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