Upcoming Pool Upgrades and Questions regarding in floor cleaners

SCS15

Member
Feb 10, 2018
5
Mahopac, NY
Hello all, new to the forum . Have browsed the forums before for information as I am new to pools after buying my home last year with a pool. The pool is an 18x36 caretaker 99 in-ground vinyl with vinyl over the stairs. Hayward heater, and pentair SWG and pentair cartridge filter I believe. I have 3 in floor pop up jets and 2 on the side wall by the stairs. Also have a 3 or 4 (I forget) light fiber optic system which I plan to upgrade to LED myself in the near future (recommendations?).

My main question would be regarding the Caretaker system. Seems the general consensus is, its junk. I haven't had many issues with it in this first year, and the pool is about 16 years old. Only issue I've had is keeping the tiny screen clean inside the jandy valve, its kind of a pain to constantly disassemble the union on top and clean that little screen. I have recently come across the Blue Square q360 system and was wondering if its worth the upgrade. The cost does not seem too high and i was planning on replacing the in floor jets anyway, as they pop up, but don't spin currently. I have a deposit down on a new liner install which should be started shortly. They asked if i wanted to get rid of the system before the liner install. The reason i was straying away from doing that, is i just don't feel that when I have the caretaker system "off" or valve closed, I don't feel the pool gets very much circulation as I think the only returns then come from the 2 on the wall by the stairs. It makes the shallow end warm when the heat is on, but the deep end is ice cold. There are 2 large circle covers on the deep end floor, I know one is the drain, not sure if both are drains? Any help or opinions on keeping the system, and regarding the upgrade is appreciated. I plan on doing the work myself.
 

Dodger

Silver Supporter
Sep 17, 2017
641
Silicon Valley, CA
The Caretaker system definitely has mixed reviews for actually cleaning the floor. But there are some positive endorsements for heated water distribution as you indicate.

I am wondering about your system though. Only 3 pop-up jets on the floor seems paltry. Even the highest flow nozzles only cover an 8-foot radius. Or do you mean 3 zones, each with several pop-up heads? My pool is slightly larger than yours with between 4 and 8 heads in each of 4 zones (and a 5th zone in the spa with 5 more heads.)

I'm not sure 3 pop-ups will make much difference in heat distribution regardless of which system it is.

Also curious about needing to clean that screen so much. Sounds like a lot of debris is getting past your pump basket and your filter. BTW, is that screen in the Caretaker valve sitting upside down per spec? If if is facing up, it's a lot more prone to clogging up sooner.
 

SCS15

Member
Feb 10, 2018
5
Mahopac, NY
The Caretaker system definitely has mixed reviews for actually cleaning the floor. But there are some positive endorsements for heated water distribution as you indicate.

I am wondering about your system though. Only 3 pop-up jets on the floor seems paltry. Even the highest flow nozzles only cover an 8-foot radius. Or do you mean 3 zones, each with several pop-up heads? My pool is slightly larger than yours with between 4 and 8 heads in each of 4 zones (and a 5th zone in the spa with 5 more heads.)

I'm not sure 3 pop-ups will make much difference in heat distribution regardless of which system it is.

Also curious about needing to clean that screen so much. Sounds like a lot of debris is getting past your pump basket and your filter. BTW, is that screen in the Caretaker valve sitting upside down per spec? If if is facing up, it's a lot more prone to clogging up sooner.
Hmm, not quite sure about "zones" but I do in fact only have 3 pop up heads, one in the shallow end floor, one in the middle on the slope floor to the deep end, and one in the deep end floor. They run in a line, down the middle of the pool. 18x36 oval. There is also one on each side of the steps but it doesn't have the pop out jets, just kind of an opening. Only one head pops up at a time.

I wouldn't say i clean the screen SO MUCH, about 3 times last season, but it still is a pain. I believe I have it in the right way.
 

Dodger

Silver Supporter
Sep 17, 2017
641
Silicon Valley, CA
The wall openings by your steps sound like regular returns and would be "on" when the floor system valve is closed off.

Sounds like your 3 pop-ups each belong to their own zone. Assuming you have a 5-port valve, that means that 2 of the 3 zones should be double-ported. Can you identify the sequencing of the pop-ups? Does it go Shallow, Middle, Deep, then repeat Middle and Deep for a total of 5 rotations? That would be better for your deep water heating intentions than if it repeats Shallow twice in the 5 rotations. OTOH, I believe repeating Shallow and Middle would be better for the "cleaning" function.

