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Thread: New pool owners- need help with basic construction questions

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    New pool owners- need help with basic construction questions

    Hello, i am new to this forum and am moving to Austin, TX. I am building a pool, and I have some questions after meeting with two different pool builders (specifically Cody pools-national brand- and Lakeside pools-local to Austin). The pool is not yet built, but it will be about 13k gallons and inground/outdoors.

    After my meeting with these builders, here are my questions:

    1. Pump system - the systems introduced to us include the whisper flow by pentair vs. the inteleflow intelligent variable speed pump by pentair. The builder explained that the whisper flow is a fixed speed that would need to be replaced in three- six years while the inteleflow was a variable self adjusting pump that would last for 15 years (and cheaper in the long run). Accurate proclamations?
    2. Salt vs. Chlorine - after the explanation, it seems that pH will need to be calibrated with both systems. Salt systems provide a "smoother" pool feeling, yet can erode any rocks that outline the pool. With both systems, by products of chlorine will exist. What is the feeling upon the board? - salt vs chlorine? The pool builder at Cody seemed to be pro chlorine.
    3. Cleaning system - manual vs. robot vs. high powered pump with in pool sprinkler systems. Specifically, the builder explained that the mdx vgb compliant debris drain with sprinklers eliminates the need for any other cleaning systems due to the continuous nature of the system (obviously the most expensive upfront - yet over the long run should pay for itself). What do you recommend, in general?
    4. Ultraviolet pool cleaner - as explained above, the salt vs chlorine debate is irrevelant as both produce the chlorine by products. One pool builder explained that an ultraviolet system (specifically the Spectrum light system) will eliminate the by products in any system and can infact make the water drinkable. Generally, does this system actually clean the water and does it effectlvely remove the chlorine by products? Also, how long does it last?
    5. Lining - pebble vs plaster? one pool builder said he would give a pebble lining as this would last longer and said he would warranty for 15 years. Does this sound right/accurate?


    I know that I am asking several complex questions, but any assistance would be appreciated. At this point we are totally overwhelmed so any help is appreciated!
    Thank you.
    11,000 gal, Fiberglass IG, Jacuzzi sand filter and pump, K-2006 kit, Kreepy Krauler vac, SpeedStir

  2. #2
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    Re: New pool owners- need help with basic construction quest

    Welcome to TFP!

    1. Pentair makes excellent pumps. Most will suggest that you either get a two speed pump or a variable speed. Not sure about the 15 year claim. Have the Intelliflo pumps even been around for 15 years yet? I have heard excellent things by folks here with the Intelliflo.

    2. Salt pools ARE chlorine pools. The only difference between a pool run on standard chlorination and one with a salt water chlorine system is that the salt system generates the chlorine for you. This doesn't leave "byproducts" of chlorine as you mentioned. It quite simply is chlorine and it requires the same testing and maintenance that a standard pool does. In the long run, the money invested going with either standard chlorine or salt ends up being pretty much the same. All that being said, I like salt systems as I believe they can make things easier to manage, as long as you take care of the rest of your water. Good attention to pH is very important the first year since the plaster is curing. Both plaster curing and SWCG systems make your pH rise fairly quickly. You can't be lazy at all with maintaining it.

    3. I think that the robot would be your best bet here. Having been here for a while, the majority of posts that I see that are related to in-floor cleaning systems are related to problems associated with them.

    4. An outdoor pool makes a UV system pretty much irrelevant. The sun gives you all the UV light that you need for free. The sun also doesn't break and need to be replaced for $$$$. Now with indoor pools, there truly is a place for UV because they don't have the sun available to assist in the breakdown of chlorination and swimmer waste products. Not so much with an outdoor pool. Pool builders make good money selling these "upgrades". Avoid the UV system and use the money that you saved to buy pool toys.

    5. Pebble is a type of plaster. It does have a reputation for durability.
    10K gallon IG gunite with waterfall; Pentair CC320P filter; WhisperFlo 2 HP pump
    TF Test Kits - Pool Math - Pool School
    "It depends."- JohnT

  3. #3
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    Re: New pool owners- need help with basic construction quest

    While many here advocate 2 speeds, the fact that Pentair's Intelliflo's motor is actually designed to enable it to handle 5 or 6 HP but is governed by the piggyback controller lends a lot of credence to the significantly longer life though 15 years is pretty steep, IMHO. The Texas sun is pretty hard on a motor though and the burdened down time a spent motor costs makes the Intelliflo's longer expected lifespan and it's energy savings by virtue of the slower speeds and cooler operation if can provide make it's added up front cost worth strong consideration.

    A salt system is a chlorine system. The term is a shortened version of Salt Water Chlorine Generator. The biggest differences are that you will not be using 3" sized trichlor tablets and that it will produce chlorine the same way the manufacturers make bleach. The chlorine is the same but the chemistry involved in producing it is somewhat different.

    Soft rock may have an issue with any system, not just a salt cell, though cells may exacerbate this some. The solution is not to use stone which, when scratched, leaves a white line in the scratch. A sealant may also help, depending on the stone used. Following standard electrical codes and adding a zinc anode to the pool will ensure the cell, nor any naturally occurring phenomenon does not create a problem.

    Self cleaning systems are expensive. A booster powered pool sweep is effective, both at keeping the pool clean and on a cost basis. IMHO, MDX drains stand too tall though for these sweeps and for robots. Standard VGB compliant drain covers are fine. Robots are nice for pools that have neither but are frequently heavy and awkward to remove.

    UV is a waste. You'll get more UV exposure from the sun's rays with your type of pool. Its just a nice, high margin add on for the PB and a PITA for a tech like me.

    High aggregate finishes like Pebble Tec or Wet Edge last well over twice as long as plain plaster. If you are going to be there for a long time, it's worth the investment. Some use a smaller aggregate so the texture is smoother but the roughest would be like the surface of a basketball and smoothest would be polished smooth. They won't hurt your feet in either event.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

  4. #4
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    Re: New pool owners- need help with basic construction quest

    I'm not sure about the 15 year claim on the variable speed Pentair, but I recommend spending the money on it. My builder using Jandy, which also has the variable speed (the all use the same electric motor manufacturer), and based on my research the variable speed pays for itself in just a few years.

    Once you swim in salt, you'll never go chlorine. That's my opinion anyway.
    20' x 40' / 33,000 gallon / IG / Vinyl
    200lb sand filter / 1hp pump
    4hrs full sun with about 45 min part sun before and after

  5. #5
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    Re: New pool owners- need help with basic construction quest

    I doubt the variable speed pump will last 15 years BUT you will get your money's worth. You want slow water flow for filtration. the longer the water spends in the filter, the better. the VS pump allows you to do that with EXTREME savings on electrical consumption.
    Robotic cleaners tend to clean faster and more economically (IMO),
    Salt vs. chlorine is really a matter of system delivery. But you MUST take into account the affects of salt on the rest of the environment.
    ultraviolet is just an addition to the sanitizing system. it kills biologics so that the chlorine introduced into the system can work more effienctly (and at a lower level)....
    plaster vs. pebble...vs quartz..... i'm currently struggling with that very same quandry....
    In the pool business and finally succumbed to building a pool....

  6. #6
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    Re: New pool owners- need help with basic construction quest

    The biggest thing about building a pool is to make sure the contract you have with your pool building requires them to manage the project and be on site. You would not believe some of the stuff I found my contractors trying to do because the pool company would not show up to manage them. Read the contract - demand that it be very specific on what you want and what you expect.

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