Pool Remodeling Plumbing Question

jenzenJuly 13, 2012

I'm a first time pool owner going through a pool renovation. I've managed big projects at work and this is stressing me out, as nothing is staying to scope. What initially started as a pool resurfacing has turned into new coping and tile, a new deck, replacing the underground electrical. The next question, since the decks are up, is whether I need to replace the skimmer and all of the copper plumbing.

The copper plumbing I can see on the return lines is soft copper (K grade), which the plumbing guy said was the best. And even though it shows a little discoloration on the outside the pipes are in great shape.

So here's what's in question. in tearing up the decks the jackhammers squashed a few of the return lines. My initial reaction was to just get those areas of the return lines fixed, but a plumber came out and said he had a hard time getting the fittings on, so he recommended I call the pool guy and convert the returns to PVC.

So now I have a few bids from 2 pool guys and a different plumbing company:

1) Pool Guy #1 wants $1,150 to replace the copper piping to PVC. But said that while I have the deck up I should consider replacing the skimmer and all the piping to PVC = $3,600

2) Pool Guy #2 said that I should replace the returns to PVC and replace the skimmer and skimmer piping. Though he recommends leaving the copper inflow lines and holes to be filled in by plaster and wants to drill new holes for the PVC.

3) New Plumber - He says he can cut out the damaged areas and put fittings on and solder new pipe to the existing line. He said it would be strong and run me about $500 to $600 dollars. Or if I want to replace in new PVC or Copper $1,200 to $1,800.

My logic and leaning says Option #3. All indications are that my copper piping is in great shape. My skimmer works fine, there's no cracking, etc. The copper pipes it's obvious they put the best stuff in back in the 70 and that pipe is holding up great from what I can see. But it doesn't leave me with 100% confidence that I can pour my new deck over it and not think that a leak will come a few years from now. If the repair is done right, it should make the pipe almost as good as new, right?

Does anyone have any wisdom out there, specifically anyone who's been in my position and made a decision they learned to regret or regret that they prevented.

As you can see I'm trying to maximize $$$ now as my budget went from $10k to $22k. I've got to stop the bleeding somewhere.

Thanks in advance for your help, wisdom and knowledge!



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Your copper piping will probably hold up fine. If you did not tear up the deck I would probably just say leave it. But since you did tear up the deck I would suggest you replace the plumbing while you have the chance. Not only is it an issue of newer plumbing but if you figure out hydraulicly what your pool needs and size your new pipe accordingly you will save a lot of energy especially if you put in a Pentair variable speed pump . You can also add in things like a pool cleaner line or auto fill. I run into this situation a lot with homeowners renovating their pools. I always advise them if you are going to tear out the deck replace the plumbing and electrical. The cost of doing it spread out over the next 20 years is only dollars a month.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 2:03AM
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I agree with Pools94 that since the deck is gone, removing the copper is in your best interest. Not only will you improve the hydraulic efficiency and thus, reduce the power bill, but often people will let the pH drop and not realize it.

A low pH and the hypoclorous acid (Free Chlorine for sanitizing) and copper equals green staining from the copper oxide that forms and precipitates onto the plaster.

If the skimmers are copper too, replace them.

Given the age of the pool, I would not expect a bond wire to have been installed. Do so. It is a part of the current NEC codes for electrical safety and given the current scope of the work, should and needs to be done.

Where are you located? Some parts of California have tiered electrical rates based on the time of day. I have seen people pay as much as $0.34 per kilowatt for day time usage and an Intelliflo can make a huge difference in the amount of power used when compared to a single speed and dual speed motor. Jandy's E-Pump is another alternative that uses the same sealed, permanent magnet motor but their controller.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 4:39AM
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It is smart to replace all the copper. Besides the corrosive nature of the water, there may be eroded areas in the copper where the water velocity has actually caused the pipe to thin, particularly at the fittings.
A patch will surely come back to haunt you!
Bring both plumbing and electric up to code as Scott suggested. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 7:30PM
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