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Thread: New pool owner looking for ideas for upgrades

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    New pool owner looking for ideas for upgrades

    Hey everyone, I recently bought and put up (8/16/2016) my new to me intex pool. It is the 20'x48" ultra frame. I bought it from someone who only owned it for a month..

    Anyway, I have come to realize that the equipment it comes with is inadequate. So I'm asking what upgrades should I do to the pool and for what reason to do it. I will not go to saltwater.

    I realize that the season is almost over so I'll purchase all the upgrades over the off season so that I'm ready for next year.

    Thanks

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    titleistseemore's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner looking for ideas for upgrades

    see my signature, has a link to my build.

    continue to use my TF100 testing kit that I have had for several years to keep my pool balanced

    upgraded the pump to a Hayward pump / filter combo to improve filtration.

    Added Hayward skimmer to improve performance over the intex over the wall skimmer

    Added the Liquidator so that I could automate the Chlorine to keep daily maintenance down

    added the pool rover jr to automate the cleaning

    added the solar blanket to keep the pool warmer

    added the solar blanket reel to make the it easier

    added skim lite poles, they are awesome for brushing and leaf net.

    during installation (Click the link in my Sig) added things such as foam pad. Makes a nice floor bottom.
    Tim Jacobsen Lodi Ca.
    18'x48" Intex Ultra Frame (5700 Gallons)
    TF 100 Test Kit, Speedstir, & Sample Sizer. Liquidator Installed.
    Hayward C550 Cartridge Filter (55 Sq. Ft.), 1HP Powerflo LX Pump, Pool Rover Jr.
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...uild-Questions

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    Re: New pool owner looking for ideas for upgrades

    Thanks for the reply.. I love the idea to use the foam under the pool.. but im wondering what the difference may be between the foam and 2-3 inches of masonry sand.. currently my pool is sitting on just the leveled dirt with the ground cloth for protection. Next season I'll add either the sand or foam depending on which is better.

    As for the pump, is the cartridge style better than the sand style? What size (gph) pump should I use..

    Will only 1 skimmer be enough or do u think 2 would be better (1 on either side of pool)

    I'm currently using the clorox test kits with the mobile app. What is the difference between that and the tf100 you recommended?

    I don't think I'll get the liquidator. Seems way too expensive. Might get one when I get a quality hard sided pool..

    I have also heard that the outlet jet is not sufficient.. any thoughts on that?

    Your input is appreciated.. thanks.. I'll try to upload some pics of my pool

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    titleistseemore's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner looking for ideas for upgrades

    I choose the cartridge style for a few reasons, one is I didn't want to have to mess with a drain hose to back wash, using the filter comparison on this website and manufacturer pages the cartridge filter had a higher level of filtration, I was used to the cartridge filter as well. You want to match the pump and filter that is why I bought a combo unit, the general rule is to get the largest filter your pump can handle, the combo was good for me because I knew it would be matched for good performance. Mine if I remember right is a 1 HP pump, but smaller pumps will do good too, the last reason for getting this pump was to ensure I had enough head in case I wanted to install solar panels on my roof. Always good to begin with the end in mind although I have not installed panels yet.

    1 skimmer is enough

    I am not familiar with the Clorox test kit but you need a kit that can give you a full set of tests, you don't need an app, The test kit will be your best investment!!!!!

    The LQ I added this year for 190.00 on amazon, the reason I purchased the kit is I didn't want to have to add CL to my pool daily. The LQ has been awesome. I test my pool now only weekly as I have the pool dialed in and balanced. I also travel and the LQ keeps me pool with the right amount of CL to keep it clear. I also found that I used less CL now. The main reason for me to get the LQ was to be more automated.

    If you end up getting a Hayward skimmer, it will come with a new outlet jet. I am still using my original intex unit and it works fine. I will replace it soon though.
    Tim Jacobsen Lodi Ca.
    18'x48" Intex Ultra Frame (5700 Gallons)
    TF 100 Test Kit, Speedstir, & Sample Sizer. Liquidator Installed.
    Hayward C550 Cartridge Filter (55 Sq. Ft.), 1HP Powerflo LX Pump, Pool Rover Jr.
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...uild-Questions

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    titleistseemore's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner looking for ideas for upgrades

    I just looked online at your test kit, that kit will not give you the accurate results. With the TF100 or Taylor kit you will be able to test your pool for CL, CC, TA, CH, PH, and CYA. These will be important to keep your pool balanced. The testing is fairly straight forward with the exception of the CYA test which takes some practice but not hard. The Chlorine (CL) and PH will be the most important. This will also help you learn about pools as well and keep you in control of your own pool.

    Once you get your test kit, there are some upgrades that I highly recommend that makes testing a little easier such as the Sample Sizer Measuring Tool and Speedstir Magnetic Stirrer ...


