Pipes and pumps...

jscozzApril 22, 2012

Finally, after a few years, getting ready to sign contract for pool. I have updated a lot of my research... and read through a lot of posts on here... will be about a 33k gal gunite pool, 47x27, lagoon shape. Cave, 22' slide, and waterfall. All Pentair equip... IntelliChlor IC-40, IntelliTouch system. I asked for Intelliflo VF for pool (and I assume cleaner also?)... here are my main questions I am hoping for some feedback on...

1) Should I use separate pump for water fall and slide? I have no idea what the gpm requirements are for pool, Polaris 280, 22' slide, or waterfall coming over top of gunite cave. Slide I know can be dedicated since it will pretty much be occasional use and one flow rate... but waterwall may be on a lot, even at night when not in pool, and would be nice to have very efficient operation with variable speed... what would be best setup? May be justa second VF to handle the slide and waterfall?

2) As for piping... qute says "2 automatic skimmer, 2 safety suction main drain, 2 directional inlets. All 2" PVC pipe on concrete slab" I need to get clarification on what that all means. I am pretty sure I want home runs from EACH drain, skimmer and inlet back to pad. Is all 2" rigid PVC OK for home runs, then combine to 3" at pad? I know that 2-2" pipes is slightly less than the cross section area of 1-3" pipe, but is the 2" home runs to the pad OK or should the pipe be upsized? AND, would the dedicated waterfall and/or slide pumps have their own dedicated suction lines form the pool, or do they use the same suction lines as the main pump?

3) Do I really need a booster pump for the Polaris 280 if I am using the IntelliFlo VF?

4) I like the 5g LED lights... are two enough? Especially if we use a darker Diamond Brite finish?

5) What can I use to light the inside of teh cave behind the waterfall? I'd love to see some pictures of lights behind a waterfall and figure out how to best handle it.

Thanks, in advance for the advice!

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First, you will need an IC-60, not the IC-40 as it's too small a cell for your pool.

You made no mention of a spa being attached so:

If the waterfall and slide are tied, use a pump for them. If the waterfall is to be separate, put it on it's own and use the pool pump on the slide.

Drains are always in pairs and tied for safety. Home running each pot is not encouraged or suggested. Each pair should be a single home run though. Each drain cover must be able to allow the full flow of the pump it's attached to, by itself. This way, if one becomes covered, the other is not over extended.

From what I am reading, your primary pool pump will have three suction sources and two returns in the pool that will be 2" piping. That isn't ideal but should be OK.

Always have a booster on a Polaris 280. 380. 390. or 3900. This is not an option.

WRT the lights in the pool, without knowing where they are planned, we can't say if 2 or 3 will be needed. The cave issues have lights available that can handle the environment.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 12:32AM
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Thanks, Scott.

The IC-40 said it was good up to 40k gal, and I'm at 33K.. I did not want to get a larger unit if it required higher flow rate, since it would defeat the purpose of variable speed pump... but are you saying the IC-60 will be better and not have any drawbacks, other than costing a few more dollars?

No spa on pool... we are doing a separate drop in on the deck for year round use.

Waterfall and slide will be plumbed separate. So, if I do waterfall separate as you suggest, I am guessing it will be worth it to get a VS pump so I can change up the flow rate and keep electric costs down.

When a pool contractor says two main drains, I guess I thought that mean two, double drains... may be I am wrong... may be it is just two separate drains plumbed together. Doesn't code require a minimum distance between them then? So, it sounds like you are saying that in a 33K pook, two skimmers tied together and single pipe back to pad, and two main drains, ties together with single pipe back to pad are OK... but what would be ideal? Additional main drain? Larger pipe?

Would another return be better? I assume each return should be home run?

Does the waterfall and slide usually use the same sunction sources as the pool pump?

The contractor suggested fiber optic in the cave... I am not sure if it is a code issue or if there is a better way to light the cave and get a glow behind the waterfall...

Are you familiar with Intellitouch? The iPhone app has a chemistry page with pH, ORP, water balance and salt level. The Pentair support rep told me that all sensors for these parameters come with the load center and personality module... I am doubtful... are you familiar with what modules it takes to get those readings?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 10:36AM
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The IC-60 will give you needed headroom. On time is the killer of cells. Typically, you will get about 10K hours of On time. You would chew that up with an IC-40 and a 33K gallon pool as it would be On all the time.

Code between drains is three feet between them if a single can be blocked by a human. There are also velocity restrictions in place when calculating how much a drain cover can handle.

I personally don't like fiber anywhere. LEDs are more efficient.

