Pool Design- Any bad decisions in your opinion? Pentair Equipment

ash_leigh

Active member
Jun 3, 2019
38
Indiana
Hi all! I am finishing up designing our pool (hoping to be installed in July). I talked to roughly 10 installers before deciding on one and it is difficult to know if I am making the right decisions. They all have different opinions on pumps, salt vs chorline, sun ledge do or don't, etc. Hoping to get some extra advice on this thread so I don't make any bad decisions. So far, this is what we have decided on-
16x36 rectangle pool
Salt Water (Some really recommended against salt...and preferred chlorine with the UV system?)
Steel Walls with Vinyl Liner
8 ft tanning ledge in shallow end across length of pool with 3 bubblers
Vinyl covering tanning ledge and steps
4 deck jets
2 LED color changing lights
3.5 ft shallow end to 6 ft deep end (No diving board)
TurboTwister Slide
2 main drains, 1 skimmer, 3 returns
Automatic Cover
Pentair Pool Equipment
Pentair Heater
Pentair Sand Filter ( Is cartridge better?)
Pentair variable speed pump ( Did not speficify which one? It looks like if we choose to do the automation, I will have to choose the IntelliPro/flo model?)
iChlor Salt generator
Automation- I have seen some threads on the Pentair Intelliconnect with new installs and it seems like a good idea. My pool builder is not familiar with it, so he is going to talk to rep. Looking at the website, it is hard to determine what is needed. Is the Intelliconnect just the box and you still have to buy the Intellichlor? ( then would not need iChlor Salt generator anymore?) and then I would need a IntelliPro/flo pump.....so many options.

For all of you that have experience with pools- What are your thoughts? Thank you so much!
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,218
Bedford, TX
Ash,

The IntelliConnect can control the Pentair SWCGs but it does not come with one... it can also control the IntelliFlo style pumps.. It has no load center and although it is better than nothing it is not something I would recommend...

The IChlor that your pool builder wants to install is a little small for your pool.. We always recommend getting cell that is at least 2 x the volume of your pool. So for a 20K pool you need a 40K cell.. This is because the cell is rated when running at 100% output and 24/7...

I would get the new IntelliCenter or the older EasyTouch... Just for reference, here is a link to an EasyTouch 4, with built in SWCG power supply, and IC40 cell...


This assumes no integrated spa and includes no valve actuators..

To add remote access, you would need ScreenLogic2... Pentair ScreenLogic Interface and Wireless Connection Kit 522104

The new IntelliCenter has more options and comes with a built in system similar to ScreenLogic.. It costs slightly more, but is upgradable, where the EasyTouch is a "What you see is what you get" type of unit..


Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,218
Bedford, TX
Ash,

The decision between a sand filter and a cartridge filter is like which came first, the chicken or the egg... Each side thinks they are correct. :mrgreen:

I came from a DE filter and moved to a cartridge filter as I have no place to easily backwash.. In my city you can only backwash to the sewer.. I also like the simplicity of not having a Multiport valve that will go bad over time.. I only have to clean my cartridge fitler twice a year, so it is not a major issue... for me...

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

DaveTM

New member
Jun 3, 2019
2
Pennsylvania
I got a new pool installed this spring.....my second pool build in 25 years.....and the installer recommended the IntelliConnect.

I went thru the setup, with Pentair tech support, but we could not get it to work correctly. After speaking with at least 3 different tech's, I finally got the cell phone number for the engineer who developed the IntelliConnect, and he determined that a specific board was at fault.

One week later the board came in and was installed. Unfortunately the IntelliConnect still did not work correctly.. The instructions state that upon power shutdown and restart, the unit will broadcast its Wi-Fi address for ten minutes. On this unit, it is no longer than 60 seconds. And the unit will NOT recognize my home Wi-Fi, even with a Wi-Fi booster within five feet.

They are supposed to replace the whole unit, but I have my doubts that it will work..

At this point I cannot say that I am happy with the product or that I would recommend it to anyone else.

Dave
 
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Flying Tivo

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2017
1,107
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
My 2 biggest regrets where, not putting an extra skimmer and not enough returns, go for at least 4 returns and if you are going to use a heater you will need another floor returns at least 3. Sand filter(always oversized) is the most popular across the board, you can always add DE if needed. SWG is a must for me together with automation.
 
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ash_leigh

Active member
Jun 3, 2019
38
Indiana
Ash,

The IntelliConnect can control the Pentair SWCGs but it does not come with one... it can also control the IntelliFlo style pumps.. It has no load center and although it is better than nothing it is not something I would recommend...

The IChlor that your pool builder wants to install is a little small for your pool.. We always recommend getting cell that is at least 2 x the volume of your pool. So for a 20K pool you need a 40K cell.. This is because the cell is rated when running at 100% output and 24/7...

I would get the new IntelliCenter or the older EasyTouch... Just for reference, here is a link to an EasyTouch 4, with built in SWCG power supply, and IC40 cell...


This assumes no integrated spa and includes no valve actuators..

To add remote access, you would need ScreenLogic2... Pentair ScreenLogic Interface and Wireless Connection Kit 522104

The new IntelliCenter has more options and comes with a built in system similar to ScreenLogic.. It costs slightly more, but is upgradable, where the EasyTouch is a "What you see is what you get" type of unit..


