Auto-Fill and Leveling Systems

Jgoal55

Member
Feb 16, 2019
13
Miami
Hello everyone. First post here as I’m in the process of building a new pool in Miami, FL. Thanks in advance for all the advice.

My PB is strongly suggesting that I add a Jandy Levelor system. I googled some threads about these auto-fill systems, but all the ones I came across were older threads and seem to have mixed reviews.

Jandy, or otherwise, are these systems worth installing? The cost is high (PB is quoting me approx. $3k) and I’m wondering if a) that seems appropriate and b) whether it’s truly worth it in the long run.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,459
Bedford, TX
J,

Welcome to TFP... A great place to learn all about your new pool... :shark:

A pool builder will recommend everything and anything that will make him the most money... What else did he recommend? In-floor cleaner, UV, Ozone???

I was under the impression that in Florida the problem was too much rain, causing too much water in the pool, not too much evaporation like in AZ..

My pool does not have an Auto-fill and I don't find it much 'work' to manually add water once a week or so.. :)

I would suggest that you get a dedicated overflow port.

Thanks for posting,

Jim R.
 
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RoyR

Bronze Supporter
Jul 31, 2018
239
Escondido/CA
I’d say if you have an auto-fill, you need an overflow too...just Incase the auto-fill valve fails open. Using a float ball valve behind an irrigation valve gives you “automation”....no need for 3k and another phone app.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
41,325
Tallahassee, FL
Auto fillers can hide a leak you will not find out about until you get your next water bill! I would have them put in a filler that YOU can control with valve. Even better if it has a time attached to it. If not then do like I do and hang a kitchen timer around your neck so you don't forget to turn the water off :roll:

I would get the overflow drain talked about above.

Kim:kim:
 

Arizonarob

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Mar 25, 2018
2,842
Chandler Arizona
If not then do like I do and hang a kitchen timer around your neck so you don't forget to turn the water off
All you need to complete that outfit is a pair of shell toed Adidas, and a Kangol hat. And you’ll be ready to join LL Cool Jay on his tour. :laughblue:
 

kimkats

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Jul 10, 2012
41,325
Tallahassee, FL
LOL when I do this I tend to have on a pair of my husband's jeans that are past "out in the world" part of life and a shirt that has many paint stains on it as I am out in the yard doing something that will cause lots of dirt and sweat :roll: so it is NOT a pretty picture!
 

Jgoal55

Member
Feb 16, 2019
13
Miami
J,

Welcome to TFP... A great place to learn all about your new pool... :shark:

A pool builder will recommend everything and anything that will make him the most money... What else did he recommend? In-floor cleaner, UV, Ozone???

I was under the impression that in Florida the problem was too much rain, causing too much water in the pool, not too much evaporation like in AZ..

My pool does not have an Auto-fill and I don't find it much 'work' to manually add water once a week or so.. :)

I would suggest that you get a dedicated overflow port.

Thanks for posting,

Jim R.
Thanks for the welcome Jim! Looking forward to learning about all this.

You are correct about all the rain here in the summer months, but fall/winter are fairly “dry” (still unbearably humid but not much rain).

Believe it or not, so far the PB hasn’t really tried to upsell me much. This has really been his biggest push so far as he swears by it.


The pool does have an overflow spec’d already precisely because of the summer months.

Using a float ball valve behind an irrigation valve gives you “automation”....no need for 3k and another phone app.

My plumbing knowledge is limited to saltwater aquariums. Lol. Can you explain this a bit more?

Auto fillers can hide a leak you will not find out about until you get your next water bill! I would have them put in a filler that YOU can control with valve. Even better if it has a time attached to it. If not then do like I do and hang a kitchen timer around your neck so you don't forget to turn the water off
Are we just talking about a regular ball valve here? Or more like a solenoid valve controlled by a timer? If the latter, that doesn’t sound too far off from the Levolor.


The whole kitchen timer around the neck thing is definitely what I’d like to avoid. 😂. I travel quite a bit and have two little munchkins running around the house. It’s likeky I’ll forget the water is running!!

All you need to complete that outfit is a pair of shell toed Adidas, and a Kangol hat. And you’ll be ready to join LL Cool Jay on his tour. :laughblue:

😂 totally thought of flava too when I read that!!!

