bobvilas_gw

Negative Edge Pool in Hawaii

bobvilas
November 30, 2010

Hello pool Gurus,

I am helping a friend who started building this 40'x 20' negative edge pool at his house. He owns a ranch so he had plenty of equipment available to do the dig. He hired a man on our island to help get it to the gunite stage. Confidence has dwindled so now they are no longer working together. I have been a tile contractor for 23 years and have done countless pools and water features. The shell appears to be done well enough but we have some questions as to the plumbing. I was hoping to post the info we have and see if someone here could help us decide the best possible way to pump the existing plumbing. We are not looking for a large sheet of water in transit over the weir. Just more of a nice wet wall look. We do not, however, want a "drippy" wall look. We are interested in variable speed or dual speed pump options as we have heard that they can be more energy efficient.

Main pool is 30,000 gallons (rectangle 20' x 40')[Negative edge on on 40' side]

Collection Basin is 1300 gallons (rectangle 3' x 40' x 1.5')

Jacuzzi is 670 gallons (raised 18" above pool) [spills into pool]

Equipment house floor is built 1' above pool waterline and about 20' away from pool.

Only Skimmer is set in Collection Basin and 5' below main pool waterline.

I have entered a link to a diagram I made of the plumbing as well as some pictures. Let me know what other information is needed.

Thank you so much in advance for any help you can give.

Bobby

Here is a link that might be useful: Plumbing Diagram

Comments (147)

  • bobvilas

    there are actually two 3" suctions, two 2" hot water returns, eight 1 1/2" jets and one 2" drain in the spa.

    I saw the 215-9890 racket. Weird how I have to get this stuff from so many different suppliers. You would think paramount would make it all so I could get it in matching colors. Man I'm gonna have to get 11 of those SDX's if I put them on all suctions and all 3" returns!

    Pretty sure I have the owner convinced that we need to use gas heat. Now I just need them to decide weather or not we want a heat pump also.

    Thanks guys

  • poolguynj

    All suctions will need and must have VGB compliant grates such as the SDX, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. It's a federal law.

    What you are calling a heated return is only relative to how the heat source is plumbed. I would simply plumb them to the pool returns so when the pool is filtering, they are sending freshly filtered and chlorinated water to the spa. When the system is in spa mode, they would be off and the heater would send heated water to the spa via the 8 spa jets.

    The 3" returns need to be covered with grates, AFAIK because there are no return fittings that will fit.

    The 2" returns can either be grated or have the insider fitting racket pointed out and a threaded return fitting for a finished look and to keep small hands and arms out.

    The spa return jets can get the push in style of fittings.

    As I recall, you said the pool is getting white plaster, right, so white fittings are appropriate.

    Scott

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  • bobvilas

    I will order up the SDX's and other parts ASAP. Thanks for the input!

    We are wanting to get a beige color plaster so that the water will be emerald green. I have attached a photo of the look we are going for. We have a country setting with amazing mountain views so the view over the negative edge is green trees.

    We were planning on using Hydrazzo 'Sahara Sand'. That is the material the original PB was wanting to use. If there is a better plaster, we would love to hear your opinions.

  • Rack Etear

    "I saw the 215-9890 racket. Weird how I have to get this stuff from so many different suppliers."

    if you only have to go to two of them I call it a success. 10 years ago , none of this stuff was even available.

  • poolguynj

    I am not a big Hydrazzo fan. When new, it certainly is one of the smoothest because of the "Polishing" it undergoes, but as for longevity, it still has quite a bit of marble dust aggregate. Marble is a soft mineral that can stain and erode more quickly than many other pool finishes. Smooth doesn't stay that way.

    Better is such a relative term. There are harder finishes that will last longer. Some have a basketball like texture and some have finer textures by using smaller aggregates. Typically, these resist stains, or should they stain, are more tolerant of the removal processes. These products tend to last significantly longer when properly applied.

    Some of these finishes have very controlled distribution, some don't. The sky being blue, the sun's angle, and the immediate surroundings have more to do with water color at a given time. At high noon, this pool may be a lot more blue.

    I suggest asking the plasterer in your area what he has available, not necessarily what he recommends though if he doesn't like working with certain products, don't push them.

