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Thread: Happy newbie pool owner in Westchester, NY

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    JayG's Avatar
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    Happy newbie pool owner in Westchester, NY

    First of all, what a great forum. Kudos to those who have made this amazing resource available to folks like me.

    So my situation: we recently purchased a house with a pool (see sig for details) and it's my first one (pool virgin?). The previous owners have been using a pool service for years. They come once a week to brush, skim, and presumably check/adjust the chemistry. So far, all has been great. The pool has remained clear, clean, and endlessly enjoyable. I have no idea what they do in terms of testing or adding chemicals. There is a puck dissolver and cartridge filter in the system, but that is all I know. To keep things simple, I've continued the existing contract through closure in late September. Out of curiosity, I've ordered a TFT100 kit to begin testing during the week between visits and get a feel for what the chemistries look like over time.

    My dilemma is that while the pool has been "trouble-free" under their care for years, the service is crazy expensive: $168 per week and roughly $1500+ to open and $1600+ to close. That is nearly $6000 per season! I like learning new things and doing what I can on my own, so I'm tempted to give it a go next season. I'm at a stage of my life where I'm not especially "price sensitive", but I can buy a lot of IPA for $6000!! I just don't want to screw up a pool that is currently doing fine.

    Consequently, I've been reading with interest all the content in the TFP "pool school" and many threads. So, I think I "get" the chemistry (as my BS was in Chemistry), but with a ~40k gallon pool, it seems I would need to add ~1 gallon of bleach per day to add 2-3 ppm daily of FC. That seems difficult to imagine keeping up. I could replace the puck holder with a SWCG, but the largest ones I've seen only produce 3 lbs of FC per day which doesn't leave a lot of headroom if problems arise. Moreover, it seems that many here experience problems with SWCGs. The Stenner pumps look promising if I could get large enough quantities of concentrated Sodium hypochlorite to keep it going for 3-7 days. If I'm making any mistaken assumptions here, please set me straight.

    So, I want to give this TFPC system a try, but with my travel schedule I need a solution that can occasionally allow a couple of days to a week of "auto pilot". If a pool is like a pet, I need it to be more like a cat than a dog. If I can achieve that goal, then I think I could take over the care and feeding.

    In addition, I had a couple other to-dos: First, the existing Hayward 2-hp single-speed pump is set to run 24/7 (~$750 in electricity per season). The equipment pad is probably 8-12 ft above the pool deck and the previous owners said the pump would lose prime if turned off. Could I replace it with a variable or 2-speed pump and set it to run at low speed most of the time and maybe 4-6 hrs at higher speed (and not lose prime or muck up the pool)?. My other "to-do" is replacing/supplementing the 400k BTU propane heater with a heat pump. I'll have a 19kW solar array installed by then and there should be enough reserve to power the heat pump for "free". (I need to figure out how many BTUs I'd need to make a heat pump work. My wife likes an 85-86 degree pool).

    In any case, I will start testing the water once I get my TFT kit. The good news is that compared to the cost of the existing pool service contract, anything I do/add/buy that will allow me to avoid that expense will look trivial in comparison.

    Thanks again to everyone who has made this site so great. It warms my heart to see such generosity of experience, intellect and spirit.

    Jay
    Jay--Metro NYC
    35K gal, in-ground, free-form, pebble finish, 2 skimmers, 3 returns, autofill. No spa, no features. Partial shade.
    Pentair C&C cartridge filter (400 sq in), Pentair VS pump, Pentair 140 btu heat pump, Triton Plus Robo-cleaner; Stenner with 55 gal bleach cistern. TFT 100 test kit.

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Happy newbie pool owner in Westchester, NY

    Welcome to the forum. Absolutely no reason for that pump to run 24/7. Set it for 8 hours and see if you still like your water clarity, then adjust as desired. You should install a one way/check valve in your line going to your pump to prevent it losing prime. Doesn't sound like it has one. If you'll be gone that much, a SWG or stenner is your best solution.
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Happy newbie pool owner in Westchester, NY

    Welcome to TFP!
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    If TFP helped you or saved you money - Become a TFP Supporter! <--Click here
    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    JayG's Avatar
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    Re: Happy newbie pool owner in Westchester, NY