I'm not familiar with the Blue Square, but what are you trying to solve with it? Is it the frequency of screen cleaning?
 

SCS15

Member
Feb 10, 2018
5
Mahopac, NY
The wall openings by your steps sound like regular returns and would be "on" when the floor system valve is closed off.

Sounds like your 3 pop-ups each belong to their own zone. Assuming you have a 5-port valve, that means that 2 of the 3 zones should be double-ported. Can you identify the sequencing of the pop-ups? Does it go Shallow, Middle, Deep, then repeat Middle and Deep for a total of 5 rotations? That would be better for your deep water heating intentions than if it repeats Shallow twice in the 5 rotations. OTOH, I believe repeating Shallow and Middle would be better for the "cleaning" function.

I'm not familiar with the Blue Square, but what are you trying to solve with it? Is it the frequency of screen cleaning?

I honestly couldn't tell you the rotation of the valves, never thought to notice. I was always just making sure they popped up. They definitely do go shallow, middle, deep but as far as after that I'm unsure. I guess my overall goal was to #1 get the pop ups working again, and #2 increase the flow around the pool of heat and chemicals. The Blue Square may not be any better, hoping for some opinions on people that actually made the swap or also opinions on scraping the system all together while the liner is being changed. If I go that route, i was just curious as to how the water does in fact get circulated around the pool because when I have the valve closed, doesn't seem like the water circulates much from the 2 small returns on the shallow end. I don't want to make that decision and then regret it.
 

Dodger

Silver Supporter
Sep 17, 2017
641
Silicon Valley, CA
Watching the short sales video on the Blue Square, it appears to have 6 ports. I guess you'd need to get their 5-port adapter to fit with the current plumbing. It would be good for someone to share their experience with the adapter to make sure it doesn't add new problems.

As far as scrapping the floor system altogether, my vote would be to keep it.
 

needsajet

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 4, 2016
4,703
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Welcome to TFP! Good to have you here :)

I might keep it too, but I love playing around with pool stuff :) and I have no experience with in-floor cleaning. You're getting great advice from Dodger :)

But regarding the covers in the deep end, they're probably dual main drains. They're generally tee'd together into one line under the pool. There should be a valve or valves at the equipment pad that control the blend of water from skimmer(s) vs. main drain. To improve temperature in the deep end, you can increase the amount of water drawn from the drains.

It's fair warning that if the main drain has always been shut off, it may be blocked, or the pipes to the main drain could be cracked. If you decide to open a main drain valve that has been closed a long time, I would do it in small increments and be sure it's working properly before using it freely, or relying on it. If you see it pull air, pipes may be cracked. If it pulls dirt, it may just be dirty, or could be cracked, or could be blocked.

To see if drains are pulling anything at all, you can release some dye near the drain covers (blue food coloring watered down works well, or the fancy pool stuff). If the water's freezing cold and no desire to go down there, strap some clear vinyl tubing to your pool pole, suck a little dye into the end and put your finger over the end. Put the far end near the drain and blow out the dye and see what happens. If the water isn't clear enough to see, read up on Trouble Free Pool Care :)

When the pool's empty, you can put a garden hose in your pump strainer basket, close the skimmer valve(s) and see if clean water comes out of the drains, but it won't tell you if it's cracked or not. You could rig up a pressure test at that point, but that would probably take some cutting and fittings.

Great to be bringing it all up to scratch!
 

jerrypar72

Active member
Nov 7, 2007
33
Phoenix
You may want to check to see if the existing plumbing for the Caretaker system can be retrofitted/upgraded to use the Paramount PCC2000 in floor cleaner! IMHO, the PCC2000 is the best IFC available!
 

Dodger

Silver Supporter
Sep 17, 2017
641
Silicon Valley, CA
Jerry, you don't happen to work for Paramount or a company selling it, do you? I've noticed you pulling up a number of older in-floor threads and pushing this system. You are a diligent sales proxy. :)
 

jerrypar72

Active member
Nov 7, 2007
33
Phoenix
Nope Dodger, I don't work for Paramount and I'm not in the pool biz. I do know the owner of Paramount, but haven't seen or spoken to him in 15 years. I'm a big fan of the cleaning system, and I try to steer people towards it because it's worked so well for me over the years!