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Thread: Have to have! Wish I had! Tell us about your pool.

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    Have to have! Wish I had! Tell us about your pool.

    Hi everyone,

    lets start a thread where all of you pool owners can help us soon to be pool owners with what options you wish you had if you were building your pool. Let us know your have to have, wish I had and could live without list.
    A thread like this would be so helpful for myself as I finish up the design phase of my pool build.
    Thanks and I can't wait to hear everyone's unique opinion!

    Mike

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Join Date
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    San Rafael, CA USA
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    Re: Have to have! Wish I had! Tell us about your pool.

    Welcome to TFP!

    The best thing our pool builder recommended for our new pool was use of a mostly opaque automatic electric safety cover. This was mostly recommended because it would have been too difficult for my wife alone to open and close a manual bubble-type cover on a reel. Using a pool cover substantially saves on energy costs for heating a pool and in saving water lost from evaporation and, for an opaque cover, saves on chlorine use, gives greater pH stability so less acid needed (though this can also be accomplished through lower TA levels), and keeps the pool cleaner.

    The next best recommendation is that if you get a cartridge filter, get it oversized so that you only need to clean it once a year (if you use a pool cover that keeps the pool cleaner).

    I would also recommend getting a variable-speed pump such as the IntelliFlo VF.

    For those that want more automation of their chlorine dosing, one can get The Liquidator or a saltwater chlorine generator. Because of my low daily chlorine usage, I am able to add chlorine about twice a week and buy 4 gallons of 12.5% chlorinating liquid once a month so this isn't a big deal. However, my pool is 16,000 gallons and larger pools would need more chlorine so could be a lot to buy and carry.

    If you like the pool to be warm or you live in a moderate to cooler climate, you should get a solar pool heating system. The black flat mat panels are the least expensive way to go and are efficient if there is not a lot of wind and cooler air temperatures. If you want to extend the season longer with solar when the air temps get cooler, then get glazed panels (i.e. enclosed in glass) though these are about 3x more expensive. If possible, have the solar panels at ground level instead of on the roof -- the pump electricity energy savings are substantial if one does not have to have higher pressures (head) required for roof-mounted systems.

    A lot of these recommendations cost more up-front, but then pay off in savings down the road.

    Richard
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

  3. Back To Top    #3

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    Aug 2010
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    Re: Have to have! Wish I had! Tell us about your pool.

    - Wish I had forced the builder to write a contract that was much more specific on construction details - like drainage, retaining walls, plumbing, electrical...These are becoming nickle and dime issues as we sort through the details at the end of the project...adding about 10% to the original contract price.
    - Wish I didn't have to deal with Current Systems (RiverFlow endless swimming system,) out of Florida - they have delayed our pool construction for 3+ weeks by shipping wrong parts or parts slowly. We still do not have all the right parts after having payed the full amount for the unit and waiting 5 months.
    - Wish I had used a pool contractor that would oversee entire project instead of just the pool. The pool, wood deck, railing, and storage construction were handled by different contractors and they stepped all over each other and ultimately delayed the project with permit issues and resulted in less than optimal implementations. For example the deck footing posts were on top of pool decking surface, which did not meet local standards for footing design, requiring them to rip up pool decking and install more rebar to pass the inspection. Would not have happened if the teams were communicating.
    - I wish I had started the project in March rather than July. We will not be able to use the pool once it's completed for a few months, not as exciting.
    - I wish I had gone with Intellitouch instead of Jandy controls. Jandy programming is not flexible for complex pool designs, it assumes basic functions and does not support macros. Jandy also does not have an iphone-app control function.
    - I am glad to have built this pool in texas - the rock work took a 5 person team 3 weeks to complete, and turned out fabulous. The price was amazing for the workmanship.
    - I wish I would have gone with two separate plumbing systems, rather than a combined system with a single variable speed pump. The Jandy controller can't control easily, will have to train the family on how to manually run timers and open actuated valves.
    - One the fence still - I may regret not going with a saltwater system. Right now my attempts to run low chlorine levels and UV are not materializing like I had hoped based on feedback in this forum.
    38K Gallons IG, Intelliflow VS-SVRS, 30GPM 24/7, 72sqft DE Filter, Spectralight UV, Jandy C1900 driving Liquid Chlorine and Acid (toys, I know..), Jandy LXi gas heater, Aquacal SQ175 Heatpump, Riverflow Competition swimmer, Jandy automation, Touch and iAqualink, Pebblesheen | The Build

