Pool equipment update (need expert help please!)

cowboycasey

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I count 12 pumps... It looks like they did what they could with the tech they had at the time... I would recommend a complete tear out of old equipment and a brand new plan on new tech and what you want from this setup...

1. no need to heat or filter the waterfalls...
2. the pool and spa needs to have a completely separate pump, filter and heater setup that can run all the time without anything else running.
3. The complete system needs to have an engineer look at it for flow rates and what can be done to modernize it before anything gets touched..
4. rip everything old out and install new with modern equipment. I bet you could go to 2 to 4 pumps from 12...

Get a great plan before anything gets touched, it will help you get it done right... That 35k quote was just to replace old with newer old and maybe get it working, I bet after that 35k they would ask for 10 to 20k more to actually get it to work like it did in 1980... You do not want that, you want it to work like 2021 :)
 
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PoolGate

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I suspect this "waterpark" that the former owner built is the reason this house went into foreclosure! Just joking.........kind of.... But seriously this really is going to cost $2k/month in electric and gas. You should consider abandoning everything but the main pool and focus on that.
 

carrieme

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That's a careless replace what's there quote. First off no knowing the history alot of hours are needed just testing the existing pipework. Once the flow patterns are figured out some engineering to re invent that old wheel is needed. Some of that electric may be bad too and some automation or control equipment is needed. What you have there is gonna cost a fortune in propane and electricity to run. Your biggest problem is covid19 amd the demand. Guys are booked way out so finding competent people is tough. Whatever you do dont just replace whats there with a simple replacement. And if that wasnt winterized you may have a mess on your hands
Thanks! Yes I am realizing that’s what we need to do as well to make sure we modernize and make this as efficient as possible moving forward. I’m still waiting on another quote and just reached out to a few more pool companies last night to have them come and give an estimate as well.

We did have a pool company come out to pressure test and winterize everything at the end of the season (we took over the property in the summer) and everything was good except for a skimmer that was plugged up.
 

Leebo

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It kinda sounds to me like your gut isn’t sitting well with this quote. I personally would listen to that gut. As others have mentioned, get more quotes for sure. I tend to also agree with you making the (small) jump to a variable speed pump(s) is a VERY wise move at this point as well. Lastly, quick question. Do you have natural gas as an option where you’re at??
 

JamesW

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Mar 2, 2011
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Maybe start with a single project and see how that goes.

If it goes well, that will give you more confidence with the company.

All proposals should come with engineering designs that describe what they are trying to achieve and why they are choosing the specific equipment they are recommending.

The suction and return plumbing should be described by number of pipes, size of each pipe, and flow for each pipe.

The system should be described by total flow and expected head loss.

Ideally, the company should be able to generate a rough system curve and then graph the pump performance curves at different speeds so that you can see the operating points, which is where the pump curves intersect the system curve.

Pumps_multispeed_0115.jpg


https://aquamagazine.com/service/how-to-read-pump-system-curves.html
 
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carrieme

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I suspect this "waterpark" that the former owner built is the reason this house went into foreclosure! Just joking.........kind of.... But seriously this really is going to cost $2k/month in electric and gas. You should consider abandoning everything but the main pool and focus on that.
That is precisely what the old owners built, a veritable waterpark haha--there's even a working/dusty outdoor shower...we'll get to that one day far into the future. It's a lush beautiful space with massive tall trees, tons of character, and we bought it as a labor of love to build on for our family home. There's more here than I pictured for you as we've already cut out more than half of the old water features (ie, filling them due to structural cracking and turning into gardens in the future).

For sure, our focus this year is the main pool/spa which alone already has the small waterfall in the pool, spa, and waterfall (B) all connected. We could technically wait on the large separate waterfall (A) since it has its own system but it doesnt seem like that much more of a stretch to add that on since they are all in the same area? (we shall see!).
 
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JoyfulNoise

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So here’s my less-than-2cent opinion - demolition everything except for the pool and spa. Not what I suspect you want to hear, but it’s what I would do.

What you have there is a maintenance money-pit. Just like the 1986 Tom Hanks’ movie, a house and property like that is going to drain you financially. Maybe you can afford it, but over time it’s going to cost you a lot of money that perhaps could be used for better purposes.

