Tips On How To Install Swimming Pool Equipment
As a pool owner it can be difficult to find definitive information about how to install your pool equipment as well which materials you should use and in which order you should install the equipment. In the following pages Swimming Pool Steve talks about many of the commonly used installation materials and processes used to professionally install swimming pool equipment. Installing your equipment incorrectly can damage the equipment, void your warranty and potentially even be dangerous so be sure to review these sections before installing your own equipment.
Pipe materials - Learn from Swimming Pool Steve the difference between pipe materials for swimming pools, which to use when installing your equipment, and how to properly work with each material type. This includes rigid PVC, flex PVC, CPVC, poly pipe, ABS and drainage hose.
Glue and primer - With grey, clear, blue, yellow, orange and other colors of glue how do you know which one to use for each application? By reading this section from Swimming Pool Steve on how to select the right glue for any swimming pool equipment installation, that's how!
Threaded connections - When it comes to swimming pool equipment installation you will need to deal with at least a few threaded pipe connections. This section will teach you which materials to use for making connections to your equipment, but more importantly which thread sealants you should NEVER use on pool equipment.
Common pipe fittings - Knowing all of the different kinds of plumbing fittings that you will need to install pool equipment is something that comes with experience. If you are installing your own pool equipment this page on commonly used plumbing fittings in the pool and spa industry will be extremely helpful.
Valves and unions - The valves and unions that you use when installing your pool equipment will determine how easy it is to operate your system forever. Spend some time on this page learning about the commonly used valves and unions as well as their orientation as part of your pool equipment mechanical installation.
Pool Equipment Installation Reviews
In this ongoing series Swimming Pool Steve looks at some existing pool equipment installations and discusses some of the common installation errors that are encountered in the pool and spa industry. Learn from these mistakes how to properly install your equipment for ease of use, functionality, and longevity. As you will see in these videos there are some mistakes that are very common but easy to avoid if you know what you are doing.
This video shows deficiencies with a salt water cell installation in relation to a Raypak heater as well as minor flow restrictions and imperfections with the plumbing configuration.
This video details some issues with winterization of the equipment, as well as flow dynamics errors in plumbing and leaking threaded connections. As with many of these videos there is no check valve in between the salt chlorinator cell and the gas heater. Also discussed is bonding of the heater and pump casing.
Bad glue joints, improperly repaired leaks (using electrical tape), restrictions in flow and no check valves in between the heater and the offline chlorinator. Also Swimming Pool Steve talks about bonding, grounding and galvanic corrosion in swimming pools.
A sizing problem between the pump and the filter and a brief explanation of how colloidal silver injection systems like the Nature 2 system works. Highlighted in this video is a VERY poor salt water cell installation that is certain to damage the heater in this video.
Terrible glue joints, poor sizing between the pump and the filter and a potentially dangerous filter. Tips on leaking filter band clamps and no check valve between the inline chlorinator and the gas heater.
This equipment review video shows a pump and filter that were leaking for a long period of time which caused the wooden floor in the pump room to become rotten and eventually break resulting in the pump and filter falling through the floor onto the ground below the floor.
Nylon pipe fittings were used in the pool and spa industry a few decades ago. Unfortunately nylon is reactive to chlorine and as a result all nylon fittings in service are sure to become a leak point eventually - if you have nylon fittings like these on your pool then you need to consider replacing your plumbing and eliminating these known leak points. Also shown in this video is a DE filter (diatomaceous earth).
Review of a swimming pool equipment installation that includes a brand new heater that does not have a check valve in between the salt cell and the heater. Also shown is a very old Hayward sand filter and street elbow flow restrictions.
This is the equipment installation for a very old concrete pool which was originally plumbed with copper pipe. Any copper pipe used on a swimming pool will certainly fail due to corrosion from exposure to chlorine and pH fluctuations combined with the damaging effects of galvanic corrosion. This system also features an offline erosion feeder complete with a check valve in between the heater and the chlorinator.