Is this just a basic pool or does it have a negative edge with a catch basin?
No. I’m doing a standard coping edge with a keystone material. Not sure what you mean by catch basin?


Thanks for all the quick responses everyone. Much appreciated.

My main thing is that filling a pool manually is definitely something I’d like to avoid, but $3k sounds crazy considering the cost of the Jandy Levolor is between $350-$500 from what I can see online. I understand there’s some labor and other materials involved, but seems like a hefty markup and I wonder if it’s even market price?
 

John_and_Val

Gold Supporter
Mar 30, 2018
254
Sunrise/FL
I am in Sunrise, FL doing owner/builder...couple of questions on what the builder has to do in order to get you that auto-fill / auto overflow protection.
First - is there a static line already in the wall? One is needed to run back to whatever controller you use. You say that the plans call for overflow protection....but what does that comprise of? Is it a static line back to a canister (which is the toilet bowl float one). Good thing about those is they are both overflow and auto fill in one. But if he has to chip a hole in your wall to get the static line in and re - trench......then he is hitting you with a hefty bill because it is after the fact.
OR
Is it just a pipe attached to the top portion of your skimmer.......which is not the best way because you will constantly be losing water when there is any activity in the pool.

I looked at the levolor and decided against it - I could not figure out a way to have the automation of auto fill with the levolor AND overflow protection with one static line.
I can achieve that with the canister (toilet valve type). And i am plumbing it back to the equipment pad so you don't see it at the pool. Hope this helps....
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,459
Bedford, TX
Jgoal,

Just to add on the John & Val's post... The Levolor is an electronic device that is relatively expensive for what it does, and the Toilet valve type of fill valve is mechanical and has been around forever... and should be much, much cheaper..

Jim R.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
41,325
Tallahassee, FL
I was thinking of just a plain ole ball valve. Open it when your pool needs water. Close it when the water is where you want it (middle of the skimmer face). Me? I throw a hose over the edge of my pool, set the timer, go on with what needs to be done on the property until the timer around my neck goes off LOL
 

duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
32,849
Sebring, Florida
I am not a fan of auto-fill. My son has one on his new pool in AZ and it silently leaked a water bill of $200 over the course of 45 days before he discovered it.
 

mojo1980

Gold Supporter
Feb 1, 2019
117
houston
I lost a lot of money from an autofill. So much, embarrassed to say. Whoever said they hide leaks is right, but water bill don't lie. Thats why you really want to monitor your water useable before and DURING fill and after. Ive used water counters without luck.

Its like Dave said though might cost you $ before you realize what is going on
 

Ironman92

Silver Supporter
May 11, 2016
23
Katy/TX
Have you thought about adding a dedicated zone to your sprinkler system that will add water to your pool? When I had my pool built, I looked at an autofill but decided against it. My sprinkler guy added a dedicated zone for me and I updated my Rainbird controller to a Rachio controller.

I use my phone app to add water when needed. It takes about 18 minutes to add an inch of water in my pool. I just set the timer and forget about it. The beauty is I can travel and add as needed.
 

Jgoal55

Member
Feb 16, 2019
13
Miami
I am in Sunrise, FL doing owner/builder...couple of questions on what the builder has to do in order to get you that auto-fill / auto overflow protection.
First - is there a static line already in the wall? One is needed to run back to whatever controller you use. You say that the plans call for overflow protection....but what does that comprise of? Is it a static line back to a canister (which is the toilet bowl float one). Good thing about those is they are both overflow and auto fill in one. But if he has to chip a hole in your wall to get the static line in and re - trench......then he is hitting you with a hefty bill because it is after the fact.
OR
Is it just a pipe attached to the top portion of your skimmer.......which is not the best way because you will constantly be losing water when there is any activity in the pool.

I looked at the levolor and decided against it - I could not figure out a way to have the automation of auto fill with the levolor AND overflow protection with one static line.
I can achieve that with the canister (toilet valve type). And i am plumbing it back to the equipment pad so you don't see it at the pool. Hope this helps....
Thanks. I believe it’s just a static line back to the canister. The pool and deck are both completely new so all plumbing is new and no breaking of walls or floors needed to be done.

