Equipment upgrade order


Well-known member
Apr 30, 2020
Tijeras, NM
Hi all! My pool is currently cutting edge for 1997, but I would like to bring it up to this century technology. However, I want to do this step by step, probably one big purchase per year. What is the advice out there on the order of adding new equipment? I know that some equipment is needed before others (ie. a VSP before a SWG), and just wanted this done in the most organized manner.

My equipment that plays into the equation.
-single speed pump
-solar heating panels
-manual valves to control flow to solar panel
-manual valves to control flow to pool/spa
Also have a sand filter, propane heater, pool is 30k in ground with spillover spa.

My current upgrade thoughts are:
1. Upgrade to a variable speed pump
2. Add a SWG
3. Solar panel controller
4. Automation panel

Is there anything major I am missing? Does this upgrade order make sense? Do I need a separate solar panel controller, or is that built into an automation panel? Thanks


Well-known member
Jun 5, 2016
Martinez, CA
makes sense. Just remember it’s best to buy controller and pump from the same mfg to ensure full control- especially with solar as some systems will up flow rate while solar is running to ensure the pump can overcome head pressure pushing water to the roof.


Well-known member
Apr 30, 2020
Tijeras, NM
Good point. I was planning on going with a solid but no big name pump to save $500 - but it will not integrate completely with the controller. And if I am going to upgrade to automation, I might as well truly automate.


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

Automation should have solar included.

You really need to nail down which brand of equipment first so that you can makes sure everything works together. Personally, I am not a fan of the buy one piece at a time plan.

For example, if you go with Pentair, it would make sense to go with the automation package that comes with the SWCG, internal power center, and valve actuators.

Also, just because it is the same brand does not mean it will all work together. Case in point.. The Pentair SuperFlo VS cannot be controlled by automation, you need an IntelliFlo.

I would bite the bullet and get it all at once, so that you can enjoy your pool while you pay it off..


Jim R.