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Thread: (bubbling up from the swamp) HELP!

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    (bubbling up from the swamp) HELP!

    I am essentially starting from square one. I bought my house about a year and a half ago, which came with an ~33k gallon concrete IG pool/spa with nothing but the permanently installed (flagstone built around it, probably set in concrete) skimmer still there (they even took the basket.) I have had no time, energy, or money to devote to this serious project yet, but am gearing up to get it knocked out now. I made sure the pool was full (was about half until then, and a swamp already) so it wouldn't bathtub during our week of rains in December, and the water has been growing ever since despite a few times of dumping gallons (usually about 12) of bleach to keep the mosquito population from exploding too badly.

    I'm buying a pump and know nothing beyond what I've read here and on the Pentair site (which is actually pretty horrible in explaining the models comparatively and ended up making less sense than the threads I saw here.) I am trying to decide between a VF and a VS pump.
    I have a lot of work to do ahead, but honestly since my pond is drained I think I may just scrape the plaster-ish 'liner' and replace it with I-don't-know-what (I'm waiting on the repair guy's opinion, but I'm leaning toward cheaper for now and replacing with something much better in a few years) before just refilling it and starting like a brand new pool. The thing is, I just want to dial in about 42 gallons/minute if I can (for just over 2 turnovers a day) and leave it alone. I plan to add some sort of heating for the tiny spa at some point, but that's only important now because there are at least some lines for it and for the knowledge that it's coming.

    I know DE filters get the smallest particles out, but I'm not sure if that matters (we're the type of people who backpack for miles to find a spot to camp, and laugh at the ridiculous people who carry hand sanitizer and use it every time they touch something) enough to get it. I'm more interested in ease of maintenance (If we're backpacking, how can we maintain the pool?) and cost of labor/materials. I don't want a cartridge, so the decision is DE vs sand here. I know there's some DE still in the shed, so it had a DE filter before, but again, is it really necessary? And in talking to various people, they've mostly recommended a 60 sq ft DE filter but no recommendation on size for a sand filter if that's what we get. I'm leaning toward sand because I couldn't care less about the extra filtration, I'm basing this more on the ease of maintenance and cost aspect.

    The wife is pretty set on a salt system despite the fact that as far as I can tell it's also chlorine, just less noticeable. I saw a UV thing that seems pretty nifty, but don't know if its worth getting. I apologize that I haven't researched these items here, I'm pretty preoccupied with the pump and filter part of the equation right now.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated, and any ideas that I could go with that haven't been brought up are also welcomed if there's some sense made alongside the idea.
    appx 20,000 gallon IG pool (with small spa added later, may be removing) the pool came with nothing but the permanently installed skimmer since the house was a foreclosure. Still has nothing installed, but we've got a Pentair WhisperFlo to install, and the rest... well, we're working on it. If ever there was a clueless n00b it's *this guy*

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    Re: (bubbling up from the swamp) HELP!

    Hey, McB,

    Welcome to the forum You have a good start in your research and your helpful description of who you are helps me suggest one type filter over another. Get a sand filter. You will never regret it.

    I would almost never say that as all three types of filters work very, very well but your lifestyle and attitude is very similar to mine and my sand filter has served me well. Your water will still be crystal clear if you keep your chemistry correct.

    You may not have the need for that expensive pump. I would consider a 1hp or at biggest a 1.5HP 2-speed pump. It can run on low most of the time and then boosted up for vacuuming (or whatever) when you need it. It'll save some serious money.

    Disregard UV....it's not effective. SWG are spectacular for convenience and, you are right, it is simply a method of automatically adding chlorine instead of having to add it manually. Probably no one on the forum regrets their SWG purchase although I personally don't have one.
    Dave S.
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    Re: (bubbling up from the swamp) HELP!

    Sand filters are definitely the easiest to work with. The water doesn't get quite as clear but most people can't even tell the difference. The largest difference is that after an algae outbreak sand takes significantly longer to clear the water but DE requires lots of attention as the pressure goes up very rapidly
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: (bubbling up from the swamp) HELP!