    Here is a link ...

    TFTestkits.net

    This is the most important upgrade you can get ....
    Tim Jacobsen Lodi Ca.
    18'x48" Intex Ultra Frame (5700 Gallons)
    TF 100 Test Kit, Speedstir, & Sample Sizer. Liquidator Installed.
    Hayward C550 Cartridge Filter (55 Sq. Ft.), 1HP Powerflo LX Pump, Pool Rover Jr.
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...uild-Questions

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    Re: New pool owner looking for ideas for upgrades

    Thanks for the reply..

    So Im thinking of going with cartridge filter after looking further into the difference between the two. Also, the difference between the 2 as about $100.. so I'm thinking of getting this unit. What do u think?

    Hayward CC15093S Xstream Full-Flo 150-Square-Foot 1.5 Horsepower Filtration Filter Amazon.com : Hayward CC15093S Xstream Full-Flo 150-Square-Foot 1.5 Horsepower Filtration Filter : Swimming Pool Water Pumps : Patio, Lawn Garden

    I will be getting the Hayward skimmer since I've seen many great reviews about it.

    I realize after looking up the tf100, that it is far superior to the clorox test straps. But I do like the app which tells me how to fix and how much to add of each chemical.

    I just recieved my floating chlorine dispenser that can use up to 3 inch tablets. Right now I have 1 inch tablets in it since that's all I had.. next season, I'm thinking of getting the arm and hammer 3 inch tablets since it's got great reviews and it's pretty cheap.. haha.

    What brand/s do you use for your chemicals? There are no pool installers near me (125 miles closest), so I can't get any pro help. I'll either be getting my chemicals from amazon or lowes..

    Also, do you know if there will be any difference between the foam or sand under the pool? I have 5 1/2" sheets of green foam my used when she was here for her rv. Would those be good, or are the thicker sheets better?

    Thanks

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    Re: New pool owner looking for ideas for upgrades

    While I can't help you with upgrading your Intex (i don't own one) I can tell you one thing - NOBODY on these boards uses pucks, excepct in very specific limited instances. Go read the pool school section and understand the relationship between CYA and free cholrine. You want to be using bleach, liquid cholrine, or a salt water generator as your source, not pucks or granuales.

    Also, for an Intex pool, you really do not need any chemicals. Bleach, borax, muriatic acid, baking soda - thats it. About the only thing you need to order is a test kit and some pool lube (silicone lube) for putting everything together.




    -dave
    27' Round ABG (17,000 gal) - +/- 11 hours of full sun per day
    Hard plumbed Hayward Perflex EC-40 DE filter w/ 1 HP pump (Got a new one June 2015)
    Filered 4 hours per day (on a timer)
    Pentair Aqualuminator - now working - and now dead once again, this time for good.
    Zodiac Wahoo

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    Re: New pool owner looking for ideas for upgrades

    As a long time Intex owner, here are my recommendations (after a good test kit, of course).

    1) New pump/filter. Here's what I have: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Pro-Above...1.5HP/35093944. I prefer a sand filter to cleaning/replacing cartridges, and a filter of sufficient size doesn't need to be backwashed very often. I've run mine all season and haven't backwashed at all yet.

    2) Hayward Dyna-skim thru-wall skimmer. Keeps your pool much cleaner and also comes with a better return eyeball and a vacuum plate to which you can attach a real pool vacuum.

    3) An outdoor timer that you can program to run your pump multiple times during the day.

    4) Intex robotic cleaner. I leave mine in 24x7, and have only manually vacuumed once all year. I plumbed my return so that I can use the robot and the regular return simultaneously.

    I know you specified no saltwater, but if you were open to it, I would make that #4. I love the ease of it. We can go on vacation for a week and return to a perfectly pristine pool, just as we left it. By this point in the season, I have everything so balanced that I only check my levels every 2-3 days.

    5) Intex magnetic light

    6) Sturdier ladder.

    7) Poolside umbrella, so you can get some shade.







    25000 gallon free-form gunite
    Jandy Stealth pump/CL340 cartridge filter
    Pentair IC40 SWG
    Pentair MasterTemp 250HD heater
    Jandy AquaLink RS automation

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    Re: New pool owner looking for ideas for upgrades

    Thanks for the responses guys.

    Phonedave, what is the reason I wouldn't use normal pool chemicals for my intex? I understand pucks may not be the best, but it's what I have right now.. I may purchase liquid chlorine if I need to next season.

    Jeff chap, thanks for your input.

    That pump isn't available thru walmart anymore. Is this the same one (it looks like it)?
    Amazon.com : 4500GPH 19 Garden

    I will be getting the Hayward skimmer. Is there a difference between the normal and wide mouth skimmer?

