Pool Builders - Question for You

thejimbarSeptember 27, 2010

Hey all, JimBar from NJ. Just spent long weekend at the Delano Hotel in South Beach Miami and have become inspired.

I would like to build a freestanding (separate from existing pool) "baja shelf/wading pool" and preferably have it connected to my existing filter/pump system. Current gunite pool has 18" raised spa with spill over, heat, salt, the works.

Here's what I'd like to have in a a baja/wading. Please tell me whether or not I can do this and any recommedations/questions you may have.

Size: About 16 X 20.

Depth: No more than 8" of water.

Vanishing edge on front side facing pool.

2 bubblers for fountain. (Assume I will need another small pump for this)

4 foot high wall with bench seating at rear of shelf with a plumbed in spillover

LED lighting for water, bubblers, wall and spillover.

This would sit about 6-8 feet away from existing pool and be about a foot higher in elevation above the existing pool. Would like to put in where the deck and redwood table are in the picture below.

Plumbing for existing pool would run right past it so tying it in would be very easy. Can this be done and the plumbing tied into existing pool? Can/should a skimmer be incorporated?

Here is something I've sketched up (scale is way off), an existing pool photo with proposed location (where the deck and redwood set is) and a photo from the Delano (the table and chair are on the shelf)

Let me know, thanks everyone.

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I think the hydraulics need to be better thought out... the vanishing edge alone will create a tremendous call for water volume... I wouldnt suggest hooking it the the existing plumbing ... given the size you could put a small filter setup on it...

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 8:13PM
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Keep it simple and by itself. Own pump, filter, etc... If you have automation, it will likely need some sort of update for dual equipment. It may be s/w or hardware,


    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 9:34PM
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Rack Etear

It's really not that complicated.

With all of the stuff you already have, I would put this on it's own pump.

I would configure it like this. Install 2 2 1/2" suctions in the side of the existing pool pool. Run them to a variable speed pump. Run a return line to shallow pool, and put 3 way valves on both the bubblers, and sheer descent.

The flow rate required for the negative edge will depend on what you want it to look like, but typically a flat weir likes 3-5 gpm per foot of weir which a 20' weir would require 60-100 gpm. Keep in mind though, that this feature doesn't always need to run. If you have a controller you can cycle it automatically for a few hours a day. You can then crank it up for party mode.

This system wouldn't require a skimmer because the negative edge till do this for you, then the pool skimmers will pick up the rest of the crud.

You might be able to use the existing pump with a little compromise, and ingenuity.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 11:40PM
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Racket: The vanishing edge won't spill into the pool, just a drain. What are my options there? How would I plumb that?

If I eliminated the vanishing edge, could I just tap into my existing PVC suction and return lines? What would that setup look like?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 12:46PM
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Rack Etear

Personally I would have it roll over into the pool. It would be easier to install.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 11:07PM
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To not drain into the pool but into a catch basin would make it almost mandatory to use separate equipment.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 1:17AM
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Rack Etear

You can run equalizer pipes into the pool from the catch basin.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 9:45AM
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With a single filter system, thats a lot of water to equalize by gravity. I would expect to use about 25-30 GPM for a nice wet edge Going to need some elevation too. The catch basin can't be below the pool level so the water returns. New holes in the pool shell too for the returns.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 3:24PM
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thejimbar...cool design and idea.

You will like the shallow water for soaking you're feet and lounging while watching the kids play.

A few thoughts as it relates to our experience with a large shallow area of the pool. Ours is about 4" deep and 10'x20'.

1. I think anything shallower than 6" is called a thermal shelf because it actually heats the water rather nicely in direct sun. Here in Louisiana, our shallow area of the pool is comfortable to soak your feet year round when the sun is shining. In NJ, this probably isn't a big deal but you will notice your season for the shallow pool will definitely be extended.

2. If you think you will use this shallow pool more in the off-season than the regular pool, you should consider this when deciding to tie it into your existing pool. If you winterize your pool, it will be hard to do so and still keep the shallow pool in operation longer if it is tied together.

3. On the other hand, tying the two together will give the added benefit of heating the primary pool also, if the shallow pool is located in a sunny area of the yard.

