Need advice and questions about a residential indoor pool

tron

Active member
Feb 4, 2020
43
Utah
New member here. Thanks for the very informative and warm community you have here.

My house has an indoor pool that was not maintained by the previous owner and the equipment is broken as well. So, I'm renovating it and got some bids from local pool contractors. I need recommendations from the experts here to renovate and maintain a year-round residential indoor pool in Utah. The pool is 30 feet x 15 feet x 5 feet depth, in-ground concrete pool with a plaster surface. I'm replastering it. It has two incandescent lights. No water features and no spa.

Here are some questions I have:

1. Pool automation system: most local contractors seem to be Pentair distributors. After reading about the differences between EasyTouch, IntelliTouch and IntelliCenter on the forums here, I'm planning to go with with IntelliCenter. The following questions are in this context. I'd like to automate as much as possible to keep the maintenance effort low for myself and my spouse.

2. Pump: Pentair IntelliFlo VSF pump, 3 hp.

3. Heater: Pentair MasterTemp. The contractors gave estimates for 250K and 400K. Which one would be better?

4. Filter: Pentair Clean and Clear cartridge filter. Is this a good choice?

5. Chlorine: Pentair IntelliChlor SWCG. Do I need IC 40 or IC 60? Is SWCG the best option for indoor pools too, or only for outdoor pools? I'd prefer an SWCG that's automated.

6. pH: I'd like to automate it. But I read that many members here recommend IntellipH vs IntelliChem. Does anyone know if there's any new way to automate muriatic acid dosing based on pH measurements? Can I use IntelliChem to only do acid dosing using a pH sensor (which I'll periodically check), and then use the IntelliChlor SWCG for chlorine? In this set up, can I skip the ORP sensor which seems to have a lot of issues?

7. CYA levels: the Pool School guide says CYA between 20 and 30ppm for indoor pools and 70 - 80ppm for SWCG pools. What is the recommended levels for indoor SWCG pools?

8. CYA and indoor pool: Pool School guide says "the reasoning for using CYA indoors is quite different. For more information please ask on the forum." Is there some other function for CYA in indoor pools apart from as a stabilizer since there's no sun to protect the chlorine from?

9: UV: Pool school guide says combined chlorine (CC) can be an issue in indoor pools (since there's no UV from sunlight to break it down), so UV lights are helpful. Would you recommend it in an indoor pool with SWCG?

10: Ozone: It seems ozone is not recommended for residential pools, even indoors. Is this correct?

11. Cover: The pool will be covered when not in use and I'd like to tie it into the IntelliCenter system. Can IntelliCenter show and control the pool cover status?

12. Lights: I have just two lights inside the pool. I'll replace incandescent with LED lights. Can I connect them to the IntelliCenter system without the IntelliCenter Personality Kit? I don't have a spa or water features or a lot of lights, so I'd avoid the expense for the Personality Kit if I could.

That's a lot of questions. If I can read up and find the answers, please feel free to say so. I searched and couldn't find answers to the questions about IntelliChem + IntelliChlor, so I'd appreciate at least advice on those questions above. Thanks!
 
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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,796
Bedford, TX
T,

1. The new IntelliCenter is a great automation system.. By itself it is not designed to control chemicals.. I am not a fan of closed loop automated chemical systems such as the IntelliChem.. I am a fan of open loop systems such as Saltwater Chlorine Generators and Stenner Acid dosers..

2. The IntelliFlo is about your only pump choice if you want the IntelliCenter

3. I am not a heater guy, but would think that keeping the pool warm inside would be easier to do so a 250K heater should be fine.

4. The CCP is a great cartridge filter.. Since you will not have a lot of "nature" in your pool, a CCP-320 would be fine.

5. How big is the pool, volume wise.. An outside pool needs a SWCG that is 2 x the volume.. An inside pool can use on that is 1 x the pool volume.

6. I do not suggest that you use anything that measures pH and doses. Any system that you control to dose acid will work fine.

7. CYA in an indoor pool should be about 30 ppm. This is just to keep the chlorine from feeling harsh..

8. See #7

9. I would add a UV system for an indoor pool. (I am not very familiar with them, so no advice here.. )

10. No Ozone.. Just not needed.

11. Are you covering the pool for safety reasons? The IntelliCenter should be able to "know" the status of the cover.. I would think the IC could control the cover, but not sure about any safety devices that might be in the way..

