Adding water via the plumbing instead of a hose

JohnT

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Apr 4, 2007
9,475
SW Indiana
My pump and filter are in a room of the poolhouse which is plumbed with a water supply. I planned to set things up so that I can add water directly to the pool plumbing instead of dragging out a hose.

My thinking is that I want to add the water on the suction side of the pump, which would mean I wouldn't have to worry about the pool pump pushing water into my water supply plumbing. I intend to use a check valve and ball valve in the supply line. I already have a threaded T in the inlet side of the pump that is currently plugged.

Anybody see any problems or have a better idea? I've looked into the remote type autofill devices, but I don't really see a need, and since I have such high alkalinity water, I prefer to be able to wait on forecast rain to fill the pool.
 

dbyang

Member
Aug 17, 2010
13
tallahassee, florida
I asked for something like that in my recently built pool, and the contractor said code prevented any potential connection of house(city) water to pool water. So he laid an extra 1/2" pipe connected from the house supply directly to the top of the inside of the pool wall, above the overflow line, so pool water will never get into the supply line.

Also with an automatic refiller, you may never know if you have a leak until you see a very high water bill.
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
20,898
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
Check the local building codes. I did some googling just now, and my memory is correct - they generally specify an air gap between the outlet and the pool water. Although a few said something about backflow devices.

The day may come when you sell the place, and a savvy home inspector may note the violation, and you'll have to tear it all out.
 

anonapersona

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Nov 5, 2008
2,598
If you are adding water into the pump suction, will the water be flowing out of the skimmers? I'd think that would push all the debris in the skimmers out into the pool. Maybe the flow would be too slow to matter much.

The back-flow device is just like what is sold for irrigation systems so that would be what you want to install.

If you could find a spot where you could run the line so that it was not noticed, say around the side and through the landscaping perhaps, then you could skip that, as you'd have the air gap from the edge of the deck to the waterline.
 

lborne

Well-known member
Jun 29, 2009
462
Vero Beach, FL
I've done this. I had to run a pvc water line about 20 feet to the equipment pad from an exisiting spigot off the house. I added a T to the solar plumbing and connected via a stainless washing machine hose to the pvc line. Its on the pressure side because its also used to drain water from the pool via a garden hose if ever needed. And there is a check valve between it and the filter so I don't push water back through the filter. I'm sure its against code, but I do have a backflow device in the system. And with the flex hose connection, if I ever sell the house, it can easily be removed and is not violating code.

I also added two ball valves. One right on the T and another where I connected to the house supply. Finally, I added an automatic shut off device so that I can set and forget. I see that the kind of device I got has a high failure rate, so I will be switching to a digital sprinkler timer soon.

Since taking the photo below, I've added a screw on check valve because I did not want back pressure on the automatic shut off.
 

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JohnT

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Apr 4, 2007
9,475
SW Indiana
Code isn't an issue, but I want to do it right. I think it's safe. I've considered the timer as well. Kind of hoping I can find one to control gallons of flow so I could just set it to run 500 gallons in.

There is a commercial product that uses a wireless sensor in the skimmer to control a valve on the pump plumbing, so I expect it can be done to code. http://americanbestpoolsupply.com/detail/107909.htm

Removing it would be trivial for an inspection. I'll probably just use a hose spigot on the wall behind the pump with a short section of hose to the threaded T.
 

lborne

Well-known member
Jun 29, 2009
462
Vero Beach, FL
The manual dial automatic shutoff that I have lets you set gallons. Not sure how accurate it is, but after a few times, you'll know where to set it. Same if it were a set time - eventually you'll know.
 

Durk

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2007
654
New Jersey
My old pool, set up in 1948 or so when the well was dug, plumbed the well directly to the return manifold ( 4 x1 1/2" homeruns without eyeballs) with a check valve at the well head. A household system for the poolhouse was added later, but we would shut the inflow to the pressure tank when we opened the well-to-pool valve. Then we just isolated and bled the pressure off the pressure switch and let the pool fill from the well while the poolhouse ran off what was left in the pressure tank. That setup filled that 40K pool in 18 hours every Spring from 1948 to 2003, plus a top-up after every b'wash and vacuum.

It was totally against modern codes and held major potential for disaster if you closed the wrong valves, but it worked great for 55 years. There was no way the piddling pressure in the returns could ever back against either the well (checkvalve) or the household system (isolated and pressurized) whether the filter pump was running or not.

The advantage of the connection to the returns is in case of power failure--then you would see backflow up the skimmers if you are connected to the suction side. Not a big deal, though.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,423
Pleasanton, CA
I currently have an autofill in my pool but I have thought about a retrofit solution for those who do not have one. This may not be what you are looking for but the idea is to use an autofill bucket next to the pad and plumb the output of the bucket, that normally goes through the pool wall, through a check valve into the pressure side of the plumbing. But it needs to be plumbed at a location that stays full of water when the pump is shut off or water will not siphon out of the bucket. This could be done at a point below the nominal water level.

When the pump is running the pressure would shut off the bucket output and the float valve in the bucket would shut off the fill water as well since the bucket would maintain a full level. When the pump is shut off, the check valve would open and the bucket would seek it's own level and water would flow out until the bucket float level reached the pool level and then the float would shut off the fill water. So the pool would only fill when the pump is off.

The only problem is that the bucket level would need to be set properly so that the float setting in the bucket is at the same water level of the pool. So if the pad were much higher or lower than the pool, you would need to raise or lower the bucket to compensate.

Also, you could put a valve next to the check valve so it wouldn't need to active all the time, only when you want it to be. But when you do want it, you could turn it on and walk away and not have to watch it and turn it off later or even the next day.

The advantage of this solution is that it is really no different than using an autofill next to the pool and isolates the home water with the pool water.
 

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