My wife and I just purchased our first home and are already considering adding a pool to the backyard
I have been through pool school and have been browsing other construction threads but I have some personalized questions if people have time.
We are at least 1 year away from breaking ground. This is early planning so we have realistic expectations and can set a budget to save towards etc.
Here is our "blank canvas" so to speak
We are in Northern California just outside the SF Bay area. I know we have expansive soil conditions based on our home inspection reports etc. Not sure on water table information.
Fiberglass v. Gunite v. Vinyl
I am leaning towards the fiberglass and SWG combination. I have seen enough posts to know the follow up question will be "why" so the deciding factors at the moment are improved water chemistry/lower maintenance time and potentially improved thermal properties...my wife will want a nice warm pool so I need to try and reduce the costs to keep it there.
The lack of ability to customize the shape of my dream pool is also not an issue as pool safety (we have a 1 year old and are planning on more children) is our top criteria and an automatic pool safety cover is a requirement with whatever we finally decide upon. The shape requirements of an automatic safety cover appear to limit the creativity and customization benefits afforded by gunite construction.
However, I am still open to gunite with pebbletec or pebblesheen type surface if anyone wants to chime in.
Leaning strongly towards salt water system and automation. Pentair brands and automation are my top choices right now
Leaning towards oversized cartridge
In addition to the pool we would also like a hot tub / spa. As a layman those 2 terms are synonymous to me. If there is a distinction in the industry please educate me. For the remainder of this post I'll just refer to them as "spa" to simplify things.
I am seeing spill overs as an alternative to a separated spa and I like the aesthetics. I can use the spa as a water feature. I'm not sure how this impacts the actual usage of the spa or the plumbing and heating aspects of the pool/spa. I have read there are valves that change from pool mode to spa mode but don't know what that means for heating or how it would work with the automatic safety cover.
2-In floor cleaning?
Does anyone have advice regarding in floor cleaning and expansive soil conditions?
I love the idea of automation with no pool cleaning hose to bother me while I am in the pool but I have also read about the dangers if the pool moves and shears off your cleaning heads. Would I be better off with a robotic cleaner that I set and forget then remove after it is done?
Before I started researching I thought solar panels were for electric heating but I have seen many posts regarding pumping water through the panels for heating. Are these types of solar panels less expensive than the electrical ones? Would this be a strongly recommended upgrade with our housing alignment? I put the compass facing of our house if that helps in the analysis.
I grew up with a concrete pool in the East Bay but was not in charge of any of the upkeep. Anyone in the area able to tell me if we need to close/winterize our pools? I know it can reach high 30's in an extremely cold winter but I don't ever remember seeing the pool I grew up with drained etc. I think we just stopped using it and maintaining the chemical balance.
Thank you for reading my long winded introduction!