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    Re: Have to have! Wish I had! Tell us about your pool.

    I'll chime in a little. I cant say one way or another in terms of the auto cover so I'll not comment there.

    In terms of the variable speed, most of the time its not worth the cost. In most area of the country where electric rates run 10-20 cents, a single speed or 2 speed pump is just fine. A 2 speed pump wont be as much money, and can save a bit on electricity. But, IMO, a VS pump is something that might be fun to play with, but, the return is lengthy unless you rates are outrageous. I think you live in Cali, so you might benefit from a VS.

    On the solar, be careful there too. While they can work great, in a lot of areas they arent worth much. What direction your house faces, how much daily/weekly sun you get, etc will dicate whether they work in your area. If your interested in solar, look around and find people who have them and see if they are satisfied.

    You will get a lot of advise on here in terms of what you "need", should get, must get, have to have, etc. A lot of it sound. Just make sure you do your due diligence on what works in your area. Same with pricing. You will get a lot of advice on pricing and what to pay. Just remember, not every area of the country is cheap, or expensive. Whats a good price and works well in florida will be totally off the mark else where. Construction techniques in Californina can be very different on the east coast.

    I like a salt system, so im biased there. Same with the Pentair Easytouch/Intelitouch automation system, because it's the one I have! Other systems work ok too. You will also find people tend to advise you to get the kind of equipment THEY have because, well,....it's what THEY have, LOL.
    As far as heaters go, lots of options there too. As I said, solar can work, just depends on the area. Heat pumps are another option. You just need to know the pro's and con's. I like mine, but with caveats.

    So keep all this in mind when soliciting advice. Like I said, you will get good advice and great ideas here. Just make sure they work for you and do you DD
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Re: Have to have! Wish I had! Tell us about your pool.

    I was hoping this thread would be about what each individual person likes about their own pool and what they would do differently if they were building their own pool or building a new pool again.
    For instance: Have to have: Salt water system, baja step, colored lights, automated controls.
    Could live without: pool slide, deep end ...

    Why don't we keep this thread to your own individual preference about your pool and leave out your opinions on what everyone else posts! Everyone has a unique perspective on their own pool and there pool likes and dislikes.

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Join Date
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    Buckeye, AZ 85326
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    Re: Have to have! Wish I had! Tell us about your pool.

    I wish I had's: Salt Water Generator, umbrella sleeves in the concrete decking, more GFCI electrical outlets and I would put the light switch in a more convenient place.
    Glad we did's: baja step, sheer descent, pebble sheen, as much decking as we could afford, got multiple bids, went with a well known local builder.
    Advice: Read pool school about 37 times and then read it 3 more times just for good measure. Read the forums backward and foward to get great DIY info and do's and dont's.
    11,872 Gallon IG Shotcrete play pool
    Blue Granite Pebble Sheen finish
    Hayward SwimClear c4025, Navigator & Tristar 1.75hp pump
    2' Powerfall

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    Re: Have to have! Wish I had! Tell us about your pool.

    Pool lights...when we built our's halogen were the mainstream, but having seen the L.E.D in friends pools if i could afford them i'd replace mine today, they just seem to make the pool glow.

    Coping: Wish we had sealed ours the day they were installed, we got coloured concrete based ones, they look great but they're sooo porous. The tradies got mud worked right into them which took many hours of scrubbing to get rid of, had we sealed them straight away wouldn't of had the problem...

