Plumbing Tips for Plastic Pipe
Here are a few tips on how to plumb with plastic pipe
and fittings using threaded joints and/or solvent
welding.The following is recommended for piping systems
normally encountered in the swimming pool and spa industry.
Note: Most common plumbers oil-base pipe dope compounds
should not be used with plastic pipe, valves, or fittings.
Cracking or breaking of valves and fittings has been caused
by the effects of some of these pipe dopes, failures occur
shortly after use and over prolonged periods of time.
- Threaded Joints
- Plastic to Plastic
- A dry male fitting should be made up hand-tight about
two-thirds (2/3) of the way into any female threaded
- Use only the following plastic-to-plastic thread
sealants.Teflon tape, 100% pure Teflon paste or Permatex #
2. Use three (3) full turns of Teflon tape.
- Apply sealant to male thread only. Use liberal coats of
either the 100 % pure Teflon or Permatex # 2. Use (3) full
clockwise turns of Teflon tape.
- Screw the fittings together hand-tight. Then (1/2) to
(1) more full turn using a strap wrench or small pipe
wrench. You now have a good joint-stop.
- Plastic to Metal
- Be sure to clean or deburr any rough metal threads to
prevent uneven covering of sealants or tearing of the tape
- The same sealants are recommended as above.
- Avoid the use of a male metal threaded end into a female
plastic thread, whenever possible.
- If heated water of any degree is involved, the different
expansion rates could cause leaks.
- Tapered metal male fittings over-tightened into plastic
female threads can create stresses that, though not
immediately apparent , can cause fractures later.
- Screw the fittings together hand-tight. Then, (1) more
full turn using a strap wrench or a small pipe wrench. You
now have a good joint-stop.
Note: You can handle almost at once. Do not put any stress
or twisting force on the joint for at least 20 minutes. Do
not pressurize for at least 2 hours. A full 100 % joint
strength takes 48 hours.
- Solvent Welding
- Avoid using the so-called all-purpose cements or spray
- Use a good solvent cleaner-primer on all slip pipe and
- Quickly, while surfaces are tacky , brush on a moderate
coating of cement to the fitting socket and the pipe end.
- Within 5 to 10 seconds, insert pipe giving it a slight
twist until it bottoms out.
- Hold joint for 5 to 10 seconds to prevent the pipe from
pushing out of the socket.
Servicing the Pool or Spa
A suggested chain of events:
- Test the water using a good quality test strip or test
- Check the filter pressure, and if needed backwash (DE)
and sand filters, or hose off the filter cartridge.
- Clean the tile.
- Skim the surface and remove the large debris.
- Brush any remaining dirt from the walls.
- Clean out the skimmer and pump baskets
- Add the chemicals needed to maintain proper sanitation
and water balance.
- Check the time clock trippers for proper run cycles.
- Check for proper water level.
Pump Trouble Shooting Guide
Pump will not prime :
- No water in the pump strainer pot.
- Strainer pot lid is not tight.
- Damaged lid O ring
- Water level is below skimmer
- Strainer or skimmer basket is clogged.
- Closed valve in piping system.
- Pump is on low speed (two-speed ) units only.
- Air leak in the suction line.
Low flow- High filter pressure:
- Filter is dirty
- Restriction in the return line.
- Low flow-low filter pressure:
- Strainer basket or skimmer basket is clogged.
- Clogged impeller
- Air leak in suction line
- Restriction in suction line
Motor does not turn:
- Power switch is off.
- Circuit breaker is tripped.
- Pump is in off mode of timer controlled circuit.
- Motor terminal connections are incorrect.
- Motor shaft is locked by a bad bearing.
- Impeller is locked by debris.
Motor overload protection "kicks out"
- Electrical supply connections are incorrect.
- Wiring to pump is undersized.
- Power company supply voltage is low.
- Ventilation is inadequate for motor.
Choosing the right Automatic pool cleaner
Determining the correct pool cleaner isn't too hard.
- Do you currently have an automatic pool cleaner? What
type? Many of the older pool sweeps like the Arneson Pool
Sweep and the Polaris 180 use a separate booster pump.
Provided the booster pump is still in good working order you
can use it with any of the new pressure style pool sweeps,
saving yourself a lot of money.
- What type of debris gets into your pool? Do you get a
lot of large leaves, pine needles, or twigs in your pool?,
or is it mostly dirt, dust and sand.
