there’s probably my reason the water level doesn’t come quite back to normal in the pool after the pump shuts off. I’m going to replace it and am curious if I should get the 11KW version instead of the 5.5KW. It is only $15 more in cost and my thought is that it would heat the water twice as fast? According to the Raypak brochure it seems to simply do double what the 5.5KW version does and so I thought I could heat the water faster? Is that a naïve view or would it be a bad idea to use the larger version? I don’t know the model of what is there now.

    Here’s the plumbing I want to replace:


    The picture above does not reflect my current valve settings. I currently have all suction coming from the skimmer, to which I have a Great White vacuum attached to the port inside the skimmer (you can vaguely see the gray tubing in the picture of the pool by the skimmer.) The water is returned through the pool return (goes to 3 return ports that look worn and may need some TLC). The spa does not have water circulating and is of course not used. I dump chlorine in regularly to keep it clear but there is a lot of debris right now.

    Here’s my attempt to diagram and understand the plumbing:


    Are there any improvements that can be made before I tackle this project? Does the plumbing look correct? When the pump was replaced it looks like smaller PVC was used. What is the recommended size? 1.5” or the 2”? I was planning on using Jandy Check Valves and either Jandy NeverLube or Intermatic maintenance free valves. Any recommendations are appreciated.

    Sorry this post os so long. I won’t even mention the bubbling I’m getting from the pool port return closest to pump (upper-right area in pool image).

    Thanks!
    Doug
    Southeast, Florida

    15,000 (guessing) gallon IG pool with 400 gallon connected spa. Diamondbrite done Feb '09. Hayward C-17502 Cartridge filter. Hayward SuperPump 1.5hp SP2610X15. Hayward SwimPure Plus SWG. Raypak SpaPak 11KW Spa Heater.

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    Re: Need advice & guidance...

    Welcome to the forum.

    Your list of "things to do" is s-o-o-o long it is difficult to address them meaningfully.

    Break up your repairs into smaller projects that are a little easier to focus on. We aren't "on site" so it's difficult to grasp your whole situation. It sounds like you are interested in the plumbing first (although, if it were me, I'd post a set of test results and get your water balanced) but let us know which issue you want to tackle and you'll get some good advice.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Need advice & guidance...

    Welcome! Where to start...

    So with the spa heater, if you've got the electrical capacity out there for the 11kw heater, go for it. Just keep in mind that it will be drawing about 50 amps on its own.

    As long as you are not heating the spa water, you should run this pool with a constant light spill over from the spa. This will keep you from having to keep track of two bodies of water at once, and prevent the water in the spa from just stagnating. To do this set all your suction to come from the pool and then open the valve for the spa returns just a smidge.

    To the plumbing: Both the valves you mentioned are quality valves. I use Neverlubes. They're pretty bulletproof. It seems more likely to me that the water in the tub is falling back to the pool on the suction side because of a slightly leaky valve. You'd have to have two faulty check valves for it to happen on the return side and while that's possible, it's also very possible that the suction valves are slightly worn or not 100% in position. When you replumb it, go with 2".

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    Re: Need advice & guidance...

    Thanks for the replies!

    Yes, sorry, I realized my post was way too big so I apologize for that. I just wanted to get it all out there and maybe those that could comment on only certain areas would do so. I've very excited that I found this forum.

    The plumbing is my main focus so I'll concentrate on that. I definitely want to get the plumbing corrected so that I can run the water through the spa and have it waterfall into the pool. I think the last check valve before the spe return is the culprit as the water could bypass the second one flowing back through the heater. When I shut the valve that diverts between the pool & spa return (the valve on pipe "E" in my diagram) the water stays constant in the pool and the spa.

    So, very soon I'm going to order the valves and get my PVC materials then take a sawzall to the pipes coming from the ground, dump all the existing plumbing then redo it. This may be difficult to answer via the forum but how does one determine whether to use the 1.5" ID or the 2" ID PVC?

