Please help with my SPA/Fountain plumbing design!

zamazing

Well-known member
Jul 18, 2015
130
Bergen County, NJ
Planning a SPA/Fountain addition to second home in Florida. Spa is 6'x6' and spills into a shallow (18") fountain/pond that has a couple of built in steps to cross over. Pool builder is a Pentair guy. Please help me with the following:

1) Is the separate Spa Jet Pump necessary or would a 3HP VSP (even with losses thru Filter, Heater, and SWG) provide enough jet pressure at the spa?

2) How many jets do you recommend for a 6x6 SPA? Is one Blower sufficient? If so, what HP?

3) Automation - Easytouch with Screen Logic or Intellicenter?

4) Maintenance - I'd like to avoid hiring a pool guy during summer months when house is unoccupied. Plan to have an Autofill and overflow valve to take care of water levels. SWG should take care of chlorine levels reliably. Can the rest of the chemistry be automated with IntelliChem?

5) Any recommended Pentair model numbers for equipment would be appreciated!


SPA Plumbing Design.jpg
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
35,152
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
1) Is the separate Spa Jet Pump necessary or would a 3HP VSP (even with losses thru Filter, Heater, and SWG) provide enough jet pressure at the spa?

Depends how strong you want the massage jets to be. The filter/pump flow rate will be constrained by the filter and heater. More so if you sue a Heat Pump instead of a gas heater.

Here are flow rates you need per jet. So if you have 8 jets for strong jet pressure you need about 160 gpm of flow. You can't get that through a filter and heater.

Spa Jet Flow Rates.png

2) How many jets do you recommend for a 6x6 SPA?

Two jets on each wall. 8 jets total.

Is one Blower sufficient?

Yes

If so, what HP?

Your builder should size for the size pipes being used and pipe distance.

3) Automation - Easytouch with Screen Logic or Intellicenter?

IntelliCenter

4) Maintenance - I'd like to avoid hiring a pool guy during summer months when house is unoccupied. Plan to have an Autofill and overflow valve to take care of water levels. SWG should take care of chlorine levels reliably. Can the rest of the chemistry be automated with IntelliChem?

Not reliably. You can return to a big mess. The sensors or equipment can fail at any time. You need someone checking on the pool regularly.

5) Any recommended Pentair model numbers for equipment would be appreciated!


View attachment 409048

  • 2X 011056 IntelliFlo VSF pump or 022056 XSF pump
  • CCP 520 cartridge filter
  • Gas heater or heat pump?
You should have two separate returns in your spa for the filter/heater returns and not tie them into the jets.

This is the way my spa is setup...

full
 
Last edited:

zamazing

Well-known member
Jul 18, 2015
130
Bergen County, NJ
Incredibly helpful responses....thank you Allen.


You should have two separate returns in your spa for the filter/heater returns and not tie them into the jets.

My spa in NJ shares the jets for both the filter/heater returns as well as the dedicated Jet pump and I haven't noticed any downsides to that approach. Can you please elaborate on your recommendation?

Not reliably. You can return to a big mess. The sensors or equipment can fail at any time. You need someone checking on the pool regularly.

Re Maintenance: I know it's risky to rely on equipment alone, but its a small body of water and I will have cameras 24/7 and a caretaker (not a pool guy) that checks in every two weeks during the summer months. I figured I could call in a pool guy in case of an emergency. The equipment will be brand new and the SWG technology is very reliable. I'm really interested in folks experiences with Intellichem and/or Chemcheck.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
35,152
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
My spa in NJ shares the jets for both the filter/heater returns as well as the dedicated Jet pump and I haven't noticed any downsides to that approach. Can you please elaborate on your recommendation?

You don't want two pumps into one set of returns. The pump with greater flow will block the flow from the other.

It also depends on size of pipes before and after where the pipes combine.

You will get more predictable flow from both pumps when they have their own returns. There should be little additional cost to doing it that way. I don't know what benefit there is to combining them.
 

zamazing

Well-known member
Jul 18, 2015
130
Bergen County, NJ
Here are flow rates you need per jet. So if you have 8 jets for strong jet pressure you need about 160 gpm of flow. You can't get that through a filter and heater.