Returns can be in a loop or partial loop. No need typically to make them individual home runs. I would like to see them add at least a return.

Suction lines are a different story though. The skimmers and drain (I consider a set a single as far as function is concerned) all should be on their own and valved.

The pool pump and the waterfall pumps are normally on separate suctions unless the suction available exceeds what the drains are permitted. Typically, one set for each pump is used.

Intellichem can talk to the Intellitouch. I don't like having cells on Intellichem though since cells do better with a higher level of Cyanuric acid, aka CYA or stabilizer, than the ORP sensor of the Intellichem (or any other ORP meter for that matter) likes. Intellichem does a lot better typically with liquid chlorine than with cell produced chlorine. I suspect there was a significant gap in the communications with the Pentair rep.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 1:39PM
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Thanks again.

1) If I ask for 3 returns, and don't require they be home-run, I am guesisng it would be better to bump the pipe size up as they tie in each additional return... should I go to 2-1/2 or 3 on the final run back to the pad?

2) Sorry... I am confused about what you are recommending for skimmers and drains and their plumbing. I recall seeing another post where you said you don't like to see skimmers tied to drain runs... and I believe you are saying above that EACH skimmer and each drain pair be home run back to pad separately... I am guessing 2" is fine for these since there are multiple of them. But how many drain pairs and indivual skimmers for a 33K pool with about 120' perimiter. Two skimmers and one drain pair enough for main pump? And another drain pair for slide/waterfall or should that have a skimmer also? I thought skimmers shuld only go to filter side not just pump through for waterfall/slide.

3) I am not looking for auto feed of chemicals... just the readout on the Intellitouch that shows pH, ORP, water balance and salt level. I assume salt level would come from IC-60? Do other readings require IntelliChem and would be blank without it?

4) I, too, like LEDs... but I thought the LEDs like the 5G need ot be submerged for cooling? Does someone make LED lights that can be mounted inside a cave above waterline, flush into wall/ceiling? Preferrable color changing like the Pentair LED lights. or can I use the smaller Pentair LED above water line?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 6:04PM
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For the returns, if yours were a commercial pool, I would want to see the size of the return loop bumped up since the water velocity in the pipe would justify it. You aren't so I won't suggest it as a need.

A single set of drains and one skimmer for every 700 square feet or part there of, is what is proper for a pool's circulation. Each is a home run to the pad.

The waterfall will be fine with a set of drains to provide water.

Having pH and ORP might confuse someone, especially when they come up blank. For those to come live, Intellichem is needed.

The salt level comes from the cell.

Calcium, Alkalinity, and CYA are never shown.

LEDs run much cooler. I can run an Intellibrite all day out of the water. Bear in mind, you won't be needing that kind of size or power. A smaller option is likely a better bet. Add to the fact that I don't know what lighting effect you have in mind and the where to point you isn't in my comfort zone.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 9:54PM
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Great. Appreciate the info.

I am going to specify a 2" rigid PVC return loop, 4 returns on the loop, and 3" rigid PVS from loop back to pad. I think that will keep friction loss down, and help to evenly distribute heated water around the pool also.

I think I will omit the IntelliChem for now... if I understand correctly, that is an easy addition down the road if I want it.

I think I will also ask for 3" from each drain set back to the pad... since for the pool, I assume that is where most of the water comes from... and for the drains providing water to the slide/waterfall, I am not sure 2" will be enough for the amount of water that will be needed if both are running at the same time.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 11:40AM
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If I have one VS pump feeding both waterfall and slide, are there valves that can be controlled by the IntelliTouch that can be programmed to be anything other than full open or full closed? ie. the slide will need a fixed amount of water no matter what speed the waterfall is set to... is that possible to program combinations of pump speed and valve levels, ie.

  1. Slide on, waterfall low
  2. Slide on, waterfall high
  3. Slide off, waterfall low
  4. Slide off, waterfall high
    And keep the slide water from varying too much as the pump speed is adjusted for the waterfall rate? or would it just be easier to get a fixed speed pump for just the slide and leave a dedicated VS pump for the waterfall? But then needing a third drain set to get water for slide...
    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 11:51AM
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Valve actuators know to turn left or right till their cams hit the stop switches. There are no in betweens. The cams can be set where you want but once set, they are set unless you get in the unit and adjust them.

No automation system will move an actuator 1/2 way based on pump speed.