    Quote Originally Posted by woodyp View Post
    Welcome to the forum. Absolutely no reason for that pump to run 24/7. Set it for 8 hours and see if you still like your water clarity, then adjust as desired. You should install a one way/check valve in your line going to your pump to prevent it losing prime. Doesn't sound like it has one. If you'll be gone that much, a SWG or stenner is your best solution.
    Thanks for the advice. I looked for a check valve and didn't see one. Makes sense, but I wondered if a check valve could hold against 8' column of water trying to go back to the pool. I have check valves on my sump pump outlet pipe and they don't seem to be very tight (plus sometimes they get stuck). I thought I'd just replace the SS pump with a 2-speed or variable speed pump that would run on low speed except when it's on high (6-8 hr). That would already produce big savings and avoid the potential intermittent problem of losing prime if the check valve has a problem. Maybe I'm overthinking it.

    You confirm my assumption that I need some sort of semi-continuous chlorine injection system. I'm not gone often, maybe 3-4 times during the swim season for 2-7 days at a time, but often enough that I would worry if I need to be adding bleach daily to keep FC in range. Should I start a new thread to get input on which system is preferable?

    Good news is that my TFT test kit arrived this evening. I'll start my testing tomorrow!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    Welcome to TFP!
    Thanks. It feels good to be here.
    Jay--Metro NYC
    35K gal, in-ground, free-form, pebble finish, 2 skimmers, 3 returns, autofill. No spa, no features. Partial shade.
    Pentair C&C cartridge filter (400 sq in), Pentair VS pump, Pentair 140 btu heat pump, Triton Plus Robo-cleaner; Stenner with 55 gal bleach cistern. TFT 100 test kit.

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Happy newbie pool owner in Westchester, NY

    So neat to see someone new that has already figured out what they need to do-read TFP and order a test kit!

    Let us know what your tests show.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: Happy newbie pool owner in Westchester, NY

    Welcome to TFP!

    Quote Originally Posted by woodyp
    If you'll be gone that much, a SWG or stenner is your best solution.
    My sentiments also. One of my friends here in DFW has a 40K gallon pool with a SWG and has no problems with it keeping up. You will have to replace the salt cell periodically (about every 4-5 years or so) but that's a normal thing with a SWG. You could always look for a SWG made for commercial pools if you wanted something with a bit more capacity. Just may cost a bit more.
    Gold Supporter, TFP Lifetime Supporter, 26,680 gal Plaster IGP 3.5 - 10' depth / Attached Waterfall Spa, Manually Chlorinated, Triton Sand Filter, 1.5 HP * 1.1 SF = 1.65 SFHP 1-speed Pentair WhisperFlo WF-26 Pump, 400K BTU NG Teledyne Laars Series One Heater, Polaris 360, Test Kit Comparison, Chlorine/CYA Chart, SLAMing Your Pool, OCLT
    A good test kit is an investment, not an expense.

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    JayG's Avatar
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    Re: Happy newbie pool owner in Westchester, NY

    Quote Originally Posted by BoDarville View Post
    Welcome to TFP!

    My sentiments also. One of my friends here in DFW has a 40K gallon pool with a SWG and has no problems with it keeping up. You will have to replace the salt cell periodically (about every 4-5 years or so) but that's a normal thing with a SWG. You could always look for a SWG made for commercial pools if you wanted something with a bit more capacity. Just may cost a bit more.
    Thanks for your input. Is there any consensus on which SWGs are the more reliable? Circupool seems a favorite of DSP and I can snag their RJ60 for $1079 (3 lb/day) through the weekend. I plan on replacing my single-speed Hayward pump with a variable speed unit that will run 24/7 in either high (6-8 hr) or low speed (16-18 hr). As long as a pump is running, do I need to worry about integrating the pump with the SWG? I also plan on adding a heat pump. Does the heat pump need to be integrated into the pump function? Sorry if these are naive questions. Perhaps I should start threads for each of these queries.

    Thanks again.

    Jay
    Jay--Metro NYC
    35K gal, in-ground, free-form, pebble finish, 2 skimmers, 3 returns, autofill. No spa, no features. Partial shade.
    Pentair C&C cartridge filter (400 sq in), Pentair VS pump, Pentair 140 btu heat pump, Triton Plus Robo-cleaner; Stenner with 55 gal bleach cistern. TFT 100 test kit.

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    Re: Happy newbie pool owner in Westchester, NY

    Welcome. Great job reading up and I so appreciate the articulate post as well! Good reading.

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