*UNDER CONSTRUCTION 1/11/2020 *

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
607
Corona de Tucson, AZ
From the newer pictures it looks like you are far enough away from the fence line... barely.. and that is why they said "no reinforcements"... they are meaning for the pool. If you were much closer than a structural engineer would have to analyze the retaining wall behind your property and possibly reinforce it. But with out that type of analysis you can't really determine the proper type of reinforcement (usually it's an "L" shaped reinforced piece which may already be there depending on the drop off behind your house). If you have enough dirt there, and apparently you do.. then none is needed. The fact that they stated not to disturb the wall behind it though acknowledges that you are close. In ground pools rely on the ground around them for support. But you should be fine. (Above ground have a proper cantilever built into the frames)

I wish my pool's auto fill was plumbed to a softener, by the way. But in my case it would have added thousands to run the plumbing, as there were no cold soft lines anywhere near the equipment pad or pool. I am temped to put a cheap one in a small shed outside just for the auto fill. But even that is expensive compared to changing water out. Going from the bib is going to work a LOT better than from irrigation, BTW.
 

ajw22

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TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
13,083
Northern NJ
Anyone have a contractor do this? It looks like running electrical pipe between the steel and dirt is lazy. There is an open trench behind the spa and that path should have been taken.
I don’t want an electrical conduit buried like that. I would call your builder and ask that the line be rerouted along the outside of the pool.
 

Dirk

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TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
4,758
Central California
Wow, that does seem lazy. Would running it where you want it require more bends? I think code determines the maximum amount of bends you can have in an electrical conduit run, so maybe that was the determining factor?

If that's the case, you might be able to get around that by coming up out of the ground half way into a junction box. Maybe that'd be a good location for an extra outlet: win-win.
 

ajw22

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TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
13,083
Northern NJ
Wow, that does seem lazy. Would running it where you want it require more bends? I think code determines the maximum amount of bends you can have in an electrical conduit run, so maybe that was the determining factor?
Can not have more then four 90 degree bends between junction boxes. But if more turns are needed they just bring it out to a junction box somewhere in the run.
 

Dirk

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TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
4,758
Central California
I just finished running conduit around my yard, so I could power things like: my fountain, my garden lights, a bug zapper, a citrus tree warmer. I may add bistro lights along my fence at some point, so I put in a couple extra circuits. The same conduit feeds three junction boxes. I ran a dedicated wire to each outlet, top and bottom (two per junction box) so that I could control each thing plugged in, independently (each plug is controlled by my home automation system). So I don't have to walk across the yard and plug in the fountain, I just flip a switch. Think about what you might want powered across the back of your yard someday. Whether code will require an extra junction box or not, have him add a few outlets back there anyway. Consider having them each on their own circuit, or even two circuits per junction box as I did. They might come in real handy, and nows the time to do it. Digging up my yard, and working around my established landscaping, was no fun.
 
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Timujin

Silver Supporter
Nov 25, 2019
59
Riverside, CA
Great info. Number of bends doesn't seem to be exceeded.

It seems like the conduit would weaken the shell in that area. There are spacers against the grid.

More photos.

IMG_1435.JPEG

IMG_1434.JPEG



IMG_1430.JPEG
 

Timujin

Silver Supporter
Nov 25, 2019
59
Riverside, CA
I just finished running conduit around my yard, so I could power things like: my fountain, my garden lights, a bug zapper, a citrus tree warmer. I may add bistro lights along my fence at some point, so I put in a couple extra circuits. The same conduit feeds three junction boxes. I ran a dedicated wire to each outlet, top and bottom (two per junction box) so that I could control each thing plugged in, independently (each plug is controlled by my home automation system). So I don't have to walk across the yard and plug in the fountain, I just flip a switch. Think about what you might want powered across the back of your yard someday. Whether code will require an extra junction box or not, have him add a few outlets back there anyway. Consider having them each on their own circuit, or even two circuits per junction box as I did. They might come in real handy, and nows the time to do it. Digging up my yard, and working around my established landscaping, was no fun.
I will place extra pipe in the ground while these trenches are open to make final placement of things easier. Thank you.
 

ajw22

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TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
13,083
Northern NJ
That conduit can also create voids in the gunite as the gunite may not get behind the areas in the rebar that they are blocking. That will weaken the shell.

