Equipment overhaul: what to gut, what to salvage

doggonepool

Gold Supporter
Jul 22, 2020
29
Front Range, Colorado
Hi TFP!

I have a challenging pool and have struggled for years with it. It takes a long time to get to usable, is too cold when I get there, uses a lot of power to get there, etc.

This year, I'm thinking of overhauling the equipment to see if I can make it more efficient and easier to maintain and more enjoyable. My area isn't rich in pool contractors and most of them work on very luxurious projects so there will be a lot DIY.

I currently have a 1.65 SFHP pentair superflo attached to a very old multiport (which struggles sometimes), 1.5" PVC plumbing including a lot of no no's like non-sweep 90s 1 skimmer and tiny returns, and a very old large pac-fab sand filter I can't service.

I also have a goal of some automation as I'm going to have to be away from home more for work this year and don't have a pool guy (see above) and I want to spend less on electricity while getting cleaner water.

It might be hard to give me advice as I'm kind of asking a broad question but let's see how it goes. It is sort of a lot of ideas mashed together. With each improvement idea, I'm implying the questions: is this a good idea? is it worth it? will it improve our pool experience? will it meet the goals I state?

I've been thinking of doing the following:
- Upgrade to a variable speed pump
save energy; dial in ideal velocity, flow, and wattage; huge bonus if anyone has suggestions for a standalone solar pv options

- Upgrade to an SWG
eliminate my current use of tablets; better maintain FC via automation

- Switch to a cartridge filter possibly (the alternative is a new sand filter)
eliminate the need for backwashing; reduce pressure loss from multiport and sand filter; sand is possible fouled and I can't get the filter open.

- Consider adding something like a jacuzzi multicyclone
reduce large particles entering the filter

- Upgrade the old gas heater (but I don't know to what)
efficiency; automation; extend usable season.

- Commit to an automation platform (or bake one of my own?)
easier to maintain, especially when I'm away

- Upgrade accessible plumbing to 2" (above ground and down about 2')
reduce pressure and velocity and energy consumption

Things I've considered but am uncertain about because they are bigger projects

Add another skimmer for improved hydraulics

Reinstall the vacuum port (goes to the skimmer) - Currently above the water level so it is very difficult to prime but am I better off spending money on a robot?

Add a larger return since I can't imagine the 3 small pvc returns aren't creating backpressure

I have a few challenges.
- My in ground plumbing is all 1.5" with restrictions. Skimmer pipe drops to the floor drain pipe so I can't upsize the existing skimmer pipe
- The multiport is crapping out (sticks in the incorrect position, generally old)
- My returns are all buried under the pool deck so I can't upgrade them (maybe one of them is accessible with modest destruction)
- My fill water is maybe not ideal: Ca 190, TDS 310, Iron 0.8, ph 8, TDS 600, Conductivity 1100
- I cant get the little top off my old sand filter and don't see how it would be serviceable even if I did. It works but it has seen floc etc based on local advice.
- I don't have modern power to the equipment pad. My 120v for the lights doesn't go all the way there and the 220v doesn't have a neutral. It's a tough dig to change it but I'm committed to running new wire if I need to for automation.
- I don't have plaster (just concrete) or water level tile.
- I have retrievers and they get in the pool.

So, ideas? Thoughts? Clearly, I'm willing to spend some money but I want to get great results and spend it smartly.

Thanks!
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
29,877
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
I've been thinking of doing the following:
- Upgrade to a variable speed pump
save energy; dial in ideal velocity, flow, and wattage; huge bonus if anyone has suggestions for a standalone solar pv options

Get an IntelliFlo 011028 or 011056 pump. Or a Superflo VST provided it has the RS-485 connection.

- Upgrade to an SWG
eliminate my current use of tablets; better maintain FC via automation

Good. Get the Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 or IC60 or a Circupool RJ45+

- Switch to a cartridge filter possibly (the alternative is a new sand filter)
eliminate the need for backwashing; reduce pressure loss from multiport and sand filter; sand is possible fouled and I can't get the filter open.

Pentair CCP520

- Consider adding something like a jacuzzi multicyclone
reduce large particles entering the filter

Waste of money. Not necessary.

- Upgrade the old gas heater (but I don't know to what)
efficiency; automation; extend usable season.

What model and BTU is your current heater?

Pentair MasterTemp or Raypak 400K BTU NG heater if your gas line can handle 400K BTU gas.

- Commit to an automation platform (or bake one of my own?)
easier to maintain, especially when I'm away


- Upgrade accessible plumbing to 2" (above ground and down about 2')
reduce pressure and velocity and energy consumption

Redo equipment pad with 2" PVC and diverter valves. Regular 90's are as good as sweep 90's, YOu will not see any big difference between them.

Things I've considered but am uncertain about because they are bigger projects

Add another skimmer for improved hydraulics

Yup, that can be a big project. Depends what you want to tackle. I don't think it will improve your hydraulics. Explain what difference you think it will make.

Post pics of your pool and existing skimmer and let us see your situation.
Reinstall the vacuum port (goes to the skimmer) - Currently above the water level so it is very difficult to prime but am I better off spending money on a robot?

Get a robot cleaner.

