piping for pool

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free2beme

piping for pool

Postby free2beme » Sun 15 Feb, 2009 12:40

We are building a pool and hired a contractor. The plumbing was put it and they used a lot of pipes that look like pvc. I know it is not pvc, but is this correct material to be using?


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PVC piping for pools

Postby chem geek » Sun 15 Feb, 2009 13:35

PVC is what is normally used for pool piping. It's usually Schedule 40 (that determines it's thickness and ability to withstand pressure) and should be at least 2" (rough inner diameter; about 7.5" outer circumference) for any single lines from the pump though is often 1.5" (about 6" outer circumference) after such lines get split going to multiple returns or coming as separate lines from skimmer vs. floor drain.
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Re: piping for pool

Postby Ray1031 » Tue 24 Feb, 2009 17:30

Most companies installing pools today "do" use the normal PVC, white, schedule 40 pipe when plumbing swimming pools. Depending on the size of your pool, these lines will usually be either 1 1/2" PVC or 2" PVC. Schedule 40 PVC is a perfectly acceptable plumbing material - provided a few simple rules are followed. First, they cannot sit on or against anything solid. They should not touch the pool walls, not should they lay on stone or cross tree roots. (Not here - pea gravel is an acceptable bed for the lines to run one, as is sand or clean fill dirt Stones and rocks are not.) The reason for this is that the pipes vibrate while water runs through them. This vibration will make them want to "settle" a little in the dirt around them. If they settle upon a large (or sharp) stone, or across a constantly growing and swelling tree root - they will eventually break. A break in hard (schedule 40) pvc can be bad news - since they do not normally tend to do so as a "local" thing, but tend to "shatter" along a length of pipe.

What that can mean to you is, more digging, more broken concrete, generally a larger hole to effect the necessary repair. This is because the repair "has to" begin before the break and completely replace whatever broken portion of pipe there is.

There are two other material generally used in plumbing swimming pools. One it a Polyethylene pipe. Usually black in color, it is more expensive and a bit more labor intensive to install than PVC. The reason for this is that any fitting used with this material are "insert" fitting. Rather than being simply glued in place, like PVC, these are held in place by 100% stainless steel clamps. Underground two clamps are used on every pipe end connecting to a fitting - this way, if any one ever fails (for whatever reason - and an extremely rare occurrence if properly installed) there is a back-up already in place. The primary advantage to this type of pipe is that it will actually "give" a little before it breaks - and when it does finally break, it is entirely "local" - usually requiring no more than a single foot of pipe, or a single insert fitting being replaced. (If used, a minimum 80 pound pressure rated pipe should be used underground.) This material has been used in pool plumbing since the 1940/50s. I routinely work on pools that have been in place for over 40 years that are plumbed in this material. 98% of them are still using their original plumbing.

The third material that seems to be coming in "vogue" in pool plumbing is most commonly called "Spa-flex" or PVC-flex pipe. It can come in a variety of colors, black, white, grey, brown, but they all share common features - rather than "rigid" like schedule 40 pipe, it is flexible and can bend around curves without fittings or heating and bending the pipe. It glues like standard PVC pipe though. Most commonly it is used in plumbing spas and hot tubs, but I have seen it used on swimming pools as well. Like the polyethylene pipe, it will normally give some before breaking, however, if it lays against a sharper stone or edge of metal, it will cut more easily that either of the other two materials. Like the polyethylene pipe though, if it does take a break or get holed - it is an entirely local thing and usually requires the same amount of material in effecting repairs.

I have probably confused you, but I hope this has helped ....
Try looking for examples of PVC/Spa flex pipe. For polyethylene pipe - try a google search - this material has been used for everything from 1/2" lines for sprinkler systems, up to massive 65" conduits for oil pipelines, sewer lines and such.

Ray
Last edited by Larry on Wed 25 Feb, 2009 03:33, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Removed broken link
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Rigid PVC vs. PVC-flex pipes

Postby Larry » Mon 02 Mar, 2009 05:24

We prefer to use rigid PVC whenever possible and use the flex when we need to compensate for a bend we cannot do with regular fittings (usually due to space constraints). In an average pump room we try not to use the flex more than once. Our PVC piping is either embedded in the pool's concrete shell or runs along the wall if the pool has a wraparound concrete access galley or tunnel.

