Builder forgot supply line for water features - Plan B?

Tfastle

Active member
Mar 17, 2014
43
Albq. NM, United States
Very long story but our builder forgot to put in the supply line for our water features (2 sheer decent falls and 8 deck jets, separate Pentair VS pump). I have zero confidence in them and will likely negotiate a separation and finish the pool myself. I am considering using the skimmer line (the pool has one skimmer) for the supply to my water features and plumbing it so the suction for the water feature pump (WFP) would tee off of the skimmer line at the equipment pad (there is a valve on both the drain and skimmer lines, I would tee off just before that valve on the skimmer line). It seems to me that via the skimmer I have no concerns of a suction or vacuum entrapment issue, the skimmer (2" lines) should be able to supply enough volume and if the pool/spa pump (also a Pentair VS) is running that pump could pull more from the main drain as needed. While I'm not sure it would be an issue I could put a check valve after the tee and before the valve so the WFP does not starve or pull from the pool/spa pump. I really don't want to dig down and add another supply line and, after giving it quite a bit of thought, think this would work quite nicely. Am I missing something or would this be an acceptable (not perfect but acceptable) way to get water to my water features?

Any input would be appreciated.

Thanks!


I hope this isn't overlapping my posts, I touched on it in another post some time back but more asking about adding a line after the pool was completed which, after hearing how the builder wanted to do it I rejected (dig down, use hammer drill and jack hammer to break into pool, patch and plaster patch ... aka - "hack").
 

jro33176

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2013
348
Miami, FL
I may be confused, but do you mean to tee off at your water return lines? The skimmer and main drain bring water into your equipment, but the water features require the water to be flowing from the equipment to the pool. That's how my equipment is set up, anyway.

I'm not sure what your options are actually. Hopefully others will give you good guidance.
 

Kiss4aFrog

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
May 22, 2013
2,725
Hudson, WI
It sounds like you are one pump and one pressure supply line short and would need to do something separate to supply water to the falls and jets. The skimmer is on the suction side. :confused::confused:
 

gwegan

TFP Expert
Apr 19, 2013
2,769
Sacramento, CA
You are saying that the PB failed to install a separate supply (suction) line to supply the water feature pump from the pool. You propose to just T off the line running to the main pump. The return lines for the water features are all in. Correct?

If you can pull water from the spa for its jets and run that through the main pump then this should work. I'd have to see a diagram to be sure. You have two pumps because the spa jests have such a large demand and you don't want to run heated water through the water features during those romantic evenings in the spa. So if you can separate the spa circulation and the water feature circulation then it should work. This may have been the PB original plan anyway.
 

az1324

Active member
Apr 16, 2009
26
Do you really need the second pump? Why not put a valve actuator to switch between the standard return and the water features. Ramp up the speed on the pump when the features are on if you need to.

- - - Updated - - -

You are saying that the PB failed to install a separate supply (suction) line to supply the water feature pump from the pool. You propose to just T off the line running to the main pump. The return lines for the water features are all in. Correct?

If you can pull water from the spa for its jets and run that through the main pump then this should work. I'd have to see a diagram to be sure. You have two pumps because the spa jests have such a large demand and you don't want to run heated water through the water features during those romantic evenings in the spa. So if you can separate the spa circulation and the water feature circulation then it should work. This may have been the PB original plan anyway.
That is what he's saying but two pumps competing over 1 suction line doesn't sound like a good idea. But maybe since there are 2 lines and with the check valve it could work. He said deck jets not spa jets.

Are you sure that there isn't a wall/floor drain plumbed into the skimmer and then you could just use the floor drain exclusively for the features?
 

Tfastle

Active member
Mar 17, 2014
43
Albq. NM, United States
Ok, I did not make myself completely clear. When I said the PB forgot the supply line to the features I meant the suction line. All supply line to the features are in but there is not suction line to the pump for the features. I will address a couple of the suggestions and questions so far. I need the second water feature pump because we have a spa and everything running on the pool/spa pump would preclude us from using any water features when the spa is on (we would be running hot water to the water features AND emptying the spa). There are actually 3 pumps, Pool/spa circulation, water feature, spa jets (suction line from spa, returns to jets). I am proposing pulling the water from the skimmer line and using that for the water features when they are on. When the pool is in spa mode there is no circulation in the pool so it seems there should be no problem then. When in pool mode the pool would be circulating but pulling from two sources, split main drain and skimmer. My thought is that if the spa feature pump is pulling from the skimmer the pool pump could make that up out of the main drain. Upon further thought check valves right after the tee to the water features in each line would probably be a good idea. The PB admitted he forgot to put the suction line in for the water features. I don't want to use the floor drains for the water features because the water to the water features (which won't be on all the time) won't run through the filter. Seems, since sediment and such settles to the bottom better to filter the drain and when water features are on, the skimmer basket and basket at the pump should do the trick and when water features are off, would filter as per normal. Does that make sense? Thanks!
 

mrcarcrazy

TFP Guide
Jan 21, 2014
1,042
Tx coast
How many skimmers do you have? are they plumbed along one line or all separate? Do you know the diameter of the plumbing to the skimmers?

IIRC many skimmers have two holes in the bottom...so if my theory is correct you may be able to unplug the second hole and use it as a feed for your waterfalls, etc.


Now here's my concern with using the skimmer as the suction source - skimmed debris getting into the system and clogging small orifices.

My sheer descents are plumbed so the suction is about 2ft under water in the deep end. I personally like this design as it gives the least chance of bugs etc getting sucked in. I realize this isn't an option for you...I'm just thinking outloud so to speak.

We ran a second pump for the same reason you did...so I can relate there.

If you do decide to tap the skimmer line or the skimmer itself I'd strongly suggest you use skimmer socks to cut down on the potential for clogs later.
 

Tfastle

Active member
Mar 17, 2014
43
Albq. NM, United States
Only have the one skimmer. The builder just basically filled the gunite around the skimmer and let the second line seal with it so I don't thing that is an option but I will see if there is anyway to clear it. It should be at or near the outside edge of the gunite. I did think about the debri and figure the baskets will catch pretty much anything big enough to clog but the sock is good idea, will look into that.