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Thread: Trying to build small homemade pool -- need guidance please

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    Trying to build small homemade pool -- need guidance please

    Hi folks,

    Building 12x16x4 rectangular concrete for canine therapy purposes.

    What height is optimum for returning water to pool? (I'm planning 1 skimmer and 1 simple return -- 2" pvc.

    This pool is not for aesthetics, but for working with injured canines.

    I've worked out drainage so the pool can stand empty if I don't need it for a long time, but I don't really know optimums for water filtration circuit.

    A low-point outlet, a skimmer, a vacuum port at the pump, all manifolded at the pump?
    Return at mid-level?

    Are there advantages to locating pump above or below pool water level? I am on a 1-in-4 slope, so I have quite a few choices with 'elevation', including flattening it.

    I want to use the pool in the winter. What is the best way to make it easy to run the pump in winter? Is a heated shed the best way to go, or drain down each equipment each time it is used? What do people use? Heat tapes?

    Also, do I really have to pay 2 grand for uv sterilization? I used to use this technique with salt water aquaria, worked great and was thrifty. At 100 GPM, the devices seem exorbitant. (My thought was to use conventional chlorine for sanitation, and then, since I am such a novice, to back it up with a good UV in the return line. I don't even know that the two approaches are compatible; so far as I know, the UV won't do anything to the chemistry?

    I would invite anyone who is willing to lend me a comment, please chime in. I know nothing about pools. I can handle the construction end, but I don't know the plumbing design end of things. The site is a wooded hillside rural; right now I have a dirt pit with form boards for a slab. 2 inch styrofoam over carefully drained gravel.

    Thanks in advance for anyone willing to help me along.
    Bill

    Piedmont North Carolina -- will hit 22 degrees F tonite!
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    29,000 gallon, concrete pool and spa, SE PA
    Jandy 2HP pump, Raypak 400 heater, Polaris 380

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    Re: Trying to build small homemade pool -- need guidance please

    Hi, Bill,

    Welcome to the forum We can help.

    If I understand you, you have already started construction, is that right? If so, would you please post some pics so we can see where you are in the building process?

    The chemistry will be fairly simple and you are essentially on the right track.....you will have little use for the expense of an ozone generator....chlorine will do just fine.

    Have you looked at any diagrams of basic pool circulatory systems? They're fairly simple but you have to start with that basic knowledge. The elevation of the equipment will be VERY important but let's see what you've done to this point and then suggest where to go from here.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Trying to build small homemade pool -- need guidance please

    Dave,

    Thanks for the willingness to comment.

    Sorry, by UV, I was referring to the UV light tube which simply irradiates the passing water to kill bacteria.

    Within 24-48 hours, I'll have the job ready for the concrete truck. I'll get you some pics and collect your thoughts before I call the concrete in. I am planning a 4" flat bottom with 8" filled reinforced cinder block side walls with 48" water, with plaster surfacing. Following my own instinct, I had planned to plaster first with strong, clean Portland parging; build a good surface, then coat with the Sakrete brand of pool plaster. What I'm after is maintainability and straightforwardness.

    As far as freezing, what I've come up with is to bring 3 2"pvcs to the equipment site from under the frost line, about 10 feet off the side of pool, may use some marine exhaust hose to bring those lines up out of the ground (for freeze-proof purposes), gang them together and wrap them with an electric heat tape or two, then fit each appliance carefully with anti-siphon plumbing fittings so that each will drain back into the pool when shut off. If the pump inlet is, say 4" above waterline in pool, it should be able to prime itself pretty easily. (??) The goal here is to be able to use the pool, even when it hard freezes overnite. Hope to have masonry completely wrapped in two inches styrofoam, and then I'm planning to just keep piling on insulation on the top until I get it to where I can maintain the water temp.

    The 3 lines are one bottom drain, one skimmer, one return line, all plumbing in the equipment shed inclined slightly to drain down automatically. We don't have street gas, so I'm planning to experiment with homemade wood-fired boiler. Haven't figured out how to purge the coils (for frost proofing) yet without resorting to compressed air, which I have in an adjacent building.

    I'll post pics of my concrete-ready site and look for any comments from you before I call in the truck and commit. Up until then, any changes you suggest will be easy.

    Thanks a million,

    The first sign of wisdom is knowing how much you don't know.

