New pool owner in Las Vegas, Howdy!

lightandvideo

Silver Supporter
Jun 20, 2019
27
Las Vegas, NV
Hi everyone, my wife and I are in process of buying a house with beautifully designed 20 year old in-ground pool with spa/grotto/waterfall and slide and floor system. Pool and spa feature pebble tech coating, nice deluxe pool but needing TLC!

I’m still working on calculating the gallons/capacity of the pool/spa, we are draining the pool next week to begin a major renovation so I haven’t tested the water chemistry yet, but will be testing regularly and using TFP method going forward after the renovation is complete.

I have already checked out “Pool School” and “ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry” and found these to be very informative and helpful resources,

Currently wanting to get some feedback/advice on possibly installing a SWG system, and any general advice and best practices you can share are greatly appreciated,

We are in process of draining the pool next week to complete overhaul of the grotto and concrete rocks surrounding the pool, with some minor crack sealing/repairs, re-staining, re-sealing, also rebuilding a couple rocks with significant cracks, and replacing current water slide with custom concrete slide that will be built into the rocks to replace the worn out plastic slide that is contributing to issues with the adjacent concrete rocks. We are working with a very experienced local contractor to complete the grotto/rock overhaul/repairs, he has over 25 years experience working with several of the top local aquascape companies and now working independently, he came to us highly recommended from a well-connected contractor we are using for some of our other house renovations and he is offering us a very fair price for the job, we feel good about working with him and excited to see this transformation happen over the next few weeks.

After the grotto/rock renovation is complete we are also having the current 20 year old pebble tech chipped out, and installing fresh pebble tech in the pool/spa.

Also, I’m a lighting designer and wanted to update the underwater lights during the pool renovations, so we are replacing the current halogen pool/spa lights with new J&J PureWhite 500watt equivalent LED light in the pool, and 300watt equivalent PureWhite LED light in the spa. The current spa light fixture is full sized pool style halogen fixture, and we are replacing with another full-size LED fixture since I wanted to use a bright full-size light fixture in the spa that will also light up the interior of the grotto at night, (being in Las Vegas, hopefully we will be able to see if any spiders/scorpions are crawling around in the grotto before we jump in the spa at night!) I opted for PureWhite fixtures since we want a classic natural look and I’m not interested in multi-color light show in my pool/spa, (we have enough colored light shows in Vegas, I don’t need one in my pool!)

Pool currently includes 2hp Hayward single speed pump/filter for the skimmer with recent bearing replacement/overhaul, separate 2hp Hayward single speed pump/filter for the floor system with recent bearing replacement/overhaul, and includes a couple additional 2hp single speed pumps for the spa/water features that are in rough condition and look like they need replacing, so we are planning to swap out the existing single speed pumps on the skimmer and floor system for 3hp variable speed pumps for the skimmer and floor system daily operation in the near future, and we will use the recently overhauled single speed pumps for spa/water features occasional use.

I’m not sure yet the brand/specs on the current filters, I know they are not sand filters and I believe they use 4x cylinder cartridge filters per filter, (seller left me 4x extra filter cartridges in the garden shed) planning to clean out both filters and confirm exactly what we have next week.

After reading several posts here on water testing and chemicals best practices I already ordered the Taylor K-2006C test kit and digital PH tester on Amazon, and planning to follow TFP method to test/maintain the pool water chemistry after renovation is complete.

Original owner has been using 6x trichlor tablets weekly in 2x floaters to maintain the pool, also he used occasional shock packets, water seems to look ok with no visible issues, but I haven’t tested the water chemistry, there is heavy scaling on the rocks/pebble tech at surface level after 20 years of use with minimal chemical maintenance/testing, also the chlorine floaters are drifting into the shallow pebble tech beach entrance area, and the floaters are totally bleaching out the pebble tech in the shallow entrance area, so we are getting rid of the tablet floaters after the renovation.

Pool has auto-fill valve, and with high levels of evaporation here I expect there is a significant amount of water delivered to the pool each day via the auto fill valve, current owner told me he rarely drained the pool and has not removed water from the pool in several years so evaporation is just being replenished currently.

Surprisingly the water looks ok and I have already taken a few dips in the pool without any health issues, but I am concerned about the scaling, and also I’m sure there are issues with the current CYA levels since trichlor tablets have been used for so long without draining the pool so I’m not sure how safe/sanitary the water is, (wanting to fix/avoid these issues when we refill the pool after renovations!)

Before researching and learning about the TFP method I was planning to install in-line chlorinator to continue using tricolor tablets without bleaching out the pebble tech in the shallow area, but now after educating myself here I understand this pool will need daily attention, and I understand there will be issues with CYA build up using tricolor tablets continuously, so now I have been debating using liquid bleach daily, or thinking seriously about just paying the money now to immediately install a SWG system and save the cost/hassle of hauling endless gallons of liquid bleach home from Costco!

I have been looking at the Pentair IC40 system that seems like it would be a good fit for our mid-sized pool/spa, seems like installing this now would save me a lot of hassle and money long term, does anyone have feedback on the IC40, or any alternate SWG systems I should be looking at?

