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    Default Recommended Equipment for In-ground Pools


    Recommended Equipment for In-ground Pools
    --- being edited -- June 2018 ---

    This is an updated version -- still being edited -- of an older post.
    The original page is still available.

    Many people have asked, "What is the best pool equipment for me and my pool?".

    Obviously, pools, people, and budgets vary, so there's no single answer that works for everyone.

    But there are some general points, as well as some more specific information I've listed below. But all pool owners and buyers need to know the following:

    If you get your equipment from a SINGLE manufacturer, you will NEVER get the best outfit.

    All of the majors (Pentair, Hayward, Jandy/Zodiac) have some good equipment, and all of them have some stinkers. The reason pool builders push a single product is that the all of the manufacturers give them rewards, including booze cruises, family vacations to Hawaii, and more . . . but only if they single source equipment!

    Here are some examples:
    Pentair's TR series sand filters are the best available, and their System3 DE filter is possibly the best DE filter available; it's certainly a good one. But the Pentair System3 cartridge filter is an expensive beast that's extremely difficult and expensive to service, and is hypersensitive to allowing filter pressures to get high: doing so permanently damages the cartridges. And, Pentair's Intellichlor salt water chlorine generators are probably the worse SWCG made by a major manufacturer.

    Hayward's white goods (skimmers, drains, returns) are as good, if not better than any others, and benefit from widespread parts availability. But the Hayward inline chlorinator is one of the worst, and severely restricts water flow on any pool with more than a 1/2 HP full rate pump!

    And, Zodiac's (Jandy, Polaris) Polaris 180/280 cleaners are one of the best and most reliable cleaners available. Unfortunately, their salt system is reportedly not nearly so reliable . . . if not quite as bad as Pentair's.
    If there is one consistent error in pool equipment, it's getting a filter that's too small and pump that's too big. For some reason, American pool buyers -- both men and women -- are mesmerized by pump horsepower the way men are mesmerized by boobs, especially cripplingly large ones. A pump that is TOO BIG increases your electric bill, wastes energy, damages filters AND pushes dirt THROUGH the filter and BACK INTO YOUR POOL! Most in-ground pools need a smaller pump and a bigger filter; almost all above-ground pools do.

    Pool builders and equipment makers sell a LOT of equipment that doesn't actually do what buyers think.
    • Pool automation doesn't automate (much) of your pool.
    • Automatic chemical controllers are NOT automatic. (Even when they 'work', they require calibration.)
    • Energy saving systems don't (save energy).
    • Automatic cleaning systems ALL require maintenance and adjustment.
    • Salt systems are NOT natural, NOT chlorine free, but ARE damaging to many pools.




    Undersized pool filters cause many, many problems. Manufacturers have caused this by drastically EXAGGERATING the capacity of their filters, courtesy of some jiggery-pokery with the NSF. I don't understand how they did this, but somehow they got the NSF to go along with the idea that filters which could only handle X gpm on commercial pools could handle 2X on IG pools and 3X gpm on AG pools.

    => Sand filter: Pentair TR series
    @ Pentair: TR sand filters

    @ Amazon: TR40 / 140236 => 25 GPM; TR50 / 140249 => 35 GPM; TR60 / 140264 => 45 GPM; TR100 / 140210 => 70 GPM; TR140 / 140243 => 100 GPM
    (GPM values in RED are corrections to bogus over-ratings by Pentair.)

    => Cartridge filters: various

    => DE filter:
    Pentair S7D75 - 37 GPM*
    Pentair S8D110 - 53 GPM**

    * Current (Jun 2018) seller (Pool Supply Warehouse) on Amazon of this model seems to be having difficulty shipping it safely.
    ** As of June 2018, this model is sold and shipped by Amazon.

    Filter valves:
    => Under 45 GPM: Hayward SP710XALL (Hayward manual, Amazon)
    => Under 80 GPM: Hayward SP0715 (Hayward manual,Amazon)
    => Over 80 GPM: Pentair "High Flow" - (manual, Amazon)

    => Pentair Whisperflo pumps are high efficiency, reliable pumps. [Tech info]

    But, they are high pressure pumps, designed to work well with 'features'. As a result, only the smallest Whisperflo pumps are appropriate for most pools.