    I'll consider salt system.. my wife is the one against it..

    I like the idea of a robot to clean the pool for me.. haha.. less work for me..

    Already have a light in my amazon cart..

    I think Illl keep my original ladder but only use half of it b/c I'll be building a small deck on one side of the pool..

    And I like the idea of an umbrella..

    Btw, your setup looks great!

    Thanks

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    Re: New pool owner looking for ideas for upgrades

    I was going to say 1.5hp may be too much pump.
    While the consensus here is you can never have too much filter (longer between cleaning), less likely to clog and restrict flow) too much motor just means higher electrical bills. (FYI a 2-speed pump uses 1/4 the electricity on low setting). 1hp is a better rating for your pool.

    I don't know if anyone mentioned it, but the Pool Math calculator here will tell you exact ounces of needed chemicals for your test results:
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html

    Technically, you can use pucks as long as you maintain enough FC (free chlorine) per pool math for your CYA level. More CYA means more FC is needed, which becomes difficult at high CYA levels. If you take down your pool each year and refill with fresh water, you are in somewhat better shape than an in-ground pool owner in drought-stricken California. There's a lot of 1st time posters on here with green pools after too much puck usage, so we like to avoid those troubles.

    As far as most other "normal" chemicals ... Nope. The TFP method is actual science. That's why getting lab-quality test kits is important. A lot of what is sold in pool stores is gimmicks for more money... Like Algecides that can turn your pool into a bubble bath and build up copper so your hair turns green.

    A number of TFP'ers keep some pucks to use , in a floater, while on vacation and cannot add bleach on a daily basis.
    24'x52" vinyl beaded liner, Intex Sand Filter
    Hayward SwimPro LX 1.5 hp
    Kontiki 2 cleaner, Nature 2 (with mineral cartridge removed)

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    Re: New pool owner looking for ideas for upgrades

    Replies listed in Red Below:

    So Im thinking of going with cartridge filter after looking further into the difference between the two. Also, the difference between the 2 as about $100.. so I'm thinking of getting this unit. What do u think? If I were to get another pump, that is the one I would pick. Funny thing is, I have that exact filter / pump combo saved to my list on amazon.

    Hayward CC15093S Xstream Full-Flo 150-Square-Foot 1.5 Horsepower Filtration Filter Amazon.com : Hayward CC15093S Xstream Full-Flo 150-Square-Foot 1.5 Horsepower Filtration Filter : Swimming Pool Water Pumps : Patio, Lawn Garden

    I will be getting the Hayward skimmer since I've seen many great reviews about it.

    I realize after looking up the tf100, that it is far superior to the clorox test straps. But I do like the app which tells me how to fix and how much to add of each chemical. Once you get your kit, you will use Pool Math. It is so easy ... You will get almost instant help here anytime you have a question. I have used it for the last 4 years and it is great. It will save your information such as gallons, it has a built in calculator on the bottom to give you your pool gallons, on the bottom it will tell you what you can expect to see when you add chemicals. It is the best one I have used!

    I just recieved my floating chlorine dispenser that can use up to 3 inch tablets. Right now I have 1 inch tablets in it since that's all I had.. next season, I'm thinking of getting the arm and hammer 3 inch tablets since it's got great reviews and it's pretty cheap.. haha. The tablets will work for now, the problem with pro-long use of the tablets is this ... Chlorine is liquid, to make it a solid (Tablets) something has to be added. The typical add is Cyanuric Acid (CYA), the pool needs the CYA to protect the Chlorine from the sun (Think of CYA as sunscreen for Chlorine). However you only need about 40 PPM. So continually adding pucks will raise your CYA to higher than needed level. This will make your Chlorine less active leaving you open to algae. So if you are going to use Chlorine, then use liquid. You will be fine for the rest of this year with pucks ... Do some reading on this site about CYA and Chlorine and you will be an expert soon. By the way, the only way to lower CYA is to drain water from your pool and replace with fresh water. So too much of a good thing isn't always a good thing

    What brand/s do you use for your chemicals? There are no pool installers near me (125 miles closest), so I can't get any pro help. I'll either be getting my chemicals from amazon or lowes.. I buy everything that I need at Wal-mart. Lowes will be fine too. All I buy is Liquid Chlorine, Dry Stabilizer (CYA), and Muriatic Acid (Which I purchase at Lowes). The borax and baking soda I buy at Wal-mart but I have not used any in the last 2 years.

    Also, do you know if there will be any difference between the foam or sand under the pool? I have 5 1/2" sheets of green foam my used when she was here for her rv. Would those be good, or are the thicker sheets better? It is a personal choice. The foam I used was thicker, it was a nice for my young kids feet, and the good part for my installation is that the foam and the pavers that my uprights stand on were the same size which kept the bottom of the pool and the bottom of the upright legs the same height.

