Thursday, January 12, 2012

Spa/Plumbing Terms

Commonly used spa & plumbing abbreviations.

 PVC Fittings commonly found in Spas

What does Fipt, Mipt, Spig, and Slip mean and how do I know which one to use?
All PVC Fittings have connections that are called either FIPT (Female Threaded), MIPT (Male Threaded), Slip (Female Glue Joint), or Spig (Male Glue Joint). See Details below. 
FIPT: This means the fitting is threaded on the inside (female) and will accept a threaded piece of pipe (male) of the same dimension. .
MIPT: This means the fitting is threaded on the outside (male) just like the end of a piece of pipe. This connection must go to another fitting that is a Fipt (female) threaded. You cannot connect a Mipt Fitting to a piece of pipe without another fitting, since they are identical in configuration. .
Slip: This is a smooth (not threaded) female fitting that will accept an un-threaded piece of pipe of the same size, which must be glued in.
Spig: This is a smooth (not threaded) male fitting that is made to go into another fitting that has a Slip connection of the same size, which must be glued in. A Spig fitting is the same as a piece of un-threaded pipe of the same size. You cannot connect a Spig Fitting to a piece of pipe without another fitting, since they are identical in configuration. 

Other abbreviations include:
AGA - American Gas Association
IPS-  Iron Pipe Size
Brs. - Brass
MGH - Male Garden Hose
CP - Chrome Plated
MHT - Male Hose Thread
CC - Copper x Copper
MIP - Male Iron Pipe
CWT - Copper Water Tube
MIP - Male Iron Pipe
Dia -. Diameter
Mips - Male Iron Pipe Size
DC - Die Cast
MPT - Male Pipe Thread
Mil. - 1/1000 Inch
FGH - Female Garden Hose
Nom. - Nominal
FHT - Female Hose Thread
NPT - Standard Pipe Thread
FIP - Female Iron Pipe
Oz. - Ounce
Fips - Female Iron Pipe Size
OD - Outside Diameter
FPT - Female Pipe Thread
PSI - Pounds per Square Inch
Gal. - Gallon
Pt - Point
GPM - Gallons Per Minute
PB - Polished Brass
Ga. - Gauge
SF - Satin Finish
Hdl -. Handle
SS - Stainless Steel
Hd. - Head
SWT - Sweat
Hgt. - Height
THD - Thread
ID - Inside Diameter

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cartridge Filters

What is a cartridge filter?
Most pools and spas today utilize some variant of a cartridge filter. A filter cartridge is a filtration element made of a fine mesh, this mesh fabric is designed to strain out the impurities & particulates but not microscopic particulates.

How do I clean my filter cartridges?
We recommend replacing filter cartridges in spas at least once a year. Cleaning them is a good maintenance habit which will extent the life of your spa.

As spas are typically covered so dust, leaves etc... aren't as big of an issue as they are in pools. Due to the water temperature and smaller size body oils from bathers is the most common filter problem with spas. A safe degreasing solution should be used to remove oils, the best we have found is here on our site. Using a good degreaser in conjunction with a well designed hose cleaner will increase your filter cartridges life.
Do not use an acid bath to remove oils, doing so will embed oils into the fabric and make your elements less effective.
There are many options for replacement cartridges out there but not all are made equal. Which is why we sell Filbur filter cartridges and DE grids, they are the best available!

Courtesy of Filber, here is a video on how to clean a pool filter cartridge.


When do I change my pool filter cartridge?
When the pressure gauge on your filter tank reaches 8 - 10 p.s.i. above the pressure recorded when a new cartridge is installed, or when there is a noticeable decrease in the pressure coming from your return jets, it is time to clean your cartridge.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pump Troubleshooting / FAQ - Part II

My pump is noisy/ making noises?

When installing your pool pump, we always advise customers to carefully consider the location; under a bedroom window may not be an ideal location. Spa motors are generally enclosed in the spa cabinet so their noise tends to be less; because spa motors are enclosed tell-tale signs of motor failures are often masked.

There are a few culprits for noisy motors:

Motors have internal cooling fans. One can easily identify the noise made by cooling fans but if your motor has excessive noise. Check for debris in the cooling fan housing or if the cooling fan blades are interfering with the fan cover. Click here for replacement cooling fans.
Motor bearing(s) can also be a source of noise. Leaky shaft seals are the usual culprit for noisy front motor bearings. It is important to quickly repair parts showing evidence of leaks. If you cannot afford to replace an entire motor with a newer more energy efficient model we recommend that you replace all the motor bearings at the same time.Click here for replacement bearings.
Vibration between the pump stand and base (where the pump is fastened down) could cause the pump to be noisy. Check that pump is correctly affixed to the base, a rubber or carpet could be installed to act as an insulator to reduce noise. Always ensure that the pump is level. Suctions should not be higher than the pump.

Another source of noise can come from cavitations, this is when the pump is starved of water. Cavitations are simple; they typically come from one of two causes, both water flow related. 
1/ Suction lines are undersized. If suction plumbing capacity is insufficient the pump cannot draw a required volume of water to allow the pump to operate correctly. Blockages along the suction plumbing can also result in cavitations. There are two solutions for undersized plumbing; increasing the suction pipe size is the most suitable option but it is also possible to decrease the size of the impeller both will also work to quiet the pump. 
2/ Little or no back-pressure on the outlet of the pump. Adding a valve or reducing the plumbing diameter would be possible solutions to create back-pressure.

