Need recommendations for equipment upgrade

TxCoolGuy

Active member
Sep 1, 2016
40
North Richland Hills, TX
Hey all,

Hoping to get a little guidance from the smart folks here. I've learned a lot about pools from the group here, but there's a ton I don't know. I want to refurb a pool, but would appreciate a guiding hand or hands.

I went to my mom's this weekend to help her out around the house and with all the new found TFP knowledge I have, started asking her about her pool, because it looked like a wreck to me. The pool is about 20 years old, in ground gunite on the small side. I'd estimate 12-13k but I'll find out for sure on the volume. The water is clear at least, but the cleaner is not working, the surface of the pool is in terrible shape, possibly calcium deposits everywhere, some patches where rebar come through the pool walls where it looks like there no attempt to match color, and when I inspected the equipment it was a super simple old single speed pump. Leaking pretty badly from the pump basked cover o-ring. There's a single valve on the return side that can divert flow to either the canister filter or the pressure cleaner. That valve is a bit hard to turn and leaky- probably been leaking for years which is causing lots of visible rust on the pump motor housing that's just below it. All the "caulk" on the pcv outlet from the pump is corroded and cracked. On top of this, she is paying someone $160 a month to basically dump chlorine in and clear the skimmers. Almost beside myself on that one. She doesn't even have a testing kit of her own.

I've known her system was aging for quite some time, but with all my new found TFP knowledge I'm wanting to try to help her out. First thing is the cleaner- it's a Polaris 360 and I pulled the house to look for leaks and it was leaking like a sieve. I fixed the worst leaks but it was still anemic and not cleaning- so thinking either the flex hose is still too leaky or something else might be wrong with it. I took my working Legend 2 and put in it, and even with the most pressure I could get to it, it barely worked. Technically the Legend 2 doesn't require a booster pump, but I'm thinking it needed more pressure than this old pump could give, which was between 20-30 according to a pressure gauge that was inline just after the valve.

The controller is ancient- it's a mechanical timer with a wheel that has an "on" and "off" tab. There is no separate timer for the cleaner, you just have to manually turn it off and on using the valve to control it. The pool company she is using had it set at about a 30 degree angle favoring the pressure cleaner side. That is, most but not all of the flow was heading into the cleaner side.

So, here are my observations so far:

1) The pressure cleaner is a money pit. She says she's constantly paying the pool company to take it in and fix it. I can tell just by looking that the hose situation on those Polaris 360's is the pits. That's a terrible design in my opinion. Prone to cracking and leaks and it sure seams to be doing just that. I have an old Legend 2 that I know works well (from my own pool) that I'd like to get her into. Need to understand why it's not working when I put it into her pool. I suspect the pump.

2) Want to replace her pump altogether with something more modern and ideally dual or maybe variable speed. I think I'd need a pump and some kind of wall mount controller/timer. I have Pentair Intelliflow and like it, so something along those lines would work well. Would love something that can be controlled via app because she's an aging lady, but that's not critical.

3) Replacing the pump is likely a longer term strategy- more immediately want to replace the o-ring on the basket cover so it's not sucking in air like crazy. Feel I could do this this coming up weekend.

3) The leaky valve. Looks easy enough to replace, but I'm not sure of the technique to loosen/detach it from the pvc. It appears to be glued in. I've a little experience using a map gas torch to heat pvc just enough to loosen glued connections, but it's not something I'm eager to do and I'm not sure that's the right technique. What's the usual process to replace valves?

4) The cleaner: Really not sure why the Legend 2 I put in didn't work. Assume it has to be the amount of pressure supplied. Trying to find specs on how much pressure is required but haven't been able to locate that yet.

5) Will take my TFP test kit over to her place this weekend and test the chemistry. I have a feeling her calcium is going to be way off. Also, this system actually has a salt water cell that has been disconnected. I played around with it and it powers up, I plugged the sensor back in to the controller and it accurately detected flow/no-flow and low salt. Wondering if it still works.