    Thanks
    Tim Jacobsen Lodi Ca.
    18'x48" Intex Ultra Frame (5700 Gallons)
    TF 100 Test Kit, Speedstir, & Sample Sizer. Liquidator Installed.
    Hayward C550 Cartridge Filter (55 Sq. Ft.), 1HP Powerflo LX Pump, Pool Rover Jr.
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...uild-Questions

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    Re: New pool owner looking for ideas for upgrades

    Quote Originally Posted by Dsw422 View Post
    Thanks for the responses guys.

    Phonedave, what is the reason I wouldn't use normal pool chemicals for my intex? I understand pucks may not be the best, but it's what I have right now.. I may purchase liquid chlorine if I need to next season.
    Bleach, borax, baking soda, and muriatic acid are "real" chemicals - they just don't come from a pool store. You can get them cheaper (and suprisingly in a purer form) elsewhere.

    There are some chemicals that pools stores do sell, that some people may indeed need in specific instances - sequestrants, alkalinity adjustments, etc. (I use dry acid from a pool store myself, just beacuase I find it easier to store and measure). However, with an Intex pool, it would suprising that you would get into a situation where you need these special pool store chemicals - plaster pools sometimes need special care, and large inground pools cannot be emptied (or parially emptied) as a vinyl intex.

    As far as the other chemicals that pools stores sell - pucks, sticks, granuales, shock, shiock-n-swim, algicide, clarifier, etc - you dont need any of it.

    Oh, wait, I tell a lie. When starting up a pool (any pool) with fresh water, you will need to add CYA - that you do need to get from a pool store (or the pool section of Wal Mart while you are there buying bargin priced bleacH)
    27' Round ABG (17,000 gal) - +/- 11 hours of full sun per day
    Hard plumbed Hayward Perflex EC-40 DE filter w/ 1 HP pump (Got a new one June 2015)
    Filered 4 hours per day (on a timer)
    Pentair Aqualuminator - now working - and now dead once again, this time for good.
    Zodiac Wahoo

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    Re: New pool owner looking for ideas for upgrades

    Thanks for all the great input..

    I went out today and got 4 gallons of bleach, 8 lbs of baking soda, and a box of borax. I will use my clorox test kit till end of this season (I kno its not recommended). So according to my test yesterday, I needed to increase both chlorine and FC, CYA, and PH. My alkalinity was perfect (according to strip)..

    So this morning I shocked the pool (I kno, not recommended either). Came back 6 hours later to test and my Chlorine and FC are on the lower end of "good". So I added 1 gallon of bleach. I also added half a box of borax to try and raise pH. I'll retest in the morning to see where I'm at. I will be getting CYA (stabilizer) tomorrow when I go to lowes.

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    Re: New pool owner looking for ideas for upgrades

    Really, really, really encourage you to get a proper test kit and use PoolMath to see how much stuff you really need to add to your pool. Trust me, you don't want to increase CYA too high... I had to do two drains to lower CYA. And using too much chlorine just wastes money and potentially can bleach and weaken your liner.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Just curious... why is your wife against a salt water system?
    Kelly, Tampa FL
    15' by 4' Intex above ground metal frame, about 5300 gallons
    Intex 120V Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump & Saltwater System CG-28679 with E.C.O.
    TF100 Kit and Speedstir
    Intex Auto Cleaner - works great!

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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner looking for ideas for upgrades

    I would caution you against using any of the Chlorox Blu/Blue products as they contain copper. Copper will start staining your pool and turning blond hair green when it gets high enough.
    My Amazon Smile for November12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
    Our pool build--> Our Pool Solved Our Sloping Yard Skippy's Cheap Pool Cooler -->Skippy's New Fountain

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    Re: New pool owner looking for ideas for upgrades

    Without a good test kit, you might as well add half a gallon of stuff, 16 oz of some other stuff, and then a pound of stuff. Would you go to a doctor who simply felt you head and determined you have cancer and wanted to start chemotherapy immediately?



    Test strips are really less than worthless, because they can lead you to believe that you need to add something that is completely opposite of what you actually need. Until you get a test kit, you might as well just dump random amounts of whatever you want into your pool. It's just as valid a method. Sorry to seem harsh, but that's the brutal truth.
    25000 gallon free-form gunite
    Jandy Stealth pump/CL340 cartridge filter
    Pentair IC40 SWG
    Pentair MasterTemp 250HD heater
    Jandy AquaLink RS automation

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    Re: New pool owner looking for ideas for upgrades

    Thanks guys for the input.. I'll get the test kit for next season.. Pool will be coming down in a couple weeks anyway.. it's crystal clear right now so I'm not worried..
    20'x48" intex ultra frame
    Original pump and filter setup (will replace in 2017)

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