    Bill

    PS On the sanitation, I'm trying to be extra cautious, because canine disease and pests in a 'public' pool are not such a well-trodden path. I've acquired from Craigslist, so far, a pump and filter( cartridge type) which should filter the 6500 gallons once per hour. Haven't yet studied modifications to render them self-draining.
    29,000 gallon, concrete pool and spa, SE PA
    Jandy 2HP pump, Raypak 400 heater, Polaris 380

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    Re: Trying to build small homemade pool -- need guidance please

    Bill, welome to the forum as well Hopefully we'll get to see those pics soon


    Just a note that your expected turnover rate is somewhat aggressive. In order to acheive a 1hr turn over you would need to pump over 100gpm, while most pool pump/filter set-ups operate in the 30-60gpm arena. A more likely estimate of circulation is a 2-3 hour turn. UV is certainly a good option to play it safe, but as a secondary system. Chlorine should be your primary/residual sanitizer. And if kept well balanced, as suggested in Pool School (button on upper right of this page), the puppy will be very thankful

    Good luck with this project!
    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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    Re: Trying to build small homemade pool -- need guidance please

    It is so cold this morning that my gravel pile is frozen solid. Maybe early afternoon...

    To Dave and Dman, I can't tell you how much I appreciate your willingness to engage. Soon as I can stop shivering, I'll post some pics including the 3-year old used gear that I acquired Saturday for a song. Don't yet know if it'll be adequate or not.
    29,000 gallon, concrete pool and spa, SE PA
    Jandy 2HP pump, Raypak 400 heater, Polaris 380

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    Re: Trying to build small homemade pool -- need guidance please

    Hey, Bill,

    I built my pool from concrete block so understand a little about what you're trying to do. Search "An unusual pool build" on this forum and you can see pics.

    I also might have some equipment on the cheap if it's not too far for you to drive.....I'm 20 minutes North of Raleigh.

    Either PM or email me on the side and I'll send you my phone number if you want to talk pools and/or equipment.

    The offer of cheap equip goes for anyone else living close enough to come get it, BTW. I cannot ship it so you must be willing to pick up. PM or email me your phone # if you're interested in pumps. filters, railings, and a couple of mesh covers I got from property our church purchased..
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Trying to build small homemade pool -- need guidance please

    Welcome to TFP!!

    I would strongly suggest that you have 2 returns in the pool. This is a pool for dogs and they tend to leave a good bit of hair in the water. With 2 returns you can better get a circular flow to force the hair and any other floating material into the skimmer (speaking of which, get a pack of skimmer socks to keep the hair from clogging the pump! )

    Can't wait to see those pics

    One other thing, before settling on a plumbing design, I would seek out mas985 or JasonLion's advice, those 2 really know their stuff!
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: Trying to build small homemade pool -- need guidance please

    Ted, thanks.

    While I've got the sides open, I'm trying to get the plumbing right. What if I mount one of these thingys in the middle of each of the four sides:http://www.poolcenter.com/accessorie...s-eyeballs.htm and run the return right around the 'waist' of the pool? Would that be a good scheme? Only problem is, I'd like to keep them low so the pipes won't freeze. (?) I read somewhere that the returns should be 'slightly below the surface', but in my case, seems like it would make them vulnerable to frost?
    29,000 gallon, concrete pool and spa, SE PA
    Jandy 2HP pump, Raypak 400 heater, Polaris 380

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    Re: Trying to build small homemade pool -- need guidance please

    I can't see you picture, or have the link work for me

    It 'sounds' like you've got it right (but I can't be sure )

    If you can give us more info and pics, we'll surely be able to help you design this pool
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: Trying to build small homemade pool -- need guidance please

    There's nothing in the hole to present except some 2x6 form boards. As soon as I have it ready for the concrete truck, I promise I'll bring it all and internalize every comment before I commit. I need the wisdom here, because I have no experience with pools at all. I know dogs pretty well, and I know mine needs the resource, otherwise, I'm totally relying on you guys to keep me out of trouble. But a pic of an empty red clay hole in the woods is just too embarrassing to present. The **** clay is frozen so hard I can't quite seem to get ready for the pour. Please stand by.
    29,000 gallon, concrete pool and spa, SE PA
    Jandy 2HP pump, Raypak 400 heater, Polaris 380

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    Re: Trying to build small homemade pool -- need guidance please

    Are you planning on a ramp or steps for the K9 enter/exit... I'm assuming you dont plan on entering the pool yourself - you may already have this worked out...
    My Intro Page: tfp-wanna-be-checking-in-t27499.html
    20K Gal IG Pool - Resurfaced 11/14 w/ Super Blue Diamond Brite
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    Re: Trying to build small homemade pool -- need guidance please

    Bill had contacted me by E-mail earlier based on seeing the ramp in my pool here and here. There are other options such as beach-front walk-in types of pools, but since his 12' x 16' x 4' pool is quite a bit smaller than mine at 16' x 32' x 3-6', the ramp will be fairly steep unless he starts at one corner instead of in the middle as in my pool (i.e. so the ramp is a full "L").

