Oversold, under-delivered?

benj851

Member
Oct 18, 2020
15
Florida
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-15
Hello;

I'm in the middle of a pool construction and I'm getting really confused with things. I've searched google at length, which led me here. But even here I don't see the answer's I'm looking for. I'm hoping someone can assist me, or point me to a link/site that has more information. When we were sold the pool and signed the contract, we agreed to many things.

- A hot tub fully controlled via app 6 blowers, and has spa side controls with a 1hp blower.
- A fully automated system controlled via app.
- Wall mounted wireless tablet dedicated to pool functions.
- two sun-shelfs, each with two bubblers, on separate valves (one per shelf).

Now I'm told that the spa will function off the pool pump, and side spa controls aren't a thing anymore because they break. I can control it off my phone. I was advised that the number of jets I'm getting will cause the pressure to be weak. I mentioned we were sold the 1hp blower to avoid this, and was told it runs off the pool pump. I was also told that if the bubblers are on separate valves, they will never be the same height and it doesn't make sense to do so.

I know I'm using Pentair SuperFlow VS for the spa/pool pump. I was told yesterday that I can either use their smart system with a remote or their smart system via the app I have to choose one of the two. When researching their site, further questions abound.

Outside the fact that the company salesperson isn't lining up with the builder, can you help with any of these questions?

Questions.
1. An airpump is clearly a thing, does it make sense that it would run off the side of the spa, or should it really be the pool pump for the jets? Is an air pump not needed in a pool/spa combo?
3. If I have two values to control the bubbler sets on each sunshelf should I expect them to never align height wise?
4. I was told I'm not getting a main drain (in the contract, but I didn't see it at the time) for safety reasons in Florida. In the contract I bought their vacuum robot. Is that good enough?
5. I was told I'm not getting a wall mounted light switch because of the automated system. I want a switch eventually. Is a pool light able to be turned into a 3-way so either a switch or app could control it?
6. Now I'm told that I can either have a pentair remote, that controls everything, or a pentair mobile application. Not Both. Is that a thing?

Florida, 18x28 pool, 4 bubblers, 6 ft spa with 6 jets.
 

spd500

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2020
564
Houston, TX
I dont know all of these answers, but I can help with some. The spa that we just installed has an air blower, and uses the same pump as the pool. When they ran the plumbing in the spa there was a row of air lines and a row of water lines that went all the way back to the pump pad. The amount of pressure you will be able to get will depend on the size of your pump and what speed you are running it at.

We only did one bubbler, but have a similar scenario with our two sheer descent waterfalls. The automation will turn on water to both through one valve, then further down the line they split to two valves that are manual that I can balance the flow to each with.

A lot of people say that there is no reason to have a main drain, but I have no personal experience with not having one. We do have several members here who do not have one.
 

benj851

Member
Oct 18, 2020
15
Florida
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-15
Thank you for the bit about the valves and the waterfall. I will ask about it. Are the waterfalls balanced?
 

spd500

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2020
564
Houston, TX
Thank you for the bit about the valves and the waterfall. I will ask about it. Are the waterfalls balanced?
I am still building, so I haven't been able to use them yet. But from what I have read this is the standard way of doing them. One thing to note, you can only have a certain number of actuators on your automation system. For me that means I have one three way actuator controlling both my waterfalls and my bubbler. This will allow me to use either one of them or both at the same time. Also, we had an extra pump installed for the water features so we can use them while in spa mode. If you only have one pump it will only draw water from the spa and return it to the spa when in spa mode, not water features.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
20,881
Bedford, TX
Ben,

The Good News..

You do not require or need a main drain. Thousands of pools do not have main drains and they work just fine.

You can have both ScreenLogic as well as a dedicated Pentair remote. If wireless, they will both need seperate wireless links.

A robot is the best way to clean a pool. That said, many things can be called a "Robot." I suspect that your pool builder is going to give you a suction-side cleaner, which you do not want. Find out exactly what you are getting. You want something like this...


The Bad News...

The SuperFlo VS cannot be controlled by automation... You must have a 3 HP IntelliFlo pump.. With this pump your pool/spa should work just fine off of one pump.

A "blower" (air pump) is required when the spa jets need extra air to make bubbles.. Some spa jets make their own bubbles and do not need a blower. Find out what you are getting.

Your pool builder is correct in saying that spa-side remotes go bad. They corrode inside, but this usually takes 10 years or more. Get one if you want one.