And it’s not a money-pit because of the upfront renovation costs. The ongoing maintenance of a pond/waterfall structure like that is enormous. Not only will the routine water chemistry be a headache to manage but also Mother Nature dictates that bodies of free-standing water will turn into green swamps. So you are going to have to expend enormous amounts of effort and money to keep that pond from turning into a mosquito-infested Zika-virus factory. It’s going to be anything but “Trouble Free”. You might consider investing a chunk of money up-front in retaining a highly trained landscape designer to come in and give you option for the yard instead of just trying to fix someone else’s dream.

I wish you good luck in your renovations and hope it all works out for you to the good.
 

carrieme

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While I'm waiting for quotes (and also reached out and going to hopefully be able to schedule a few more people to come out and take a look) ...Is it insane to try to take this on ourselves? My husband is an engineer and we build homes for a living (hence tackling this fixer upper..the house itself isn't an issue for us). Pools are certainly its own beast but he's able to do plumbing, electrical and figure out most things himself. But if most of these contractors are going to try to charge us out of the park, is it crazy to try to DIY this? He thinks he can do it (now that I got him to sit down and look at the mechanics of it)..and while I'd love for him to take it on because we could save a ton of money, I'm not sure if there's anything we're overlooking due to our lack of knowledge. What does TFP recommend if you guys took on a project like this?

Also I want to mention that we don't plan to have the waterfalls running 24/7, those would only get switched on during large gatherings (which isn't happening this year thanks to pandemic). So only the pool/spa would be running on a normal basis. I suspect Waterfall (A)'s pool was for the old owners to be able to hop into and literally swim "under" the falls which would be pretty epic if we could keep...but we have decided to save this as a project for a later date and just focus on getting the main pool/spa working.

We're prepared to take on the costs to run this as long as we go into this knowing the setup is as efficient as possible in 2021. Willing to spend the money to operate but also not throw money away, if that makes sense!
 

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PoolGate

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The waterfall running or not has nothing to do with maintenance costs. It needs the exact same maintenance wether you run it or not. You'll save a little on the pump electric by not running it but will still need some pumping for filtration. Waterfall pump by itself is likely $200/month in electric.

Doing all the plumbing yourself isn't anything too complex for a competent diy'er. I'd 100% do it all myself, including the design.

How many bodies of water do you have to maintain? 3?
 

carrieme

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How many bodies of water do you have to maintain? 3?
Currently, 2 bodies of water. (1) Main pool/spa as they are connected (and waterfall (B) flows directly into spa —will only be turned on periodically or also possibility to eliminate entirely) and then (2) waterfall (A) pool.

Also toying with the idea to convert Waterfall (A) into a pond system instead which would remove it out of the current phase if we decided to go that direction.
 

JJ_Tex

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Wow, not your typical backyard pool.

If you are good at DIY, I would try to tackle the pool/spa first and see if you can figure that out. Ideally you could have that setup like a traditional backyard pool in a pool mode and a spa mode:
1. Pool mode - Water sucked out of the pool by drains and skimmers, sent to the pump and returned to the pool. Hopefully there is a single return in the spa that could also overflow the water to the spa.
2. Spa mode - The pool basically turns off, and the hot tub drains engage and water is returned through all of the spa jets.

The above could be cared for by a single pump, filter, heater. I'm having a tough time envisioning the "flowing stream" between the pool and spa but I would assume it could just be a trickle like an overflow on a normal pool (you know the ones that do not get confused for water parks :) ).
I would also see how the small waterfall is plumbed. If it has its own suction and pump, that could be a fairly straightforward replacement of the pump and you are in business there.

That would give you the most functional uses of the pool and certainly should not be $30k. Then, if you were ambitious enough you could try and tackle the rest.

Before you tackle any of that, I would continue getting quotes and pay attention to their ideas. I would also get the basics of trying to figure out what each pipe at the equipment pad does, if the electricity still works there, etc.
 

cowboycasey

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Jul 3, 2013
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hmmm, You can do it.. People take over pools every day and completely redo everything just on a smaller scale.. I am taking on building a new Gunite tile pool from scratch... Everything you need to know is on this website, get in here and learn everything you need..

start with just the pool and spa

All Pentair equipment
1 3hp SVF pump
1 TR 140 Sand Filter: if the sand filters you have are not working try fixing them, if they are working just use them, if they are completely shot then replace them...
1 400k heater
1 Intellicenter to run it all
1 or 2 Circupool RJ 60+ Salt water Generator: I would start with 1 and see if it will keep up and if not get another one.. Most do not know this, all pools are salt water pools, Muriatic acid and Chlorine have salt in them and once you start up those waterfalls your going to blow through some Muriatic acid..