Jgoal,

Just to add on the John & Val's post... The Levolor is an electronic device that is relatively expensive for what it does, and the Toilet valve type of fill valve is mechanical and has been around forever... and should be much, much cheaper..

Jim R.
Makes sense. But do they fail as often as toilet valves?!? Lol

I was thinking of just a plain ole ball valve. Open it when your pool needs water. Close it when the water is where you want it (middle of the skimmer face). Me? I throw a hose over the edge of my pool, set the timer, go on with what needs to be done on the property until the timer around my neck goes off LOL
Back to Flava Flav! Lol. There’s probably a way to add a timer onto that ball valve. In fact, with saltwater aquariums you can program controllers to open and close ball valves. I wonder if I could just add that tech to this idea.

I am not a fan of auto-fill. My son has one on his new pool in AZ and it silently leaked a water bill of $200 over the course of 45 days before he discovered it.
I’ve heard this enough times already where it’s definitely starting to scare me off. Do pools leak that often?

I lost a lot of money from an autofill. So much, embarrassed to say. Whoever said they hide leaks is right, but water bill don't lie. Thats why you really want to monitor your water useable before and DURING fill and after. Ive used water counters without luck.

Its like Dave said though might cost you $ before you realize what is going on
Scary. Seems like the cons out weight the positives.

Have you thought about adding a dedicated zone to your sprinkler system that will add water to your pool? When I had my pool built, I looked at an autofill but decided against it. My sprinkler guy added a dedicated zone for me and I updated my Rainbird controller to a Rachio controller.

I use my phone app to add water when needed. It takes about 18 minutes to add an inch of water in my pool. I just set the timer and forget about it. The beauty is I can travel and add as needed.
Wow. This is an awesome idea.

Where exactly does the sprinkler system add the water? Directly to the pool? Or did you plumb it into a line that feeds the pool?

I haven’t gotten around to a sprinkler system yet, but I’m really liking this concept.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
41,325
Tallahassee, FL
There are timers that can shut off the flow of water. I just did a search for "water hose timers" at Lowes and got many hits. I bet you could come up with something!

Kim:kim:
 

mojo1980

Gold Supporter
Feb 1, 2019
117
houston
I had a leak in my tile on an infiniti edge. The water would recede into the troth through the top tile in the pool and fill 5 inches over night. I damed up my overflow with epoxy to catch it and asked the builder why my water in the troth raises 5" every night. My situation infiniti edge makes it tougher than a normal pool. If you watch you bill worse case is a 4-6 weeks.

Now my wife pays the bills, and I've smart enough not to blame her. Hence my long marriage.
 

Dodger

Silver Supporter
Sep 17, 2017
641
Silicon Valley, CA
Have you thought about adding a dedicated zone to your sprinkler system that will add water to your pool? When I had my pool built, I looked at an autofill but decided against it. My sprinkler guy added a dedicated zone for me and I updated my Rainbird controller to a Rachio controller.

I use my phone app to add water when needed. It takes about 18 minutes to add an inch of water in my pool. I just set the timer and forget about it. The beauty is I can travel and add as needed.
This is what we did last summer. It's a normal fill line plumbed years ago from a manual valve with sprinkler key. We just replaced the manual valve with an automated valve and wired it as its own zone into our Orbit controller. Pretty simple to observe/estimate evaporation rates at different times of year, so we set it by phone app to run a fixed amount of time each day and make time adjustments every so often as evaporation rates decrease or increase. These are not sudden changes, so pretty easy to keep up with.

The 2 big benefits for us:
1) avoids leak disguise
2) vacation coverage
 

Gorilla83

Silver Supporter
Jul 2, 2017
418
Thornton, PA
We are in the process of having our pool built and opted to go with a "manual" valve Pool miser autofill system to keep things easy for us. Cost for us was about 1500 including running the water (100') and overflow (50') lines. I'm thinking through some of the concerns such as masking leaks etc and perhaps will install something in line to monitor flow rates, etc that will alert me of anything abnormal and have it send an alert to my phone.
 
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duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
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opted to go with a "manual" valve "Pool miser" autofill system to keep things easy for us.
"Easy" for me would be to stand on the edge of the pool and fill the pool with a hose for the fifteen minutes it might take. I would have $1500 in my pocket and the comfort of knowing I would NEVER overfill my pool unless the cold ones got REALLY good to me.