Going DIY - Making changes to pool setup

pdilow

Member
Apr 24, 2019
17
Clarksville, MD
Hello TFP! Please forgive me as I attempt to explain my pool situation and questions.

I purchased a home last year that came with an in-ground pool, the first one I’ve ever owned. It’s been quite the learning curve. I’m a DIY’er and trying to move forward this year without the help of a pool company. I also just really want to understand our system. Our pool was installed in 1998 by Maryland Pools, which went out of business a few years ago. So I am trying to figure out our system without much background info.

We have a 27,000 gallon in-ground pool, freshwater/chlorine, no spa or water features. The pool has an ICC 2000, 6-valve in floor automatic cleaning system, with one main drain. There is a Paramount debris in-deck canister, and a Waterway Renegade Venturi skimmer. The entire system is run with one pump, a Challenger Centurion 1.5 HP (which may also be from 1998). The filter is a Pentair Clean & Clear Plus CCP420 cartridge system. We also have a propane heater, the Purex Triton MiniMax Plus 250. We did not use the heater last summer and have no immediate plans to regularly use it, but I’d like to leave it connected. There is a single in-water pool light. And finally, there is a Superior Aqua Healthcare Systems (no chlorine system) attached that we plan on removing this year and getting rid of.

We want to make a couple of big changes to the system this year. First, we’d like to convert the pool to salt water. Second, we’d like to upgrade to a new variable speed pump. For the pump, we are looking at installing the Pentair IntelliFlo VSF 011056. For the salt water change, I’m planning to install the Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 saltwater generator. I plan on installing it (plumbing-wise) where the Superior Aqua system is now, after the pump/filter/heater. I’d also like to install the Pentair IntellipH to help balance the pH of the pool with muriatic acid. We also plan on installing the MVFuse safety system in the deck canister for safety since we only have one drain.

I have some questions/concerns about this installation because of the ICC 2000 system.

- I read somewhere that the chlorine generator needs to be on a bypass if the flow in the system is going to exceed 80gpm. Is this true? How do I know if my flow is going to exceed 80 gpm or not?
- I read the ICC 2000 needs to have a minimum pressure of 20 psi at the valve in order to operate correctly. Is that true? Does this mean I will need to set the new pump to never run below a pressure that keeps the ICC at 20 psi? Or is it ok if the pump isn't always providing enough pressure for the pool to be actively cleaning.
- I’m a bit unsure of what to expect out of pressures/timing, especially with a variable speed pump. Last summer, we had to run our old pump 24/7 or the water would get disgusting. We have a timer on the system, and even if we tried to turn it off for an hour or two at night, the water would get bad. The pool company we used told us we should just let it run 24/7 "like it’s supposed to". The more I read online, it seems like it’s really not supposed to be necessary to run the system 24/7. But adding the in floor cleaning system and salt water generator complicates it a bit. Our pool gets good sun and not too much debris. I’m not sure how long I’m supposed to expect the system to run for with all of this new equipment. Any help here? I've heard things about turning over the water at least once, and then heard that this isn't true.
- Speaking of run times, we also currently don’t have any type of controller system beyond the manual rotating clock that can turn the pump on/off. I’ve looked at both the IntelliCenter and the IntelliControl. I think the difference between the two comes down to whether or not we would need to open/close valves. Only the IntelliCenter can integrate with the Pentair IntelliValves. I get confused with this since last year we ran our pump 24/7. But now with the salt water generator going onto a bypass (along with the heater having it’s own bypass), would it be necessary to have these installed? Or will the system not need these and run on their own as the speed of the pump changes?
- Our pool is concrete, but we’ve considered adding a pool finish (such as Pebble Tec) to give it a face lift. Will this affect any of these plans?

I realize this is a lot of information and pretty detailed questions. I appreciate any help you can give as we look to upgrade our system and getting our pool running properly. I’m under the impression that last year it really wasn’t running efficiently. I really want to dial it in this year.

I’ve attached some pictures of our pool and system for reference. Please let me know if there are any questions and thanks so much for the help!
 

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mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,750
Laughlin, NV
The IFCS complicates things. We have a number of members that have them. Some love them, some hate them. They tend to a bit of an art to operate properly.
You can run your pump below the level the IFCS operates without issue. Do you have regular pool returns or only the IFCS returns?
With the VS pump you will be able to program various flow rates throughout the day depending on what you want to do.
Your SWCG will need to be controlled through a timer as it does not sound like you will have automation. In fact, there are better SWCG's out there if you are not going to install Pentair automation.

