Well, I am finally ready to take the scary step of buying expensive, "real" equipment to pimp my Intex. Some of you may be rolling your eyes, as I have made similar posts in the past. I am actually going to do it this time!
My set up:
24' x 40' concrete pad pool will go on
20' x 48" Intex Ultra pool
The plan is to have the Intex pool up for June, July, August. I have two six year olds, and they aren't really looking to extend the swim season, so much as ensure toasty warm water on demand during the regular season. Then remove the pool for basketball, rollerskating, tennis, Big Wheels, etc. So I am having a local pool guy help out and he thinks he can plumb it all so everything can disappear seasonally and leave the concrete empty.
* Will have pool guy cut liner and put in a skimmer (he'll buy that)
* I want to heat the pool, which necessitates getting a big pump (don't think even the Intex sand filter/pump will be enough for the heater -- feel free to tell me if that is incorrect since I have a NIB sand filter I got free last year on their Walmart mess-up
Here is the equipment I want to buy:
1. RayPak or Pentair Natural Gas Heater -- 400,000 btu; electronic ignition; cupro-nickel
2. Pentair Clean and Clear Cartridge Filter -- 200 sq. ft
3. Appropriate pump -- I am thinking of buying an Intelliflo, but mostly because of the automatic shut-off thing in the event a kids' hair is getting sucked into the pump - feel free to tell me if I just need really good grates of some sort over the returns. Another option is a regular pump and a Stingl or similar device, but by the time I buy the Stingl switch and new pump, I'll have already spent almost as much as an Intelliflo
4. Intex SWG (already own it, but have not used it in past years)
1. Am I right that the Intex sand pump/filter won't be powerful enough to use with a 400,000 btu heater?
2. My preference is for a RayPak heater because it seems like a lot of people regard them as excellent. I am strongly considering the Pentair heater, however, for the sole reason that if I buy a Pentair heater, pump, and filter all at once, I get a 3 year warranty instead of a 1 year warranty. Is the Pentair heater close enough in quality/durability/user-friendliness to the RayPak to buy it to gain the extra 2 years of warranty, or should I snub the extra warranty and buy the RayPak anyway?
3. Anyone want to suggest the right pump to buy? Prefer a cord. Prefer 2 speeds. Prefer 1 HP -- unless someone is sure a 1 sp 3/4 HP is sufficient.
4. Anyone have any input on the need for an anti-entrapment type shut off device either on the pump or purchased separately. Even with my Intex pump of last year, if I took of the port cover (sorry, not into the pool lingo yet this year) there was enough suction that pulling my hand away took effort -- it scared me that my girls' very long hair could get swept in -- tell me I'm crazy and to buy a normal pump or tell me I am correct and to spend the money for the ultra-safe Intelliflo, Stingl, or other such safety device.
5. I am planning to buy the equipment on-line due to substantial cost savings. I have finally found a guy with pool smarts to do the plumbing, skimmer, and teach me how to use and winterize these things, but he is freelance. My other option is to spend way more money and buy the equipment suite from a pool store -- according to the pool store it is worth that money because, they say, buying on-line will negatively impact my ability to get the equipment serviced -- of course, the on-line provider says it will have no effect and I'll be well taken care of by the manufacturer. Thoughts on this?
6. The on-line vendor I'm likely to use is PoolSupplyUnlimited -- any positive or negative experiences with them by any of you??
THANKS for those of you who have offered thoughts on similar posts of mine in the past - I promise (my fingers are only slightly crossed) that if you help me again this year I won't make a similar post next year.