Would there be any reason for me to run a full set of tests on the current water chemistry before we drain the pool? Or since we will be starting fresh after the renovation is this a waste of time?

Any other general advice and best practices you can share are greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance for your feedback and support! -John
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
31,153
Laughlin, NV
Welcome to the forum!
A lot to unpack for a first post. You posted in a Water Chemistry forum so lets stay there.

No need to mess with testing the water if you are draining before you swim in the pool again. I would test it if you plan to swim.

SWCG gets a big thumbs up here. I would really take a look at the infloor cleaner. You will need to run your pumps at higher rates to make them work. Robots are modern day technology. Look at the Pool Cleaner sub forum.

Are you planning to have automation? If so, keep the pumps, SWCG, and automation all from one manufacturer.

If you have questions on the renovation, I suggest you start a thread on that in Under Construction and move some of this detail to that thread.

Take care.
 
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lightandvideo

Silver Supporter
Jun 20, 2019
27
Las Vegas, NV
Welcome to the forum!
A lot to unpack for a first post. You posted in a Water Chemistry forum so lets stay there.

No need to mess with testing the water if you are draining before you swim in the pool again. I would test it if you plan to swim.

SWCG gets a big thumbs up here. I would really take a look at the infloor cleaner. You will need to run your pumps at higher rates to make them work. Robots are modern day technology. Look at the Pool Cleaner sub forum.

Are you planning to have automation? If so, keep the pumps, SWCG, and automation all from one manufacturer.

If you have questions on the renovation, I suggest you start a thread on that in Under Construction and move some of this detail to that thread.

Take care.
Currently we have a Jandy RS automation system installed, seems to be working ok, I have done some basic programming resetting date/time and on/of times for the skimmer pump and floor system pump, looks to be a strait forward non-proprietary system, does this automation system effect the brand/type of SWG we should install?

I was reading good reviews on the Pentair IC40 product, but open to any suggestions on alternate systems you suggest?
 

lightandvideo

Silver Supporter
Jun 20, 2019
27
Las Vegas, NV
Quick question, confirmed we will be keeping the single speed 2hp Hayward pump for the floor system, and replacing the skimmer pump with IntelliFlo 3hp running 24/7 at lower RPM, confirmed our pool is approx 30k gallons so I am ordering the Pentair IC60 SWCG with 520556 power center (we will run the SWCG without automation connected to the 520556 power center) I was told by the online dealer we might have issues running the IC60 with low RPM VSP, and it might be best to run the SWCG with the floor system, do you know what is the minimum RPM we can use to activate the SWCG? I was hoping to reduce daily runtime on the floor system to 4-5 hours to reduce power consumption, so not sure if we will be better off running the SWCG with the floor system pump at higher intensity with higher RPM pump for shorter duration, or will we be ok running the SWCG 24/7 at lower intensity with lower RPM pump?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
31,153
Laughlin, NV
My Intelliflo runs at 1500 rpm to close the flow switch on my IC40. But I have a heater which raises the back pressure. Other members with the Intelliflo and IC run at 1200 rpm as they do not have a heater. So not sure that online dealer knows what they are talking about.

If you are not installing automation you will need a means to remove the power from the SWCG when you shut down the main pump. The flow switch on the SWCG is a secondary safety device. Removing the power is the primary device. The cell can explode if it happens to generate chlorine with out flow through it.

So you would need a timer for the SWCG or a current sensing relay.
 
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lightandvideo

Silver Supporter
Jun 20, 2019
27
Las Vegas, NV
Thanks again for your reply, planning to operate the IntelliFlo 24/7 at lowest rpm that will cycle the entire pool each day so we should be ok with continuous power on the IC60 and I will test/adjust the IC60 settings to deliver correct amount of chlorine. I ended up calling Pentair after my last post and had a great talk with a factory service technician, he confirmed the IC60 requires 25gpm flow to work, so we crunched some numbers and for our 30k gallon pool I will be able to run the pump at 25gpm and will be almost perfect 24/7 daily cycle for our pool size with 36k gallons daily throughput, (and this should still be fairly low rpm for some savings on our power bill!)

I was originally looking at the IntelliFlo VS pump, but the service tech had a great suggestion to buy one of the 3hp IntelliFlo VSF units, so I will be able to see exactly how much water is flowing through the pump and I can dial in the exact minimum flow needed to activate the IC60 with maximum power savings.

After the call I found out the VSF series are not avail from online dealers and are only avail through the retail channel, so I jumped on eBay and found a good deal on a new 3hp IntelliFlo VSF unit for $1090 with free shipping, also ordered a pair of the good quality OEM IntelliFlo unions for around $63 on Amazon.

Pool is drained now and our contractor already relocated the 2hp single speed pump from the skimmer to run the waterfall/slide, and we will install the new VSF unit for the skimmer with IC60 when the new gear arrives,

...now dealing with replacing 30x a&a style 1 floor heads for over $1200, and about to post another thread to see if anyone has sourced compatible good quality square o-rings for a reasonable price, I am wanting to install fresh o rings with the new heads but $10/ea is the lowest price I can find online for the OEM o-rings! (Spending $300 on 30x o-rings seems totally insane, but I guess this is just another one of the joys of pool ownership!)