    Welcome to TFP!

    You've got a long way to go, but it's actually not as hard as you might imagine.

    Obviously your first step is circulation and filtration. California has laws that may restrict what pump you can install. I'm not sure what the rules are. As you might expect, it keeps you from installing cheap pumps in most cases.

    While DE can filter smaller particles, that will be a problem while you are cleaning up the mess. It will need frequent backwashing because it is so good at cleaning the water. You'll also need to check for laws restricting your filter choice as well as your options for disposing of backwash water. Some communities require DE filter waste be put in the storm sewers, and some prohibit it.

    If I were in your situation, I'd consider trying to find a used pump and sand filter on Craigslist or eBay to use until you get a handle on the water. Then you will be in a better position to make an informed decision. I've had or maintained all three filter types, and currently have sand with no inclination to switch. I live on a farm and have a pretty good dirt load and most people who see my pool are impressed with the clarity.
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    Re: (bubbling up from the swamp) HELP!

    Filter choice should be made on the situation. Lots and lots of dust? Dogs swimming in it? Lots of trees dropping pollen? Are you landlocked, or is there room to discharge backflush water on the back forty?

    I have a DE filter using fiber clear. But I don't get much of anything in the pool. If what I've been told is true, it got backwashed once a year whether or not it needed it.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
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    Re: (bubbling up from the swamp) HELP!

    Cost of water is another concern, sand filters require the most water for backwash/flushing and a place to dump that water. As to the SWG, I would suggest holding off on it for now and use regular chlorine, as you know it is the same thing, just generating it on site instead of dumping it in, you can always add it later. A correctly maintained tradiaitonal chlorine pool is almost indistinguishiable from a SWG chlorinated pool, the problem is so few people ever get to compare them that way, instead they compare poorly maintained hotel, or private pools to well maintained SWG pools. As has been mentioned I think the state of CA in its wisdom has outlawed pool pumps over 3/4 HP for residential pools as an energy saving method, being CA they did this based on HP not on electrical draw, this is a fairly new law, just a year or two old, so there are a lot of grandfathered pumps out there, if this is a do it yourself project you might be able to sneak in a larger 2 speed pump which if used right would probably save you operating cost compared to the mandated 3/4 HP.

    Ike
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: (bubbling up from the swamp) HELP!

    I have about a third of an acre, and there is a 'seasonal stream' (IE when it rains and there's runoff, but it's still going pretty well right now and its been a while since we've had rain, so...) I drained the pond and it ran into the stream but I figure that if the chlorine level is low enough to have a couple generations of tadpoles and full bloom algae then it's okay enough for the stream.

    We have a WaterBoy whole house filtration system, which includes the lines that would be used to fill the pool back up, so evaporation shouldn't be quite so bad for us even though its usually 4-6 feet of evaporation to about 1 foot of rainfall per year.

    Thank you for the input about the filter, I will try to stick with sand. I will look into the laws, but honestly I don't give a rat's... well, you know... about what they think I should be allowed to install in my pool, I just like the VF because I can plug in the flow to get 2 turnovers per day and let it run, backwash the filter every so often and be happy. (Aside from working to maintain the chemistry, maybe I need a 'pool boy' or something...)

    As for the SW system, I'll let the wife have her way with that especially since if we aren't around so much to maintain the levels, the SW should be a little better in terms of maintenance, correct? (I'm not intentionally lazy, just not around very much, I swear) I should say, the ground around the pool is flagstone, and with as concrete-happy as everything else is, I wouldn't be surprised if EVERYTHING is set in concrete. Will that affect installation of anything?

    I'm getting mixed signals about UV, some people say its great, it kills anything that goes through it so that even if algae gets by the sand filter it won't get to proliferate in the pool... but some people (including above) say that its a waste. Is there something I can compare here, or is this all just opinions. I read a thread where "WaterBear" (thank you, BTW) posted:

    You might find this thread useful:
    alternative-sanitizers-and-chemical-free-pools-the-truth-t3025.html

    I feel I should make it clear that I did NOT intend on trying to do UV by itself, but in conjunction with the rest of the system. What I want to know specifically is will it hinder the SW system, such as deplete the chlorine faster, etc. or will it only help by killing anything that gets by (through) the filter?

