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Thread: New Pool - What to buy?

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    New Pool - What to buy?

    I am hoping I might be able to get some advice as I am kind of new to the pool world. First, let me give you a little background. My family is looking to buy a new pool this coming Spring. We have two children 3 and 9 and plan on being in the same house for at least the next 10 years. We have had the plastic pool from the chain stores for the past few summers and are ready to upgrade to an above ground. My questions are as follows:

    1. We have narrowed the size to a 24' round and would like a 52" minimum height. However, after searching online the past few days, I am having a very difficult time differentiating between brands/models. We have American Sales and The Great Escape stores in the area (Chicagoland area) but have a feeling from what I've been reading that we can find a better deal online. We're not opposed to buying in pieces as opposed to a package deal to get the best price/quality/fit. My question is are there any specific online sites/manufacturers/deals that we should be concentrating on?

    2. We have not decided whether to go with a sand or cartridge filtering system yet, but would like advice on what size filter and pump would be best in both applications for a 24' 52". I've seen some good feedback on the Hayward filter/pumps.....are there other brands we should be looking at?

    3. What is the best cleaning models out there for this size pool? I haven't really done too much research on this yet, but any suggestions would be appreciated.

    4. Just how difficult is it to install such a pool? I am fairly handy but don't want to get in over my heads. What are the pros and cons?

    I've already done quite a bit of research on this site and have found it extrememly helpful! Thanks in advance for any help!
    Wil-Bar 27'x54" Quest AGP
    Hayward 1HP Powerflo Pump
    Hayward 256 T Swimpro Sand Filter

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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool - What to buy?

    pm...welcome to TFP

    A 24x52 IMO is the best design ever (see my sig ). OK, 1st I would shop your local stores as they may have 2010 leftovers and may be able to offer you a substantially better deal than you may find online and will know local installers. I purchased ours locally, so I can't help with the internet sources, but folks here should advise shortly. I can with certainty tell you that the pool itself is usually the cheapest part of the project, unless you decide on an aluminum framed pool. We paid $899 two years ago for the pool w/skimmer, in the off season, no other equipment and I wanted it that way. The pool pump/filter combos the stores usually sell, the pumps tend to be overpowered and the filter undersized. Which ever frame material you choose, even the standard metal AGP's will easily outlast 10 years.

    Self installation is certainly an option, but unless you have a bobcat handy and a pick-up truck for sand/gravel IMO it's not worth the $1K savings although you have to weigh how easily accessible $1K is to you. Also do not forget to add electrical installation costs and permits.

    I prefer sand (cartridge will do just fine too). In my sig you will see my set-up, a 1/2 hp fullrated pump and a 22" (250lb) Hayward filter. The combo is nice and quiet for being right next to the pool and I barely need to backwash once in the 4-5month season. Actually, I just backwash whenever the rain overflows the pool .

    As far as cleaners are concerned, I LOVE my pool rover jr. I rarely vac (1-2 times a season) manually, and it does a great job picking up the little grit/dust/acorns, etc. I use the rover every 2-3 days and just set-it and forget it...2 hours later, it's done doing it's thing. The other item I LOVE (and this is love or hate) is my $149 Intex SWG. On year two with mine and makes chlorinating sooo easy vs. carrying bleach....maybe I'm just lazy

    Anyhow...hope this helps and feel free to ask any specific questions.
    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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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool - What to buy?

    Here are some pics of mine for reference...sorry these are kind of old, pre-landscape, etc....good luck with your build!




    Lastly, how clear your water can be if you invest in a testkit like the TF100 and follow Pool School her on TFP
    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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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool - What to buy?

    Dman gave you great tips - I'll just say welcome
    Ok, I will add, don't go with sand cove - go ahead and do a foam cove around the pool edge. Wish we hadn't cut that corner back when ours was installed. (our pool was from AS in 2001 and yes, you can find it much cheaper online). If you can find a reputable installer you will still come out ahead. Sand or cart, either one - Dman's recommendation will prob be cheaper. Good luck!
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: New Pool - What to buy?

    Thanks for the great replies! After further research, I am leaning toward the cartridge filter. I was looking at the Hayward Xstream 150sqft but it has a 1.5 single speed pump on it (which I think is too big and will use too much electricity). It looks like you can't buy the Hayward filters seperately (the filter/pump is even listed as a package on Hayward's home website). Would I be better looking at a different brand? If so, which brand(s) (I was considering Pentair but they seem quite a bit pricier).

    On another note, I see that the Hayward Xtream filter has a 1 1/2" filter hook up. I thought I read somewhere that 2" is better, but I'm not sure if anyway makes such a filter for an AG.

    Thanks again!
    Wil-Bar 27'x54" Quest AGP
    Hayward 1HP Powerflo Pump
    Hayward 256 T Swimpro Sand Filter

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool - What to buy?

