New pool - auto fill quesitons

wgipe

Gold Supporter
Jul 4, 2020
125
Fletcher, OH
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Hello from beautiful Ohio!

Our pool build starts next week, and I'm starting to have second thoughts about my decision not to do an auto-fill. I now see that many folks have simply plumbed a sprinkler valve and appropriate backflow preventer that allows them to cycle fill water on for a set amount of time as necessary. I fortunately did have the foresight to run a sprinkler control wire with my water supply that they will take on out to the pool house location "just in case", and I'm now thinking that it can't hurt to just set a valve and connect it into my existing Rainbird controller, which would allow me to set it to run for a couple of hours (or less) at a time on an as-needed basis. We will have an auto-cover in place of a fence, so the pool will be covered most of the time, keeping evap loss to a minimum.

1. Is this stupid? Should I just install a float-valve type and forget it? I don't like the idea of yet another box in my deck, so was trying to avoid that. I also like the thought of adding water as needed so I know if a leak develops.

2. If I do this, where do you plumb the outlet? Does it dump directly into the pool through a dedicated return? Does it dump into the skimmer? I'm sure this is obvious to others, but I could find that in any other posts.

3. Should I just forget it as originally planned given we will have an auto cover? My thought is that I can add it now for $20 (I have the valve, etc. already left over from my sprinkler install), so just don't want to regret it.

Thanks, as always, for your input. You guys are awesome!

Wes
 

Stoopalini

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2020
442
Central Texas
Pool Size
14060
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I had the same 2nd guessing experience when construction started on my pool. We declined the auto-fill, but then I realized I should probably have one ... I'm in Texas mind you, and don't have a cover either. So I knew my evaporation would be significant.

I spoke to my construction super, and he said he could pick up a Paramount Paralevel for me, for about $60. So I went with that. I just needed to have it on hand before gunite was shot.

For the rest of the setup (tapping into the water line, installing a PRV (pressure reduction valve) and backflow preventor, etc ...) I just did all of that work myself. So what the builder wanted to charge $1500 for, I was able to do for about $200 ... partly because I already had a brand new Watts PRV on hand in my garage.

My construction super told me the Paramount Paralevel is the only autofill he hasn't experienced any issues with. It doesn't use a 'toilet bowl' style float setup, so maybe that's why? It can be setup to perform both over flow, and auto fill functions.

.


FYI: Here is a thread I sarted when I was installing the plumbing to support the autofill.

 
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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,841
Bedford, TX
Wes,

I have a sprinkler valve that is plumbed into my skimmer.. (There is a knock-out)..

While I like the idea that I can see the amount of water usage and turn on the water only when needed, I do not like the back of the skimmer plumbing.

If you think about it, when you add water via the skimmer, this forces the weir door shut.. So what I have to do is put a brick on the weir door and then turn on the water.

I also clean the skimmer baskets as you don't want the stuff in the dirty baskets to be forced back into the pool..

It is not much of an issue and it has worked fine for over 6 years, but one day, I plan to re-plumb the water valve into a return line. Or better yet an unused vac port.

I guess my point is that I do not miss an auto-fill at all.. I just do not like the fresh water being plumbed into the back of the skimmer.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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wgipe

Gold Supporter
Jul 4, 2020
125
Fletcher, OH
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Wes,

I have a sprinkler valve that is plumbed into my skimmer.. (There is a knock-out)..

While I like the idea that I can see the amount of water usage and turn on the water only when needed, I do not like the back of the skimmer plumbing.

If you think about it, when you add water via the skimmer, this forces the weir door shut.. So what I have to do is put a brick on the weir door and then turn on the water.

I also clean the skimmer baskets as you don't want the stuff in the dirty baskets to be forced back into the pool..

It is not much of an issue and it has worked fine for over 6 years, but one day, I plan to re-plumb the water valve into a return line. Or better yet an unused vac port.

I guess my point is that I do not miss an auto-fill at all.. I just do not like the fresh water being plumbed into the back of the skimmer.

Thanks,

Jim R.
Thank you, Jim! Exactly what I was looking for. I prefer this method over an auto-fill because it's simple, I can hide the guts in the pool house, and I'll know if I have a leak. Question - can you help me out with how best to plumb into a return or unused vac port? This is a new build that will start next week, so I have plenty of time to make it as it should be. Sorry for the basic question - I just read some other stuff on here where people said that plumbing into a return would cause problems because it is under pressure when the pump is running.
 