This pool equipment installation review covers a system with a nature 2 colloidal silver injection system and an inline chlorinator (brominator). Also detailed is the difference between street elbows versus sweep elbows as they relate to the flow dynamics of the system.
If you are watching a few of these pool equipment installation videos be sure to watch this one. Detailed here are some flow restrictions and filter leaks however the system then takes a turn for the better with a new sacrificial anode installed, a check valve between the salt cell and the heater, and the heater itself has been bonded. All heaters should be protected like this system is.
A clean looking pool equipment installation that used rigid PVC which results in a higher quality installation. This system has a good example of how to plumb in the suction intake on your pool pump for maximum efficiency. This pool also has a Zodiac Clearwater salt cell and Swimming Pool Steve talks about why these salt water system might not be as good as other popular salt water systems.
A pool equipment installation that transitions from poly pipe to PVC and has a deleted offline chlorinator. This system also has a failed 3-way valve as well as no bonding on the pump and the heater.
This pool system has flexible PVC that has extensive UV damage which is a common problem for flex pipe. Also, the pool pump shows signs of overheating (rusting) and is likely nearing the end of the expected service life. Also detailed is a pool heater without a check valve to protect it from chlorine damage. Steve also talks about how turbulence effects the flow dynamics of your pool system.
This pool system has a pool pump with extensive heat damage and an undersized sand filter. Also shown is the correct method to install a flow switch for a salt water chlorine system. The heater on this pool is not protected with a check valve in between the salt cell and the heater as well as a lack of bonding on the pump and heater.
This pool equipment review video details a suction manifold for the pump that is using old valves which have become difficult to operate. A few plumbing flow restrictions are noted however the heater on this system has a check valve in between the salt water chlorine cell and the heater.
This pool equipment installation has true sweep style elbows which are great for flow dynamics but very uncommonly found in the pool industry. This system also has a check valve in between the salt water cell and the heater but the heater itself is not bonded. The bonding lug itself shows signs of galvanic corrosion which is an indication that the heater is likely also experiencing corrosion internally.
This pool equipment review details a plumbing system that has a great deal of flow restrictions which should not be there. Also detailed is a pump running with noisy bearings (and running hot) as well as multiple leaks in the system which should be repaired. This heater does not have a check valve protecting it from the salt water cell and also is not bonded.
In this pool equipment installation review there is a variable speed super pump with a flow restriction and a salt water cell with no check valve in between the pump and heater. In this video Steve shows the rust staining on the salt cell as well as removing the return eyelets to show the rust staining on the back side of the returns as a result of the heater failing.
Swimming Pool Steve finds a pool pump with the beginning stages of having noisy bearings, along with a clear audio example of this, as well as a heater that is going to fail early due to the improper installation of a Zodiac Duo Clear chlorine generation cell. No bonding wire on pump or heater as well as a lack of check valve in between the salt chlorine cell and the heater are sure to spell early failure for this unit.
In this video Steve finds a concrete pool equipment pad that is sinking and sloped towards the foundation wall of the house. This is something that can cause a water problem in the house and potentially cause cracks in the foundation wall. The heater in this video is not protected with a check valve to prevent corrosion from chlorine tracing backwards through the system from the offline chlorinator that is installed.
The metals from inside this pool heater are corroding and dissolving into the water due to the lack of a check valve in between the Zodiac clearwater chlorine generation cell and the heater. This red and orange staining can be seen here inside the plumbing lines, after the heater. This equipment is also not bonded to protect against galvanic corrosion.
This pool equipment installation is nearly improvement free and includes a Hayward Northstar pump, Club Pro 24" sand filter, a Hayward 250FDN heater and a Zodiac Duo Clearwater salt chlorine generation cell. The heater in this video review is protected against damage from the chlorine generation cell by way of a check valve installed at the heater outlet. This system also has a Jandy automation panel.
