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Thread: Planning Purchase of Large AG Oval Pool - LOTS of ?s

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    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Livonia, MI
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    Planning Purchase of Large AG Oval Pool - LOTS of ?s

    First off, I have to admit that I am kind of terrified to buy a pool this year. The more I read, the less I know, and I wonder if I shouldn't keep reading for a whole calendar year before I choose a specific pool and equipment. But I have always wanted a pool, and it's possible that I might even need one, for reasons that are in the next paragraph. Here's what I can tell you so far...

    We are thinking about buying an oval above-ground pool this year. We want a *large* pool, and specifically an oval pool for the length of it. (My knees are bad and swimming laps for exercise would be good therapy for me; so the longer the pool, the better.) We are not planning to dig a 'deep end', so the pool would be flat-bottomed all the way across.

    Our front-runner thus far is a Doughboy Desert Spring with a 54" sidewall, 21x41' oval with upgraded "Misty Falls" liner.

    For $8200, we'd get the pool, the "gold package" (19" Doughboy sand filter and 1.5 HP Doughboy pump, one Deluxe Doughboy Thru Wall Skimmer and Return Package, 200 lbs. filter sand, Vacuum head, deluxe vauum pole, deluxe vacuum hose, deluxe leaf rake, Chlorine dispenser, deluxe chemical package, test kit, thermometer, pool care booklet, Doughboy Ultra Vac Automatic Cleaner, deluxe solar cover and deluxe winter cover, and an Aquador), an upgraded huge 'wedding cake' pool ladder/steps, two FAFCO Sunsaver Solar Panels and 2 main/bottom drains. The price above does include sales tax and comes from my local pool store, which has been around forever and a day. (Note: I *am* going to go back and find out what it would cost me to get a much larger filter and find out if the pump has two speeds or not. But how big a filter should a pool this size have?)

    I have yet to call their recommended installer (kudos to all of you who install your own pools, but my husband and I have NO desire to do it ourselves, LOL) but I think the install price (which includes sand, support bricks, etc) will come to around $2000-$2200. The only thing not included is the cost of running the electrical line to code and the water cost.

    We chose solar panels, in the hopes that this will give a pool that large a little extra 'oomph' to warm up during a Michigan summer. (Gas heaters are out of the question, given the expense.) If anyone has anything positive or negative to say about the FAFCO Sunsaver solar panels, don't heistate to speak up!

    We opted for bottom drains, because the size of the pool has me concerned that we'll need every advantage when it comes to circulating the water to keep it clean. We will be paying to have the pool professionally winetrized (at least for the first year) because we were told that having the bottom drains makes it imperative that we learn to winterize the pool correctly.

    Eventually, we hope to build a deck around the pool, but that will have to come later. We'll be doing some additional reading and research, as well as at least two more field trips to other local pool stores...but is there anything about what I've described that jumps out to the experienced pool owners here? I would genuinely appreciate anything you might care to offer in terms of advice!

    Note: Since writing this post and reading many opinions on this forum and elsewhere, I've begun to question quite a few things, such as:

    * Main drains: Are they more of a good thing because the pool is a big one or more of a bad thing because things can go wrong with them?

    * Sand or DE filter? I understand that DE filters are better for people who have well water (iron levels?), but we have city water. And how big?

    * Another Doughboy seller suggested that a pool this size should have 2 skimmers, rather than just one. Does this ring true?

    * What about returns (which I'm assuming are different from skimmers)? How many should I have?

    I swear, if we wind up buying the pool this year, I will immediately become a TFP Lifetime Member and get down to the business of figuring this out. But I feel like I'm stuck - if I'm not confident that I know what equipment I need for a pool this size, I'm probably going to procrastinate on the purchase. (ETA: Just noticed that I joined TFP last August - see how I procrastinate? Still no pool here!) I know some of these choices are a matter of opinion, but any information or suggestions would be wonderful at this point.

    Thank you so much (in advance)!

    - Michelle, SE Michigan
    - Michelle in SE Michigan (suburban Detroit)

    54" Desert Spring Doughboy 21x41' oval AG pool, with 7' deep end on half the pool - approximately 23,000 gallons. Including 2 returns/skimmers/main drains, 300lb Doughboy sand filter, 2HP Doughboy pump.

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Jul 2009
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    Houston, Texas
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    Re: Planning Purchase of Large AG Oval Pool - LOTS of ?s

    I would opt for an extra skimmer and return over the two main drains. You are getting plenty of pump to power the returns and solar pannels and should have good circulation. When the pool is installed one of the skimmers should be on the windy side of the pool, so that debris is blown toward the skimmer. You don't really need a main drain for good circulation. 2 to 4 returns is plenty.

    DE filters are great for pool that get a lot of tree debris and dirt, but a sand filter should be just fine. Larger is better with any kind of filter. 19" should be adequate for your pool, but the larger the filter the less often you have to backwash.

    Take the time to decide how you want the pool positioned in the yard taking into account previlent winds, proximity to water and elecric outlets, where you want the ladder to go. The pump and filter should be placed in an area with good access and out of sight from the house or yard.

    Good luck with the new pool!
    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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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
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    NY
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    Re: Planning Purchase of Large AG Oval Pool - LOTS of ?s

    Welcome to TFP

    I would opt for at least a 250lb (22') sand filter or 300lb sand filter...they'll tell you it's too big, but that's just fine. A 1hp 2 speed would be great or a 3/4 hp single speed. 2 skimmers and returns would be better and having the main drains are a good idea, if properly installed. If you want to skip the main drains, a nice robot, will take care of maintaining a clean pool bottom and you cam avoid the hassle of winterizing main drains.

    What size panels are they including and where do you plan on having them installed? I have two 4x20 Fafco Solar Bear panels on a 24' round and think they are just enough for NY weather. That said depending on you location, you may need more than two panels or they may be enough. I prefer the solar bear panels over the sunsaver version for on ground installation. They are just a bit sturdier and come in a single 4x20 panel, vs 2 2x20 panels.

    Lastly...get the pool...we'll help you enjoy the season
    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

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Livonia, MI
    Posts
    18

    Re: Planning Purchase of Large AG Oval Pool - LOTS of ?s

    I'm getting some new price info based on the recommendations so far (thank you both SO much). In many ways, I would like to avoid having main drains - unless that's just a bad idea. If I can get the same advantages with a pool robot, I'd probably opt for that. Are there pool robots that TFP users would recommend for someone in my situation?

    Thank you again for your advice - I am feeling much more confident that we'll be able to make smart choices w/r/t the pool equipment.
    - Michelle in SE Michigan (suburban Detroit)

    54" Desert Spring Doughboy 21x41' oval AG pool, with 7' deep end on half the pool - approximately 23,000 gallons. Including 2 returns/skimmers/main drains, 300lb Doughboy sand filter, 2HP Doughboy pump.

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