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Swimming Pool & Spa -Technical Tips

Plumbing Tips for Plastic Pipe

Here are a few tips on how to plumb with plastic pipe and fittings using threaded joints and/or solvent welding.The following is recommended for piping systems normally encountered in the swimming pool and spa industry.
  1. Threaded Joints
    1. Plastic to Plastic
      1. A dry male fitting should be made up hand-tight about two-thirds (2/3) of the way into any female threaded connection.
      2. Use only the following plastic-to-plastic thread sealants.Teflon tape, 100% pure Teflon paste or Permatex # 2. Use three (3) full turns of Teflon tape.
      3. Apply sealant to male thread only. Use liberal coats of either the 100 % pure Teflon or Permatex # 2. Use (3) full clockwise turns of Teflon tape.
      4. Screw the fittings together hand-tight. Then (1/2) to (1) more full turn using a strap wrench or small pipe wrench. You now have a good joint-stop.
    2. Plastic to Metal
      1. Be sure to clean or deburr any rough metal threads to prevent uneven covering of sealants or tearing of the tape
      2. The same sealants are recommended as above.
      3. Avoid the use of a male metal threaded end into a female plastic thread, whenever possible.
      1. If heated water of any degree is involved, the different expansion rates could cause leaks.
      2. Tapered metal male fittings over-tightened into plastic female threads can create stresses that, though not immediately apparent , can cause fractures later.
      3. Screw the fittings together hand-tight. Then, (1) more full turn using a strap wrench or a small pipe wrench. You now have a good joint-stop.
Note: Most common plumbers oil-base pipe dope compounds should not be used with plastic pipe, valves, or fittings. Cracking or breaking of valves and fittings has been caused by the effects of some of these pipe dopes, failures occur shortly after use and over prolonged periods of time.
  1. Solvent Welding
    1. Avoid using the so-called all-purpose cements or spray can types.
    2. Use a good solvent cleaner-primer on all slip pipe and fittings.
    3. Quickly, while surfaces are tacky , brush on a moderate coating of cement to the fitting socket and the pipe end.
    4. Within 5 to 10 seconds, insert pipe giving it a slight twist until it bottoms out.
    5. Hold joint for 5 to 10 seconds to prevent the pipe from pushing out of the socket.
Note: You can handle almost at once. Do not put any stress or twisting force on the joint for at least 20 minutes. Do not pressurize for at least 2 hours. A full 100 % joint strength takes 48 hours.


Servicing the Pool or Spa

A suggested chain of events:
  1. Test the water using a good quality test strip or test kit.
  2. Check the filter pressure, and if needed backwash (DE) and sand filters, or hose off the filter cartridge.
  3. Clean the tile.
  4. Skim the surface and remove the large debris.
  5. Vacuum
  6. Brush any remaining dirt from the walls.
  7. Clean out the skimmer and pump baskets
  8. Add the chemicals needed to maintain proper sanitation and water balance.
  9. Check the time clock trippers for proper run cycles.
  10. Check for proper water level.


Pump Trouble Shooting Guide

Pump will not prime :
  1. No water in the pump strainer pot.
  2. Strainer pot lid is not tight.
  3. Damaged lid O ring
  4. Water level is below skimmer
  5. Strainer or skimmer basket is clogged.
  6. Closed valve in piping system.
  7. Pump is on low speed (two-speed ) units only.
  8. Air leak in the suction line.

Low flow- High filter pressure:
  1. Filter is dirty
  2. Restriction in the return line.
  3. Low flow-low filter pressure:
  4. Strainer basket or skimmer basket is clogged.
  5. Clogged impeller
  6. Air leak in suction line
  7. Restriction in suction line

Motor does not turn:
  1. Power switch is off.
  2. Circuit breaker is tripped.
  3. Pump is in off mode of timer controlled circuit.
  4. Motor terminal connections are incorrect.
  5. Motor shaft is locked by a bad bearing.
  6. Impeller is locked by debris.

Motor overload protection "kicks out"
  1. Electrical supply connections are incorrect.
  2. Wiring to pump is undersized.
  3. Power company supply voltage is low.
  4. Ventilation is inadequate for motor.


Choosing the right Automatic pool cleaner

Determining the correct pool cleaner isn't too hard.
  1. Do you currently have an automatic pool cleaner? What type? Many of the older pool sweeps like the Arneson Pool Sweep and the Polaris 180 use a separate booster pump. Provided the booster pump is still in good working order you can use it with any of the new pressure style pool sweeps, saving yourself a lot of money.
  2. What type of debris gets into your pool? Do you get a lot of large leaves, pine needles, or twigs in your pool?, or is it mostly dirt, dust and sand.
  3. What is the condition of your existing filtration system?