12. I assume yes, but let's ask @MyAZPool ...

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,796
Bedford, TX
T,

I suspect that you already know more about indoor pools than I do, but just in case.. I don't believe that you can have an indoor pool that is just open to the house. I'm pretty sure you have to have it in a room that has special HVAC and ventilation systems to keep up with the humidity.. I assume that is something in your plan???

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

tron

Active member
Feb 4, 2020
43
Utah
@Jimrahbe yes, the pool is in a fully enclosed room with locking doors. Pool has a separate HVAC system from the house's HVAC.

What would be the best way to control humidity in the pool room? A blower/ventilator or a dehumidifier (either standalone or tied into the HVAC system)? Thanks!
 

Rollercoastr

Gold Supporter
May 18, 2016
879
West Bloomfield, MI
I don't believe that you can have an indoor pool that is just open to the house.
Well actually... That's my living room/kitchen in my avatar pic. :D

I do have some doors that can close-off the pool room, but I only use them for safety reasons (kids, dogs etc).

I agree that a 250K heater would be fine. I have a 200K. It raises my 12,000 gal pool 1º every 45 minutes.

I strongly considered salt when the pool was new to me and I would still consider it if I was doing a lot of plumbing work and could get a deal on a SWG, but my pool just consumes too little chorine to justify the investment now. During swim times, I dose with liquid chlorine and I can almost always predict test results. It's easy, and in a small pool like mine, I like being able to quickly re-balance the pool if a pool party gets things out of whack.

When I let the pool go cold, I use trichlor. It replaces the CYA I lose to regular attrition, stabilizes the pH and chlorinates. With this method I haven't had to purchase CYA since I filled the pool. I probably should, because it tends to float closer to 20 than 30, but...

I've taken the same approach with UV as I have with a SWG. I'd like one, but I can get away without it. If I had more people swimming, that could change my standpoint in a hurry.
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
1,728
Arizona
Pool Size
20500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
tron
Just a few comments for you to consider. My comments in blue

Here are some questions I have:

1. Pool automation system: most local contractors seem to be Pentair distributors. After reading about the differences between EasyTouch, IntelliTouch and IntelliCenter on the forums here, I'm planning to go with with IntelliCenter. The following questions are in this context. I'd like to automate as much as possible to keep the maintenance effort low for myself and my spouse.
You might consider purchasing your IntelliCenter as well as possibly your other equipment from PolyTec Pools. In my experience, they usually have the most competitive prices, no shipping fees or taxes and their staff is friendly and helpful.

2. Pump: Pentair IntelliFlo VSF pump, 3 hp. Agree with Jimrahbe

3. Heater: Pentair MasterTemp. The contractors gave estimates for 250K and 400K. Which one would be better?
MasterTemp is an excellent heater. Same with the Pentair Ultra-Temp. You may want to also consider some of the newer Pentair energy-efficient heaters. The new Ultra-Temp ETi Hybrid is just such a heater. Take a look here: Pentair Pool Heaters

4. Filter: Pentair Clean and Clear cartridge filter. Is this a good choice? Again, agree with Jimrahbe

6. pH: I'd like to automate it. But I read that many members here recommend IntellipH vs IntelliChem. Does anyone know if there's any new way to automate muriatic acid dosing based on pH measurements? Can I use IntelliChem to only do acid dosing using a pH sensor (which I'll periodically check), and then use the IntelliChlor SWCG for chlorine? In this set up, can I skip the ORP sensor which seems to have a lot of issues?
Personally, I would also recommend the IntellipH over the IntelliChlor for all the reasons that you can read here on TFP.

2020-02-05_13-19-59.jpg
11. Cover: The pool will be covered when not in use and I'd like to tie it into the IntelliCenter system. Can IntelliCenter show and control the pool cover status?
Yes, the IntelliCenter can control the cover. You will need the additional IntelliCenter Pool Cover Expansion Module (522039Z) however.

12. Lights: I have just two lights inside the pool. I'll replace incandescent with LED lights. Can I connect them to the IntelliCenter system without the IntelliCenter Personality Kit? I don't have a spa or water features or a lot of lights, so I'd avoid the expense for the Personality Kit if I could.