    Scott

  • bobvilas

    How about pebble tech? Am i correct in assuming that the beige bottom is how we will get the "greenest" look?

  • Rack Etear

    Hydrazzo, and pebbletech are both good products. If you are looking for green water the darker tan colors seem to be the best.

  • poolguynj

    PebbleTec has a very tight control on it's channel. If there is no authorized dealer, it's not available. There are other high aggregate finishes but I again, strongly suggest finding out what is available through your local plaster companies. Then we can help point you.

    I am not a big Hydrazzo fan as I mentioned earlier. I haven't seen it last any longer than a standard plaster, though it is smoother for a while. The same manufacturer has several products with higher quantities of harder (than marble) aggregates, that compete with PebbleTec and offer similar benefits in durability, stain resistance and removal, colors, and textures.

    Scott

  • bobvilas

    Hey guys,

    I was looking through the Waterways installation PDF and it shows either an air pump going to the jets or an open air inlet. We don't seem to have any air pipe going to the jets. What will have to do for air intake?

  • poolguynj

    When the spa returns were rough plumbed, two plumbing loops should have been made, an upper and a lower. The upper loop is typically the air loop and the lower is the water loop.

    Tape off the spa jets except one. Blow air from the shop vac in. Air should come out two lines in the equipment room. If it only comes out one, then it's likely buried. If it comes out two, then one of them is the blower line.

    To identify which is which, you will need either a stick with a 1" piece of limp string taped or a long nosed fireplace lighter. Blow air from one of the lines at the pad site toward the spa.

    Insert the stick/lighter in the spa jet just past the center nozzle. If using a lighter, be careful not to heat things up and make sure the flame is not a stiff flame like a torch but rather like a Bic lighter. If it lights move the flame in front of the nozzle and see if it blows out. If using the string, it will move in the breeze.

    If the air comes out the nozzle, that is the water line. If the air comes from behind the nozzle, that is the air line. Swap the blower to the other line and verify the air comes out the opposite ports.

    Using the string is safer but may require a small flashlight to see. If using the lighter, don't keep it lit for long so as to keep from melting anything.

    You can also turn the hose on from the pad and pour water in one of the lines. One of the loops, assuming they aren't too high (raised spa), should fill. if it's the water loop, water will come out the center nozzle. If you filled the air loop, water will come out from from behind the nozzle.

    Scott

  • bobvilas

    I only can find the one 3" line up at the pad that goes to the spa jets. All other pipes are accounted for and tested. When I blow the vac through the spa jet 3" at the pad, I can just barely feel air coming out in the spa jet at the spa (I have all but one capped). I am using a huge shop vac, btw.

    I have looked all over the yard for a possible pipe for air inlet. Where would they normally put it (or them) if it's not in the pad?

  • poolguynj

    I hope they didn't tie the air loop to the water loop in the spa or cap it(pre-gunite). Barring that, there must be a 5th line from the spa that is still buried or its possibly one of the 3 lines coming up from behind the retaining wall in this picture:

    Have these 3 lines been identified?

    Scott

  • bobvilas

    found the 2" air line buried underground behind the spa. Can it just be open to air? Or does it have to be run to the pad and connected to an air pump?

  • poolguynj

    If the equipment is on the other side of the deck from where the line is, then just bringing it to a location near the house but not under a window will work. Then you can get power to it. The line needs to be a couple feet above the spill way so you don't start a siphon.

    Check valves fail eventually. The check valve for a blower is different from the common Jandy check valves have a pretty strong spring on the flapper that would reduce air flow substantially. The check for the blower will have a much softer spring.

    Some jets can draw air naturally when the spa is running as the water flow in the the jet body will generate a little suction on the air line. Would it be enough to clear the air loop? I doubt it or if it were, it wouldn't let enough air in to add to the pressure significantly.

    If the air line had been vented directly and vertically, the opening would have come out the coping of the spa and there would not be much water weight to overcome. Many portable tubs and drop in spas are plumbed this way. This also tends to cause a roaring sound to be emitted from the opening.