Add a larger return since I can't imagine the 3 small pvc returns aren't creating backpressure

Your pool is probably fine with 1.5" returns. It is good enough.

I have a few challenges.
- My in ground plumbing is all 1.5" with restrictions. Skimmer pipe drops to the floor drain pipe so I can't upsize the existing skimmer pipe

The benefits are not worth the effort.

- The multiport is crapping out (sticks in the incorrect position, generally old)

Cartridge filter gets rid of that.

- My returns are all buried under the pool deck so I can't upgrade them (maybe one of them is accessible with modest destruction)

The benefits are not worth the effort.

- My fill water is maybe not ideal: Ca 190, TDS 310, Iron 0.8, ph 8, TDS 600, Conductivity 1100

Most of that is irrelevant. Your CH is fine. You should use ...


- I cant get the little top off my old sand filter and don't see how it would be serviceable even if I did. It works but it has seen floc etc based on local advice.

Get the cartridge filter.

- I don't have modern power to the equipment pad. My 120v for the lights doesn't go all the way there and the 220v doesn't have a neutral. It's a tough dig to change it but I'm committed to running new wire if I need to for automation.

What size CB and wire is the 220V service on?

You can run pump, heater, SWG, automation, all on 220V.

I don't understand what you mean by your 120V lights don't go all the way there?

- I don't have plaster (just concrete) or water level tile.

Concrete is not waterproof. What waterproofs your pool?

- I have retrievers and they get in the pool.

Great!

So, ideas? Thoughts? Clearly, I'm willing to spend some money but I want to get great results and spend it smartly.

Always happy to help you spend your money.


Welcome. :wave:
 

doggonepool

Gold Supporter
Jul 22, 2020
29
Front Range, Colorado
Thanks for the reply.

A few replies and a few questions.

Replies:

Pump circuit:
I have a 220V, 20A circuit to the pump area. It currently only services the pump.

Lights circuit:
I also have a 120V, 15A circuit to my lights. The lights circuit isn't run to the pump area unfortunately though that is fixable.

Heater type:
I have a Teledyne gas heater. I don't know how many btus (the service plating is long gone). I'd rather use a heat pump so I can eventually solar offset it though NG is perfectly reasonable $ in my area.

Pool waterproofing:
My pool used to have some paint on the concrete. It's gone. It doesn't leak but I understand your comment that the concrete is porous. Plastering isn't very likely (plaster isn't waterproof is it?) but perhaps it will get some kind of epoxy paint. I'll probably start another thread someday about what I should do about that but for now, live with it.

Questions:
Pentair automation: it seems like you need the Intellicenter for phone style remote control. However, it appears that product isn't available over the internet. I'll have to check but I'm not sure my local pool supplier is going to sell that for DIY install and I can't hire them. I value skilled labor vs DIY but my area is very luxury driven and they aren't going to be affordable I'm sure. Am I correct in my reading of the pentair catalog? If so, is there a different brand for DIY?



Thanks again for the reply. I'm looking into the suggested equipment.
 

kevreh

Bronze Supporter
Jun 2, 2007
508
Annandale, VA
Your list sounds good for the most part. Not sure if a newer gas heater will give you much better efficiency. How much can you afford now vs later?

I ask because some things make sense to upgrade together, like the pump, swcg, and automation. I used to have the pentair sun touch and found the menu system confusing. Hayward’s are easier to navigate and program. Since the automation controller is the heart of the system I would start there. It gave me joy integrating the separate timers and swcg panel into one box. The Hayward Prologic PL4 panel controls my heater, landscape and pool lights, solar valve, pump, and sw cell.
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Geeze Allen.. you covered it all and didn't leave any scraps for us! oh oh oh...

How old is your old equipment? if it is more than 10 years old you will reap huge rewards in the efficiency of the new stuff, especially the heater and VSP pump. If you can DIY stuff you can install this on your own, by that I mean you know how not to electricity your self when working with electrical, sounds like you are asking the right questions and know about that, and if you can glue PVC without gluing your fingers together, you'll be fine there. I did a full equipment pad upgrade and did it all myself. Its not really that involved. You might consider increasing the circuit to your pad from 20A. It may depend on what equipment you get.
 

doggonepool

Gold Supporter
Jul 22, 2020
29
Front Range, Colorado
Thanks for the additional replies folks.

My equipment is mostly really old.
Heater: I don't know how old the Teledyne is. I'd guess 20 years.
Pump: About 10 years old.
Filter: It's a pac-fab. That should tell you... (again, I'm guessing 20 years old).

The best item in this bunch is the Pentair single speed 1.65 sfhp pump. I have no reason to believe it will fail anytime soon.

Replacing the heater is probably not the priority this season.

Electricity is easy and I have a good hire out option for main panel work (which is the one bit I avoid).

Upgrading the wire and amperage to the pool is not a small job..

I'm definitely motivated on the swg and automation. I'd really like to go on vacation this summer and not come back to a disaster.

I'm asking this late in the thread but I'm also wondering if you guys know what automation systems have freeze protection options. In my area, it is common to get some early 80 degree days that force chlorination and turning the pump on and then some late 20 degree nights that threaten unwinterized equipment. Suggestions?
 
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