10 Upgrades Under 10K to include in a Pump Room Operations Budget

Unless you have just opened a brand-new aquatic center, you likely have several small pump room improvement projects that have been taunting you over the years. Or maybe you just started a new CPO job at an older facility and looking to make some impactful budget friendly upgrades. Here is a list of highly impactful pump room projects under $10,000 that you can consider itemizing in your operations budget spreadsheet.

Replace Old System Operator Valves

Existing BF valves may not be sealing correctly. This makes servicing a below grade filter system very difficult because they’re leaking like a sieve! Upgrading to new valves will save you on water consumption and keep your clothes dry. Estimated budget price of $300-$400 per valve including install.

Maintain A Regular Lubrication Schedule

Along with keeping water out, it is important to maintain a regular lubrication schedule. Follow the manufacturer's recommendation for type and frequency for greasing and oil changes.

Twice per year (summer and winter) is typical for oil changes. Regular oil changes will allow for debris and contaminants to be flushed from the system.

One area of lubrication often forgotten is the mating surface of the shear-pin sprocket. The shear-pin should be removed, grease applied to the mating surfaces and rotated. A minimal amount of corrosion can cause the mating surfaces to bond and render the shear-pin useless.

Replace Surge Tank Isolation Valves & Main Drain Diversion Valve

Your older surge tank valves may be worn out, rotted, or simply non-functional. Since they are out of sight, they may have been neglected and not inspected recently. Look into getting them inspected this year and replaced if they are in bad shape. Faulty surge tank valves can have side effects on hydraulics, which will negatively impact the filtration & disinfection equipment downstream. If nobody has ever replaced the original submerged valves at your pool, you may start seeing better water quality as a result of unclogging your pool’s arteries! Estimated budget price of $400-$500 per valve including install.

Replace Filter Pressure Gauges

Over time filter gauges become inaccurate, yielding inaccurate differential pressure readings. As a result, you may be flushing too much water to the drain by backwashing much more than required. Or you may not be backwashing enough. Recalibrating and/or replacing pressure gauges can save you on water consumption and energy usage. Estimated budget price of $400-$600 per gauge panel including install.

Digital Flow Meter

Replace that old impact flow meter that is corroded and not working. Adjusting your system will be a challenge if you can’t tell what your flow is. Accurate data will help in the long run in yielding proactive responses to your water needs. Estimated budget price of $1,500-$2,500 including install.

Sand Filter Remediation

Often times it’s too late when this upgrade is discovered. We highly recommend that you don’t wait until the ten-year mark to check up on this. Unexpected filter problems, like a broken lateral, or issues caused by an expired media bed, are more expensive to fix if you are reactive versus proactive. Waiting for the failure to occur in order to fix the problem is an expensive solution to an inexpensive problem. Unexpected filter issues take time to fix and can lead to costly pool closures and unhappy guests. Also, most contractors will not have the availability to react to this type of request right away, as a result it is best to be proactive and plan for this upgrade. Estimated budget price of $7,500-$10,000 including removal & install of new media and lateral replacement.

Upgrade Water Chemistry Controller

Many pools have old chemical controllers, seldomly not functional and/or broken. Manual feeding causes operators to spend additional hands-on time balancing pool water chemistry. New, modern pool chemistry controllers have web connectivity, measure more parameters and offer more automated feeding solutions, making your life as an operator easier and your bathers safer. Estimated budget price of $3,500-$5,000 including installation and commissioning.

Auto Pool Vacuum

There’s no need to spend hours vacuuming the pool, let a robot take care of it at night while your home spending time on the activities that matter most. Estimated budget price of $1,800-$7,500 equipment purchase price including shipping.

VFD & Pump Motor Upgrade

Your circulation pump is an impeller inside a housing, powered by a motor. Your pump housing is good for approximately 25 years, but your motor needs to be replaced every 5 years or so. Unlike the long lead times associated with pump housings, motors on the other hand are readily available. Motors and electrical problems are the cause of most pump failures, not the actual housing. A new motor is about $3,500-$4,500 including install, plus about $5,500 for the VFD. All the new motors currently available on the market are more efficient than the much older models. Especially if you add VFD to your project, then you will reduce your energy costs substantially! Estimated budget price of $10,000 including motor, VFD & install.

Upgrade Strainer Housing

Old cast iron strainers can be replaced with FRP housing and an extra basket. They allow for easy access to the basket, making it quicker and easier to clean the basket more frequently. Estimated budget price of $3,5000-$4,500 including install.

Upgrade Acid Feed System to a CO2 Feed System for PH Control

CO2 is non-corrosive, making it safer to handle than acid. CO2 is also a buffer while balancing alkalinity at the same time, while your current acid system lowers alkalinity. Estimated budget price of $2,500 - $3,500 including install.

At many of the commercial swimming pools we serve, there is often an aquatic director or facility manager that oversees the aquatic department’s budget. If your job entails crafting, reviewing or approving these annual financial plans, then you may have the ability to allocate some funds towards small pump room updates that yield a quick and large ROI. The 10 projects listed above will help you in reducing operating and maintenance costs, chemical & energy usage, improve your sustainability efforts with reduced water usage, improve water quality, while making a safer environment for bathers.

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