    Skimmer Box: Ours was put in a stupid spot, we have a kidney shape and its right in the middle of the inside curve...the leaves just float straight by and no matter how we asjust our outlets its never quite worked...

    Pool shape: We have freeform, but it made everything tricker, the coping had to be custom curved stuff (hence how we got stuck with the porous concrete), the cover never rolls away as easy...if ur not fussed about shape go rectangular because its just easier lol...

    Goodluck, post pics

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    susa's Avatar
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    Re: Have to have! Wish I had! Tell us about your pool.

    Want(s): Additional suction and return lines.
    Satisfied: That I finally installed the equipment I had wanted after so many failed pumps/filters.
    Wish(es): That I had alligators in my pool. Snakes I already have.

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    Re: Have to have! Wish I had! Tell us about your pool.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bk406
    Now i'll play along.
    Glad i did: SWCG; heater
    Wish I had: 4 returns instead of 3; LP heater in addition to the heat pump
    Wish I didnt have: nothing, i like everything I got


    Bk406,

    thanks for playing along. Why do you wish you had 4 returns instead of 3? What is the reasoning behind that?
    I am thinking about going with a Pentair SWG, any pros and cons you know of?

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    Re: Have to have! Wish I had! Tell us about your pool.

    I have 2 returns near the steps (which are great for keeping the steps clean and potential chlorine dead zones chlorinated) and one opposite the skimmer in the deep end. I wish i had one more return on the other side of the shallow end. i think it would move "stuff" around better. 3 works ok, i think 4 would work better. The number of returns and skimmers are basically dictated by the area of the pool, so too many can really be over kill in some cases.

    I have a pentair IC-40 SWCG and Pentair Easytouch automation and love it. Never had an issue.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  11. Back To Top    #11
    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: Have to have! Wish I had! Tell us about your pool.

    To everyone familiar with this thread thus far, please note that numerous posts regarding a recommendation to use a freshwater pool has/have been moved to the Deep End, as such systems are currently not recommended by TFP. Until we decide otherwise any posts regarding exclusive use of alternate sanitation methods, except those approved by the EPA (Chlorine, Bromine, Baquacil) will be moved to the Deep End for further discussion.

    CCP had approached Jason a few days back and asked if such a thread existed where all members are welcome to state what they like/dislike about their pool and if you could build your pool again, what would have you done differently? We think this is a great idea and all your replies are welcome. I ask that members post comments about their own pools, ONLY! If the TFP team notices that such post contain suggestions that may not be the best advice, we will decide how to handle.

    That said, let's all welcome CCP to the TFP family and bring on the comments to assist him and others in generating sound ideas for new pool builds.
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

    Pool School, TFTestKits, Pool Calculator

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    Lershac's Avatar
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    Re: Have to have! Wish I had! Tell us about your pool.

    Quote Originally Posted by dmanb2b
    To everyone familiar with this thread thus far, please note that numerous posts regarding a recommendation to use a freshwater pool has/have been deleted, as such systems are currently not recommended by TFP.
    Seems pretty heavy handed and dictatorial... I disagree with this practice.
    (DIY):16K Gal 20X30 rectangular IG Gunite, w/spa, CCP 520 filter,2 Pentair VS pumps, 400KBTU Pentair gas heater, Heat Pump for cooling, **update5.25.2013** added an intellichem with acid pump that will control existing SWG. My Build Thread Here

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    Re: Have to have! Wish I had! Tell us about your pool.

    It didn't get deleted. it just got moved to the deep end section since it was really a thread hijack. The discussion is still there.
    Oh, and I thought of one more thing i liked about my pool. The LED colorlogic light
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  14. Back To Top    #14
    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: Have to have! Wish I had! Tell us about your pool.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lershac
    Quote Originally Posted by dmanb2b
    To everyone familiar with this thread thus far, please note that numerous posts regarding a recommendation to use a freshwater pool has/have been deleted, as such systems are currently not recommended by TFP.
    Seems pretty heavy handed and dictatorial... I disagree with this practice.
    Typo on my part, as BK pointed out, and has been corrected...again unless there is something to add specific to CCP's OP, please feel free to PM me directly. Thanks.

