Homemade Fountainhead for In-ground Swimming Pool - $10 or Less (Note 1)
This is a pretty simple design for a water sprayer made from PVC pipe. It screws into a standard 1-1/2" threaded swimming pool outlet. When installed, it stays pretty close to the pool wall and out of the way. It's made mostly of 1", Schedule 40, PVC pipe and fittings...very easy to find at the local home improvement center. Basic PVC gluing techniques are used.
The first version that I made used a glued-on cap. I drilled five holes in that cap in a pattern that I thought would be attractive. I'm still happy with it, but if you want the option of changing the hole pattern from time-to-time, use the 'optional' 1" threaded adapter and a thread-on cap, as shown in the inset photo.
Saw, drill and bits, sandpaper, heat gun, PVC primer & cement
Parts List-Basic Fountain (See Photos)
#1--(One) 1-1/2 MPT x 1-1/4" adapter (Note 2)
#2--(One) 1-1/4 x 1" bushing
#3--(Three) 2"-long sections of 1" pipe
#4--(One) 90-degreee 1" pipe elbow
#5--(One) 5"-long section of 1" pipe
#6--(One) 3"-long section of 1-1/4 pipe (Note 3)
#7--(Two) 45-degree, 1" pipe couplings
#8--(One) 1" slip-on cap
Construction of the Basic Fountainhead
1. Save the cap (Part #8) until the last step.
2. Glue Parts #1-5 and Part #7 together as shown, paying particular attention to keeping the elbows in line. The finished product will look a lot nicer if those elbows are in line with one another. Part #6 is not glued at all.
3. Use a drill and file, or a Dremel Rotary tool, to cut a window in Part #5. The size is not very important, but smaller is better than bigger. You can always enlarge it later if necessary.
4. Cut a lengthwise strip from the sleeve, Part #6, about 1/2" to 5/8" wide. Shape the center of that cutout to more-or-less match the hole you made in Part #5. Use a heat gun to soften the back of the sleeve just enough to squeeze the sawn edges together about 1/2". This will make the sleeve hold tightly in place on Part #5, as shown in the photo. This sleeve will control how much water goes through the fountain and how much is allowed to escape. Start with the window completely open.
5. Drill five or six holes around the rim of the cap using a 1/8" drill bit and maybe one larger hole for a different effect. Use a pattern that will make a pleasing spray of individual water streams. It is important to hold the drill perpendicular to the rim of the cap as each hole is being drilled so that the resulting water streams will be properly spread out.
6. Press the cap onto the fountain without glue for the first test. Install the fountain assembly into the side of the pool (Note 4), and turn the cap so that the water streams go where you want them. Turn on the recirculation pump (Stay out of the way in case the cap flies off!), adjust the regulating sleeve as needed, and determine whether the cap needs adjustment.
7. Turn off the pump, adjust the cap, and then glue it in place. Wait awhile, turn on the water, and enjoy the show!
1 It is assumed that the 1" and 1-1/4" pipe sections will be made from scraps already on hand. The PVC fittings together ought to cost less than $10. The price of the glue is not included.
2 Part #1 and #2 may be available in a single fitting; 1-1/2" MPT to 1" Slip.
3 Part #6 is made out of 1-1/4" PVC pipe. When a strip is removed, and the resulting cylinder is collapsed with the heat gun, the result is a sleeve that will hold tightly in place around Part #5.
4 This project goes into a hole in the side of an in-ground pool that usually holds an "eyeball" style of water jet. A special tool (Hayward #SP1419T) may be required to remove one part of that water jet. The plastic version of the tool is currently listed at about $4-7 from online vendors.