    There are a lot of good filters and pumps available for above ground pools. If the Xstream is a one piece pump/filter combo then I would not buy it. You want to be able to choose the right size pump for your pool, and you want easy access for repairs. You can use any type of filter you choose for an above ground pool, and for the most part bigger is better. The bigger the filter the longer you can go between cleanings. As for the pump, it is best to use one designed for an above ground pool. For the size pool you want I would not go larger than a 1 hp pump. Unless you have plans to run solar panels up a 3 story building 1 hp should be plenty for good circulation and vacuuming chores. A two speed pump would be best, then you can run it on slow for filtering and circulation and switch to high for vacuuming.

    Take some time to sketch out the layout for the pump and filter. Know in advance where you will have the best access for cleaning the filter and a good source of electricity. You don't want to discover after installing the plumbing that the electricity is too far away or there is not enough space to open the filter! You also want to include unions between the pump and pool, filter and pool, and pump and filter. You may also want to include a waste line between the pump and filter.
    TFP Moderator
    Helpful links: TF Test Kits,TFP Pool School, PoolMath
    Vogue 21' round AG, Pentair 1 hp 2 speed pump, 36 sq ft DE filter, Hayward S180T 150# sand filter, Houston, Texas
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    Re: New Pool - What to buy?

    Thanks for all the helpful info. I received a quote as follows:

    Cameo 24' Pool 52" High (made by Wilbar-Sharkline) $2,700 (25 year warranty, steel panels and beams, 6 inch top beams with resin coating, stainless steel hardware)

    Package includes the following:
    25ml j-channel liner
    150 sqft Hayward Cartridge Filter (would be an additional $150 to increase to larger size)
    1 HP Single Speed Hayward Pump
    Basic A-Frame Ladder
    Baracuda Kontiki 2 Cleaner
    8mm Blue Solar Cover
    Basic Vacuum Package
    Basic Chemical Kit
    Free Installation (We would be responsible for sand, block and other material costs).

    It would be an additional $300 to upgrade from the 24' to the 27'.
    It would be an extra $200 for a stainless steel access panel.

    Does these seem like a good price? Do the pool and list of equipment seem like quality products and good fits for each other? Any and all comments/suggestions are appreciated!
    Wil-Bar 27'x54" Quest AGP
    Hayward 1HP Powerflo Pump
    Hayward 256 T Swimpro Sand Filter

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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool - What to buy?

    If it includes install, that price is about right. I would still insist on a smaller pump (1hp is overkill for even a 27ft pool, unless it is a 2speed?) and larger filter. Also if you have the room, go for the 27ft and forget the SS access panel. Never a day goes by that I do not wish I had spent the extra $100 for the 27ft vs the 24ft
    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: New Pool - What to buy?

    Also, ask them to take some $ off for the basic chemical kit...other than CYA, you really do not need it.
    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: New Pool - What to buy?

    Thanks for the advice dmanb2b. Would a 3/4 hp pump be better on a 27'? The dealer only offers Hayward pumps and they don't offer a two speed except in a 2hp. How much larger filter for the 27' than the 150sqft cartridge?

    Should I have them credit the Baracuda Kontiki 2 cleaner? I read some bad reviews on it and I might be able to get them to substitute/upgrade the Hayward Aquabug for it.

    Should I take the credit on the solar cover and buy a better one elsewhere? It looks like it's a $40 credit.

    Any advice on steps? We have a small child (concerned with safety), won't have a deck most likely the first year, but will probably build one next year.

    Should I see how much more it would be to upgrade to the next pool? I believe it has a little longer warranty and wider top rails. Maybe resin top rail but I am not sure.

    Thanks again!
    Wil-Bar 27'x54" Quest AGP
    Hayward 1HP Powerflo Pump
    Hayward 256 T Swimpro Sand Filter

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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool - What to buy?

    I think a 3/4hp would be just fine. A 3/4 hp uprated pump is eqivalent to a 0.5hp fullrated pump, which is what I run, and I think it would serve you well. The solar cover for $40 is a pretty good deal on a 27ft, so I would keep it, even if it is the cheapo type that will last 2 yrs...you won't find one for $40. On the stairs, those are a toss-up....the std A frame is OK and code compliant, but it leave a lot to be desired, if you know what I mean My wife, does not like the look of ours (I agree they look a little off ), but she agrees it is very safe for the kids and were made by Confer Plastics. Although mine did not come with the ladder, since we put the deck up right away, they do sell a version with a removable locking ladder for when you do add a deck. I really like the wedding cake type steps, but I prefer the confer despite the look as it has two handrails for the kiddies

    As you can see in my pics above...my 4 kids (ages 3-9) have no problem whatsoever using the pool....actually the main saftey issue is once they are in the pool .

    The filter is fine but we generally advise to get the largest you can afford, espicially with a cartridge filter...the larger the filter, the less time you will spend pulling it out for cleaning as well as a better flow rate.

    Good luck w/ the Project


    One thing I forgot to mention...see if they will throw in a pool alarm...it's required by most municipalities these days and can run about $100.
    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: New Pool - What to buy?

    dmanb2b.....Will the smaller pump adversely affect vacuuming and cleaner performance?
    Wil-Bar 27'x54" Quest AGP
    Hayward 1HP Powerflo Pump
    Hayward 256 T Swimpro Sand Filter

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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool - What to buy?