Despite making the plumbing a whole lot easier, we tend to avoid flex-PVC for pools because we have found that it can kink on longer runs, can free itself from the glue joints if stressed and tends to hold more dirt on the outside (aesthetic). Also, the boxy, rigid appearance of a well-piped pump room looks much tidier and more professional than the random curves you get with the flex.
Marlene

Piping for pool

Postby Marlene » Tue 10 Mar, 2009 23:30

We are getting bids for repiping our condo pool.

One of the residents is saying that we should use stainless steel pipe. He says that it will last longer

Is stainless steel a possible choice? Are there any downsides to using it?

Thank you,
Marlene
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Piping for pool

Postby Me... » Wed 11 Mar, 2009 00:59

Marlene wrote:We are getting bids for repiping our condo pool.

One of the residents is saying that we should use stainless steel pipe. He says that it will last longer

Is stainless steel a possible choice? Are there any downsides to using it?

Thank you,
Marlene


Re-piping? Why? Only the equipment room? Or the entire pool? What exists now? Schedule 40 PVC pipe is the norm and perfectly fine. Schedule 80 if you want thinker, though its not needed. Schedule 40 or 80 CPVC for piping sections carrying higher temperature such as heater inlet/outlets unless local codes call for copper or such.

I have heard Stainless is actually cheaper than PVC in some areas so maybe this is a consideration although I doubt it would be better. PVC is pretty hard to destroy with bad chemistry. Bad pipe sizing would be an issue too. If the plumbing has to transition from something like the old black poly those joints will be a weak point. Properly primed and glued PVC pipe is never going to leak. Flex pipe can collapse on suction lines and doesn't have equal flow properties to rigid PVC which is nice and smooth.
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piping for pool

Postby Larry » Wed 11 Mar, 2009 01:14

Hi Marlene

PVC piping is extremely durable and long-lasting for pool water applications. Stainless steel can be used too.

Stainless steel is most often used in a limited amount in pump room piping, for plumbing the pumps/ filters/ heaters. The high cost of stainless steel and the labor intensive nature of its implementation make stainless steel impractical for swimming pool applications.

In our market stainless steel costs over 20 times the price of PVC per unit length (just the materials). PVC can be cut and glued easily, while cutting stainless is time-consuming. Forming curves for stainless in a press is costly and must be done off-site. Welding the stainless steel requires an expert and the welded joints are difficult to test at the poolside.

PVC and flex-PVC are the norm for swimming pools because of the extreme costs of stainless steel.

Larry
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Piping for pool

Postby Ray1031 » Wed 11 Mar, 2009 10:22

Marlene wrote:We are getting bids for repiping our condo pool.

One of the residents is saying that we should use stainless steel pipe. He says that it will last longer

Is stainless steel a possible choice? Are there any downsides to using it?

Thank you,
Marlene



I would not advise using Stainless piping. My personal recommendations are these: Above ground (around the equipment) - where it is visible Use either Schedule 40 or schedule 80 PVC pipe. Underground: (to and from, and around the pool) where it is not visible, use Polyethelene pipe. These two materials are not nearly as affected by pool chemistry variations as metal piping are. If your are dissatisfied with the plumbing because of its "appearance" - PVC piping can be painted.

I will make two other quick comments:

1) You said origianlly that your current plumbing "looks like PVC but you know it is not" .... It should be Schedule 40 or Schedule 80 PVC "only". These two materials are both rated for the pressure, temperature and chemistry variations that are common with swimming pools. They are accepted and approved for use in all US states. Other plastics used in household plumbing situations are not.