@bdavis466 your thoughts?
 

Dirk

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TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
4,758
Central California
The code Allen and I referred to is not just "four 90° bends." It limits the total number of degrees, too. So you might have four bends, but if in total they exceed 360°, then that's not in compliance. By my count, it seems like you might be as much as 450° (180° at the end we can see, another 180° to get to the pad, then if it comes out of the ground, that's 90° too many).
 
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Dirk

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TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
4,758
Central California
I'm looking again on how the line to the drains comes up right under the skimmer, but I still can't make out if it attaches to the skimmer. Did you ever follow up on my suggestion to check on that with the PB (post #38 of this thread)? Sorry to nag, but I believe that to be an important detail for you to understand... Based on that hose-bib testing rig they've got in the skimmer, it would seem they're using both ports in your skimmer for something.
 
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Timujin

Silver Supporter
Nov 25, 2019
59
Riverside, CA
All good. You mentioned you weren't sure what else to run. I gave you a list. But you can also lay in some empty pipe: a few electrical conduits, and some PVC, and/or some drip lines. They don't have to go to anything. Just stub them out like the one your plumber found. Connect them up when the need arises. Or pull wire through them later (speaker wire, 120V, low voltage, whatever). There will be codes as to what you can and cannot run together, which is why you'd want several of these empty lines, to keep separate what's supposed to be separate (generally you don't want to run low voltage stuff with 120).

Plumbing is impressive. They're using some sweep 90s, which I like. Others here aren't convinced they reduce head enough to warrant them, but I figure they can't hurt, so why not? No ball valves, good. Also, that brass valve with the black cap? Is that for the auto fill? If so, that's your backflow preventer, and appears to be the correct type. A lot of builders skimp on that component, and inspectors often miss that. So kudos to your plumber!

Nice view, by the way!
The brass valve arrangement is for the auto fill and backflow preventer. Thank you we love the view as well.
 

Timujin

Silver Supporter
Nov 25, 2019
59
Riverside, CA
I'm looking again on how the line to the drains comes up right under the skimmer, but I still can't make out if it attaches to the skimmer. Did you ever follow up on my suggestion to check on that with the PB (post #38 of this thread)? Sorry to nag, but I believe that to be an important detail for you to understand... Based on that hose-bib testing rig they've got in the skimmer, it would seem they're using both ports in your skimmer for something.
I will double check with the plumber. Based on exposed plumbing this is was it looks like. IMG_1441.JPEG
IMG_1449.JPEG
 

bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
5,290
San Clemente, CA
The electrical conduit run is lazy but shouldn't cause an issue.

As for the code and conduit bends, it's difficult to adhere to that code with pool lights. I've only been called out on that once in many inspections.
 
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Dirk

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TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
4,758
Central California
Yah, your drain line is plumbed to your skimmer instead of running back to the pad. I can't for the life of me come up with a good reason for this, maybe others here can enlighten me. It saves the PB about $70 in parts plus some labor, I'd hate to think that's the only reason it was done.

So, in order to control the balance of suction between skimmer and main drain, you'll have to open the skimmer lid, take out the basket, get down on your hands and knees, or probably on your belly, stick your arm down into the skimmer and fool with some sort of diverter, under water, in order to adjust how much water gets sucked through the drain vs the skimmer. Sound like fun? All your other suction sources (spa drain and that third line (vacuum?), can be controlled independently, and quite easily, using those black three-way valves at your pad, above ground. That's like paying a lot of money to have a nice row of switches by your back door to turn all your yard lights on and off (porch light, bistro lights, pool lights), but the electrician wanted a little extra profit, so you'll have to walk across the yard, rain or shine, to fumble around in the bushes to plug in your garden lights!

