Above ground pool pump - pump higher than water level

moze229

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2011
113
Central NC
My pool is going to be installed on a graded slope, with the high part of the slope being towards the house. My plan is to have the pool installed at the best possible location, and then having the filter and pump installed closer to the house (about 20 ft. away.) I have a deck that sits up about 14' off of the ground, and was going to have a GCFI outlet installed on the wall under the deck and have the equipment there as well. (The deck that is currently there will not be tied to the pool - it's too high up. We are going to build an additional deck around the pool.)

Anyhoo, the pump is going to end up being higher, or the same level as the water in the pool. I know that I need a self priming pump, but what would be recommended for this application? Do I need to plan on upping the HP a little to compensate for the head loss? The pool package that I'm currently looking at includes a Pentair Dynamo 1HP self-priming pump. Will this work?
 

JohnT

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Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Apr 4, 2007
9,516
SW Indiana
You don't need to increase the HP. Just get an inground pump. That's the situation they are made for.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,479
Pleasanton, CA
Ditto to what John said but you might want to also consider a two speed pump. Three two speed pumps that are good fits for AG pools are:

Hayward SuperPump 1 HP uprated SP2607X102S (performs more like a 3/4 HP uprated pump)
Pentair SuperFlo 3/4 HP uprated SF-N2-3/4A
Sta-Rite SuperMax 3/4 HP uprated PHK2RAY6D-101L

All three are probably the most efficient two speed pumps on the market.
 

moze229

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2011
113
Central NC
JohnT said:
You don't need to increase the HP. Just get an inground pump. That's the situation they are made for.
This was my initial theory. However, upon reading further I noticed that a lot of the AG pumps are self-priming, which I thought would be all that is required for my situation. I suppose it doesn't really matter one way or another. I just thought I would run this by everyone to see. Plus if I can just get one that's already in a preassembled package that will save me considerably. If I go with an IG pump I'll have to buy filter and pump separately.

I guess I should have just asked the difference between IG and AG pumps. :) If the only difference is self-priming, then I'll just look at that.

Ditto to what John said but you might want to also consider a two speed pump. Three two speed pumps that are good fits for AG pools are:

Hayward SuperPump 1 HP uprated SP2607X102S (performs more like a 3/4 HP uprated pump)
Pentair SuperFlo 3/4 HP uprated SF-N2-3/4A
Sta-Rite SuperMax 3/4 HP uprated PHK2RAY6D-101L

All three are probably the most efficient two speed pumps on the market.
Thanks for the recommendations! I'll check them out.
 

cramar

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Nov 10, 2010
1,143
Sault Ontario
I think my Pentair AGP pump manual states not to place the pump higher than the water. I'm not sure if that's just over protection or not, just seemed to recall that part of the manual. Just wanted to put that out there.

Also, just wondering if "self priming" will hold up against the distance from pool to pump, if all that water were to drain from a power outage, what happens if the power returns and the pump starts again.

Not criticizing the solution your pursuing, just adding some thought.
 

moze229

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2011
113
Central NC
cramar said:
I think my Pentair AGP pump manual states not to place the pump higher than the water. I'm not sure if that's just over protection or not, just seemed to recall that part of the manual. Just wanted to put that out there.

Also, just wondering if "self priming" will hold up against the distance from pool to pump, if all that water were to drain from a power outage, what happens if the power returns and the pump starts again.

Not criticizing the solution your pursuing, just adding some thought.
I've come to the same conclusion. I'm not going to try to save a few bucks on a solution that may or may not work. I'm just going to go with one of the inground pumps and be done with it.

My original hesitation was because I'm familiar with many industries marketing products differently that are exactly the same, and the only difference is the sticker and a price markup. Further research and comments have indicated that an IG pump is designed differently. My ignorance is why I asked initially.

Thanks all for the comments!
 

JasonLion

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May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
The Pentair Dynamo is listed as self priming, can prime above water level, and confirms that in the manual. However, the Pentair OptiFlo can't prime above water level, is not listed as self priming, and says in the manual that it can be damaged when trying to prime more than 6 inches above water level.