    You will also notice that the thread in which the posts have been moved to, has since been locked. David121 and Murlok were the same individual attemtping to bring alternate sanitization into this discussion. Clearly against forum rules.

    Again, in attempting to honor CCP's original request, I'll ask that members post comments about their own pools, ONLY!
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

    Pool School, TFTestKits, Pool Calculator

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    Re: Have to have! Wish I had! Tell us about your pool.

    One day when we build our house we want an indoor pool with a spa in the center, we visited on when we were still living in the UK and thought we want that!
    its kind of like having a bed with jets and seats with jets all situated around a rectangular shape in the center of the pool.
    15ft round above ground pool (6600 gallons)
    Sand filter
    Jandy gas heater
    Intermatic timer

  16. Back To Top    #16

    Re: Have to have! Wish I had! Tell us about your pool.

    A lot of what other people are saying, plus: Wish I would have put in an Autofill so I never have to remember not to forget to turn the water off (I have one now - a wireless unit), and an auto-drain so I never have to go out in the rain when its really coming down to take some of the top off - don't have one of those.
    ~45Kg Pool with attached Spa, NSP-72 DE, Minmax 400 Heater, Tahoe Blue Pebbletech, Jandy SWG via Aqualink RS-8, The Pool Cleaner (black)
    Pumps: X3 Hybrid Pump (switches to SPA), 2HP Spa (additional, when SPA is on), and a 1HP For Waterfall
    8, 4x12 Solar Panels on the roof of the pool-house (~12' up)
    CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK: "I'M SORRY. I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THE SOUND OF HOW AWESOME I AM" (Thanks to TFP!)

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    Re: Have to have! Wish I had! Tell us about your pool.

    In meeting one masonry guy in connection with my owner builder pool project, he mentioned something that seemed pretty Genius. When making a raised spa, right outside the coping within arms reach make a small concrete ice chest built into the deck with a drain that feeds into your landscaping or your drainage system. The cover can be matched to your deck material or out of an attractive material. Essentially no unsightly cooler next to spa and no getting out to grab another beverage.
    I am about to install my coping and paver deck around my pool soon so I can appreciate the thread.
    OB Pool - 45K Gal. 64'x25' free-form IG - 35'x18" raised bond beam - Swim up bar w/ 5 stools - 14'x8 ' sunken patio/grill area w/ icemaker, fridge, SS cabinets, sink, granite counters, dual head grill - 14' spa w/12 venturi jets - 2 fire bowls - 1 firepit - Indeck drink cooler - 3 fiberlit waterfalls - 14' sun shelf with 2 fiberlit bubblers - 25 x fiberlit star floor fixtures - 5 Pentair Intelliflow 3HP pumps - Tiger Shark QC Cleaner - 4 Pentair Color LED Intellibrite Lights - Pentair 400K Master Temp - 2 Intellichlor IC40 alt cells - Intellitouch i9 w/ i10x expansion - Pentair IS10 spa side remote - MobileTouch2 - 4 Valve Actuators - Silencer Blower - Pentair 520 Cartridge Filter - 2 fiberlit laminars - 4 Fiberstar Illuminators - Perimeter fiberlit bar counter and spa - 2 Bermuda Skimmers - 8 Returns - Hydrazzo custom color plaster - Natural quartz ledging - Glass Mosaic Tile - 2000 sq ft paver deck w/ double banded poured coping - Interfab G-Force Pool slide.

  18. Back To Top    #18
    chessie6's Avatar
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    Re: Have to have! Wish I had! Tell us about your pool.