- What is the condition of your existing filtration
Suction Cleaners: Suction cleaners attach inside
the surface skimmer or to a dedicated vacuum line on the
side of the pool. Examples of suction cleaners are the
Kreepy Krauly, and Baracuda pool cleaners. Since these
cleaners work off the vacuum of the pools filtration system,
a separate booster pump is not needed.
This type of cleaner is the least expensive to purchase
and operate since you don't need to pay to run the second
pump. The suction style cleaners also have very simple
operating systems, so there is very little to go wrong with
them. The Kreepy Krauly only has one moving part which
powers the entire unit. The suction cleaners install easily
in minutes and they clean whenever the filter is running.
Pools with heavy leaf loads, especially large leaves, and
pine needles aren't usually good candidates for suction
style cleaners unless the heavy leaf fall season is short.
Generally if a sweep can do all the work for you 11 months
of the year , but requires a little help in the fall, that's
Suction Style cleaners Best Buy stocks: Kreepy Krauly,
Baracuda, Great White, Navigator, and Polaris.
Pressure Style Cleaners (booster pump driven): As
indicated this style sweep is driven by a separate booster
pump. Unless you are replacing an older booster pump driven
sweep such as an Arneson pool sweep or Polaris 180, then you
will need to purchase the pump with your new cleaner as well
as a separate time clock.
This type cleaner works well in virtually every pool and
they vacuum leaves, pine needles, twigs, rocks you name it,
without a problem. The pressure cleaners gather up debris in
their own bag, which you remove and dump periodically. Best
Buy stocks: Letro Jet Vac,and Legend and the Polaris 380and
280 pressure style sweeps.
Pressure Cleaners without a booster pump: This style
pool sweep is a derivative of the booster pump pressure
sweep. Instead of operating off a separate booster pump,
this style sweep operates off the pressure from the
filtration system. Normally a "T"is plumbed into
the line between the pump and filter and pressure is bled
off to run the cleaner. Because of this bleed off it's best
to step up the size of the filter pump to make sure
everything operates properly. Unless you are replacing an
old sweep of this same type such as the Arneson Turbo Sweep,
Ray Vac, Energy Sweep, Energy Porpoise 2, or an early
Polaris 360, then it may be cost prohibitive to go this
route. Best Buy stocks the Polaris360 and the Letro Legend 2
cleaners of this type.
Choosing the right pool or spa filter
There are 3 popular types of pool and spa filters. They
are D.E., cartridge, and sand filters. All 3 types work well
and choosing between them is more a matter of personal
preference and prior experience. We carry all types for this
If you don't have a preference then I would go with one
of the cartridge filters we stock. They are the least
expensive to buy and operate and if you go with a large size
(150 sq. ft.) or larger, then maintenance is a snap. The
D.E. and sand filters require a backwash valve and in most
countys a seperation tank.
Choosing the right pool or spa pump
When replacing an old worn out pump, keep in mind that
the new replacement pump is of a different design ,and has
much more pressure and flow than the old one. If you are
replacing an old bronze 1 h.p. pump, you would only need a
3/4 h.p replacement, due to the difference in performance
and design. When it comes to pumps, bigger is not always
Never install more than a 3/4 h.p. pump if your pool has
1 1/2 inch plumbing. The only exception to this rule would
be if you have a"T" installed in the line between
the pump and filter to operate a pool cleaner.
If your pool is plumbed with 2 inch pipe you can use a
larger pump, but it probably isn't necessary unless you have
a lot of return lines, a long plumbing run, or a pool &
Choosing the right pool or spa heater
If your replacement heater will be used to heat your
pool, then replace it with a heater of the same b.t.u.
capacity as the current unit.
Do you want to heat just your spa because it is cost
prohibitive to heat the pool? If this is the case then a
heater of just 250,000 b.t.u. or less is plenty to quickly
heat most residential spas.
100,000 btu heater - up to a 300 sq. ft. pool, 150,000
btu heater - up to a 450 sq. ft. pool, 250,000 btu heater -
up to a 700 sq. ft. pool, 300,000 btu heater - up to a 900
sq. ft. pool, 350,000 btu heater - up to a 1050 sq. ft.
pool, 400,000 btu heater - up to a 1200 sq. ft. pool.
Figures based on a 30 degree F. temperature rise, 3 1/2
MPH average wind velocity and elevation up to 2000 feet
above sea level.