I would use one automated valve to turn on both bubblers and then have a manual valve for each bubbler to control the height.. If you want to be able to run just one bubbler at a time, then use two automated valves and also a manual valve on each bubbler line to control the height.

You want your automation to control the lights. You cannot have a three way system, so do not allow them to wire your lights to a wall switch.

From what you have said so far, it appears to me that your pool builder has no clue how automation works.. This worries me and makes me question what automation he is installing. My guess it an EasyTouch "lite".. The lite version of the EasyTouch is not recommended here as it has a very limited set of functions. Kind of like lite salad dressing that no one can eat.. :mrgreen:


You need to find out the exact part numbers of the equipment they plan to give you and show it to us.

Unfortunately, these are all things that should have been done before the plumbing and electrical work was done. :(

Sorry for your troubles,

Jim R.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
8,624
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
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Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Regarding the sales pitch vs the builder, the written contract is "the great equalizer." If you were promised things that are not in the contract, sorry, that's on you. If items are in the contract that the PB is now trying to renege on, then that's on him and you are either entitle to them or a discount. Don't back down and don't let the PB push you around. He'll only be able to if you let him. You're in charge of the progress payments, that's your leverage.

Please fill in your signature with what you know about your pool, it'll help you get better answers.

Questions.
1. No expert on spas, but I believe a spa can get its bubbles from pump alone, or more if desired from a blower. You can have both.

3. Your PB's explanation about the bubblers was pure c--p. If you put all your returns, or all your bubblers, on a single circuit, you are far more likely to have a different amount of water coming from each, not the same. That's due to the length of the pipe between them and the next return/bubbler and between them and the pad. Utilizing home runs (pipes from each return or sets of bubblers back to the pad) on their own dedicated valves is the only way to be assured that you will have good balancing control. I would demand home runs and separate valves, for all the returns and all the bubblers. He's just trying to minimize his plumbing expense.

4a. You don't need a main drain. I had mine removed, in fact. It is safer. But that's all the more reason to insist on home runs. You need max control over your returns to be able to fine tune your circulation.

4b. By "vacuum robot" do you mean a pressure-side vac, suction-side vac or true stand-alone robot?

5. With my pool automation, the light can be controlled at the pad, by an app, or by the indoor wall-mounted remote that controls my automation, but not by a typical wall switch. For that reason, I removed the light from my pool automation and now control it with my home automation system. With HA, I can use any number of wall switches or app (different app than pool app) or computer, but not the pool automation or pool app. So it's one or the other. If you don't want to get into HA, then you can have the light wired with a normal household three-way switch setup: one at the pad and one elsewhere in the house. And that can be more than two switches, if you like, but that's only if you can get wires run between all the locations. The only way to get multiple wall switches and app control is by using HA (not pool automation).

6. I have control of my pool automation at the pad, at a wired remote indoors mounted on a wall (could have been wireless), and on all my computers, iPads and iPhone. That's using an EasyTouch automation controller and ScreenLogic. So that's a thing. Not sure what the PB is talking about either/or.

Fill in your signature, with components and model numbers and maybe we can give you more specifics.

How far along are you in the build? Maybe there's still a way to get you more of what you're after, but the sooner the better...
 

benj851

Member
Oct 18, 2020
15
Florida
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-15
I’ll fill in the signature shortly. I don’t know much about my pool because we didn’t know what parts and specifics were needed until all these issues. We’re going to send an email to the builder shortly mentioning that they are violation of the contract. Any pointers?

it’s a 28x18 with a 12x6 sunshelf, 6ft spa then another 12x6 sunshelf so12x28 of swimming. There are two bubblers per shelf. Spa has six keys. Specifics weren’t mentioned. Would my contract help? Am I allowed to post it?
 

TexasRain

Well-known member
May 19, 2020
340
San Antonio, TX
Pool Size
13868
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I think you can post your contract as long as you black out the name of the builder.
 

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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
23,763
Northern NJ
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You should declare a halt to construction until you get your issues sorted out. Now you can make changes to the plumbing to get what you want. Once the gunite is shot you will be locked in.

What you want is best done with two pumps. A main pool/spa pump that has two returns to the spa. And a dedicated spa pump for your 6 spa jets with the air blower connected to the spa jets.

Then you can have a calm spa soaking experience, or turn on the spa jets, or have the blower bubbling the spa, or have the spa jets and blower on. All controlled by a spa side small control panel.

This is the setup I have in my spa.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
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Jul 21, 2013
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Spa has six keys.

What does “six keys” mean?

Share your contract but black out all identifying information about you and your contractor.
 

benj851

Member
Oct 18, 2020
15
Florida
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-15
What does “six keys” mean?