There are a number of differences between above ground and in-ground pumps in general, but not all of the pumps in either category fall exactly into one category or the other. The Pentair Dynamo falls somewhere in the middle, even though Pentair lists it as an above ground pump. The categories aren't cleanly divided. Various specific pumps have some characteristics from each group, so it can get confusing. Any given pump will end up being put into one category or the other, but that doesn't always tell you the complete story.

The most obvious difference is that most above ground pumps are not self priming. They need water already filling the pipes to startup correctly. Above ground pumps are also usually designed to be most efficient pumping against low flow resistance (low head), while in-ground pumps are typically designed to be most efficient pumping against high flow resistance (high head). There are also medium head pumps, like the Pentair Dynamo, that are somewhere in between and thus do alright at both tasks. Above ground pumps are far more likely to be 115 volts and to have power cords attached, while in-ground pumps tend to be 230 volts and require hard wiring. Finally, in-ground pumps are more likely to inflate their HP ratings (having very low SF numbers).
 

moze229

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2011
113
Central NC
JasonLion said:
The Pentair Dynamo is listed as self priming, can prime above water level, and confirms that in the manual. However, the Pentair OptiFlo can't prime above water level, is not listed as self priming, and says in the manual that it can be damaged when trying to prime more than 6 inches above water level.

There are a number of differences between above ground and in-ground pumps in general, but not all of the pumps in either category fall exactly into one category or the other. The Pentair Dynamo falls somewhere in the middle, even though Pentair lists it as an above ground pump. The categories aren't cleanly divided. Various specific pumps have some characteristics from each group, so it can get confusing. Any given pump will end up being put into one category or the other, but that doesn't always tell you the complete story.

The most obvious difference is that most above ground pumps are not self priming. They need water already filling the pipes to startup correctly. Above ground pumps are also usually designed to be most efficient pumping against low flow resistance (low head), while in-ground pumps are typically designed to be most efficient pumping against high flow resistance (high head). There are also medium head pumps, like the Pentair Dynamo, that are somewhere in between and thus do alright at both tasks. Above ground pumps are far more likely to be 115 volts and to have power cords attached, while in-ground pumps tend to be 230 volts and require hard wiring. Finally, in-ground pumps are more likely to inflate their HP ratings (having very low SF numbers).
Well, thank you for the informative post. So in your opinion, would the Dynamo pump work for my intended setup? Pump will be slightly higher than the water line and no more than 20ft. away. Your point about an included plug and 110/115v is another good reason for me to go that way if it will work.

Someone earlier brought up a good point about a loss of power. If the Dynamo alone has the ability to pull the water from the skimmer with a dry line all the way from the pool then I should be able to make it work.
 

moze229

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2011
113
Central NC
Ok - perhaps that was a bit dumb since I should just read the manual myself. LOL :)

The manual states - "The pump should be installed as near to the
pool or spa as practical. Avoid installing the
pump more than a few feet above the water
level. Suction lifts of more than five feet will
cause very long priming times. Pump will not
lift more than 8 feet."

I assume this is referring to direct upwards movement rather than distance. The pump is not going to be higher by 8 feet in relation to the pool. We are talking inches - MAYBE 1 foot. But it will be approx. 20ft away.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,479
Pleasanton, CA
If the runs are fairly straight with a minimum of fittings, then an additional 20' should not be a problem for the Dynamo. But double check the elevation rise to make sure it isn't more than you think it is.
 

moze229

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2011
113
Central NC
mas985 said:
If the runs are fairly straight with a minimum of fittings, then an additional 20' should not be a problem for the Dynamo. But double check the elevation rise to make sure it isn't more than you think it is.
Good call. I'll be back over there tomorrow (new house construction) so I'll recheck my measurements again. I don't know exactly where the pool will be yet, but I know I can get within 8 feet. :)

Thanks!
 

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