In this video Steve looks at a pool equipment installation that has a tight suction manifold with too many flow restrictions, improper hose clamp orientation on barbed pipe fittings, an off-line (decommissioned) booster pump for a pressure side vacuum cleaner and a heater with rusted (and epoxied) draincock winterization ports. This system also has far too many 90 degree elbow fittings for optimal flow efficiency and a flow switch that for a Hayward salt chlorine cell that actually meets the minimum installation standards! This pool system also has a 3rd pump, a booster pump, for a large rock waterfall.
This pool equipment installation review includes a flow restriction on the pressure side of the pool pump, improper clamp orientation, no check valve in between the salt cell and the heater and no grounding of the pump or heater. The filter in this video is just barely large enough for the pool that it is installed on.
In this video Steve reviews a very clean and neat equipment installation that includes everything that a properly installed pool equipment pad should have. This includes correct suction manifolds, 2" rigid PVC, sacrificial anodes, low salt chlorine generator and check valves. This is a great example for how your pool equipment should be installed. If you only watch one or two of these video make sure this is one of them so you can see what it is supposed to look like.
This is another better-than-average pool equipment installation example that includes a variable speed pump, cartridge filter, gas heater, check valve, sacrificial anode and all rigid pipe plumbing. This system is almost completely improvement free and an ideal example of how to properly install swimming pool equipment. This video also has a brief description of how a sacrificial anode works to protect the pool equipment.
The video features a pool with extremely dark green, almost black water, and a Jandy cartridge filter that has extensive oxidizing of the metal band clamp. Also featured is a Pentair Intelliflo variable speed pump and an erosion feeder for chlorine pucks. While this pool is in bad condition currently, the equipment itself is top of the line - someone paid top dollar to have this pump, filter and heater but the installation was so poorly done that the pool barely functions.
This pool equipment installation review looks at a pump, filter, heater and salt water combination that is controlled with a Hayward automation panel. This system does not have a check valve in between the salt cell and the heater however the equipment is all bonded correctly.
This pool equipment installation review looks at an inground pool pump that has been wired to a plug end instead of being hardwired. Above ground pools will usually have a cord end on the pump but inground pool pumps should be hardwired to avoid the potential for a fire due to the heavy current draw of pump motors.
In this video Swimming Pool Steve discusses 3 zone bypass plumbing configurations and why these are an advantage to have installed on your pool equipment. Also this video has a hilarious "do it yourself" attempt at repairing plumbing leaks in the pump room - a first for Steve which is hard to do since after 25 years in the industry he has seen most things.
This video looks at a pool system with a pump, sand filter, gas heater, solar heater and salt water chlorinator. During filming you can hear the distress in Steve's voice when he notices the filter pressure on this system is dangerously high. This would be responsible for the leaks seen at the filter head clamp as well as the salt chlorinator cell - a pool should never operate above 30 PSI and this pool is well above that level.
This video looks at an onground pool equipment installation where the pump (and filter) are located at a higher elevation than the water level in the pool. This causes the priming cycle for the pump to be difficult - especially for above ground pool pumps which are often used on similarly sized onground pools. As shown in this video the use of a check valve (one way valve) on the suction line can assist with easier priming for pumps installed above the waterline.
In this video Steve looks at a pool system with a suction side flow restriction on a pump as well as a kink in a 1" pipe for a Polaris booster pump used on a pressure side pool cleaner.
This video reviews the plumbing installation from a decent high end (small) pool with a large rock waterfall. The equipment is installed well with all 2" rigid PVC however there is significant friction loss at the pump inlet and outlet. This system also lacks a check valve in between the heater and the Aqua Pure salt water cell. After filming this equipment installation review is was discovered that the heater had failed due to chlorine traveling backwards from the salt cell and corroding the heater internals.
