pressure testing pool plumbing before gunite

buzz2June 8, 2012

Please help me before my pool builder gunites my pool. He has pre-plumbed the pool. In another post, I explained that the pvc for the deep heat returns and main drains are sitting under the rebar but on top of the gravel. Almost all pre-gunite pics of pool builds I see have the pvc pipe buried in the soil or gravel with only the stub-ups visible coming straight up out of the pool floor under the rebar. It doesn't seem right that mine aren't buried- I am concerned it will weaken the floor where there will be less gunite displaced because of the pvc lines.

My new question is, how long should the pre-plumbing be pressure tested before it is sealed up with gunite. My pb plans on gunite this Monday (3 days) but the trenches aren't dug yet, undergraound pvc not placed, pumps are not hooked up and there has been no pressure testing done (at least no ongoing pressure testing that I have seen). I have read of pressure testing going on for many hours or days prior to gunite. What is correct or reasonable? I don't want him to seal up the pipes in the pool until it is certain there are no leaks.

He may be coming tomorrow to dig the trenches, but that is not certain-maybe he will put pvc down and an equipment pad with pump tomorrow. I don't know. The only certain thing I have been told is gunite in 3 days. Please let me know what is reasonable so I know how to approach my pb if there is a problem. Thanks.

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goyom

I see you posted previously and Scott replied.

If you have a concern, this is your pool and your money.
Call the pool builder and tell him to wait. You are in control.

Post some pictures here and let some of the experts help you.

1 pic = 10000 words in the pool world.

best to you.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 8:59PM
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Pools94

Yes. All pipes should be at the minimum run back to the pad and either hooked up to the equipment or stubbed up on a manifold that you can pressure test. It should hold pressure at least for 15 minutes at 35 p.s.i. or better.Most builders will leave it under pressure during the rest of the build to make sure the pipes are holding pressure in case a mason hits a pipe or their is a glue failure. I see builders all the time on this forum with the pipe stubbed out of the rebar with tape over the end and then they gunite the pool and install plumbing later. Not sure how you can make sure the plumbing, especially the spa plumbing is good before the gunite if you leave them stubbed out like that. I do see pictures on this site all the time with rebar laying on the pipe and the gunite shot over that. That is also not the way to do that. You need a minimum of 3" of solid gunite under the rebar and over the rebar. That even means three inches over and under where the rebar crosses over and splices.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 9:03PM
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buzz2

Thank you for your responses. I will try to post some pics later today. With the opinions of yourselves and Scott and Natural One on my other thread I feel I can go to my pb and more confidently insist on burying the pvc and pressure testing. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now- maybe he is intending to do these things. I will be talking to him later today and will let you know how it goes. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 6:30AM
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jscozz

How did this work out, buzz2?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 10:07AM
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buzz2

I asked my pool builder to bury the deep heat returns and main drains and he did so by digging a shallow trench in the gravel already present under the rebar. I'm sure it was a PITA and for this reason I don't think he ever planned to bury the deep heat returns before guniting the pool. If he planned to do so, he would have trenched for the deep heat return prior to putting in rebar. That bothers me a little bit but at least it got done. Thank you to the pros and other people on this forum for their advice. It is a great resource.

How long he pressure tested the lines I am not sure but I know he did pressure test it. If he didn't pressure test it adequately and there was a leak he must know this is a big problem for him so hopefully this motivated him to pressure test long enough.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 6:20AM
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poolguynj

Why the separate deep heat return and drain suction lines? That can easily be plumbed to send return water to the drain pots instead of them drawing in water on an at will basis.

Scott

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 6:26AM
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Pools94

Scott. I see you talk about pots for main drains in pools and spas. Some areas of the country do not use pots. In southern California we stub them up out of the ground with no pots so we have to run a separate deep heat. I know they use a lot of pots back east not so much here. FYI.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 4:57PM
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poolguynj

The use of pots is manditory under VGB IRRC however, they can be field formed.

They have no bearing in setting up a deep heat though. Shutting off the drain from the pump suction and adding a short from the returns to the drain line with a valve will do it at the pad. You could then send heated return flow to the drain line.

Scott

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 6:30PM
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Pools94

Got it. Here So Cal we typically hook up the main drains to the front port of the skimmer. So that would not work. We do not shut down pools in the winter here. But I can see the application for that in other areas of the country.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 10:40PM
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poolguynj

Where in the country doesn't matter. Tying the drain to the deep skimmer, IMHO, is not a good practice. A pool can then not operate off the drain only or vacuum from the skimmer or set up a deep heat via the drain. I have a couple of PBs that do it here too. Darned annoying and a bit of a PITA to Winterize too.

Scott

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 1:05AM
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Pools94

Luckily we don't have to winterize here. Most service guys use the side suction line to sweep the pool. Or there is always enough suction on the skimmer also. Thousands of pool have been done this way and they all stay pretty clean.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 2:07AM
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barnyard78

tying drains to the skimmers is a mistake. what is the logic in doing so?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 10:39PM
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Pools94

In your opinion it's a mistake. It's one less suction point for entrapment. There's a reason that there is a diverter valve at the bottom of the skimmer. It's to draw some water up into the skimmer from the bottom of the pool for clarity. Most pools also have pool vacs which with the pump running draws water from the bottom. I'm not against main drains with suction. Depending on the design look I am trying to achieve I will use mini-skimmers and install a separate main drain line if I feel the need for more circulation. Or if you are trying to achieve the look of a zero edge pool. There is a bit of a debate in the pool industry if we even need to put in main drain lines in pools anymore. Aqua magazine had an interesting article about it a few months ago. The jury is still out.All I know is that they are obnoxious looking on the floor of an all glass tile pool or spa. There has been something in the works to make covers that you can fill in with whatever material is on the pool floor and then all you have is a small slit opening around the edge. These would be made of stainless steel and be bonded to the pool shell. They look like a good solution for the aesthetic look on main drain covers. A slit is only needed because of the low flow that you can achieve with the variable speed pumps. Try not to make blanket statements about certain plumbing being a mistake. There are a couple of cities that I deal with that do not like a direct main drain suction line to the pump.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 12:11AM
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poolguynj

I find a separate drain line far more versatile for servicing and maintaining. I can't see a new pool being designed otherwise. Bottom drains have requirements from the VGB act that make them far safer.

An SVRS can be added relatively inexpensively to a pump if suction entrapment is a concern, especially with older residentials that only have a single drain design.

Scott

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 5:26AM
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