Share your contract but black out all identifying information about you and your contractor.
Six jets Sorry
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
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Nov 12, 2017
8,624
Central California
Pool Size
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I’ll fill in the signature shortly. I don’t know much about my pool because we didn’t know what parts and specifics were needed until all these issues. We’re going to send an email to the builder shortly mentioning that they are violation of the contract. Any pointers?
Without all the specifics, I can only offer general pointers. The overarching theme here is resolution, not conflict. The best case scenario is if both parties keep a level head, void of emotion, and work through the details and issues together. Fairness. Compromise. Reasonable.

Your email should be short and sweet, stating facts, and only facts. Civil, even polite (but not apologetic). Leave out anything emotional or inflammatory. Nothing about how the situation makes you feel, or how upset you are, or how much of a jerk he's been, etc, nothing like that. It's OK to bring up spoken agreements along with the written contractual agreements. If promises were made by a salesperson that represents the builder, those are points that can and should be addressed. But be prepared to lose out on the spoken ones, as the PB has the upper-hand there. Everything else, if written in the contract, is yours for the having. The purpose of the email is to remind the PB of his contractual obligations.

At this phase of construction, there is nothing that can't be done, undone or redone, especially if it's within the specifications of the contract. That doesn't mean you can't renegotiate things you want that aren't in the contract. Or that the two of you can't make trade offs: giving up something for something else. Just don't allow the PB to explain away any part of the agreement with excuses. If he attempts that, and you're not sure about it, then just push pause with a statement like: "I'll have to get back to you on that, for now it's on hold." or the like. Then come back here, or go elsewhere, for some third-party advice, so you can be better prepared to discuss that with the PB during the next exchange.

Again, the goal is to work together so that you end up with what you want, and the PB makes a reasonable amount of profit providing that, which is what he wants. Be reasonable and fair, and hopefully he will do the same. If that doesn't work, then that's a different discussion.
 

benj851

Member
Oct 18, 2020
15
Florida
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-15
Verdict? The other section includes the wireless pad, which was on top of the standard automation we originally purchased.
 

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Dirk

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That spec sheet, all the handwritten scratching aside, is unfortunate, as it doesn't list a lot of things, and those that are listed include no specifics (model numbers). Some of those items can vary wildly in cost and function depending on model chosen, like by 1000s of dollars and leaps and bounds of functionality. I think the first order of business is to renegotiate that entire page to clean up all ambiguity and clearly state exactly what you are getting. Experts here can help you figure out what to ask for, model-wise.

How that will all work out cost-wise remains to be seen. For example, the mentioned EasyTouch (which is just one of the items that can vary wildly by model): if he's thinking the bottom rung, and you're thinking top-tier, and the contract doesn't specify which, who gets to pick? There is some legal precedent that could come into play, namely the one that should know better and/or the creator of the contract usually loses out if something is not specified, but let's not go there just yet.

First step is to get all the model numbers of everything, whether purchased yet or not. And post them here. Then we can help you determine if you're getting enough of the right stuff or not.
 
Last edited:

ajw22

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Verdict? The other section includes the wireless pad, which was on top of the standard automation we originally purchased.

SPA Jets

The spa looks plumbed to combine water from a pump with air from a blower. Taking water in from the floor suction and out the six jets. That plumbing should be connected to a dedicated spa jet pump that you can turn on and off as desired.

The PB should install a second floor suction line that will connect though an actuator controlled diverter valve into the suction side of the main pool/spa pump. At least 2 returns should be installed a bit above ankle height on the spa walls and connect though an actuator controlled diverter valve to the return side of the pool/spa pump.

That now gives you the spa jet control and pressure you want.

Automation & controls

We need to know what models and part numbers the PB is planning to comment if it will meet your needs.

Pentair automation systems can have both wired control panels, wireless control panels, and wireless app controls at the same time.

Pumps

As was said , the Superflo VS pump does not talk to Pentair automation. All the automation can do is turn the pump and and off and not adjust the speeds.

You should get one or two Pentair IntelliFlo 011056 VS pumps.

Pool Lights

Can you explain why you want a physical switch in addition to controlling the light through the automation?

What lights are you getting? White or color changing? Model numbers? It makes a difference in how they are controlled by switches or automaton.

SPA Side control

Pentair has 4 button and 8 button spa side wired control panels. The PB needs to run a conduit to the location the control panel will be installed.

spa-command-remote.jpg
Pentair IS4 Spadide control.png
 
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