This equipment installation belongs in the "Hall Of Shame" due to the terrible choice of plumbing materials, repairs and configuration of the equipment. This video talks in detail about electric heat pumps for swimming pools versus traditional gas heaters. In this equipment installation there is no check valve in between the heat pump and the salt cell which is a costly mistake to say the least.
This video shows a pool heater that has rusted out and failed due to chlorine from the salt water chlorine generation cell tracking backward through the system. The replacement heater is a Hayward H250FDN and it has been protected with a check valve and a sacrificial anode - two things that might have saved the old heater. Staining in the pool, especially on the stairs, is an indication of metal content in the pool water but by the time the steps are stained your heater is probably toast.
In this equipment installation review Steve looks at flow restrictions from street elbows in a plumbing system as well as Nature 2 mineral systems and colloidal silver as it relates to pool care and personal health. This system also has a Hayward Super 2 pump for a waterfall feature that has no bonding and a serious flow restriction on both the inlet and outlet ports.
This video shows an example of how a 3 way valve is used when installing a cartridge filter that allows you to drain the pool. Often when a cartridge filter is installed it is replacing a sand filter and so there is an existing provision for backwashing which can be used to add this handy drain feature. Also featured in this pool equipment review is instructions for the correct method to install a mechanical flow switch like with this Hayward salt chlorine generation system.
In this video Steve talks about a pool system that has been modified by the pool owner - evidenced by the quality of the glue job as you can see. The check valve is supposed to protect the heater from damage from chlorine that can track backwards from the salt water chlorine cell however it should be installed after the outlet line not in between the filter and the heater. If you would like more information on the deficiencies with this pool equipment installation you can read this article that breaks down and explains the most common pool equipment problems as well as solutions to each of the problems shown in this video.
In this video of an on-ground pool Steve looks at a serious suction side flow restriction and talks about why this is specifically a problem for this kind of pump. This system also has an inline Hayward chlorinator and Steve talks about the advantages of offline chlorinators over these inline style. This pool system also includes a leaking Sandmaster filter and some very UV damaged flexible PVC. The heater on this system is not protected with a check valve.
This pool equipment installation is so close to a good thing but missing one critial component. While there are a few minor flow restrictions in the suction manifold and return manifold, the rigid plumbing and clean layout make this installation better than average. The major concern with this equipment is that there is no check valve between the pump and the heater which will ultimately spell doom for the heater internals. A pool heater can handle chlorinated water however a salt cell can generate for a few seconds after the pump turns off and this results in a heavy concentration of chlorine at the cell location.
This video is a great example of how to install a Hayward Ecostar variable speed pump matched with a C3030 cartridge filter and a salt water chlorine generation system. The use of a check valve protects the H250FDN heater from damage from chlorine - though this system would benefit from the addition of an inline sacrificial anode. The 2" PVC is the minimum acceptable pipe size for this powerful equipment given the loss of efficiency the system would experience from friction loss if the pipes were to be any smaller.
This video features a pump that is failing due to a pressure side leak that was left for an extended period of time as well as a do-it-yourself Hayward salt water installation. The salt water cell was plumbed in poorly in addition to not having a check valve to prevent the heater from chlorine damage. You can hear the frustration in my voice in this video since not having a check valve will damage your heater - the most expensive piece of equipment on the pad. Everyone talks like they know about using check valves but in the field they are almost non-existent.
This pool system is running at too high of a pressure, over 30 PSI, which is too much for any pool system. When over 30 PSI the system may start to develop small leaks and there will be additional strain on each of the components on the equipment pad. This pool has a brand new Hayward Super Pump installed however it has a pressure side leak already either from the excessive hose clamps on the presure side or simply from the pressures in the system being too high.
This simple pool system has a big problem as the filter is broken and dumping sand into the pool. This is a result of a Hayward Super 2 high head application pump being installed on a pool system that it was not designed for. By exceeding the maximum design flow rate for the filter this pump will cause internal wear, sand loss and premature failure. Always be sure to choose the right pump for your pool application.