Thanks again for your help/advice, have a great weekend!
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
31,153
Laughlin, NV
Sounds like you have a plan.

FYI -- turnover in a pool is meaningless. Chemistry keeps the pool water clear, the filter just removes stuff that falls into the pool.

The VSF pumps are fine, not sure I see any need to know flowrate. It truly does not matter. But great you are getting what you want.

Take care.
 
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lightandvideo

Silver Supporter
Jun 20, 2019
27
Las Vegas, NV
That’s interesting, I am still learning here so I really appreciate your advice, also side note I just donated $50 to TFP in appreciation of this great resource, and can’t thank you enough for sharing your experience with me.

I was hearing a lot of people on other outlets like YouTube saying that it’s critical to cycle the entire pool at least once every 24 hours, so I was thinking is was critical to make sure the skimmer pump cycles at least 30k gallons per day,

After I master maintaining our water chemistry maybe eventually I will add Pentair automation equipment to turn the IC60 on/off, our current automation hardware is an old system but will try to get by with it for a couple more years as we get settled into this house, if we are able to save money on our power bill running the VSF/IC60 less than 24 hours a day the new automation equipment would probably pay for itself quickly!

The logic with choosing the VSF unit was we can get a true reading and adjust the actual water flow going through the pump instead of calculating approximate flow based on RPMs, not sure if this is another myth but the Pentair service tech I spoke with was saying that adjusting RPM’s will not necessarily give me an accurate flow adjustment, this way we can dial in the exact minimum flow rate required for the IC60 to operate 24/7,

(I was able to buy the VSF on eBay for almost identical price as the VS version from online dealer, so this was a no-brainer, now hopefully there aren’t reliability issues with choosing the VSF version!)

Thanks again!
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
31,153
Laughlin, NV
Turnover is a myth. When you take water through your filter, it is dumped back in your pool, mixing with the pool water. So you never cycle all the water through the filter.
Read Determine Pump Run Time - Trouble Free Pool

As far as flowrate, I honestly have no idea what flow rate my Intelliflo VS creates. And it does not effect anything about the pool. With my system (heater) I need 1500 rpm to close the flow switch on my IC40. So that is what I run the pump at. I need 3000 rpm to make bubbles in our spa, so the pump runs at that rpm when we use the spa.

I recommend you learn about CSI - Calcium Saturation Index (CSI) - Trouble Free Pool. It is critical to keeping your SWCG scale free and also in managing your water so you do not get waterline scale buildup.

Take care.
 
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lightandvideo

Silver Supporter
Jun 20, 2019
27
Las Vegas, NV
Turnover is a myth. When you take water through your filter, it is dumped back in your pool, mixing with the pool water. So you never cycle all the water through the filter.
Read Determine Pump Run Time - Trouble Free Pool

As far as flowrate, I honestly have no idea what flow rate my Intelliflo VS creates. And it does not effect anything about the pool. With my system (heater) I need 1500 rpm to close the flow switch on my IC40. So that is what I run the pump at. I need 3000 rpm to make bubbles in our spa, so the pump runs at that rpm when we use the spa.

I recommend you learn about CSI - Calcium Saturation Index (CSI) - Trouble Free Pool. It is critical to keeping your SWCG scale free and also in managing your water so you do not get waterline scale buildup.

Take care.
Copy, yes thanks this is very helpful, I was concerned about scale issues since there is heavy scale in the pool currently, we are using municipal water supply to fill the pool initially and auto fill valve is connected to municipal water, we are not using well water, I will start learning about CSI over the weekend.

Also going back to the IC60 on/off issue, I was checking the manual on the IntelliChlor 520556 power center we are installing to power the IC60 and it looks like we can connect this to the timer circuit that powers the VSF pump but unfortunately until we install Pentair automation equipment we will need to leave constant power on for the VSF pump and any on/off automation will be programmed on the pump controls, so planning to do 24/7 operation until we upgrade to Pentair automation equipment,

I could setup a separate timer circuit to automate the IC60 to sync with on/off programming on the VSF pump, but this seems too risky incase the old automation system acts up and turns the IC60 on when the pump isn’t running this would be a disaster, so I’m planning to just run the VSF/IC60 24/7 until we eventually upgrade the automation equipment.

Thanks again!
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
31,153
Laughlin, NV
Sounds good. Many folks run their VS pumps 24/7. You could run at the rpm needed to generate chlorine X amount and then lower the rpm for the rest of the time. Up to you.

Existing scale will need to be blasted off. Kieserite blasting is best. We use the same water, Colorado River water. So I manage my CSI until my CH approaches 1000 ppm, then exchange water to fresh and start over. Takes about 16 months in my pool.

I encourage you to get the the Poolmath app. You can see my test results by hovering over my member name and clicking on PoolMath Logs.
 
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