Break down each area of your project to its own setup so you can run each one when you want.. I am not sure about the automation as I do not have any.. We need to find out how many pumps the Intellicenter can run...



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521905

 

carrieme

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Aug 12, 2020
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New York, NY
Pool Size
32135
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Plaster
I'm having a tough time envisioning the "flowing stream" between the pool and spa but I would assume it could just be a trickle like an overflow on a normal pool (you know the ones that do not get confused for water parks :) ).
Haha, yes its an overflow but there's a stone bridge walkway where the water flows from the spa, under the bridge, and then into the pool.
 

carrieme

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Aug 12, 2020
20
New York, NY
Pool Size
32135
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Plaster
Hello! We were forced to take a break with all the snow here. Now that the ground is starting to thaw, we were finally able to get back out and get a closer look at the plumbing.

We have unfortunately been ghosted by all the contractors we met to discuss this project with or the cost was astronomical, so it looks like DIY is the only way we can get this hopefully done by the summer (if the equipment/parts aren't sold out by the time we have a plan...). We are breaking it down into phases (as recommended!) and in current Phase 1 we will be tackling the Main Pool/Spa. Planning mode commence!

Attaching images we drew up of our current existing plumbing that we have managed to puzzle together this past weekend, as well as our own proposed updates (Disclaimer: my husband has experience in hydronic heating and is attempting to apply it here with our pool system). Seeking TFP for guidance on if we are on the right track. :)

Considerations:
  • All of the existing pipes are either 1.5" or 2"
  • Flow Rate for main pool is 123GPM
  • Keep the pool and spa systems separate so they can operate independently (pricier but given that this is a place where we will gather with friends and family often post-pandemic, its a big like-to-have).
  • Plumbing was all pressure tested and in working order before winterizing last fall. We do not plan to dig anything up and want to only replumb the above ground equipment/plumbing.
  • Electrical is all working in the equipment pad area
CURRENT EXISTING PLUMBING/EQUIPMENT
Pool_Schematic_Current.jpg

PROPOSED NEW PLUMBING/EQUIPMENT
Pool_Schematic_v1.1.jpg

Theory of Operation
  1. Pool Mode - Variable speed pool pump operates at minimum required power to achieve filtration flow rate. AP(1) is set to draw water from the pool drain/skimmers. AP(2) is set to send water through the filter and SWG. AP(3) is set to send water through the heater and then AP(4) distributes the water to the pool and spa.
  2. Pool Mode w/ Pool Waterfall - Variable speed pool pump operates at high speed. AP(1) is set to draw water from the drain/skimmers as well as the 2 inlet ports for additional flow. AP(2) is set to flow most of the water to the pool waterfall and while flowing the required amount through the filter/heater path.
  3. Spa Mode - 2SP Spa Pump operates at low speed drawing water from the drain and inlets from the spa. AS(1) is set to flow water through the heater and AP(4) is set to return the water back to the spa. VSP Pool Pump is operating at filtration speed (low). AP(1) is set to draw water from the drain and skimmers. AP(2) will send the water through the filter and SWG. AP(3) will bypass the heater, sending the water back to the pool and spa. The manual valve after AP(3) will divert a portion of the water into the inlet of the spa pump.
  4. Spa Mode w/ Jets - Operates the same as spa mode except 2SP Spa Pump operates in high speed. AS(1) is set to divert the majority of the water to the spa jets while maintaining required flow through the heater.
  5. Spa Mode w/ Spa Waterfall - Spa Waterfall has its own independent pump that draws water from the spa.

Pool_Schematic_v1.1_Pool Mode.png
Pool_Schematic_v1.1_Pool Mode_w_PoolWaterfall.png
Pool_Schematic_v1.1_Pool Mode_Spa Mode.pngPool_Schematic_v1.1_Pool Mode_Spa Mode_w_Jets.png

Questions:
  • Any improvements or tweaks can be made?
  • Is there a recommended control center that would work best with this system?
  • Having never designed a pool/spa/waterfall system before, is this too complicated?
  • Are we right to feed the spa waterfall from the spa? Considering that this is a 20 foot waterfall so we imagine the heatloss would be very high? Alternate water source (not drawn) would be from the pool...but then we'd be introducing cold water into the spa.
Phew, that was a lot. Thank you to anyone taking the time to help us figure this out!