    As it is, there is now a trap being formed that would likely hold more water than the suction can overcome. Remember, the air loop will flood with water every time the spa jets are off, as will the trap.

    A blower will clear the line pretty quickly and add pressure to the jets but natural aspiration will be severely restricted to the point of being useless.

    The power for the blower can be run from the automation controller through the house.

    Scott

  • Rack Etear

    If you configure the jets properly you shoudlnt need an air blower to make them work.

    Typically air lines get piped through the deck, or goosenecked up in a planter or mech room.

  • poolguynj

    If the deck is in the path to the equipment room, running the line to the side of the house as I suggested before might work. If it doesn't, since it's by the house, the blower can be added later and the power for it run through the house from the controller.

    A standard 90 and a street 90 can make a nice, easy "U" so the opening is not facing the sky where stuff can drop in. Keep it a few feet off the ground to stop wildlife and no less than a foot from the house. When you run the line, get some depth so the ground will hold the line steady.

    Scott

  • bobvilas

    The owners are wanting the iphone control for the pool. I see the pentair screen logic kit. What controller is the best for out application. Can we get them as a package? They use Mac's, if that matters. I assume the controller works over wifi? We will want to run some pool side lighting eventually also.

  • poolguynj

    The Pentair Intellitouch i-9+3 is what I quoted you for use with Screen Logic and WiFi. It can be expanded to 40 circuits too. No problems having enough controllable circuits for landscape lights.

    Apple PCs like Mac-Books and i-Macs are not supported as they run a different operating system than Apple's iOS devices like i-Pads, i-Phones, etc... which do have apps that talk to a Windows PC, available tablet or the available in-wall touch screen with a client-server type relationship.

    Scott

  • bobvilas

    Which is a better sweep? Sand Shark or the Great White?

  • poolguynj

    For suction side, The Pool Cleaner gets top ratings from the peeps I respect. I don't sell suction side cleaners.

    Scott

  • bobvilas

    Does the IC60 maintain pH levels or will we have to regularly add acid to the pool water? A guy was telling me today that he had to install an auto pH controller on his salt pool because the chlorine generator will keep it up around 15 when you want in down around 7.4 or so.

  • poolguynj

    The IC-60 makes chlorine. Will it tend to want to raise the pH? Yes. The new plaster will do it too. You will go through quite a bit of acid as the plaster hydrates. New plaster raises the pH pretty quickly and slows over the course of 6 to 12 months. That process is far faster than what the cell will do when raising the pH.

    There are ways to buffer the water. The addition of borates to the water has been shown to be quite effective to keeping the pH reasonably stable after the plaster has finished hydrating. I would expect any pump based system would have a tough time keeping up during the 1st 3 months of a plaster finish's life.

    Pentair has announced the IntelliChem system but it isn't released just yet. I will be finding out more about it availability when I go to the NESPA Pool and Spa show in AC this week. It will talk to the Intellitouch. It will be available with either an acid tank with a pump or CO2 injection system. Given that the pad isn't installed yet, I would recommend waiting until the hydration is done and adding it later.

    If using Muriatic Acid (MA) is a concern, there is a powdered pH reducer called Dry Acid that will work just fine. There are also buffered versions of MA that don't have the fumes.

    Point your client to www.troublefreepools.com for what I consider to be one of the best on line pool schools. Gardenweb is great for construction. TFP is great for care and maintenance. I participate there too, as do several others here.

    Scott

  • Rack Etear

    Bob the pH of the salt generator is 7.8 so if it went to 15, something else was wrong.

    Scott, Most peristaltic pumps will do 20-80 gallons of acid a day. There is no problem at all using this system to cure a pool. In fact I prefer it.

    I wouldn't use C02 for pH control on new plaster however.

    I don't advise on automatic controls for pH, and ORP (oxidizer/chlorine) unless there is someone that is comfortable in their operation monitoring, and servicing it.

  • poolguynj

    I am not a fan of CO2 either buddy. Tanks are heavy and a PITA to get refilled.

    He won't need that much acid in a year.

    I want to see what the folks at the booth can tell me about the IntelliChem anyway. There is customer demand.

    A good test kit is essential and a heck of a lot more cost effective for residential use.