Not sure what you actually mean by your question "Can I connect them to the IntelliCenter system without the IntelliCenter Personality Kit?"
Every complete IntelliCenter installation contains a Personality Kit. In the case of your pool (w/no spa), you will require one of the IntelliCenter Personality Kits. Either the i5P, i8P or the i10P depending on how many relays that you will require in order to control line voltage 110vac or 220vac) items. i5P=five relays. i8P=8 relays and i10P=10 relays.

I would personally recommend that you take a look at the following LED lights.


That's a lot of questions. If I can read up and find the answers, please feel free to say so. I searched and couldn't find answers to the questions about IntelliChem + IntelliChlor, so I'd appreciate at least advice on those questions above. Thanks!
 
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tron

Active member
Feb 4, 2020
43
Utah
Hello all. I'm back. I've decided on the equipment that I need and I've been getting some estimates.

I've been facing trouble in getting some answers to questions from pool contractors. My indoor concrete pool is emptied out since I bought the house more than 5 years ago. There are surface cracks. One of the contractors said he has no way of telling what's under the surface and put crack repair cost as TBD. That's fine with me and I asked him what are the possibilities of what lies under the plaster and what could it cost (such as the cost of stapling and what not). He keeps saying "there's no way of knowing what's under the plaster" without answering the question. I'm wary of signing a contract under this uncertainty. Another contractor gave me a bid and wanted me to confirm it while I was on the phone with him about some questions. He wanted me to confirm it right away on the phone so that he can confirm his equipment order, and what I told him I wanted to review his bid and another and then let him know, he apparently is not doing the work anymore. Some other pool contractors don't even return phone calls or come over to give an estimate.

The pool is 15x30 feet, 5 feet deep in the middle. It needs pressure testing of the plumbing to ensure there's no leakage, chip out and replacement of the plaster, possibly fix any deep cracks, and then convert the single main drain to dual main drains. I also want the motorized cover to be replaced and then have all the equipment replaced. The members of this forum were helpful above in helping me decide on the equipment - thank you all! Equipment list and current pictures are below.

The question I have is if I get a plaster company to pressure test, replace the single main drain with dual main drains, and replaster, can I replace the equipment by myself? I have a strong science background, handy with plumbing and electrical connections, and I also have a reliable electrician, HVAC contractor and handyman whom I can call. I can have an electrician review all the electrical connections. Have any of you done equipment replacement by yourself or with help from an electrician or a plumber?

New equipment list:
1. Pentair IntelliFlo 3hp pump
2. Pentair Clean&Clear 320 filter
3. Pentair MasterTemp HD 400K BTU
4. Pentair direct venting kit installed for combustion and exhaust air
5. Pentair IntelliCenter controller with 5 relay personality kit and IntelliChlor IC-40 with load center and transformer (ref: part number 52190)
6. IntelliChem with acid tank and pump
7. Pentair Intellibrite 5G 12V color pool lights with 12V transformer (two lights) - or J&J Colorsplash lights if they are much better than Pentair lights.
8. Transformer for 2 lights
9. Intellibrite color lights controller
10. Pentair Bioshield UV lights (TBD)
11. Key for pool cover

Please let me know if you have any suggestions or recommended changes as well. I'm planning to extend the concrete pad outdoors and possibly build out an enclosure around it to protect from the winter weather - hence the direct vent for the heater.

Pictures of the pool, current equipment and plaster cracks attached.
 

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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
47,351
Tallahassee, FL
Some equipment brands will not do a good warranty on equipment unless it is installed by a licensed person of that trade. Something to think about and study up on.

That is such a pretty room! I know you are itching to get that pool going!

Main drain-you do NOT have to have a main drain. You can fill in that hole and plaster over it. Just to be sure you understand the main drain thing-IF you have a main drain it HAS to be a DUEL drain to lessen the entrapment issue. IF you do not want a main drain you do not have to have one. With your pool I would see it more as a toe stubber than anything.
 

guinness

Well-known member
May 3, 2019
553
California
The IntelliCenter should be able to "know" the status of the cover.. I would think the IC could control the cover, but not sure about any safety devices that might be in the way..
Yes, the IntelliCenter can control the cover. You will need the additional IntelliCenter Pool Cover Expansion Module (522039Z) however.
I'm curious as to what that module does since in the IntelliCenter manual there is a warning "Do not use this product to control an automatic pool cover. Swimmers may become entrapped underneath the cover." The National Electrical Code would seem to indicate that the IntelliCenter can only monitor the status of the cover.