In some pool setups, it's conceivable that one would set that diverter to balance skimmer and drain one time, and then never have to touch it again. So that might be worth saving $100. But in my pool, I'd have several reasons to adjust that balance, regularly:

- I like to do what I call "high speed skimmer runs." My pool surface collects leaves, bugs and various other types of floaties. They can be removed manually using a net, sure. But if I'm busy getting ready for a little pool party (usually in the kitchen) and want to "polish" the pool water nice and clean for my guests, I'll run just the skimmer, with the pump on high, to suck up all that stuff. It's a nice convenience when I need it. I'd want to close off all but the skimmer to maximize that function. I can do that with a push of a button on my living room wall.

- I don't care how much safer modern dual drains are over the old single-drain style that killed so many people, my granddaughter won't ever be in my pool with an active pool drain. I actually had my main drains removed for this reason, but if I still had the drains, I still might need to run the pump (for my solar heater), so I'd want a quick twist of the skimmer-drain valve to close off all but the skimmer: nice and safe!

- I might want to adjust the balance of drain-to-skimmer a few times a year. Maybe a little more skimmer in the fall to grab those extra leaves. Maybe a little more drain in the summer to help even out those warm/cold spots that seem to form in my pool when it's warm out.

- Or maybe I need to drain my pool below the skimmer opening, to get ready for a big rain storm or to exchange some old pool water with fresh, due to build up of salt or calcium. Quick twist of a knob to close the skimmer and I could use my pump to drain water, only from the drain, instead of having to buy and wrangle a sump pump, or start up a siphon hose.

- If you plan to add automation, now or in the future, above-ground three-way valves can be easily modified to accept motors that can automate the opening and closing of those valves. You may or may not ever need to automate the valve that controls your skimmer and drain, but you'd have the option (I would have a use for that). The in-skimmer diverter can't be automated.

Etc. Maybe you'll never want or need to do any of those things (or other things I haven't thought of). Maybe you will. The PB probably won't like it, but too bad, he should have done this right to begin with. If you have this corrected now, you might find it very useful, and convenient, later. Once the deck goes down, you'll never be able to.
 
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Timujin

Silver Supporter
Nov 25, 2019
59
Riverside, CA
Thank you Dirk. I found the UFO. Looks like I will be lifting this in and out of the skimmer. This UFO should prevent water starvation automatically should the skimmer basket become full and clogged. Also, yes there is a 3rd line for a vac attachment that I didn't label at the pump. Lastly, let me say this is the biggest bag of Peet's. It is amazing what you find at the Costco outside of your area.




IMG_1486.jpeg


IMG_1485.jpeg
 
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Dirk

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Nov 12, 2017
4,758
Central California
Thank you Dirk. I found the UFO. Looks like I will be lifting this in and out of the skimmer. This UFO should prevent water starvation automatically should the skimmer basket become full and clogged.
OK, good. So that's what they look like. My pool never had one, probably lost by the previous owners. And you stumbled on a major feature I neglected to consider. If it works as you describe, I suppose that is a legitimate reason to connect your drain to your skimmer. It would also protect your pump should you fail to keep your water level higher than your skimmer opening. I can't argue against those features. Doesn't negate the other conveniences you'll be missing. So now at least you have all the facts to consider.

I have an auto-filler, so that would be a non-issue for me (unless the auto-filler failed, of course, which it certainly can, or if it got shut off). And my landscaping is such that my basket has never been close to clogged. So I'd still want the dedicated line to the pad for the drain. But I can see how having the main drain kick in should the skimmer get taken out of the loop somehow would be a good thing. Tough call...

An alternate system, then, I think, would be an equalizer tube to back up the skimmer (they take water from a few feet below the surface), and a main drain line that runs to the pad. But then that's another set of suction ports to worry about! Oh well, I guess I'm not being as helpful as I thought. I'll stick with what works for me: no drain, and take my chances with my auto-fill and skimmer-only setup... You can now decide what's gunna work for you...