    Thanks again!

    -Ken
    appx 20,000 gallon IG pool (with small spa added later, may be removing) the pool came with nothing but the permanently installed skimmer since the house was a foreclosure. Still has nothing installed, but we've got a Pentair WhisperFlo to install, and the rest... well, we're working on it. If ever there was a clueless n00b it's *this guy*

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    Re: (bubbling up from the swamp) HELP!

    With an outdoor pool I see no advantage to UV as you will still need to keep chlorine at the right levels for all those places algae can grow that do not go through the fitler/pipes.

    Ike

    p.s. remember you are in sunny CA with lots of natural UV available.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: (bubbling up from the swamp) HELP!

    A good point, to be sure. UV = scratched. Thanks!

    -Ken
    appx 20,000 gallon IG pool (with small spa added later, may be removing) the pool came with nothing but the permanently installed skimmer since the house was a foreclosure. Still has nothing installed, but we've got a Pentair WhisperFlo to install, and the rest... well, we're working on it. If ever there was a clueless n00b it's *this guy*

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    Re: (bubbling up from the swamp) HELP!

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac-1
    Cost of water is another concern, sand filters require the most water for backwash/flushing and a place to dump that water. As to the SWG, I would suggest holding off on it for now and use regular chlorine, as you know it is the same thing, just generating it on site instead of dumping it in, you can always add it later. A correctly maintained tradiaitonal chlorine pool is almost indistinguishiable from a SWG chlorinated pool, the problem is so few people ever get to compare them that way, instead they compare poorly maintained hotel, or private pools to well maintained SWG pools. As has been mentioned I think the state of CA in its wisdom has outlawed pool pumps over 3/4 HP for residential pools as an energy saving method, being CA they did this based on HP not on electrical draw, this is a fairly new law, just a year or two old, so there are a lot of grandfathered pumps out there, if this is a do it yourself project you might be able to sneak in a larger 2 speed pump which if used right would probably save you operating cost compared to the mandated 3/4 HP.

    Ike
    Search on this site and you'll find the links to the actual law. Per the law, You can't install a single speed pump - needs to be dual or variable. Of course no one is checking or enforcing it. Sdg&e is Offering rebates for dual and variable speed pumps FYI.
    15,600 Gallon, 16' x 32' In-Ground Vinyl Pool
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    Re: (bubbling up from the swamp) HELP!

    Or you could refer back to my statement that I don't give a hoot about their stupid laws, but as long as I can leave the pump running 24/7 at a low speed, I don't really care what the pump is aside from I like the fact that the VF pumps will maintain the flow I need to have and all I have to do is remember to backwash. Re-reading about water prices (I missed that on the first go-round) we use so little water that we were able to fill (half) of the pool without paying anything more for the month. I'm not worried about the water bill so much as I didn't want to use the water when we're in pretty much perpetual drought. But since we HAD to drain the pool for the repairs, we're pretty much stuck.
    appx 20,000 gallon IG pool (with small spa added later, may be removing) the pool came with nothing but the permanently installed skimmer since the house was a foreclosure. Still has nothing installed, but we've got a Pentair WhisperFlo to install, and the rest... well, we're working on it. If ever there was a clueless n00b it's *this guy*

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    Re: (bubbling up from the swamp) HELP!

    *update* pool is pretty much drained, this morning it had probably 50 gallons or so of putrid black water. The plaster is pretty bad on the steps and spa bench, and the dividing wall on the non-spa (pool) side. Will it ALL have to come off, or should I treat it like paint... scrape/chip what comes up, sand the edges smooth, and touch it up?

