Pool/Spa Spillover Setup

CFM56-7

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Feb 7, 2016
15
Gilbert/AZ
Hello all, I've been reading these forums for the last couple of months trying to get smart on pool care, and I must say, if there was an award for most welcoming bunch of people on the interweb, this group would take it home no contest. I can't thank you enough for making this wealth of information so readily available.

Quick background, then the questions. I just bought a house that has a pool with a spa, both at the same level, with a spillway separating the two bodies of water. The PO has the Aqualogic controller set up to run either the pool or the spa in a closed loop. There is no significant water exchange as of now. I have read enough to know this needs to change, but need some guidance.

First, do you recommend enabling the spillway setting on the controller to simply return pool water to the spa for X amount of time, or would you recommend changing the valve automation on the return to be split between the spa and pool for X amount of time?

Second, I have 3 pumps total, but the pump plumbed to transfer between the pool and spa is tied into the main filter and salt cell. Based on the answer to the first question, with a SWG, what is my goal for run time when drawing from the pool with the return set to spa? Am I looking for a minimum water amount exchanged, achieving proper spa chlorination, or a combination? If the answer is a combination, where do I start?

Thanks in advance for your input!
CFM
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
23,932
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
Welcome! :wave:

I wish I could help. The physical layout of my pool is the same as yours -- spa level with the pool with a spillover between the two; maybe a 4" drop when the spa is spilling -- except I have manual valves. Programming pool automation is beyond my expertise.

But for what it's worth... I run the pump and filter 3 hours a day. I never bother with the spa booster pump. I only have two pumps. I draw nothing from the spa and return maybe 20% of the water via the spa whenever the pump is running. That has kept enough water exchange that the spa has never gotten algae. I don't draw from the spa normally because I'm afraid something could happen where I draw more than I return and eventually the pump would start sucking air and lose prime.

Before I vacuum, I throw the valves to empty the spa into the pool (I believe most automated systems have some sort of spa drain function) and brush any debris into the drain as the water gets low. Then I don't have to vacuum the spa. When I vacuum, I return 100% to the spa. Then I have no pesky currents in the pool to mess with my vacuuming. If I work fast, I can be done vacuuming before the water starts spilling.

I'm a jug-dumper, and I just pour my bleach in front of a return and let the normal circulation blend it all together. In your case, it would be wiser to set up a blended return to spa and pool so that you don't end up overchlorinating the spa by sending all the SWG production into it.

For percentage, somewhere the SWG manual should give the max output for the cell. That's in a 24 hour period at 100% output. Down at the bottom of poolmath, you'll see Effects of Adding Chemicals. With the right volume entered up top, you can use the dropdown menu to see how much FC will rise when you add however many ounces of Chlorine gas. From that, you can see how much FC per hour you get from the SWG. A little more numbercrunching should tell you roughly what percentage you need the SWG on for however many hours the pump is set to run. Typical loss is 2 or 3 ppm per day. And then you monitor it and see if you're keeping up or overshooting and fine tune it by either adjusting pump run time or SWG output. It'll make more sense when you start doing it.
 

bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
5,529
San Clemente, CA
From the sound of things, your plumbing set up is far more complicated than necessary. Treating the pool and spa as two separate bodies of water is doubling the work load on you.

What are the other two pumps for? Can you post a picture of the plumbing?

I am a big proponent of using the spillway function for a set time. My pool pump runs for 5 hours for chlorine production and filtration and the spillway runs for 40 mins to chlorinate the spa. Running the spillway continuously takes away from the flow needed for the pool and adds unnecessary aeration which leads to pH rise.

Spas are typically around 1,000 gallons so at usual flow rates for 30-40 mins, the volume of the spa is turned over a couple times during that length of runtime... Far more than what is needed and more than the pool could dream of getting.

I have Pentair automation but your system is capable of a similar operation
 

txnole

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 18, 2014
544
Amelia Island, FL
I think I have a very similar setup to yours with Pentair automation. I treat the pool / spa as one body of water. I cannot "turn off" my spillway - it constantly flows (gravity) provided there is flow into the spa. Valves are normally set to 20% spa return / 80% pool return. See pics. Let me know if I can answer a specific question.
 

rphpool

Well-known member
Mar 4, 2015
699
Sugar Land , TX
Same setup as yours. I have valve that splits spa and pool return flow. I have it set when pump is on its gets a little spill over. I also run spillway once a day for 5 minutes at full rpm for turnover.
 

CFM56-7

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Feb 7, 2016
15
Gilbert/AZ
I sure appreciate the responses. If nothing else, it got me thinking enough about the system and I am pretty sure I now have a plan of attack.

First, txnole, "Spillway" is a setting on the Aqualogic controller that can be enabled or disabled. My valves are automated so that when "Pool" is selected, water is drawn and returned only from/to the pool. "Spa" draws and returns water from/to only the spa. When "Spillway" is enabled in the configuration menu and actively selected, the valves automatically position themselves to draw water only from the pool and return only to the spa. The "Spillway" setting on the Aqualogic controller is currently disabled. Beautiful pool by the way!

bdavis, I appreciate your flow rate info. I will enable spillway mode and run it for 30 minutes to start, and adjust the salt cell run percentage so as to achieve proper chlorination levels. I'd get you pictures but I am on the road for the next few days. Basically the big pump is for pool and spa heating, chlorination, filtering and the in floor cleaning system. Pump 2 is dedicated to the spa water jets and air jets. Pump 3 is dedicated to 3 water features and pool water circulation. It may be overly complicated, but once the automation is properly setup, it should work quite well.

Richard, after reading your post I was ready to jump on the 20% spa return setup full time, but then after doing more research, I learned I can't configure my automatic valves that way.

In the end, I don't want to lose the ability to automatically heat just the spa water. I will enable the spillway feature to get water exchange going and keep playing with the salt cell settings to get proper chlorination levels of both bodies of water. You guys are great! Thanks again...

CFM
 

txnole

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 18, 2014
544
Amelia Island, FL
Thanks for the compliment. Given the options, I'd run SPILLWAY for 20% of your daily program and POOL for 80%. I would only use SPA manually when it's time for a good soak!!
 

CFM56-7

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Feb 7, 2016
15
Gilbert/AZ
I haven't gotten into the programming enough to know if I can do that or not, but if I can, I'll do it! Sounds like a good setup.

CFM
 

bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
5,529
San Clemente, CA
I don't like splitting the return from the pool and spa. You end up with a weak spillway look and it takes away flow from the pool. I'd imagine you could also run things at a lower flow if you had dedicated schedules.
 

CFM56-7

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Feb 7, 2016
15
Gilbert/AZ
I just found another thread that details changing the cams in the actuator itself to establish new valve positions. I thought it was only possible to go full on or off with no intermediate setting. It sounds like I can leave just a small amount of return to the spa when in pool mode. My spillway is level with the pool so I am only looking for water exchange, not a visual spectacle. Primary pool flow is a separate pump anyway. I think I found my answer.

Now I just need to get home and make it happen!

Aqua Logic Automation

CFM