How do I winterize my pump?
According to Waterway Plastics: To winterize a Waterway pool pump, turn off the electrical circuit breaker that supplies power to the pump. Also, make sure that there is NO water left inside the pump. All Waterway pumps are equipped with drain plugs that will allow excess water to drain once the plugs are removed. Disconnect the pump from the system and after all the water is drained out, store indoors for the winter. 

How many hours per day should my pump Cycle? 
More use = longer cycles, keeping the water clean is key for bather satisfaction.
One should consider all of the following factors: bather capacity, volume of water, pump horsepower, type, size and capacity of filter. A pool industry average is typically around 6-8 hours a day, and 4-6 hours for a spa.
With cooler(pools), hotter (Spas) days and seasonal changes you could cut the run time down to around 4-6 hours. There are usually less bathers/swimmers in this off periods and your pool or spa requires less chemicals for the same reasons.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Pump Troubleshooting / FAQ

My pump motor is warm to the touch, is it okay? 
Most pool and spa motors are warm or somewhat hot to the touch. This is normal in most cases. Most motors come thermal overload protection which will shut off the motor if it becomes too hot for safe operation.

What kind of lubricant should I use for my o-rings and gaskets?
NEVER USE PETROLEUM JELLY for a lubricant! It contains oils which will break down the rubber of the o-ring. Spa Parts Shop recommends a silicone or Teflon based lubricant for all gaskets & o-rings.
Other lubricants may cause premature failure and swelling of the o-rings. We offer an inexpensive option on our site Click here

Why won't my pump turn on? 

Pool and spa pumps are continually exposed to harsh conditions; outside temperature, humidity etc...
Water damage is one of the most common culprits for pump failure.
Check for leaks in the spa, ensure the pump is not located in a drainage area or area where a flood could occur. Check the shaft seals of the pump shaft/impeller.
Check the electrical connection (a volt meter is required to check voltage), breakers, switches, etc., if you do not know how to use one do not try this on your own seek trained electrical assistance.
If you have a timer or automated control system, ensure that it is properly working.  

Click for a complete list of pool and spa motors, pumps & replacement parts.

Spa Parts Shop recommends that you contact a certified electrician for any electrical repairs.

Why is my pump running hot and shutting off?

Before you inspect the pump turn of the power to avoid electrical shock!
On new installs or relocation's check for undersized wiring or poor electrical connections. Always Check your owner's manual for proper wiring.
Check if your pump has a thermal overload, this safety mechanism will turn the motor off when it gets too hot. The pump should restart once it cools down.
Remove the intake plumbing and visually inspect the impeller, observe for impeller failure. Spin the impeller to see if it turns with out impedance. 
Although not common place, local electrical issues such as heatwaves or other severe weather your local power grid might be experiencing a power drops. It would be best to completely shut down your spa until the grid returns to normalcy to confirm that the problem is really in the motor.

 Spa Parts Shop recommends that you contact a certified electrician for any electrical repairs.

Could I replace my motor with a lower horsepower motor? 
Motor horsepower is matched with the impeller inside the pump(Wet end).
If one was to put a larger HP(rated) impeller on a smaller horsepower motor the change will cause increased load on the motor and result in premature failure of the motor.
If there is no HP rating on the Motor look for an amperage rating, we can use motor amperage to determine the correct motor HP.
You can only downsize the impeller in horsepower rating.

Can I increase my motor's horsepower to increase pressure/water flow?
No. Pressure/water flow is more far more complicated than just motor strength. The size of the plumbing and all other equipment must be considered.

Contact a pool/spa professional or dealer with hydraulics experience for assistance.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pentair Jet Diffusers

We are now able to offer Pentair jet diffusers!

There are three sizes:

Cyclone Micro Jet Diffuser - for 3" & 3.25" face diameters. Part # 55-110-4299, 956000


Cyclone Luxury Jet Diffuser - for jets with 3.5 & 4.1" face diameters. Part # 55-110-4199, 987100


Cyclone Jet Diffuser - for jets with 5" face (also Sundance Intelli-Jet LX, 1999-2002) Part # 55-110-1699, 47870000

We suggest you read this, if you wish to save money on replacing your jets!

The "Diffuser" is the rear white/stem/neck part on all Waterway (Cluster Storm/Mini Storm/Poly Storm/Power Storm) & Pentair (Cyclone, Cyclone Luxury & Mini - Series) jets.

In many instances all you would need to purchase is a diffuser if your jet nozzles keep falling out of their jet bodies, no need to replace the entire jet!
A precursor to the diffusers going bad is a white scummy residue on the water surface. As these parts degrade/disintegrate every 3-5 years depending on; how well you maintain your water & the quality of your areas water. They are typically a part you will need to purchase at least once in the lifetime of your spa!

If you have a Spa which uses Proprietary Waterway Jet faces such as Dynasty, Master Spas & others these diffusers are the same and will save you a lot of money! CalSpa use proprietary Pentair jet faces now you can just replace the diffusers!