    Re the heater, the breaker panel by all of the equipment has a double-pole breaker so it looks like I have the 220V service needed. A question I have in doing the plumbing for it, can I add a valve to control the water to the heater? In my diagram there's the valve on pipe "E" to divert between the pool & spa returns. The water then will flow either through the heater or through a more restrictive check valve bypass. I assume the bypass is there because of the flow rate (too much to pipe all the water through the heater only?) What would be convenient would be to have a valve that lets me choose to use the heater or not, like the below modification to my diagram (or is the bypass required and should be unrestricted?):


    Also, "While I'm at it..." can/should I add an auto-chlorinator? If so where would it go and what $$$ am I looking at?

    Thanks again !
    Southeast, Florida

    15,000 (guessing) gallon IG pool with 400 gallon connected spa. Diamondbrite done Feb '09. Hayward C-17502 Cartridge filter. Hayward SuperPump 1.5hp SP2610X15. Hayward SwimPure Plus SWG. Raypak SpaPak 11KW Spa Heater.

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    Re: Need advice & guidance...

    Ooops, forgot...

    @duraleigh: Re the water, I have two test kits. On is a bottle of the little AquaCheck strips you dip in and then check the colors against a chart. Seems to work OK, I guess. I also have a kit that checks chlorine and PH. Has a bottle of red liquid and a bottle of yellow liquid and a test vile. Is there a recommended kit? I see something in your signature and am going to investigate that.

    Thanks
    Southeast, Florida

    15,000 (guessing) gallon IG pool with 400 gallon connected spa. Diamondbrite done Feb '09. Hayward C-17502 Cartridge filter. Hayward SuperPump 1.5hp SP2610X15. Hayward SwimPure Plus SWG. Raypak SpaPak 11KW Spa Heater.

  6. Back To Top    #6
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    Re: Need advice & guidance...

    The stains you have in your pool look like scale deposits, not iron stains (which is what vitamin c is used for). These are from improperly balanced water. If you don't want to continue having problems like that (or suffer damage to the plaster) you NEED a good test kit to maintain your water. It's probably the MOST important thing you need to do with a pool. Neither of your "test kits" are going to do the job. My post in this thread and the associated pool school article that is link might be useful to you.
    what-is-your-test-kit-of-choice-t10182.html

    As Duraleigh said above, getting your pool water in balance is step one!

  7. Back To Top    #7
    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Need advice & guidance...

    I think the last check valve before the spe return is the culprit as the water could bypass the second one flowing back through the heater. When I shut the valve that diverts between the pool & spa return (the valve on pipe "E" in my diagram) the water stays constant in the pool and the spa.
    I see what you mean now. You're right. You're pretty good at this for a new owner!
    So, very soon I'm going to order the valves and get my PVC materials then take a sawzall to the pipes fomr the ground and cut it all out then redo it. This may be difficult to answer via the forum but how does one determine whether to use the 1.5" ID or the 2" ID PVC?
    You can easily use plumbing that is too small for a system, but it's very hard to make the plumbing to big. When in doubt go for the larger pipe. It will decrease the total dynamic head of your system and increase your flow rate.

    Re the heater, the breaker panel by all of the equipment has a double-pole breaker so it looks like I have the 220V service needed. A question I have in doing the plumbing for the heater, can I add a valve to control the water to the heater?
    You may need to upgrade the service, though. You'll need to be sure the main line in and the wiring to the heater can handle over 50 amps (50 from the heater plus ~10 from the pump motor). That might require changing out a breaker or two and beefing up the wiring if it's anything thinner than 6 or 8 AWG. Just be sure you're up to code on everything. A heater bypass is always a good idea.

    Also, "While I'm at it..." can/shoudl I add an auto-chlorinator? If so where would it go and what $$$ am I looking at?
    The best move would be a chlorine generator, which looks like it would fit between your pool/spa return valve and the line to the pool. You need this to be the final component in line (after your filter and heater). In that position it won't add chlorine to the spa in 'spa only' mode, so all the more reason to be sure you're spilling over when the spa is not in use. There is lots of info on this subject in the automatic chlorinator and equipment review sections of the forum.

  8. Back To Top    #8

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    Re: Need advice & guidance...

    Welcome to TFP!!

    I agree with what Dave, Tim and Evan have already said I'm just gonna throw out a couple of thoughts.