    It shouldn't, but I can not confirm with 100% certainty, since I use a robot for 99% of my vacuuming...meaning it works without the pump running. I have manually vacuumed with no problem on my 1/2 hp, but rarely need to do so and can't compare to a larger pump.

    What I can attest to is that my neighbor has a 1.5hp uprated pump with a small DE filter and he is always amazed at my return flow vs his, yet I only have 1/2 the hp. If you put a 2hp pump on 1.5" piping and an undersized filter, you will get no better flow rate than a 0.5hp pump with an over sized filter. Hope this helps
    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: New Pool - What to buy?

    If you upsize to the 27 then for sure go bigger on the filter size.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool - What to buy?

    I would get the type of stairs where the external ladder folds up and can be locked. Much safer when there are little ones around. Also make sure there is nothing close to the pool that they could drag over and use to climb into the pool. Kids can be very resourceful!

    The low on my 2 speed pump is 3/4 hp and I can run the vacuum with it or the stronger 1 hp setting. I get a lot of leaves and acorns in my pool and the manual vacuum works just fine. I have an old Zodiac Ranger pool cleaner that does o.k. with leaves and dirt but chokes on acorns and constantly gets stuck on the ladder. If you can get a credit on the pool cleaner I would. You can get by with a manual vacuum until you get a feel for what type of debris you get on a regular basis.

    My previous pump was a single speed 1.5 hp and I have not noticed any drawbacks to the lower hp I use now, plus it is much quieter!
    TFP Moderator
    Helpful links: TF Test Kits,TFP Pool School, PoolMath
    Vogue 21' round AG, Pentair 1 hp 2 speed pump, 36 sq ft DE filter, Hayward S180T 150# sand filter, Houston, Texas
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    cubbybeave08's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool - What to buy?

    I got my pool in 2008 from TGE the great escape...TGE had great deals this time of year, which is when I bought my pool. I got a 2007 pool that was in warehouse there at the store, and it was on clearance, I think I got a great deal. I got a 24 ft round, filter, pump, equipment, and free installation. At TGE at least then istallation was part of the sale price. They have their own installers so you don't have to search for one. I paid in total for the pool and installation something like $3200. I paid another $200 at time of installation for the price of sand and patio pavers for the uprights to set on. At the time their excavation was free up to a certain inches below level grade. I think it was something like 6 inches. I think we might have paid for two extra inches. But it wasn't much...I think $25 an inch. The biggest expense is running electric. That ran me an extra $1500 or so. Altogether my pool cost about $5000 with everything. But I had to have a new circuit box put in my basement and that was half of the electrical cost. What i am saying is that I don't know if TGE has changed since 2008, but it would be worth checking out...If they have pools left from last year, you might be able to get more pool than are thinking of getting for the same money. There was absolutely no downside to getting the previous season model...the savings was worth it.
    Beave
    Aqua Leader 24ft Round AG Wil-Bar Influence w/54 inch walls 13,500 gallons
    Swimline J-Blue Opal Liner, 1 4X20 Fafco Solar Bear Solar Heater
    Hayward 2 HP Swim Pro Voyager Pump Micro 150 with 4 way timer
    Swim Pro Voyager Filtration System with Hayward ABS Pearl wide mouth skimmer

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    Re: New Pool - What to buy?

    Thanks everyone for the great information. I think we have decided on the pool package we are going to get with one exception.....should we spend the additional $150 to upgrade from the 150sqft cartridge filter to the 200 sqft. We've decided on a 24' 52" round pool so I'm not sure how much difference the bigger filter will make, and if it is worth that much extra money. By the way, I checked with the Great Escape, and the pump is a 1HP single speed Hayward Swimpro (they don't offer anything smaller and only offer a dual speed in 1 1/2 HP), and the filter is a Hayward Voyager. I really couldn't locate they Voyager online much but was told it was pretty much a Great Escape exclusive. I'm attaching a link below of a picture of it (looks identical to the one in the showroom) that I found on another site in case it help. Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated!

    http://www.shopalliedpools.com/sw17593tl.html
    Wil-Bar 27'x54" Quest AGP
    Hayward 1HP Powerflo Pump
    Hayward 256 T Swimpro Sand Filter

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool - What to buy?

    It's never a bad idea to buy a larger filter, so in my opinion it would be worth it to go with the bigger sized filter. I'd also do everything I could to get a 2-speed pump even if I had to go with a bigger unit.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: New Pool - What to buy?

    Thanks! How will the lower speed on the 1 1/2 HP compare with the 1HP single speed? I tried to find specs on these pumps, but am having a difficult time locating anything on Haward Swim Pro pumps.
    Wil-Bar 27'x54" Quest AGP
    Hayward 1HP Powerflo Pump
    Hayward 256 T Swimpro Sand Filter

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool - What to buy?

    The 1½ hp on low speed is probably close to ¼hp so running it on low saves a bunch of power. Or you can run it much longer for the same cost.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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