Saturday, March 17, 2012

Changing a Pool/Spa Light

Changing a Pool/Spa Light

Wine Country Pools & Supplies is not responsible for any damage caused from the use of this guide. If you are unsure hire a professional.
Written by The following is a guide on how to change an Amerlite (sometimes called an American Product light) bulb or any light bulb of the Amerlite family. If you have a Hayward or any other brand, do not use this guide to change your light. The Amerlite lights are very common and can be easily identified by the unique design around the metal frame of the light. (Picture by Pentair Pool Products)

What you will need:
A light seal/gasket (see pic)
A light bulb (see pic)
A medium size Phillips head screwdriver
Medium size flat head screwdriver
Two open end ratchets
A second person to help at the end (optional)

Getting started:
Turn off the breaker(s) for all of the pool and spa lights. If you are unsure which breaker, then turn off all breakers for the pool equipment.

Removing the light from the pool or spa:
Most of the lights that are in the pool can be removed without draining it. This will require someone to lay next to the pool and reach down in to the water.  There is a single phillips head screw directly on the top of the metal frame holding the light in to its position.

Note: This is a special screw that is made to resist rusting under pool water conditions. Do not lose this screw!

Reach into the pool and unscrew this single screw. Then, pull the light straight out and away from the pool.

The light will float to the top of the water once released.

The cord connected to the light should be long enough to pull the light onto the deck of the pool to work on the light fixture.

Now if the light is in the spa, the spa will need to be drained to access the light 
Once the spa is drained removed the single screw at the top of the light frame. This is a special screw that is made to resist rusting under pool water conditions so be sure not to lose this screw! Pull the light straight out and away from the spa wall. 

Opening the light fixture casing:
Note: Take note of the bolt before removing the nut. You will want to screw the nut back on to about this same amount when resealing the light fixture.

Place the light glass down. The light is held together with a bolt holding a “Uni-Tension Wire Clamp” around the light frame. Using the two open end ratchets, unscrew the nut holding this bolt together and then pull the wire clamp completely off.

Note: We change around 3-5 pool lights a month. We use one ratchet instead of two and a power screwdriver with a hex head end because we have to work on so many lights.

Now the rear casing and the front metal frame can be pulled apart.
If they are stuck to each other, use a flat head screwdriver to pry them apart (see picture).

Changing the light and the seal:
Unscrew the light bulb.

Note: There is a wax substance that can be seen around the bulb socket. If this area is damaged, the light will need to be replaced.

Screw in the new light bulb. The two most common bulbs are the 300 and 500 watt bulbs.

Note: If this is a spa and your bulb does not look like the bulbs above see this addendum 

Checking if the bulb works:
Now is the time to test the light. A word of caution, these are high wattage bulbs that are water cooled.
What you want to do is turn on the breakers, turn on the pool/spa light switch, and quickly check that the light is on. Do not leave the light on for more than a minute.

If the light does not come on:
1) Check to see that you have used the new bulb
2) Make sure that all breakers have been turned on.
3) There is usually a GFI connected to the pool/spa lights. It is commonly found near the pool equipment and is part of a dual plug in socket. Check that this GFI has not been tripped and responds to a reset/test (see picture).
4) It is possible that the new bulb is bad. Do not test this bulb on a house lamp as most home appliances are not made to handle a 300+ watt bulb. Try to replace the bulb with a different bulb if you suspect this is the problem.
5) The light fixture unit will at times break. If the bulb is good and power is going to the light then the entire light fixture will need to be replaced.

The lens and lens seal:
It is not recommended to use the old seal/gasket that is around the lens. The old seal has been pressed into a specific shape by being clamped down over time and could easily leak if reused.

To remove the old seal/gasket, pull the seal off starting from any side (see picture).

Clean the lens by wiping it down with a clean towel before attaching the new seal/gasket.
The new seal will stretch and fit around the lens. There is no seal front and back sides.
Resealing the light fixture: (all of these have pics that go with them)
This next step is what most will find the most difficult.
1) Place the metal frame face down.
2) Place the lens (with the new seal/gasket already on) in the middle of the metal frame.
3) The back half of the light (with the cord attached) is now set directly over and on the rubber seal.

Note: Because the lens has a curved front face, it helps to have something sit under metal frame (and not push on the lens) so the lens can sit all the way down.

4) Now the metal wire clamp is set in place. It is crucial that the clamp holds in every hook to prevent leaks.

Note: When installing the clamp, make sure that the tightening bolt ends are nowhere near the top of the light where the main screw will hold the light in place. This bolt can block the single screw from going through to hold the light in position.

5) Pulling the two ends of the clamp together and insert and screw on the bolt. This is where having more than one person helps.

Note: The clamp will try to twist as you tighten the bolt. This is normal but you do want to resist its twisting as much as possible.

It is difficult to say how much to tighten this nut. Having made note of its original position before opening the light greatly helps.

Reinstalling the light fixture:
The light can now be inserted into the wall. It helps to coil the extra cord around the back end of the light.

There is a small “lip” on the bottom of the opening that holds the bottom half of the light fixture in. (I’ll try to find a drawing of this.)
Place the bottom half of the light into the opening first to grab onto the lip. Then, push the top half in.
Screw in the single top screw to hold the light in position.

If you are having problems getting the screw in place, it helps to use something long and skinner then the screw to try and line up the light fixture screw hole to the screw hole in the wall.
In extreme cases, you can get into the pool to get a better view to line the two up.