    With the Screen Logic and IP enabled, we can peek in as needed.

    Scott

  • Rack Etear

    "I am not a fan of CO2 either buddy. Tanks are heavy and a PITA to get refilled."

    Not really, Co2 is one of the most widely used gases. I know in remote locations Co2 is easier to get than MA. You can use one of those small tanks like restaurants use for soda.

    "I want to see what the folks at the booth can tell me about the IntelliChem anyway. There is customer demand."

    I understand the demand, but I feel the the whole process of pH/ORP control is still in it's infancy. I feel that it takes a special kind of pool professional with a special kind of homeowner to make chemical automation work.

    I certainely have no desire to interface the chemical automation into a control panel where the client can monkey with it, or get freaked out about every little blip or bounce in the readings.

    I have installed and serviced hundreds( maybe thousands) of chemical automation systems. Every time I end up with one on a residential level I end up regretting it.

  • bobvilas

    Did I mention that I love you guys?

    Thanks for the info. It seems we can add it later if something great comes along or maybe they won't even need it anyway. Just thought I should ask.

  • Rack Etear

    " It seems we can add it later if something great comes along or maybe they won't even need it anyway"

    Absolutely.

    No problem.

  • poolguynj

    I saw the IntelliChem yesterday and have a number of significant concerns that, at this point, would likely make for exactly the type of situations racket mentioned, problems, go backs, and more.

    Scott

  • bobvilas

    Hey, I got the energy cost from the owner.

    propane = $5.05 per/gal
    Electricity = .37 per/kwh

    I was looking at some web sites that said $1.19 per gallon is the national average. Wow! Now I see why they don't want propane to heat the pool....

    Any way that I can figure a cost comparison heat pump vs. propane?

  • Rack Etear

    To Heat the pool to 85-88 degrees year round it would cost

    $3,657.00 a year with electric heat pump
    $17,443.00 a year with a propane heater.

    I'll e-mail you a copy of the audit.

    Obviously a no brainer.

  • poolguynj

    Propane is tied to oil prices and hasn't been less than $3/gallon for a couple years.

    Your power is 2-1/2 time more than mine! @$0.37/kwh, that is close to top tier in Southern Cal.

    1 BTU is the energy used to heat 1 pound of water 1 degree F
    1 Gallon = 8.345404 lbs.

    670 gallon spa = 5591.4206 lbs

    80 degrees to 100 degrees = 111828.41 BTUs plus what ever loss evaporates from the open surface.

    Looks like about an hour to heat the spa with a heat pump vs 15 minutes with a 400K heater.

    Expect to burn 1 gallon/hr of on time (figure 15 minutes of continuous and then a 35% roughly on time to maintain). On time means the heater is firing.

    Heat Pump will draw about 6-7000 watts/hr continuously and then an aprox. 50% duty cycle to maintain for the spa.

    Are there savings? Yes, I guess a couple dollars per hour if it's only for the spa.

    Is the homeowner willing to wait for the spa? What's his time worth to him and his guests?

    On to the pool? There will be substantial evaporative loss. We can't cover the pool because of the negative edge. The losses would take a substantial percentage of the the heat pump's capacity. At least the propane unit would be able to make more head way.

    Scott

  • Rack Etear

    Scott for the difference in energy consumption with the pool, you can buy and install 3 heap pumps and break even in 15 months.

    Propane here runs $1.50 per gallon in massive bulk, and $2.40 per gallon is the homeowner 1,000 gallon tank price.

    It doesn't surprise me that A gallon of propane is $5.00 untill costco came to town a gallon of milk was $7-9 down there.

  • poolguynj

    If he is only heating the spa, the cost per use will not be that big to begin with. With power @ 37 cent per kw/h, thats a lot too.

    Like I said, what is his time worth to him?

    Scott

  • bobvilas

    When I spoke to the owners "She" is gonna want to heat the pool. "He" will fill that sucker in with dirt if it cost 17k a year to heat. So I think for now, we get them a heat pump. I will pour them a slab big enough to accomidate a couple of heat pumps and/or a LP heater. Then if/when they decide to add the gas or another heat pump, they will have the ability.

