Pool/Spa combo plumbing (new construction)

Dunecrazy07

Member
Aug 28, 2019
8
Fresno/CA
Hi everyone! Just recently found this sight and can't say enough about all the great info I have found! I am in the beginning phases of my inground pool/spa build (owner builder). First time doing this so I'm just learning as I go, that being said excuse my ignorance!🤣 I am planning on doing my plumbing like the photo I have attached, minus one skimmer and using a Pentair 3hp VSP. My question is, do I use the spa return line to run the jets as well as circulation (spill over) when not in spa mode? Thank you in advance!jandy-schematic1.gif
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,175
Bedford, TX
07,

The spa make-up valve is there for one purpose, and that is to send some water to the spa when the system is in the pool mode. This will cause your spa to fill with water and spill over into the pool.

Once you set the make-up valve to where you like the spill over, you would not normally adjust it again.

When in the Spa mode, most of the water will by pass the make-valve system.

Not sure I completely understand your question... :scratch:

If you plan to have an automation system and a VSP, you do not need the make up system, as the automation will do it for you.

Not sure how big your pool will be, but I would suggest two skimmers on adjustment walls...

Have you ever been in a gunite spa before???

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

homegameroom

Bronze Supporter
Sep 23, 2015
120
Sunrise,FL
FWIW, here is my plumbing. The only automation I have is for the valve that is immediately after the filter - i turn it off so the overflow does not run all the time (and increase the pH too much).

The benefits (for me - your mileage may vary): The automation is a simple and inexpensive Intermatic timer and valve actuator. The spa is on and heated, if necessary, when the pump is on (via an inexpensive air switch). I can heat the pool only as well (no heated water going into the spa and spilling into the pool) by manually turning a valve or 2. The filtered water does not always go through the heater which increases flow in the pool. I have a 1 hp pump for the pool and a 1 1/2 hp pump for the spa. Neither is a variable speed motor. And the pool pump and spa can be operating at the same time with no changes to anything.

I think variable speed pumps are swell and work very well for some folks (especially those with high electric rates), but this works pretty well for me. I find that the higher volume of flow helps keep my pool floor cleaner and my SWG is very oversized for the size of my pool, I'm only running the pool pump 3-4 hours per day which is sufficient for filtering and chlorine generation.

Smarter minds than mine will certainly chime in! :)
 

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Dunecrazy07

Member
Aug 28, 2019
8
Fresno/CA
Thanks for the response! Jim yes I have been in a gunite spa before. My pool is going to be a free form roughly 30'x18' with attached 7' spa, do you still think I should have 2 skimmers? My question is, in the plumbing example I gave, what does the spa return connect to, jets or a dedicated return line? Also, do I need a dedicated return line to spa or can the return just be the jets?
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,175
Bedford, TX
07,

One skimmer will work, but two work better... But.. it is your pool and you should do what you want. Just because I would put in two skimmers does not mean you have to... :mrgreen:
My thought is that once the pool is built, it is too late then.

The spa return line, and by default the make-up plumbing, are connected to the spa jets.. But just to make sure, let's see what @bdavis466 has to say as I do not have a integrated spa.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Dunecrazy07

Member
Aug 28, 2019
8
Fresno/CA
07,

One skimmer will work, but two work better... But.. it is your pool and you should do what you want. Just because I would put in two skimmers does not mean you have to... :mrgreen:
My thought is that once the pool is built, it is too late then.

The spa return line, and by default the make-up plumbing, are connected to the spa jets.. But just to make sure, let's see what @bdavis466 has to say as I do not have a integrated spa.

Thanks,

Jim R.
I guess for the price of them I probably should add another skimmer. Hopefully someone can confirm what your thinking about the return, that's the same way I see it. Thanks!
 

bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
4,948
San Clemente, CA
The simplest way is to plumb the makeup line into the spa Jets. You certainly can have a dedicated Spa return but it complicates things and doesn't really provide any sort of advantage.

If you're getting an automation system then you don't need the spa makeup line at all. On a new-build an automation system is a relatively small expense for the capabilities you will get from it.
 

Dunecrazy07

Member
Aug 28, 2019
8
Fresno/CA
The simplest way is to plumb the makeup line into the spa Jets. You certainly can have a dedicated Spa return but it complicates things and doesn't really provide any sort of advantage.

If you're getting an automation system then you don't need the spa makeup line at all. On a new-build an automation system is a relatively small expense for the capabilities you will get from it.
That's what I was thinking too. I am doing automation and didn't really think about it, but that makes sense eliminating the make up! Thanks!
 

Rocket J Squirrel

Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
516
Alamo, CA
I have automation and believe the dedicated make-up return is still a good idea.

My Pentair EasyTouch 8 automation operates in "pool" or "spa" mode. When in spa mode, the pump speeds up and the heater turns on. I have never found a way to send water to the spa (other than the full-time make-up return) without speeding up the pump and turning on the heater. In other words, there is no way for my automation to simply turn the valves to the spa while maintaining normal pool pump speed and leaving the heater off.

So the idea of turning the system to spa mode for a time every day just to freshen the water seems wasteful. Maybe other automation systems can handle this better.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,396
Laughlin, NV
In other words, there is no way for my automation to simply turn the valves to the spa while maintaining normal pool pump speed and leaving the heater off.
Set up a function Spillway and schedule it. It actuates your return valve to the spa but keeps the suction from the pool. It does not turn on the heater. I have one set up for my pool.
 

Rocket J Squirrel

Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
516
Alamo, CA
Set up a function Spillway and schedule it. It actuates your return valve to the spa but keeps the suction from the pool. It does not turn on the heater. I have one set up for my pool.
Right, I'd forgotten about that because with a full time make-up return, that function is unnecessary.

I spent a lot of time trying to convince the EasyTouch to turn both valves to spa without being in spa mode, and failed.
 

bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
4,948
San Clemente, CA
Right, I'd forgotten about that because with a full time make-up return, that function is unnecessary.

I spent a lot of time trying to convince the EasyTouch to turn both valves to spa without being in spa mode, and failed.
The Easytouch can't do that. An IntelliTouch or IntelliCenter with a macro could though...

This is exactly why I recommend against the dedicated spa return - with automation it complicates things to the point where it either isn't possible or doesn't make sense.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,396
Laughlin, NV
I have the 4.

You can set the cam stops on the actuator that way. But that will allow continuous spillover and that drives your pH up. Be aware of that.