    Ps don't swim in black water. Just saying, that stuff reeks. I bailed out as much as I could and am letting the sun evaporate the rest. Was going to start scrubbing, but waiting to find out if I need to scrape the whole liner (what's the point in cleaning now if I'll have to take it all down, right?)
    appx 20,000 gallon IG pool (with small spa added later, may be removing) the pool came with nothing but the permanently installed skimmer since the house was a foreclosure. Still has nothing installed, but we've got a Pentair WhisperFlo to install, and the rest... well, we're working on it. If ever there was a clueless n00b it's *this guy*

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    Re: (bubbling up from the swamp) HELP!

    It is very difficult to patch pool plaster without having small leaks, though it is possible with enough skill. You generally need to chip out an entire area and then re-plaster that area. The challenge is getting the joint with the old plaster to be solid, which takes some skill. There will invariably be a visible line, but you can sometimes hide that somewhere there is a bend to keep it from beeing terribly obvious. If everything else is in good shape it might be worth trying to patch the steps and bench, but if you do get someone who really knows what they are doing to do the work.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: (bubbling up from the swamp) HELP!

    I don't know about plaster skill, but I am a firm believer that surface preparation is THE most important part of the painting process, so maybe that will translate over. I am actually thinking that if I can I may just try and do some other sort of liner for the short course and revisit the plaster thing in another few years. Either way, this is work for a professional, I'm just doing the prep to cut down on cost, I just don't want to waste time scrubbing and pressure washing the liner if it's going to *have* to be all scraped out. I guess I'll see what the repair guy says.

    I also read some literature on using crushed recycled glass in a sand filter as it lasts longer, doesn't require as much backwashing, and a few other decent sounding points. I wonder if it would work to get a bunch of glass bottles, clean them up really well, and crush them myself, maybe even polish them up a bit in a tumbler... I wonder if that will work... maybe next time around replacing the sand.

    Thanks much, and I'll keep you all updated!

    -Ken
    appx 20,000 gallon IG pool (with small spa added later, may be removing) the pool came with nothing but the permanently installed skimmer since the house was a foreclosure. Still has nothing installed, but we've got a Pentair WhisperFlo to install, and the rest... well, we're working on it. If ever there was a clueless n00b it's *this guy*

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    Re: (bubbling up from the swamp) HELP!

    Turns out the plaster has to be taken off down to the 'gunnite' (sp?) because it's never been redone (apparently, they haven't used black sand to make plaster in like 20 years, and my plaster has black sand instead of the current white sand and black dye method) and the waterline stone (aka algae heaven) is best handled with removal and replacement with tile. I'm looking at about 5400 -just to replaster and do the waterline tile- according to the cheapest guy, and another came in and took lots of measurements then told me my pool is actually about 20k gallons (crazy, its 92ft around, and it is long but deceptively thin and only 8ft deep - guess I will have to update my signature) and the flagstone coping is very uneven so I'll have a crazy grout line above the waterline tile when its done unless I remove the flagstone, level, and put in new coping. Maybe when I remodel it in another 5 years or so whenever this plaster starts to fall apart...

    I found a Pentair WhisperFlo for $50 to last until I can get the VF (perfect since my current plumbing will only allow up to 3/4HP since I have only two 1" return lines in the pool, but I'm contemplating removing the spa wall since it's so small and combining the lines, then I'll have 6 return lines (the spa has 4) but it'll still be weird because the spa is over the deep end (I'd end up with seats in the deep end, which is actually kinda cool for supervision of children) and then there will be 2 returns opposite of 4 returns, but all still in the deep end and nothing in the shallow except for the fill line. I think I'm going to post some pictures when I have the ability to so you can all see what I'm talking about, but honestly I'm pretty tempted to just get a jackhammer and demo the whole darn thing.
    appx 20,000 gallon IG pool (with small spa added later, may be removing) the pool came with nothing but the permanently installed skimmer since the house was a foreclosure. Still has nothing installed, but we've got a Pentair WhisperFlo to install, and the rest... well, we're working on it. If ever there was a clueless n00b it's *this guy*

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