    => Hayward Super Pumps are an old, standard efficiency pump. They are extremely reliable (if you keep them out of the mud!), easy to service, easy to prime, medium pressure pumps. They also are much preferable to the Whisper Flo, if you are placing a pump more than a few feet above water level (NOT a good idea, but it is often done).

    => Pentair VS on Whisperflo wet-end (VS pumps NOT recommended for areas prone to thunderstorms, unless voltage surge protection is installed!)
    => applications needing high suction, high lift, or frequent cleaning (vacuum cart!): Hayward SuperPump

    => 3-way valve: Jandy 4717; check valve: Jandy 7305
    [Pentair valves are probably as good, and cheaper. However Jandy parts are much more available.]
    [Scam warning: on Jandy type valves, pay attention to the SMALLER size number. 1.5" x 2" valves . . . are just 1.5" valves. 2 x 2.5" valves . . . are just 2" valves. Trying to use the 1.5" valve as a 2" creates a flow restriction! ]

    => Ball valve: GF Piping - full union /
    => Slide valve: Valterra (low pressure only!)

    Inline tab feeder:
    => Pentair Rainbow 320

    => AutoPilot or Hayward Goldline, in the largest size available.
    - - - (Turn it down, rather than get a smaller size!)

    => Hayward Universal series
    Natural gas models:
    Propane models:
    (These heaters are compact, efficient, price competitive, and only standard heater that is salt compatible. The smallest size is sufficient to WARM a residential pool, and extend the season. Actually HEATING a outdoor pool in cold weather is something few people can afford.)

    Heat pump:
    => No recommendation (I don't have enough info.)

    Pool cleaner:
    => Zodiac Polaris 280 with booster

    In-floor cleaners:
    => Not recommended. They are extremely inefficient, and tend not to remain functional more than 5 years.

    Safety cover:
    => Loop-loc (my preference) or Meyco (just as durable, but less pleasant to take on/off, due to straps woven of monofilament.)

    => HTH 6-way
    => Taylor K2006 (DPD-FAS)
    => Taylor K1000 (OTO)
    => AquaChek salt strips . . . but read instructions CAREFULLY!
    => Taylor K1106 (phosphate)
    => Lamotte borate strips

    Replacement filter cartridges:
    => Filbur, Unicel, or OEM


    • Asian made cartridges, including Intex OEM cartridges, and probably, all brands EXCEPT Filbur and Unicel.
    • Asian made anything else, not part of a soft-side above ground pool.NEVER install Chinese products underground (including valves and piping) or in a hard to access location. Chinese quality control is poor: a product that is 90% defect free . . . still means 10% of installations require repair! The statistics are such that if you use a 90% product 10x on a job, there is 75% chance you'll have problems! US products are often manufactured to a 99.9% defect free state.
    • Hayward inline chlorinator -- it works poorly, and restricts flow terribly
    • Automatic pool covers -- many are made with aluminum, which is VERY susceptible to salt corrosion. Even standard chlorine pools build up salt over time; but aluminum and salt pools (SWCGs) are a DISASTER.
    • Intellichlor. (Pentair quickly -- and with good reason -- reduced the warranty on these from 3 years, to 1!)
    • Test-strips (AKA: guess-strips), except for those above. Test strips are never very accurate, but are horrendously inaccurate when testing CYA.
    • Cartridge filters, unless needed to reduce water discharge. Cartridge filters are sort of the worst combination: they offer neither the high clarity of DE filters nor the ease of use and reliability of sand filters. [ Some users have challenged this. Apparently there may be some good cartridge filters in existence. ]
    • Bioguard chemicals and stores -- overpriced products sold by dealers HIGHLY trained in convincing you to buy what you don't need.
    • Clorox or Arm & Hammer pool chemicals. Some of their non-pool chemicals are fine.

    Last edited by PoolDoc; 06-23-2018 at 05:24 PM.

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