I don't advise putting the waterfall and slide on the same pump. You said the waterfall will be on a lot and the slide not so much. Putting the slide on the pool pump, speeding up the pool pump to get more water for the slide, and putting it on an automated timer for a period of time, like an hour or two, after which, it automatically slows the pump and closes off the slide valve seems to make more sense to me.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 7:54PM
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Thanks, Scott... and I assume if I use bubblers in a beach entry, they can just run off the pool pump also... if i have bubblers, slide and returns all on the output side of the main pool pump, I assume the slide and the bubblers would get plenty of flow even with the return pipe value wide open... so, is the return usually plumbed with a manual valve or is there any need for an actuator on it?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 10:33PM
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OK... Here's the final list of return paths to the pool and how I am planning on handling them:

Slide: Two dedicated supply drains on 3" pipe to dedicated fixed speed pump, to 3" pipe to slide reduced to 2" for the slide fitting size (slide requires 125-150 gpm).

Waterfall: Two dedicated supply drains on 3" pipe to dedicated variable speed pump, to 3" pipe to waterfall pond at top of waterfall (waterfall will flow down from cave roof; cave will be 7' wide; I assume this will require around 50 gpm on low speed and may be 100 on high?)

Main pool pump: Two drains into 3" pipe (and two skimmers plumbed separately back to pad with 2" pvc for each), into IntelliFlo VF pump, then into 3" to return loop; return loop done with 2" pipe, into 4 returns. I want to have some returns on the deep end seat also... are they just regular returns or more restrictive jets to get a stronger flow? either way, I assume they just go on the main return loop?

Booster pump off output of main pump, into 1-1/2 pipe to Polaris 280 cleaner port.

The items that I do not know where they should go are as follows:
- 3 Color Casacade bubblers on baha shelf (plumbed with one 2" pipe to shelf and 2" loop around to 3 bubblers).
- 2 Pentair Magistream LED Laminars (plumbed with 2" pipe to T, and 1-1/2 to each Laminar... no loop... both should get equal flow, right?)
Should they go on the main pool pump? If so, do I just put an automated valve on both of their lines and then program the Intellitouch to open them and bump up the main pump speed when one or both are opened, leaving the main return loop full open in all cases? The Laminars say they should not be used with DE filtered water... is that true or BS?

I appreciate the advice to help fill in the blanks... and confirm this is a good way to go.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 11:44PM
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I'd greatly appreciate any feedback on the set-up above.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 9:43PM
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jscozz...your pool features sound very similar to ours. Below is what we have.

This was a system that was engineered to provide energy efficient circulation and filtration while keeping the system design simple...i.e.; separate pumps for key water features groups based on frequency of use and water flow needs.

The separate pumps provide ultimate flexibility and minimize complexity associated with valve actuators when trying to use 1 pump for multi-tasking.

Our pool plumbing system:

2-speed .33HP / 2HP - circulation pump for floor cleaning, filtration and chlorination (salt cell)

2-speed .33HP / 2HP - waterfall pump for 2 waterfalls, 16 foot negative edge and circulating the negative edge pit

.75 HP - 3 beach bubblers, 2 aerators and 3 deck jets

3 HP - slide pump, our 72 foot slide requires 160 gpm

No valve actuators which add complexity and reduce efficiency of the plumbing system.

The .75 HP pump has gate valves which allow flow to each of the water features to be dialed in perfectly when the pump is running. This is set and forget....haven't touched the valves in a few years now.

All these pumps and about 4 other pool features are controlled via an 8 circuit pool automation system with remote control.

Also, you mentioned your slide pump terminates into a 2" outlet. Is there only 1 outlet or will there be 2 outlets. 150 gpm coming out of a single 2" outlet will create high velocity and spray the water out further from the nozzle which is usually not desireable for slides.

Our slide terminates with two 3" outlets which lets the water spill out onto the slide surface maximizing wetting area at the beginning of the slide path where it's most important.

The water features you mentioned that you're not sure where to place. I would place them all on a separate pump and keep them off the main circulation pump. Use gate valves or 3 way valves to adjust flow to each like we have done.

The laminar jets like a lot of flow if I remember correctly and when all water features are in use, the circualation pump would have to be ran full speed which is loud and uses a lot of energy...even more than today's 1 speeds due to drive losses. Even at full speed, the circulation pump may not have enough flow when everything is on.

By the way, I'm a big fan of 2 speeds and not so much variable speeds. VS is too expensive and only offers marginal improvements in efficiency. Additionally, replacements costs down the road are high...you may as well buy a new pump for the price of a replacement drive. Just ask you PB how much a replacement drives will be for your variable speed pumps and you'll see what I mean.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 4:15PM
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