    1) If you have a bad check valve, I'd have to say that it's the one on pipe F that is shown next to the spa blower, if it failed the water could siphon into the pool returns through the heater (ie, the other check valve could still be good.) If part of the replumb will include replacing them, get the Jandy (or similar) that has interchangeable guts.

    2) When you redo the plumbing, get rid of the 2 45* elbows in front of the pump! It looks like you have enough room to slide the pump over to eliminate them (just extend the pipe from the pump to the filter) It's hard to tell from the pic, but they also may be bringing the suction pipes down to the pump as well, just cut pipes A B and C to be at the right height to go straight into the pump. Speaking of the pump inlet connection, that could be where the air bubbles are coming from, or it could be a bad gasket on the pump lid or a loose plug on the pump (there's a leak detection post in Pool School here that might help identify where the leak (s) is/ are.

    3) Unless the pool is loosing water (which you think is not happening), don't worry about the cracks in the plaster for now. You may end up having to resurface the pool or at least acid washing it and they can be addressed then. Evan is probably right about the calcium but you could try a trichlor puck on one of the stains to see if it's organic.

    4) Give Pool School a couple good reads from end to end! It may well answer some of your questions and even some you haven't asked Also, get a good test kit STAT!

    I wish you well with getting the pool back in shape, we'll be here to help every step of the way!

    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!)

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: Need advice & guidance...

    Thanks Ted!

    I actually just ordered the TF100 test kit and already have a shipment notification. Pretty cool. I will post my test results when the kit arrives.

    Thanks for the advice on the plumbing... I wasn't happy when I saw what the guy did when he replaced the pump, especially the smaller piping, but I had just bought the house and knew zero about any of it and just needed it done. For my replacements I'm going to purchase the Jandy NeverLube valves and the Jandy check valves as well. I think you're right on which one is faulty.

    Funny you mention the air leak possibly being the pump lid. When I went to clean the strainer one day my wife was with me and she claimed ot have seen some water shoot out very quickly just for a split second and hit the wall next to the pump when I flipped the switch to turn it off. When replacing the lid the gasket looked OK and nothing seemed to be in the groove it fits into.

    When the pump is running there is a water vortex very visible through the lid made up of (I'm assuming) air bubbles. Before I had the guts of one of one of the valves replaced, I remember being able to see the junk in the strainer moving around, but the water was clear at that time. Now, the water is no longer clear because of all the bubbles. It can be reduced a tad by turning the valve that controls suction from the pool main drain or the skimmer so I think the repair job was faulty.

    Thanks for your input, I really appreciate it.

    Doug
    Southeast, Florida

    15,000 (guessing) gallon IG pool with 400 gallon connected spa. Diamondbrite done Feb '09. Hayward C-17502 Cartridge filter. Hayward SuperPump 1.5hp SP2610X15. Hayward SwimPure Plus SWG. Raypak SpaPak 11KW Spa Heater.

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    Re: Need advice & guidance...

    Doug, you sound like you are on your way to properly repair and care for your pool

    Congrats on ordering the TF 100 kit! With a good kit you'll be empowered to know what your chem levels are (and you can use JasonLion's dosing calculator, in my sig, to properly adjust the levels 8) ).

    If the air got worse after the guts of the Jandy valve were replaced - you can pull the 8 screws and make sure that the top o-ring didn't get pinched (to isolate the valve do the "dribble water on it" test as per the Pool School article I linked). You can do the same test on any suspect connections and the pump lid, knowing where the problem is is the first step in getting it corrected.

    Your super pump lid SHOULD NOT! leak when the pump is turned off!! It's something that Hayward Northstar pumps do, but not the super pumps - if it 'squirts' water when the pump turns off, the gasket is either bad or something is preventing a proper seal - the part # is SP 1600 S, if you need to replace it

    Glad you found us, we WILL be here to help with your pool's issues
    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!)

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Re: Need advice & guidance...

    Got the test kit almost next day but haven't had the change to test it yet...had friends in town from up North for a visit. I did, however, get a chance to figure out the source of my air leak causing all of the bubbles in the pump basket and bubbling from the one return (not the spa-pool leak.)