2) You mentioned the Condominium and "one of our residents" ... "If" this is a condominium pool - installed and maintained by the facility for use by residents, (and not an individual family owned/personal use pool), then it falls under the classification of a "commercial swimming pool". Township/city/state requirements for the plumbing of commercial pools differs from that for residential pools ... If you are concerned about the materials or methods used (in either type), you can ask to have the installation inspected. (Note: if things really are substandard and you will attempt to get some or all of your money - for the installation - refunded ... you will need such an inspection anyway ... to please the judge, should it go to court.)

Ray
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Marmeaux

Piping for pool

Postby Marmeaux » Wed 11 Mar, 2009 11:25

WOW and Thank you!

We are a condominium community.

We are changing the drains and we also have a couple of leaks. That's why some of the piping needs to be changed.

Thanks for your answers!
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Re: piping for pool

Postby Christine » Mon 18 May, 2009 22:17

Help: We had the white poly piping put in our return line 3 years ago. Last year and again this year we have leaks and it looks like something is eating holes in the exterior of the pipe. We thought moles - but no evidence. We thought worms - but would they eat it? We cut the poly pipe and inserted pvc pipe, sealant, and clamps - hope that holds. The pipe is 12 ft. below the surface. Any ideas what could be eating holes in the poly pipe. It is white.



Ray1031 wrote:Most companies installing pools today "do" use the normal PVC, white, schedule 40 pipe when plumbing swimming pools. Depending on the size of your pool, these lines will usually be either 1 1/2" PVC or 2" PVC. Schedule 40 PVC is a perfectly acceptable plumbing material - provided a few simple rules are followed. First, they cannot sit on or against anything solid. They should not touch the pool walls, not should they lay on stone or cross tree roots. (Not here - pea gravel is an acceptable bed for the lines to run one, as is sand or clean fill dirt Stones and rocks are not.) The reason for this is that the pipes vibrate while water runs through them. This vibration will make them want to "settle" a little in the dirt around them. If they settle upon a large (or sharp) stone, or across a constantly growing and swelling tree root - they will eventually break. A break in hard (schedule 40) pvc can be bad news - since they do not normally tend to do so as a "local" thing, but tend to "shatter" along a length of pipe.

What that can mean to you is, more digging, more broken concrete, generally a larger hole to effect the necessary repair. This is because the repair "has to" begin before the break and completely replace whatever broken portion of pipe there is.

There are two other material generally used in plumbing swimming pools. One it a Polyethylene pipe. Usually black in color, it is more expensive and a bit more labor intensive to install than PVC. The reason for this is that any fitting used with this material are "insert" fitting. Rather than being simply glued in place, like PVC, these are held in place by 100% stainless steel clamps. Underground two clamps are used on every pipe end connecting to a fitting - this way, if any one ever fails (for whatever reason - and an extremely rare occurrence if properly installed) there is a back-up already in place. The primary advantage to this type of pipe is that it will actually "give" a little before it breaks - and when it does finally break, it is entirely "local" - usually requiring no more than a single foot of pipe, or a single insert fitting being replaced. (If used, a minimum 80 pound pressure rated pipe should be used underground.) This material has been used in pool plumbing since the 1940/50s. I routinely work on pools that have been in place for over 40 years that are plumbed in this material. 98% of them are still using their original plumbing.

The third material that seems to be coming in "vogue" in pool plumbing is most commonly called "Spa-flex" or PVC-flex pipe. It can come in a variety of colors, black, white, grey, brown, but they all share common features - rather than "rigid" like schedule 40 pipe, it is flexible and can bend around curves without fittings or heating and bending the pipe. It glues like standard PVC pipe though. Most commonly it is used in plumbing spas and hot tubs, but I have seen it used on swimming pools as well. Like the polyethylene pipe, it will normally give some before breaking, however, if it lays against a sharper stone or edge of metal, it will cut more easily that either of the other two materials. Like the polyethylene pipe though, if it does take a break or get holed - it is an entirely local thing and usually requires the same amount of material in effecting repairs.

I have probably confused you, but I hope this has helped ....
Try looking for examples of PVC/Spa flex pipe. For polyethylene pipe - try a google search - this material has been used for everything from 1/2" lines for sprinkler systems, up to massive 65" conduits for oil pipelines, sewer lines and such.

Ray


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