    We have a 19 x 37 oval - I love the shape of the pool because I can swim around the perimeter endlessly, but if I had to do it over again I would have gone with the next smaller size down, the 17 x 35. I feel the smaller size would have been plenty big for our use - the bigger the pool means more chlorine and chemicals, larger areas to brush and skim (my arms get really tired), larger solar and winter covers (bulkier to handle, store, and more expensive), more water needed for filling and topping off (more expense), more water to heat (we use a heat pump), more decking needed around a bigger pool (more expense), and less yard available.

    I would have preferred to have the returns on the opposite side of the skimmer . . everything is on the same wall and the debris just blows to the other side of the pool and stays there. My builder said the stuff would come back to the skimmer after blowing to the other side . . not so.

    The 3 1/2 foot section is good for when we have youngsters over and scarety-cats afraid of the water (but neither myself or husband use that area much), the slope is great because I can pick the right height of the water for me to jog in, and the 8' is deep enough to allow diving and jumping which our nephews and nieces spend the most time in, so I don't have to worry about someone diving into too shallow water.

    We had a stamped concrete deck put in, and even though my husband coated it with shark-bite sealer I still find it slippery.

    I love my straight slide which I bought at a tag sale for $120. I don't know why they sell only curved ones now.

    I love the 6 foot jump board, which adds a nice spring to jumping into the water.

    I love having two returns in the steps - it helps keep debris from collecting there and it's a nice to sit in the steps and get bubbled on.


    That's all I can think of for now - I'll come back and add more if I think of any more.

    Best,
    Jan
    Summer: 19 x 37 Pacific Graphex IG modified oval, aztec marine vinyl liner, 24,000 gal, 3.5 feet to 8 feet, 1 hp Hayward C4025 Swim Clear 4-cartridge filter, 12.5% Liquid Pool Shock for sanitizing, 1 super wide mouth skimmer, 4 returns (2 therapy jets in steps), Hayward Heat Pro heat pump, non-curved pool slide, 6' jump board, 8 ml blue solar cover, TF-100 test kit, had pink algae in 2010 Winter: Hot Springs Vista Spa, 500 gallons.

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: Have to have! Wish I had! Tell us about your pool.

    That is a great idea Spillmar! I might need to add that.

  20. Back To Top    #20

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    Re: Have to have! Wish I had! Tell us about your pool.

    We finished our pool in July of 2010, so this is pretty fresh in my mind.

    Things I like/love about my pool design:
    - the spa is close to the back door; great for hustling inside when the weather is cold; I had this vision of wanting the spa facing the house so that I could sit inside and see the waterfall - so glad that it faces away as we are always outside at the outdoor living
    - deep end in front of the spa; our kids stand up on the raised spa and jump in
    - small shelf in the deep end for climbing out of the pool; very handy for the kids
    - umbrella sleeves in the pool deck and the swim-up bar; this is nothing more than a piece of 1.5" PVC in the ground
    - drains in the pool decking; can't tell you how glad I am we focused on getting water off the pool deck via drains
    - planters integrated into the coping; we have 2 areas where we have planted succulents and fountain grass right next to the pool; really helps
    to break up the hard scape and soften the look

    Things I'd do different:
    - love the 'barrel' look of a round spa, but not very functional - hard for everyone to put their feet in the middle - wish it was oval shaped
    - the waterfall from my spa into my pool is too forceful; I wish it was plumbed such that I could divert water to both the spa and pool returns
    which would make for a gentler cascade
    - I left some small punch list items for me to tackle, and now they are languishing (roof/wall structure for the equipment pad, stonework on the
    floors of the outdoor living, column bases, etc.); have a project plan and let the workers do what they are good at
    =====================================
    17K gallon IG freeform Pebble-Tec pool w/ raised spa/waterfall, Hayward 6020 DE filter, Tristar 1 HP circulation pump, Tristar 2.5 HP spa pump, Silencer 2hp blower, Aquarite SWG, Polaris 280 w/ booster pump, Hayward Universal H-Series 400K LPG heater, Ultrapure Ozonator 25, Aqualogic PS-8

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