PVC Joinery

It’s finally time to replace the pool pump. The old pump, a Leslie’s-branded Hayward Super Pump II, came with our house in 2001, which makes it at least 23 years old. It had only a couple of minor issues in all that time, but the motor is finally starting to give up the ghost. The replacement pump has a variable speed (VS) motor, the pros and cons of which I tossed around for a good while before ultimately taking the plunge. I’m hoping it works well, lasts a while, and saves us some electricity. But before I can see how it works, I have to install it. As part of that, I’m redoing all of the plumbing from the intake to the filter, with the main goal being to add unions so I can take the pump inside over the winter, and also eliminate a couple of 90° elbows. This might seem easy on paper, but, of course, there have been some “gotchas”:

  1. The intake lines from the skimmers and main drain come out of the ground at different distances from the house foundation. One of them is about an inch closer than the other. The old pump was plumbed with two extra 90° elbows joined with slightly different lengths of horizontal PVC. If I left it like that, I wouldn’t have room for a union on the intake. To plumb it the way I want would require installing the pump at a non-perpendicular angle to the foundation. While not the end of the world, I don’t think it would look good. I bought a rather unique adjustable PVC elbow online which I’m going to try to use to get the pump at a better angle to the wall. Once I get the initial intake plumbing in place, I’ll see how everything fits together in practice, and decide whether I need to use the adjustable fitting.
  2. There is a lot of water at the main drain intake pipe, probably because the pool level is so high after all the rain we have had recently. I’d prefer not to drain water out of the pool, so I’m going to need to plug the line somehow to keep the pipes dry while I glue them up. I’m thinking about just stuffing a rag or something down there, but I need to make sure I can retrieve it after gluing everything together.
  3. The pool equipment pad is not level. It slopes away from the house to the tune of about an inch drop from the foundation to the edge of the concrete. As a result, the old pump was not level either. That didn’t bother it for all those years, but I think it will be easier to do the piping if the new pump is level. I have some scraps of Trex lying around that I plan to use for a pump platform, and I’m thinking I can just rip a strip of Trex to the appropriate width, and screw it to the front edge of the platform to level it. Then, the only challenge is getting the height of the pump to match the height of the intake plumbing.

I think I’ll start by fitting the intake piping together, starting with the tee that joins the skimmer and drain lines. I have less flexibility with the vertical positioning of the intake pipe than I do with the pump itself, and once the piping is glued in, it’s impossible to adjust. The pump, on the other hand, can be raised or lowered by adjusting the height of its platform.

Once the intake plumbing is finished, then I have to run the outflow line to the filter, and then the electricity. But, first things first.