Once the light is back into position, (refill is this was a spa) turn the breakers back on and the light is ready for use. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How to clean a Purex Triton 4000 Series filter

The following is a guide on how to clean a Purex (Pentair) Triton 4000 Series filter. This will be similar to the much more general and common ProGrid DE filter (link to other entry). The Triton 4000 series stray from the norm in a few areas that will be pointed out as we go along.

What you need to clean this filter:
DE (diatomaceous earth)

What you may need:
A filter lubricant (see picture) (Magic Lube II in the example)
A flat head screwdriver

Turn off the system, ideally switching the breaker to the pump off.
Open the air relief valve on the top of the filter to begin releasing pressure.

Opening the filter:
The Triton series filter comes with a handle called a plastic knob attached to the bolt holding the band onto the middle of the filter (see picture). Unscrew this handle counter clockwise until the bolt pulls off completely.

Note: Take a mental image of how close far the handle is screwed on. After everything is complete, you will want to screw the bolt back on to this same amount.

Once the bolt is removed, the band can be pulled off the filter.

The top of the filter can be pulled up and off the filter to expose the girds. If the top cannot be removed, make sure that the air relief has been opened to equalize pressure. If the lid still will not budge, a large flat head screwdriver should be used to pry the top of the lid off of the bottom half.

Removing the grids:
If you have seen the inside of any other DE filter model, you will notice that the inside of the Triton looks upside down. The manifold on the Triton 4000 and the 2000 series filters is on the bottom instead of the much more common style of on top.

Begin by unscrewing the wing nut at the top securing the “Holding Wheel” to the filter set (see picture). Remove this and the washer underneath it.

Pull the “Holding Wheel” up and off.

Each grid can now be individually pulled up and out of the filter one at a time.

If you are only cleaning the grids, you should hose the dirt off of each grid.

In this case, I am replacing all grids due to their damage. If there is a grid with even one hole or tear, the entire set should be replaced. The grids are all under equal pressure and exposed to the same level of chemicals. Therefore, if one grid is visibly damaged, it must be assumed that all of the others are also either damaged or severely weakened.

Determining what size grid you need:
Check the outside of your filter to see if the filter size has been marked. While most filters have an area printed to display size, only some actually have the size listed here since it was done by hand at the factory.
You can measure your grid once outside of the filter to determine its size. Measure the grid from end to end (see picture). Now double this number. That is the size of your grid. The universal sizes are 24, 36, 48, 60 and 72. For example, if you measure 30 inches (see picture), then your filter needs 60 sq ft. grids.  
Note that unlike almost all other DE filter systems, all 8 grids are of equal size in this filter. There is no short grid in the 2000 or 4000 system. This makes sense since there is no pipe assembly connecting the bottom of the filter to the manifold at the top of the filter.

Also take notice of the connecting end of each grid (see picture). This is also different from every other grid type.

When buying grids for either the 2000 or 4000 series filter, always tell the sales associate if you have either the Triton 2000 or the Triton 4000 filter because the grids are different from everything else.

Cleaning out the inside of the filter:
Unlike most other filter models, there is no drain plug in the 2000 or 4000 filter systems. The easiest way to clean out the bottom half of the filter is to run a hose into the tank bottom until the water overflows and brings the dirt out with it.

Reassembling the grid set:
This is the most difficult step on every other DE filter and the easiest on the 2000 and 4000 filter series systems. Place each grid one at a time into the filter, fitting the grid connector pointed down into the bottom manifold openings. The grids will only sit down firmly  one way (see picture). Insert all 8 grids into the filter. (See picture)
Place the “Bottom Wheel” on the top of the grids and into the long center rod (see picture). The wheel should sit flat on the grids, holding each grid in place. Note that each section outside of the grid should be held on by the wheel (see picture).

Place the washer back on the rod and then screw the wing nut back on the rod holding the wheel down and onto the grids (see picture).

Closing the filter:
Place the top half the filter back on the bottom half. The top should sit almost completely over the rubber gasket. In my case, the gasket had expanded and since I did not have a new gasket on, I had to use a filter lubricant (Magic Lube II in this case) to get the top half to sit down correctly (see picture).

Note: When using a lubricant, it is recommend that a filter lubricant be used since it has already been tested and will not damage the rubber gasket.

Place the metal band around the mid-section of the filter. The connecting threaded end should stick out far enough to attach the bolt and screw on. If it does not, then the filter top is not sitting far enough down and needs to be push down further. I suggest using a filter lubricant first. Then, if it still will not reach, sometimes the band can be hammered in which will pull the top half down (see picture).
It is hard to say how much to tighten this bolt, as it should only be hand tight but still needs to be tight enough to resist the normal high pressure encountered when the system is running. It is best to have noted how far it was screwed on before it was first removed.

Restarting the system:
Note: This next part is potentially dangerous. Starting up the pump while the filter top is not fastened down could cause the lid to be blown off and can injure persons nearby. Double check that the band is in place and properly tightened. Proceed with caution.

Turn on the pump motor.

Once the system has caught prime, open the top air relief valve to let the air out of the system.
While the system is running, check for leaks around the band.
If there is a water leak, turn off the system and tighten the band’s bolt. Now restart the system.
If the system still leaks, add the DE and then recheck for leaks as sometimes the DE will fill small gaps and stop the leak.
If the old band was used, then changing to a new band may stop the system from leaking. It is also possible that either the top or bottom half may have become deformed/disfigured so much that there is no way to stop a leak from the band area.

Add the DE to the system while the pump is running and primed. See the directions on the bag of DE to determine the amount you need.