Spa Jet Flow Rates.png
Spoke to my PB today and he's planning on using 1/4" pipes to the 8 jets in the spa. Based on this table, that would require just 64 GPM of flow which he believes is no problem from a 3HP VSP going thru a filter and SWG. Is there a downside to using 1/4" pipe or should I insist on a larger diameter?

One other issue he brought up that I was not aware of is that Pentair automation does not have a means of turning off the SWG when in SPA mode and that he needs to bypass the SWG with an automated valve instead so as not to over-chlorinate the SPA? Is this really the case?
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
35,152
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Spoke to my PB today and he's planning on using 1/4" pipes to the 8 jets in the spa. Based on this table, that would require just 64 GPM of flow which he believes is no problem from a 3HP VSP going thru a filter and SWG. Is there a downside to using 1/4" pipe or should I insist on a larger diameter?

1/4" pipes or 1/4" jets? You should have 2" or more pipes leading to a manifold for each jet that the jet screw into.

1/4" is a small stream of water. You need to decide if it meets your needs.


One other issue he brought up that I was not aware of is that Pentair automation does not have a means of turning off the SWG when in SPA mode and that he needs to bypass the SWG with an automated valve instead so as not to over-chlorinate the SPA? Is this really the case?

Your builder is confused to be polite.

Pentair EasyTouch or IntelliCenter has settings for the IntelliChlor SWG % for POOL mode and SPA mode. The automation adjusts the % generation you want for each mode.

Some people wire the SWG to its own AUX relay and then they can turn it on and off independently of the filter/pump.
 

zamazing

Well-known member
Jul 18, 2015
130
Bergen County, NJ
1/4" pipes or 1/4" jets? You should have 2" or more pipes leading to a manifold for each jet that the jet screw into.

1/4" is a small stream of water. You need to decide if it meets your needs.

My apologies, I meant to say 1/4" jets, not 1/4" pipes. He is using 2" pipes throughout the construction.
In order to decide whether 1/4" meets my needs, I'd like to measure the size of the jets in my spa here as I'm happy with the flow and power of the jets. Is there a easy way to do that on a completed spa?


Your builder is confused to be polite

Pentair EasyTouch or IntelliCenter has settings for the IntelliChlor SWG % for POOL mode and SPA mode. The automation adjusts the % generation you want for each mode.

Some people wire the SWG to its own AUX relay and then they can turn it on and off independently of the filter/pump.

Yes, the info from the PB didn't sound right to me which is why I wanted to check it out with you. Thanks so much for this clarification.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
35,152
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
I'd like to measure the size of the jets in my spa here as I'm happy with the flow and power of the jets. Is there a easy way to do that on a completed spa?

Can you measure the size of the hole in the jet?

Do a science experiment. You may get wet doing this.
  • Lower the water level in your spa below the jets.
  • Get a large bucket/garbage can. Turn on the jets.
  • Put the bucket in front of a jet for a few minutes.
  • Have someone time how many minutes it takes to come close to filling the bucket.
  • Use a marked one gallon pail to measure how many gallons you captured.
  • That should give you a rough GPM flow from a jet.
  • Run the test a few times to average for all the spillage and variances
You then know the size of your current jet and GPM flow you are happy with.
 

zamazing

Well-known member
Jul 18, 2015
130
Bergen County, NJ
Can you measure the size of the hole in the jet?

Do a science experiment. You may get wet doing this.
  • Lower the water level in your spa below the jets.
  • Get a large bucket/garbage can. Turn on the jets.
  • Put the bucket in front of a jet for a few minutes.
  • Have someone time how many minutes it takes to come close to filling the bucket.
  • Use a marked one gallon pail to measure how many gallons you captured.
  • That should give you a rough GPM flow from a jet.
  • Run the test a few times to average for all the spillage and variances
You then know the size of your current jet and GPM flow you are happy with.
Now that sounds like a fun experiment. I just might try it this weekend!

In the meantime, I'll measure the diameter of the hole in the jet.
 

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