Aquaman7

Well-known member
Sep 15, 2019
315
NJ
I’m about to backfill but before doing so I’m was also going to plumb the auto fill water line to the back of the skimmer but now Jim has me doubting that it’s a good idea. Jim you mention a water feed into a return line. Do you think it would cause a problem when the pump is running and the sprinkler valve is opened to add water? Would the pressure from the pump push water into the sprinkler system or even prevent the water from the auto feed from entering into the return line?
Thanks,
Joe
 

Aquaman7

Well-known member
Sep 15, 2019
315
NJ
Jim,
I was thinking about your setup. It might not be as bad as it seams. When you add water it closes your weir. How many skimmers do you have? Yes the weir is closed temporarily but if you have two the other should compensate. Also, it shouldn’t be too long for your auto fill to add water. Once the water is turned off the weir would go back to normal operation.
Joe.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,841
Bedford, TX
Joe and W,

Picture this.. Turn on your garden hose full blast and then stick your hand in front of it.. Water goes everywhere... Not what I wanted.. This is why I put a brick on the weir door to hold it down or open to the pool.

It takes an hour for my pool to fill.. It has nothing to do with any problem with having the skimmer closed for an hour...

If I were building the pool new today, I would have just told the pool builder to run a one inch PVC line back to the pool, just like a small pool return line.. In fact it could just be an extra pool return line that is not connected (to the return plumbing) at the equipment pad... Could have an eyeball on the end so that it would not look odd..

I don't see any concern with connecting a sprinkler valve to the return plumbing... When the sprinkler valve is off, nothing will pass through it.. When open there will be 50 to 80 lbs of pressure coming from the sprinkler system and almost zero pressure at the return plumbing. Keep in mind that the return line is connected to several open eyeballs at the pool..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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spd500

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2020
564
Houston, TX
If I were building the pool new today, I would have just told the pool builder to run a one inch PVC line back to the pool, just like a small pool return line.. In fact it could just be an extra pool return line that is not connected (to the return plumbing) at the equipment pad... Could have an eyeball on the end so that it would not look odd..
I do have a suction port that I will only use for manual vacuuming. You have me thinking I might want to use that for fill water as well and only use it when I am not vacuuming.
 

wgipe

Gold Supporter
Jul 4, 2020
125
Fletcher, OH
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
If I were building the pool new today, I would have just told the pool builder to run a one inch PVC line back to the pool, just like a small pool return line.. In fact it could just be an extra pool return line that is not connected (to the return plumbing) at the equipment pad... Could have an eyeball on the end so that it would not look odd..
Perfect. That's just what I'll do. Thank you!

Wes
 

BowserB

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
373
Katy, Texas
Another thought if you have a water softener. I have an autofill that is connected to one of the outside faucets. Except for our sprinkler system, all the water we use is from a potassium salt water softener, and that includes the autofill. So new water is lacking calcium. I'm paying for potassium chloride salt (potassium salt is 4-5 times the cost of sodium water softener salt) to take calcium and magnesium out of the water, then I pay again buying calcium to add to the pool. I'm seriously considering shutting off the autofill, except when we're away, and get our sprinkler guy to use our system's unused zone 10 for the pool.
 

Stoopalini

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2020
442
Central Texas
Pool Size
14060
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
If you're building a new pool, why wouldn't you just have an auto-fill installed? I get the sprinkler valve setup for an existing pool, but am curious why you would go for that over a solution which maintains the level without any manual intervention or scheduled programming?

If it's the "you won't know if you have a leak" angle, which my salesman gave me as well ... I don't think there's much weight in that. Now that I've had the pool for 2 months, I am not concerned at all about my auto fill hiding a leak. If I thought there was a leak, I could just turn the autofill valve off, and perform a bucket test .. just as I would do if there wasn't one installed.
 

spd500

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2020
564
Houston, TX
If you're building a new pool, why wouldn't you just have an auto-fill installed? I get the sprinkler valve setup for an existing pool, but am curious why you would go for that over a solution which maintains the level without any manual intervention or scheduled programming?

If it's the "you won't know if you have a leak" angle, which my salesman gave me as well ... I don't think there's much weight in that. Now that I've had the pool for 2 months, I am not concerned at all about my auto fill hiding a leak. If I thought there was a leak, I could just turn the autofill valve off, and perform a bucket test .. just as I would do if there wasn't one installed.
I just prefer to be in control of it myself. If that auto fill sticks you are going to be wasting a lot of water.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,841
Bedford, TX
spd,

There is nothing wrong with an auto-fill, I just personally like to see what is going on with my pool.

I like the idea that if my water is low, and I know if it is going to rain cats and dogs, that I can let mother nature fill up my pool.

There is no absolute right or wrong answer here, it is just a matter of personal choice..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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Aquaman7

Well-known member
Sep 15, 2019
315
NJ
Sp. good to know. Jim. I have the skimmer installed but did not backfill yet. I still can add a line to the knock out and have it drain toward the low side of the yard.