Thanks,

Jim R.
Very helpful... thank you. It sounds like the Intellicenter would be the way to go!
 

jimmythegreek

Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Aug 10, 2017
1,268
Morris Cnty NJ
Add a 2nd skimmer and more returns. Also the 8ft ledge across pool will make it 28ft total length. If stairs come off of that it's even shorter. I personally wouldnt steal all that real estate unless you have years of little ones coming down the pipe. But that's just me I'd share that space with stairs or do an add on fiberglass tanning ledge and shrink pool a little w side or end steps
 

ash_leigh

Active member
Jun 3, 2019
38
Indiana
Add a 2nd skimmer and more returns. Also the 8ft ledge across pool will make it 28ft total length. If stairs come off of that it's even shorter. I personally wouldnt steal all that real estate unless you have years of little ones coming down the pipe. But that's just me I'd share that space with stairs or do an add on fiberglass tanning ledge and shrink pool a little w side or end steps
Thank you! Good point. I am going to shrink the ledge and put stairs on the side.....
 

DaveTM

New member
Jun 3, 2019
2
Pennsylvania
It's now been 8 days since Pentair opened a warranty claim for my newly installed intelliconnect unit. Pentair assigned this case\repair to a local pool company. (Not the company that built my pool). I thought.....OK, that's a bit odd but whatever it takes to get this working is good.

Yesterday I called the repair place (as I've not heard from them yet) to see when I'm on the schedule. What I get is a voicemail that tells me to leave a message.....and then the next step is the fellows VM box is full. So, I called Pentair warranty claim department and they attempted to reach the local repair fellow and had the same luck.

So, then I ask Pentair warranty claim if they would simply ship a new unit to me or my installer, then I would have my installer make the swap and send Pentair the old unit. After a few holds, the very nice and helpful woman at Pentair agreed.

So, at this point the new unit should arrive by the end of the week, and I called my installer to get on his "schedule" to swap the units. I am very hopeful that the new unit works as it should. I'll post an update when I have more information.

Dave
 

BowserB

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
120
Katy, Texas
Some thoughts from someone whose pool was dug one year ago. Investigate max depth ahead of time, because you can't change it. Our pool builder recommended 5 ft deep end. My wife insisted on 6 ft. You can't dive into 6 ft anyway, and 6 ft is too deep for water games or to stand on the bottom to rescue a small child. Look up a YouTube video on pool design. The builder talks about how people use their pools and that for most, the area where they can stand on the bottom gets the most use. Ours is comparable in size to yours, although freeform, so we have a large area that's mostly unused other than by someone on a float. There is also an area all the way across where the slope from 3.5 to 6 ft is fairly steep. Even my wife regrets getting the 6 foot deep end now. Unused area, more water to treat, slightly more safety risk. Too late for us to do anything about it.

Another observation. If you have typically prevailing wind from one direction, a skimmer at the downwind side of the pool could be a help at keeping the surface clear. Our location has wind from the south 80% of the time, so our north end skimmer collects a lot (skimmer sock very valuable here too.) A second skimmer is on the east side near the mostly unused sun shelf on the south end. That sun shelf is at the south end of the pool, so during the times that the wind is out of the north, bugs and leaves tend to blow onto the sun shelf where there is no skimmer or return. Others recommend two skimmers for a pool your size. We have two.

Returns. Our pool, again comparable to yours in overall size, has 5 wall returns and two in the floor. The floor returns are supposed to help equalize water temperature. Probably helps with chemical distribution, too.

Sunshelf. Seems to be almost standard these days. Ours is little used. Small child wanting a wading pool might use it, but you'd better be there watching 105% of the time, if you use it that way. Starting over, I would make a case for no sunshelf, just steps across the shallow end, and a 5 ft deep end. There would be just so much more useful pool area. But that's me.

Pump. We have the Intelliflo VSF. Using the panel on the pump, you can--with great difficulty and back pain--create, run, and schedule up to 8 run programs. With the Intelliconnect and Link2O app, you can have up to four programs that are easily invoked or adjusted from the app or from a PC. However, the VSF is also variable Flow (where you can set GPM instead of RPM), but you can't set GPM from the app or PC. Most people here seem to recommend the VS rather than the VSF. Running your variable speed Pentair pump at half speed makes it almost silent and uses 1/8 the power, so if you calculate or guess your desired run time for full speed, you can cut to 1/2 speed for twice as long and still use only 1/4 the power.

Pool floor and wall cleaner. Our builder included a USELESS pressure side cleaner and booster pump. WHAT AN INCREDIBLE WASTE OF MONEY AND EFFORT!!! (I hate all caps, but this was worth it.) No pressure side cleaner; no suction side cleaner. Get a good robotic, probably from Maytronics who dominates the field. After wasting so much time trying to get a Pentair Racer and then Kreepy Krauly Platinum to work properly, I gave up and bought a top of the line Maytronics Dolphin M500 from Marina Pool and Spa in Denver (one of the models with a third brush). Fantastic cleaner and no noisy, power hungry booster pump, plus it actually does clean the walls up to and slightly above the water line, while using only a fraction of the power the booster pump + higher speed filter pump required for the booster pump. Includes a control app that has a feature to let you manually "drive" the cleaner around the pool (a feature whose novelty lasts only a short time!)

Finally, you didn't mention a spa. Here west of Houston, we're a warmer climate than Indiana, yet from around the end of October to the end of March, the spa is all we have used. I calculate that our 400k BTU Pentair heater takes about 25 minutes per degree to heat our entire pool (15k gallons). I heat the spa. It takes about 90 minutes to reach 100 degrees on a winter evening (air temp around 50 degrees, give or take.) I wouldn't even try to heat the pool in winter. My friend down the street, with a 25,000 gallon pool and commercial pool heater, tells me it takes half an hour to heat his whole pool, and his March gas bill was $385. My biggest gas bill was a month when we used the spa almost every weekend and the fireplace gas log a lot. $89, and that's double a normal gas bill (water heaters, occasional gas log, and weekly standby generator exercise.)
 
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