Suction Cleaners: Suction cleaners attach inside the surface skimmer or to a dedicated vacuum line on the side of the pool. Examples of suction cleaners are the Kreepy Krauly, and Baracuda pool cleaners. Since these cleaners work off the vacuum of the pools filtration system, a separate booster pump is not needed.

This type of cleaner is the least expensive to purchase and operate since you don,t need to pay to run the second pump. The suction style cleaners also have very simple operating systems, so there is very little to go wrong with them. The Kreepy Krauly only has one moving part which powers the entire unit. The suction cleaners install easily in minutes and they clean whenever the filter is running.

Pools with heavy leaf loads, especially large leaves, and pine needles aren't usually good candidates for suction style cleaners unless the heavy leaf fall season is short. Generally if a sweep can do all the work for you 11 months of the year , but requires a little help in the fall, that's usually acceptable.

Suction Style cleaners Best Buy stocks: Kreepy Krauly, Baracuda, Great White, Navigator, and Polaris.

Pressure Style Cleaners (booster pump driven): As indicated this style sweep is driven by a seperate booster pump. Unless you are replacing an older booster pump driven sweep such as an Arneson pool sweep or Polaris 180, then you will need to purchase the pump with your new cleaner as well as a separate time clock.

This type cleaner works well in virtually every pool and they vacuum leaves, pine needles, twigs, rocks you name it, without a problem. The pressure cleaners gather up debris in their own bag, which you remove and dump periodically. Best Buy stocks: Letro Jet Vac,and Legend and the Polaris 380and 280 pressure style sweeps.

Pressure Cleaners without a booster pump: This style pool sweep is a derivative of the booster pump pressure sweep. Instead of operating off a separate booster pump, this style sweep operates off the pressure from the filtration system. Normally a "T"is plumbed into the line between the pump and filter and pressure is bled off to run the cleaner. Because of this bleed off it's best to step up the size of the filter pump to make sure everything operates properly. Unless you are replacing an old sweep of this same type such as the Arneson Turbo Sweep, Ray Vac, Energy Sweep, Energy Porpoise 2, or an early Polaris 360, then it may be cost prohibitive to go this route. Best Buy stocks the Polaris360 and the Letro Legend 2 cleaners of this type.

Click Here For Help Selecting The Right Pool Cleaner.


Choosing the right pool or spa filter

There are 3 popular types of pool and spa filters. They are D.E., cartridge, and sand filters. All 3 types work well and choosing between them is more a matter of personal preference and prior experience. We carry all types for this reason.

If you don't have a preference then I would go with one of the cartridge filters we stock. They are the least expensive to buy and operate and if you go with a large size (150 sq. ft.) or larger, then maintenance is a snap. The D.E. and sand filters require a backwash valve and in most countys a seperation tank.


Click Here For Help Selecting The Right Pool Filter.

Choosing the right pool or spa pump

When replacing an old worn out pump, keep in mind that the new replacement pump is of a different design ,and has much more pressure and flow than the old one. If you are replacing an old bronze 1 h.p. pump, you would only need a 3/4 h.p replacement, due to the difference in performance and design. When it comes to pumps, bigger is not always better.

Never install more than a 3/4 h.p. pump if your pool has 1 1/2 inch plumbing. The only exception to this rule would be if you have a"T" installed in the line between the pump and filter to operate a pool cleaner.

If your pool is plumbed with 2 inch pipe you can use a larger pump, but it probably isn't necessary unless you have a lot of return lines, a long plumbing run, or a pool & spa combination.

Click Here For Help Selecting The Right Pool Pump.


Choosing the right pool or spa heater

If your replacement heater will be used to heat your pool, then replace it with a heater of the same b.t.u. capacity as the current unit.

Do you want to heat just your spa because it is cost prohibitive to heat the pool? If this is the case then a heater of just 250,000 b.t.u. or less is plenty to quickly heat most residential spas.

  • 100,000 btu heater - up to a 300 sq. ft. pool,
  • 150,000 btu heater - up to a 450 sq. ft. pool,
  • 250,000 btu heater - up to a 700 sq. ft. pool,
  • 300,000 btu heater - up to a 900 sq. ft. pool,
  • 350,000 btu heater - up to a 1050 sq. ft. pool,
  • 400,000 btu heater - up to a 1200 sq. ft. pool.

    Figures based on a 30 degree F. temperature rise, 3 1/2 MPH average wind velocity and elevation up to 2000 feet above sea level.

    Click Here For Help Selecting The Right Pool Heater.

    Click Here To View Typical Plumbing Schematics.