    He does plan on using the pool himself as well, but such a ramp should not be a problem for that. The ramp in our pool is for people; we don't have dogs and our two cats don't like getting wet
    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"

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    Re: Trying to build small homemade pool -- need guidance please

    A very narrow ramp down to about 2 feet of depth. If they aren't swimming by then, I'll give 'em a shove. I figure 18" wide ?? The trick is to keep the slope very shallow, for lame animals. I hate giving up the valuable space, but there's really no way around it, is there? I think it can be in 4 inches of water at the top( to minimize the length required. I'm thinking no more than a 1-in-5 slope, which means the ramp would be 7-8 feet long.

    PS I'm striving to keep the area of the pool small so that I can afford to heat it. Therapeutic temp is 90 F.

    Now, who among you wouldn't build a pool for this guy????[attachment=1:11ximpdd]pool project 003.jpg[/attachment:11ximpdd]
    Attached Images Attached Images
    29,000 gallon, concrete pool and spa, SE PA
    Jandy 2HP pump, Raypak 400 heater, Polaris 380

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    Re: Trying to build small homemade pool -- need guidance please

    Here's another dilemma that I can't figure out:

    I want the pool to be available in the winter, hopefully without too much fuss. It happens to be bitter cold here now (unusual for early December) so I've been focusing on frost damage issues. Then I discover that one technique is to control the main pump thermostatically for frost damage avoidance. Seems like a pretty good scheme to me. In the off-hand chance that the electric is out, I could resort to partial drain to protect the plumbing. Any comments on the use of the pump for frost protection?
    29,000 gallon, concrete pool and spa, SE PA
    Jandy 2HP pump, Raypak 400 heater, Polaris 380

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    Re: Trying to build small homemade pool -- need guidance please

    Bill, we're always ready to proffer 'theoretical' advice

    Simply running the pump when temps get <30* for a few hours at night, while the temps are freezing is sufficient I also see you planned on running the pipes below the frost line and using 'heat tape on the exposed parts of the pipes, this doesn't protect the pump nor the filter, but if you used the freeze 'timer', in addition to that, you should be good for any regular freeze you'll experience in N.C.

    If you need to temporarily drain the pool, I'd suggest keeping the returns (and I still advocate 2) ~ 12" below the water level and use directional 'eyeballs' to direct the flow
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: Trying to build small homemade pool -- need guidance please

    Bill,

    I agree with everything Ted has suggested. My "timer" here is to simply turn on the pump when I expect temps lower than about 28 degrees (30 may be a little safer).

    I could resort to partial drain to protect the plumbing.
    Absolutely. For an IG pool, simply open the air bleed valve at the top of the filter and enough water will drain back to the pool to prevent damage.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Trying to build small homemade pool -- need guidance please

    Thanks Ted and Dave. Ted, the 'official' frost depth here is 18 inches. What is it there, 48"?
    29,000 gallon, concrete pool and spa, SE PA
    Jandy 2HP pump, Raypak 400 heater, Polaris 380

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    Re: Trying to build small homemade pool -- need guidance please



    According to the chart I saw it's 40" where I am now in southern Maine, back in Ct. it was 36".

    In Richmond, Va. it was the same 18" as you
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: Trying to build small homemade pool -- need guidance please

    Now that he's gotten everyone's attention, he summarily walks off the stage...

    I apologize for the delay. I've gotten distracted by the heating system. I'm going to try an experiment of piping hot flue gas directly under the pool. The attached Sketchup image is very rough, but shows the idea of my 5" ceramic conduit which will be buried in gravel beneath the slab. My arithmetic predicts that I if I can raise the underside of the 4" slab to 150 F, it should raise the temperature of the 52,000 pounds of water at the rate of 0.6 degrees F per hour. That would be a nice feature if I can make it work. It will require a forced (suction) draft on the chimney. I'm planning to cover the water surface area with 2" styrofoam boards and 1 or more blankets over top.

    Will it crack the slab? Good question. Plan to use plenty of 'rebarbs' and fiber mix. Plan to unroll a 24" roll of aluminum flashing to cover the ceramics pipe (drain tile) to try to distribute the heat. The strategy is to raise the temp of the entire slab uniformly. Might crack it. Certainly won't be making any heat before I've got some water in the pool.

    BTW, my thermal ciphering definitely is suspect because it also predicts that it would take 2 weeks for the water to cool from 90 to 80 in 30 degree ambient average. This prediction is hard to believe. This prediction was neglecting loss out the sides and bottom. I don't know how to plug in loss out the bottom. Should be dry, but fairly conductive.

    I'll photo the ceramic conduit before I cover it with stone.

    Any objections?
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    29,000 gallon, concrete pool and spa, SE PA
    Jandy 2HP pump, Raypak 400 heater, Polaris 380

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    Re: Trying to build small homemade pool -- need guidance please

    Any objections?
    Proceed with caution. Heating even a small pool like that takes a stunning amount of BTU's. Where are you going to get them? Are you planning on using the excess BTU's in the exhaust stack of a gas furnace?
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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