I will let some members that have IFCS chime in and guide you.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
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May 3, 2014
22,750
Laughlin, NV
I just saw you did discuss automation. But not if you are going to install it. Not sure you really need to with your simple system.
 

eric99gt

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 14, 2009
189
Houston, TX
Don’t have much to add but noticed you mentioned the 011056. May want to look into the 011018. Same pump (minus the rotatable control panel) and much cheaper. Currently on amazon for $895
 

bmoreswim

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Jul 16, 2012
5,453
Central MD
Just giving some general information on pump run time. You need to run your pump enough in order to do the following:
  • Clear debris on the bottom for your IFCS.
  • Properly filter the water. Which means keep the floaties (visible organics floating in the water) to a minimum. Water should be crystal clear during the day and you should see lots of individual particulate in the lights at night, but nothing like a majority or full haze/cloudiness of particulates.
  • Create enough FC if you have a SWCG.
  • Properly skim the surface. This can be a huge wildcard. Our dogs swim, and shed, so I have long afternoon/evening run times with the hope that the pool is running for an hour after the last dog swim of the day.
As a general statement, minimally, it's usually at least a few hours per day and usually less than 24 unless you have an undersized SWCG, or some other uncommon reason. But other than that it varies widely. Pay no attention whatsoever to turnover.

As one data point, I need/want run our pool roughly 10 hours per say mid-summer at a 50-70% SWCG setting. For me, 2 hours of cell time is .5 ppm of FC. So 6 hours of cell time (60% of 10 hours) is 1.5 ppm, which is on the low side of the normal of 2-4 ppm FC usage for a pool (my pool environment is very clean from a debris perspective - and I'm in the mid-latitudes as you are). As I said above, I run it more than our SWCG needs (since I could up the % to 100) because of my interest in fewer floaties visible at night and dog hair and other minor debris satisfactorily skimmed.
 

bmoreswim

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Jul 16, 2012
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Central MD
I also have automation on a simple pool and enjoy it to easily monitor/change pump runtime, various landscape lights, salt cell %, etc. If money is not the first priority, they can be nice even on a straightforward setup. But clearly not a requirement as Marty said.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,046
Bedford, TX
pd,

Let me start off by saying I am not a fan of In-Floor cleaning systems and if I moved into a new house, the first thing I would do is to shut if off and buy a robot.

Having said that, it may or may not be possible to do that depending on how the ICFS is plumbed into the pool.

Have you used the IFCS and how well did it work for you? If you are happy with it, then that is all that matters.

Some other comments..

All you need to do to make your single main drain safe is to install an raised safety cover... You do not need an MVFuse safety system...

If you are going to install a Pentair VS pump, and IntelliChlor salt system, then it only makes sense to install a Pentair automation system.. This will allow you to control the pump and salt cell from your PC, Tablet or phone.. Will it cost more, sure it will, but in the big picture you will soon forget the extra cost... If not, you will think about it every time you have to go out to your pump to set up a schedule or turn something on, or change the output of your salt cell.

We always recommend a salt cell that is rated for at least 2 x the volume of your pool.. This means that you should go with the IC60...

One final thing... I just love your view... I am so jealous.

Thanks for posting,

Jim R.
 

pdilow

Member
Apr 24, 2019
17
Clarksville, MD
Wow, thanks for all of the responses so far. To follow-up on a few:

I'm not 100% sure how the returns on the pool work, or any plumbing for that matter. After looking at several drawings and diagrams, I've come up with my own version of what I THINK is going on beneath the surface. I've attached a pretty crude drawing. In my mind there's about 100x more pipes connected to the pool than what I drew.

I don't mind the automation costs. Especially since the IntelliCenter can be packaged with the IntelliChlor to help save a little there. The only issue I foresee is the IntelliChlor that comes with is an IC40, and Jimrahbe mentioned I would need the IC60. Maybe they can swap it for me when I order. I was planning to order through Polytec Pools.

If the 011018 pump is the same minus the rotating panel, I have no problem going that route instead. But I recently read that the 011018 is being replaced by 011028? Any word on this? Is it worth going to the new model? I read it here.

I also have two large dogs who are the true owners of our pool. bmoreswim, I will probably try and start off with some of your settings/parameters to see how the pool looks. It looks like we have a similar sized pool at least. Thanks for the advice on what to look for as far as water quality goes!

I guess we liked the in floor system. I think I would like this system better than dealing with a robot and all the tubing associated with them. It seemed to work fairly well for us, save having to run the pool 24/7. But that may have been a product of other issues such as the pump/chemicals/etc. But good to know about the raised safety cover. At the end of last season our pool company quoted us for putting on a new safety drain cover AND the MVFuse. I assumed the MVFuse was the important part. I'm happy to just replace the drain.

If I get the IntelliCenter system (which is what I'm leaning towards), would I just put the IntelliValves on the heater and IntelliChlor bypasses? Since it comes with 2, I may as well use them. I only have one other valve on the system, and it's on the piping next to the 6-port PCC 2000 system. I have no idea if they're related, but I would assume so since they're close to each other? Fine deduction skills here... Should I get a third Intellivalve? Or just leave one of the valves as a good, old-fashioned manual?