680.27(B)(1):

(B) Electrically Operated Pool Covers.
(1) Motors and Controllers.
The electric motors, controllers, and wiring shall be located not less than 1.5 m (5 ft) from the inside wall of the pool unless separated from the pool by a wall, cover, or other permanent barrier. Electric motors installed below grade level shall be of the totally enclosed type. The device that controls the operation of the motor for an electrically operated pool cover shall be located such that the operator has full view of the pool.
 

tron

Active member
Feb 4, 2020
43
Utah
I'm curious as to what that module does since in the IntelliCenter manual there is a warning "Do not use this product to control an automatic pool cover. Swimmers may become entrapped underneath the cover." The National Electrical Code would seem to indicate that the IntelliCenter can only monitor the status of the cover.

680.27(B)(1):

(B) Electrically Operated Pool Covers.
(1) Motors and Controllers.
The electric motors, controllers, and wiring shall be located not less than 1.5 m (5 ft) from the inside wall of the pool unless separated from the pool by a wall, cover, or other permanent barrier. Electric motors installed below grade level shall be of the totally enclosed type. The device that controls the operation of the motor for an electrically operated pool cover shall be located such that the operator has full view of the pool.
Thanks for the pointer. I'll read this up and I'll do what's safe and code compliant. I'll appreciate any comments from those who know about this. When I spoke to the pool contractor, I asked him about keeping the existing switch and he said that would be OK and he said I can put a lock around it too. That sounds like a good option to me if IntelliCenter cover module will work together with the existing switch which has open, close and stop positions.
 

tron

Active member
Feb 4, 2020
43
Utah
Some equipment brands will not do a good warranty on equipment unless it is installed by a licensed person of that trade. Something to think about and study up on.

That is such a pretty room! I know you are itching to get that pool going!

Main drain-you do NOT have to have a main drain. You can fill in that hole and plaster over it. Just to be sure you understand the main drain thing-IF you have a main drain it HAS to be a DUEL drain to lessen the entrapment issue. IF you do not want a main drain you do not have to have one. With your pool I would see it more as a toe stubber than anything.
Thanks for the info. If it costs a lot to replace it, then I might just close it out. I guess I'd have to maintain the water level above the skimmer then.
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
1,728
Arizona
Pool Size
20500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
I should have NOT used the word "control" (my bad)....
What they mean is to not use a relay to control opening or closing (that would be a BIG TIME safety NO NO).

My understanding is that the module just provides a sensor which provides a status signal as to open or closed status to IntelliCenter. This way if the cover is closed, then apparently certain functions like deck jets, water slides, waterfalls etc, can be disabled.

Since the manual is of course lacking in this area like all the rest of the areas, it might be best to talk with tech support and see what they might possibly know (you might not get the kind of detailed information you are looking for however).

Hopefully, someone comes along here that actually has one and can provide first-hand info regarding just how that module operates and what it can or can't do. Maybe see if tech support will send you the PDF documentation of the cover module.
r.
 

tron

Active member
Feb 4, 2020
43
Utah
Thanks! Do you know how the pool cover sensor communciates with the Intellicenter pool cover expansion module? Does it need to be wired or is it wireless? Hardwiring the pool cover sensor to the intellicenter (pool cover expansion module) can be an issue, so I'm trying to understand if there's a wireless option. I searched far and wide but I couldn't find the installation manual for the Intellicenter pool cover expansion module nor find an answer this question. If anyone knows the answer or has a link to the installation manual for the pool cover expansion module, I'll appreciate the help.
 

guinness

Well-known member
May 3, 2019
553
California
The pool cover card is wired and supports two pool and/or spa covers. You'll have to give Pentair Tech Support a call to get more information, but I assume the sensor inputs are either normally open or normally closed. Below is the image from the IntelliCenter manual, so if the top terminal block is cover #1 and the bottom terminal block is cover #2, each has 3 sensor inputs which might be used to detect how far the cover is open or closed.

522039.png
 
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tron

Active member
Feb 4, 2020
43
Utah
I called Pentair and asked about an installation manual for the IntelliCenter pool cover expansion module. They said a PDF version is not available. They also said that this module allows one to open or close the pool and it requires low voltage wires to the cover motor. It's a shame that the owner's manual and the installation manual are not available before purchase.