I'd appreciate any help on what you guys think I should do in terms of priority, or if I'm overlooking anything. Testing the water and getting the cleaner working are tops. I'd prefer not to blow money on the Polaris because I'm certain i want to get her a better cleaner. That hose alone is terrible, and I've read online the 3-wheel design of the Polaris 360 has lots of problems.

Once everything is functioning properly then will start working on the cosmetics. I'm not 100% certain the surface/plaster issues she's having are calcium, but it certainly looks like "white stains" in a very mottled pattern that have accumulated over years. Will just wait and see, but thinking maybe an acid wash. Who knows, maybe after 20 years it's just to time to replaster?

Appreciate any and all thoughts!
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
9,660
Northern NJ
1) The pressure cleaner is a money pit. She says she's constantly paying the pool company to take it in and fix it. I can tell just by looking that the hose situation on those Polaris 360's is the pits. That's a terrible design in my opinion. Prone to cracking and leaks and it sure seams to be doing just that. I have an old Legend 2 that I know works well (from my own pool) that I'd like to get her into. Need to understand why it's not working when I put it into her pool. I suspect the pump.
Polaris 360 needs periodic maintenance and rebuilding. You can get a rebuild kit and new hose or buy a new cleaner.

Amazon.com : Zodiac 9-100-9060 Factory Rebuild Replacement Kit : Swimming Pool And Spa Supplies : Gateway

2) Want to replace her pump altogether with something more modern and ideally dual or maybe variable speed. I think I'd need a pump and some kind of wall mount controller/timer. I have Pentair Intelliflow and like it, so something along those lines would work well. Would love something that can be controlled via app because she's an aging lady, but that's not critical.
No Pentair pump can be controlled by an app without an automation panel. I think Jandy may have an add-on box for some of their pumps that let's you control it with an app.

3) Replacing the pump is likely a longer term strategy- more immediately want to replace the o-ring on the basket cover so it's not sucking in air like crazy. Feel I could do this this coming up weekend.
That's an easy fix.

3) The leaky valve. Looks easy enough to replace, but I'm not sure of the technique to loosen/detach it from the pvc. It appears to be glued in. I've a little experience using a map gas torch to heat pvc just enough to loosen glued connections, but it's not something I'm eager to do and I'm not sure that's the right technique. What's the usual process to replace valves?
Cut the old valve out and glue a new valve in. Post a pic of the plumbing are for folks to see what your situation is.

4) The cleaner: Really not sure why the Legend 2 I put in didn't work. Assume it has to be the amount of pressure supplied. Trying to find specs on how much pressure is required but haven't been able to locate that yet.
Pressure test is on Page 3 of the manual - https://www.pentair.com/content/dam/extranet/product-related/product-manuals/pool-and-spa-equipment/legend-ii/Legend_II_Installation_Guide_English.pdf

5) Will take my TFP test kit over to her place this weekend and test the chemistry. I have a feeling her calcium is going to be way off.
Way off high or way off low?

Also, this system actually has a salt water cell that has been disconnected. I played around with it and it powers up, I plugged the sensor back in to the controller and it accurately detected flow/no-flow and low salt. Wondering if it still works.
What model SWG and cell? Do you have a salt test kit?

I'd appreciate any help on what you guys think I should do in terms of priority, or if I'm overlooking anything. Testing the water and getting the cleaner working are tops. I'd prefer not to blow money on the Polaris because I'm certain i want to get her a better cleaner. That hose alone is terrible, and I've read online the 3-wheel design of the Polaris 360 has lots of problems.
Polaris 360 works fine for many people. You need to decide if you want to invest in it.

Once everything is functioning properly then will start working on the cosmetics. I'm not 100% certain the surface/plaster issues she's having are calcium, but it certainly looks like "white stains" in a very mottled pattern that have accumulated over years. Will just wait and see, but thinking maybe an acid wash. Who knows, maybe after 20 years it's just to time to replaster?
20 years is a good life for plaster. It sounds like the plaster reflects its age. You are not going to get it looking like new plaster.