    I did the test of pouring water on the valves while the pump was on and the 3-port valve on the suctino side closest to the pump started making a wet suction sound. Pulled the valve apart and found the o-ring was split. replaced it and the bubbles are completely gone.

    Anyway, a temporary fix as I'm going to be replacing all of the plumbing. Speaking of...can I use PVC valves and check valves? There WILL be a spa heater but I can't imagine getting anywhere near the 140 degree temp rating on the PVC. Would I be doing myself a disservice by getting PVC valves rather than CPVC? I've noticed some posts on here where people claim to have gotten CPVC valves but then mated them up with PVC piping. Wouldn't that be negating the benefit of the CPVC?

    Also, in an effort to save money (but not wanting to "pay" for it in the end) I'm trying to decide if the Pentair valves and check valves are good quality, or should I go with the Jandy NeverLube? The Pentair valves are also lube-free/maintenance free and about half the price to 2/3 the price. Would I be sorry with the Pentair?

    Thanks!
    Southeast, Florida

    15,000 (guessing) gallon IG pool with 400 gallon connected spa. Diamondbrite done Feb '09. Hayward C-17502 Cartridge filter. Hayward SuperPump 1.5hp SP2610X15. Hayward SwimPure Plus SWG. Raypak SpaPak 11KW Spa Heater.

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Re: Need advice & guidance...

    dzimmer,

    I can't help much with your questions about valves, but, because I am going to replace mine, I'll be very interested in the opinions you get. That said, I am not aware of any advantage of CPVC over PVC for a pool valve application.....I'll be interested to know if there is.

    Lastly, I would still suggest you post some pool water test results and get your pool water in line ASAP. Any scaling that has occured in your pool is most likely continuing to damage your pool surface and the only way you can stop it is to get your pool chemistry in line and learn how to keep it there. There are other damaging thangs that could be happening to your pool because of improper water balance, too.

    I don't want sound like an "alarmist", your water may be just fine.......but, until you know that, any negative affect your pool water is causing will continue.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  13. Back To Top    #13
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    Re: Need advice & guidance...

    The Pentair valves are great. I've got a few customers with them. I'd even say they move a bit smoother than the Jandys. The ones that are out there are a bit newer, so I can't tell you for sure they'll last forever, but I haven't had any issues so far.

    PVC valves tend to not feel as good in use. The plastic isn't as strong, so the stem is going to be bigger and clunkier feeling. A modestly good CPVC valve will be as good or better than an expensive PVC valve. But order the wrong PVC valve and you'll be doing everything over again. Not so much a temp issue as strength.

    There's one other nice 3-way valve I've come across recently but I can't remember the manufacturer. Maybe I'll spot it today. In the rain.

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: Need advice & guidance...

    Quote Originally Posted by spishex
    The Pentair valves are great. I've got a few customers with them. I'd even say they move a bit smoother than the Jandys. The ones that are out there are a bit newer, so I can't tell you for sure they'll last forever, but I haven't had any issues so far.

    PVC valves tend to not feel as good in use. The plastic isn't as strong, so the stem is going to be bigger and clunkier feeling. A modestly good CPVC valve will be as good or better than an expensive PVC valve. But order the wrong PVC valve and you'll be doing everything over again. Not so much a temp issue as strength.

    There's one other nice 3-way valve I've come across recently but I can't remember the manufacturer. Maybe I'll spot it today. In the rain.
    Probably Praher. Nice valves.

    http://www.prahervalves.com/pagespool/rotary_2%263.html

    Stay dry!
    21' Leslies Beachland Ag Pool, 10,000 gallons, professionally installed (best money I ever spent) Hayward 16" sand filter w/Pentair two speed pump Fafco 4x20 solar heater,Aqua Trol RJ. Borates added. Hard plumbed.

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    Re: Need advice & guidance...

    Glad you were able to find and fix the air leak!

    I would trust most everything Spishex or Aquaman said on any issue, they are pros and know their stuff!

    Also, PLEASE do as Dave asks and test that water ASAP! If you have any trouble using the kit or interpreting the results, he , and a lot of others here, will help

    See how easy this will be now that you've found us? 8)
    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!)