    I made it very clear to them that the heat pump will take minimum of an hour to heat the spa. They say they are fine with that. (time will tell if they really are).

  • poolguynj

    Ok.

    Will email you in a few. Got the shipping cost in.

    Scott

  • bobvilas

    Do you guys have a recommendation on the eyeball hole size for the returns and for the spa? I was thinking like 1" on the pool and 3/4" on the spa?

  • bobvilas

    Also, I got the SDX drains and they came as the Retro version. No fitting for the 3" pipes. Just a plate that you use to go over an existing drain. Any ideas where I can get the non-retro ones online?

  • poolguynj

    Darn! Forgot about that stuff.

    I can the get the covers and the insider bushings for the 2" pipe returns.

    1" eyes everywhere. The idea is to keep little hands out, not to restrict flow.

    The mounting screws and anchors for the cover will need to be drilled into the gunite. There is no fitting for the pipe. Flush will have to do, which the covers are approved for. I don't like it but it is what it is.

    Scott

  • bobvilas

    So I will mount the plates that came with the SDX to the gunite for the 3" suctions in the spa. I am having trouble finding a 2" gray fitting for the spa hot water returns. I got 1 1/2" fittings for the jets, no problem.

  • poolguynj

    The main different is for the SDX and SDX replacement is the mounting system. The black plate with the replacement is meant to fit over a pre-existing sump. I don't thing the SDX for new pools has it, but rather has a different bag of mounting hardware.

    I'll see what I can sniff up for the return fittings.

    Scott

  • bobvilas

    I am trying to finish tiling the spa but the two 2" stub outs are set way to far into the gunite. I need to bring them out to accommodate mud and tile thickness. Should I chip out enough for an external coupling or can I use 2" - 1 1/2" reducers? That way I could use a standard 1 1/2" fitting with 1" eyeball, also. Not sure if that is to restricting of a set up?

  • Rack Etear

    On a Return line, that is more than ok to do. It will save you the hassle of getting a different fitting to trim it out.\

    BTW I like the Hawaiian Work boots.

    =)

  • poolguynj

    Jeez, that gunite crew didn't you any favors. Waterway has those insider fittings that racket mentioned. They will glue to the inside of the pipe and give you a female thread for return fittings.

    What, in the spa, are you planning to tile?

    Scott

  • bobvilas

    The entire spa is going to be glass tile. I have to mud the whole thing and you can see how junk the gunite is. If I reduce it to 1 1/2" can I just us "slip" (push in) fittings?

    Take a look at the light niche, too. It's out of square with the seat and I have to float square for the tile. Do I have to finish flush to the gray ring on the niche or will the fixture seal against the tile?

  • Rack Etear

    #1 You can reduce and pop in an eyeball after the finishes are in.

    #2 The light sits on that ring, and there is very little lattitude to mud past the niche.

    Often times it's the guniters that cause this they should straighten it out during the shoot, or when they go to flash the mud down.

    If you want it to be perfect you may have to blow out the niche and straighten it out. You might not have to completely remove the niche once you get the gunite removed around it.

    If you want it to be perfect,

    Thats a sloppy gunite job, but typically an all tile pool gets a completely different amount of attention at the gunite phase than a pool that is planned for plaster.

  • bobvilas

    If the fixture sits "on" the ring, can the tile be flush to the front of the ring? Or does the ring need to stick out past the tile a bit?

  • poolguynj

    The fixture sits on the lower notched tab and grabs the threaded tab with a screw at the top. The rim of the fixture presses the pool/spa wall when the screw is tightened.

    Scott

  • bobvilas

    That sounds typical. I have always tiled right to the front of the niche and have never had a complaint. I will have to dish in to this one to make it work, but sounds like that will be fine. How much bigger (around) is the light fixture than the niche?

    Thanks

  • poolguynj

    The light fixtures are a 10-1/2" diameter on the pool light and 6" on the spa's. They just barely cover the niche.

    Scott

  • Rack Etear

    We have our finishes flush with the rim on the niche like you described.

    Dishing it is fine, and looks better underwater than it looks while empty.

    The fixture usually goes 1/4" past the niche.

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