And jimrahbe, thanks for the compliment! :D I'll enjoy it more too once I stop being scared of destroying the pool on accident...
 

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eric99gt

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 14, 2009
189
Houston, TX
Looks like I was a bit off with my previous reply. After reading that link I realized I was thinking of the 011028 as you mentioned above. There are differences between the 18 and 56. Not sure if they’re worth the extra cost though. The 011018 has been the gold standard around here for awhile.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,046
Bedford, TX
pd,

If they will package the IC60 with the IntelliCenter, that is what I would get.. If not, because you are in MD, I would go with the IC40... You will have to run it a little longer or harder.. Not something I would recommend if you lived in Texas or AZ.. In a few years, when the cell runs out, then you can just buy a new cell... This way you have the built-in power supply inside the IntelliCenter.

The 011018 is a very solid pump. There have been a few complaints of the control head getting water in it. The replacement 011028 has a new style control head, so you would hope they fixed that problem. I have three IntelliFlo pumps that have been running 24/7 from 7 to 5 years at different pools. They all are still running perfectly. The only option you do NOT want is the IntelliFlo with the SVRS option... Safety Vacuum Release System... If someone tells you it is a "better" replacement for the 011018, run... Fast!! :mrgreen:

I don't think you understand what a robot is.. It is powered by low voltage DC and there are no "tubes"... just a thin cable. It will clean your pool better than any water powered system ever will. Using water power to clean your pool is like using an old black rotary-dial phone instead of a cell phone.. Do they both make phone calls.. yep they do, but..... Just keep it in mind if later on your IFCS becomes a problem.

I also would get package deal with the IntelliValves... which are not really valves, they are actuators that turn standard Jandy style 2 or 3-way valves.. None of the valves you have are controllable with your current ball valves.

You are going to have to talk with some of our IFCS weenies, I mean experts, about how your IFCS works.. I can't see automating a bypass for your salt cell, as it does not appear at first glance that you can turn the IFCS on/off.. So.. if you could turn off the IFCS, then it would make sense to have the automation tell the salt cell to work when the IFCS was off and by pass the cell when the IFCS was on.. Maybe all you need to do is control the pump speed, but obviously that was not being done with your previous system.

Please let us know what else you have questions on..

Jim R.
 

jonpcar

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2016
423
Gilbert, AZ
PD, I know you are planning changes, but can you fill out your signature so that members can see your pool setup at a glance?

Thanks for posting the description and pictures…nice pool and view! It’s good you are looking at automation because in my mind, automation and a powerful VSP are necessary to run an In-Floor-Cleaning-System in an effective and optimized fashion.

I’ve done a bunch of analysis on my pool that has an IFCS, which is rather simple…so my advice is based on extrapolating my experiences to those with more complex systems (possibly not completely appropriate in some cases). I don’t have a SWG or a heater.

If I had your planned system, my goal would be to:

  • Run my IFCS for about 2-3 hours a day to clean the pool while suction is 100% from the drain and returns to the IFCS popups. This requires higher (TBD) pump RPM and is energy inefficient. Run the SWG during this time as well.
  • Run my skimmers/SWG ?? hours (8+) a day in the warm season to skim/chlorinate the pool (if possible, 100% suction from skimmers to increase skimming action). Run at low pump RPM; this is almost free to run, and that is why some TFP members run their pumps 24hrs/day. Ideally, the return to the pool would NOT be through the IFCS popups because those reduce pump efficiency …but this may not be possible with your plumbing based on your pictures. I don’t see any separate wall returns path; they may be “built-in” as one of your six IFCS manifold zones.
I would definitely try to map out exactly what your current underground piping consists of before starting this project. Your drawing is a good start. A few suggestions:

  • Definitely have a heater bypass so that there is no additional PSI loss to the IFCS.
  • Figure out how flow gets to the wall returns
  • SWG needs to go after heater but before IFCS
  • You show a cutoff valve right before the IFCS cleaning manifold in your drawing…that doesn’t make a lot of sense, could that valve control flow to either : (1) an aerator or (2) a venturi skimmer (hopefully)?
  • Is your piping 1 ½ inch or 2 inch? You don’t even have to worry about 80gpm if your piping is only 1 ½ inch…it will probably not get close to that.
  • Sounds like you are installing REAL valves (Jandy type/intellivalves) rather than those cheap ball valves everywhere …good idea.
  • Install a PSI gauge right near your cleaning manifold, it will help you optimize your IFCS operation and make sure that you are getting the necessary pressure there when you make changes elsewhere.
That’s a start, haha.
 
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