  16. Back To Top    #16

    Re: Need advice & guidance...

    Okay...quite a bit has changed since we last spoke. Two major this are:

    1)I had the pool & spa redone with DiamondBrite. Here's a picture of the pool and my daughter doing some of the brushing that has to be done for the first few days (notice the spa spillover? That's because of #2 below...):


    2) I did the replumbing of all the equipment! I had to get some PVC unions for the heater thus the two open pipes in the lower left of the image so this is at about 90% complete. Also I ended up getting a Hayward SWG off eBay. haven't hooked up the control panel yet. Scroll back up to the top and look at the before then compare to this after! I'm pleased with teh outcome. The Pentair valves work wonderfully and are very smooth to operate


    So far everythign works great!

    Once I fire up the SWG I will post water test results.
    Southeast, Florida

    15,000 (guessing) gallon IG pool with 400 gallon connected spa. Diamondbrite done Feb '09. Hayward C-17502 Cartridge filter. Hayward SuperPump 1.5hp SP2610X15. Hayward SwimPure Plus SWG. Raypak SpaPak 11KW Spa Heater.

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    Re: Need advice & guidance...

    Your PVC work is "Cadillac". First rate job.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  18. Back To Top    #18

    Re: Need advice & guidance...

    I would recommend CPVC pipe connections at the heater. Regular SCH40 or 80 can melt. You can just buy a threaded nipple and cut it in half.
    21' Leslies Beachland Ag Pool, 10,000 gallons, professionally installed (best money I ever spent) Hayward 16" sand filter w/Pentair two speed pump Fafco 4x20 solar heater,Aqua Trol RJ. Borates added. Hard plumbed.

  19. Back To Top    #19
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    Re: Need advice & guidance...

    Looks like you did a great job with the piping, but it looks to me that the SWG is placed before the heater? Hope I'm looking at it wrong.
    22 x 40 IG vinyl lined, 23,570 gal.
    1 hp. Pac-Fab Challenger pump 300# sand filter
    Intex 8110 SWG, Hayward CL220 offline feeder
    Hayward 250K Btu gas heater
    Aquabots

  20. Back To Top    #20

    Re: Need advice & guidance...

    @duraleigh:
    Thanks! Actually had a freind help who has done PVC before so the credit is really his.

    @Aquaman95:
    Wow, I didn't even think about that. I ended up getting some PVC unions at Home Depot and they're working very nicely but I only heated the water up for about an hour yesterday (finally got the heater's electrical connections done) to verfy operation.
    I'm hoping I can find some CPVC unions just like the ones I bought and just use the threaded side that attaches to the heater! Wow, thanks again. You probably saved me a whole heap of trouble.

    @New2Me:
    Yes, you're right. I did mount it technically before the heater but, the heater is only for the spa and would only be used in spa only mode and the chlorinator would be turned off. It was a conscious decision. The flow switch is actually also before the SWG cell which I should have done them the other way around. I'm hoping it will still be OK once I get it hooked up. I don't have the 12" before the flow switch that I should but I think I have about 8" (realized this when it was too late to do anything about it -- as in when I was done.)

    If I had followed the manual I should have put the flow switch on the pool return after the final valve, but again I really, really wanted to spill over from the spa and didn't know if there would be enough pressure to a) activate the flow sensor and b) spill over the spa if I had water returning to both the pool and spa at the same time. Turns out there IS enough to allow both the pool and spa returns to be wide open which I'm happy about because the new return ports on the sides of the pool I have angled up a little and it creates a lot of "action" on the pool's surface.

    So again it was a conscious decision to do it and I have a valve in place to prevent water from flowing through the heater in normal operation. The valve on the bottom of the image that is butted right up to a check valve would normally be 180-degrees from what you see blocking the path to the heater. I may need install a check valve on that run of pipe along the bottom from the heater output. Undecided.
    Southeast, Florida

    15,000 (guessing) gallon IG pool with 400 gallon connected spa. Diamondbrite done Feb '09. Hayward C-17502 Cartridge filter. Hayward SuperPump 1.5hp SP2610X15. Hayward SwimPure Plus SWG. Raypak SpaPak 11KW Spa Heater.

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