4. If the decision is to tie them together, technically, it's possible to do so and still keep the two bodies physically separated from one another as you originally wanted. The equalizer line would have to be sized rather large (and likely multiple lines needed) to keep up with the passive flow from one body to the other during high flow requirements in the shallow body.

5. Would also recommend a separate pump for the negative edge pit if you already have water features that require flow with your existing pump...nothing more aggrevating than hosting a party and not being able to use all water features at the same time because of pump limitations.

6. We love our 4" shelf for the heating benefits and soaking your feet any time of the year. We also love our bubblers in the 4" water...nothing more relaxing than sitting in a chair with your feet being massaged by water coming from the bubblers in the floor of the pool (that's what I'm doing right now). We have a separate pump for the bubblers, aerators and deck jets also.

7. Connecting the overflow from the negative edge directly to the pool would be the easiest way to tie the two together..much like an oversized spa and no need for equalizer line. This may not meet your original vision though if you were thinking of keep the 2 bodies physically separated.

One last thought, if you keep the 2 bodies separate from one another, then the new pool will have to have it's own filter and sanitizing system. If you tie them together, it will save cost but you will not be able to winterize one and keep the other open. They will have to be closed at the same time...if you close the pool at all.

Oh..one more thought...size the negative edge pit so that you can fit your favorite leaf skimmer in it to scoop out leaves and debris easily...all the debris will end up in the pit and you'll want to skim it easily.


Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 3:47PM
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This is easily achievable with your existing equipment if you have an Aqualink controller.
All you have to do is plumb into the suction pipe immediately prior to the pump with a 4717 and into the return immediately prior to the existing 4717 for pool/spa return.
Place JVA's on these new 3-ways and plug them into the cleaner and solar JVA sockets, go into JVA assigns in the menu and assign both to the extra axillary.
Note, You must relocate your current chlorinator or salt cell into the return pipe prior to the new 3-way.
Give it a twice a day program with at least an hour a day each, you may need to increase these times to keep a solid FC in your new body of water.
Your catch basin should at least be an equal, but preferably more, amount water than the shelf.
Place a skimmer, to deal with the debris, on the basin and use an autofill such as a Poolmiser or a Levelor to control it's water level.
This is, truly, a walk in the park for an experienced swimming pool plumber.
I've done this for buyers many times without problems for those who don't want purchase a filter/motor/controller for the new water feature.

See ya,

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 2:27AM
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Thanks for all the inpuut, lots to digest here. Going to scrap the vanishing edge idea and look at Kelly's suggestion to tap into the existing. I have Jandy equiipment and could easily add a few electronic valve actuators to the system.

Kelly, would like to control the spillover and be able to control the bubblers. Also need a skimmer now. Does this need small floor "drains" as well?

I will of course go to my PB, but I'd like to understand it all before I talk to him.

How would I plumb all this? Here's a photo of my existing setup.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 5:23PM
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IMO, If you scratch the catch basin you'll need to make your depth more than 8", this just won't have much water in it. I'd go 15" on the flanks sloping to 18" in the center at the drains. Place a stalked fountain like the waterstar from Polaris or search for some telescoping fountains that will recede back into the floor when sitting idle.
First thing you need to know is what controller do you have and is the Solar still available or is it occupied?
Second, yes you'll need a skimmer and a drain. You can do it on drains only but be prepared to dip a bunch with your leaf net.
Third, you'd be best served going to your, or any other, pool builder.
Fourth, you'd plumb in the suction side 3-way in front of the pump between it and the pool/spa suction 3-way and the return would be immediately after the salt cell and before the pool/spa return 3-way. You'll also have to rotate your existing JVA's 180 degrees and recalibrate the orientation of your valve handle swing.
You'll probable have to remove the old style Tee sensor and use the port at the bottom of the cell and remove the coupling in front of your pump. It doesn't look like there's enough room to place a 4717 sideways in the amount of pipe you have showing.

The only thing to understand when you perform this is that ALL of your available suction and return must be removed from the pool/spa while the pump is running and that the pool will sit completely idle while the feature is on. You cannot co-mingle any of the two different bodies of water or you'll risk flooding over the features coping or cavitating the pump from losing water in the feature.

See ya,

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 7:48PM
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