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Thread: Help me make our pool as good as yours

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sunnyvale, CA
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    Help me make our pool as good as yours

    Hello TFP! This is my first post!

    We recently bought a house with a 22,000 gallon in-ground pool from the mid-70s that is in okay condition, but needs resurfacing. It has stains, chips, and a big mark (rusted rebar?). We have trees with a lot of leaves and pine needles. We have a baby, so we need a fence or mesh barrier (we have an old fence from the seller. I've attached photos of some stains, chips, and the big (possibly rust) mark. Equipment: Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter. Hayward RS 750 pump. Aquabot turbo. Solar pool cover.

    I have a few questions for your collective knowledge and experience:

    - I'm trying to make the pool (and house) lower maintenance, and I'm happy to buy even expensive stuff to help save time. What does everyone suggest to cut maintenance time?

    - I need to replaster in the next few years. What will this cost? I'm thinking of getting something more durable than plaster. What will this cost? Any suggestins other than Pebble-Tec? Will our trees stain Pebble-Tec, so I should stick to a cheap material?

    - To save time, I think I'd like a saltwater generator. I gather it will cost about $1000 installed for a good one, plus $400 every 4 years for a new cell. Any thoughts?

    - I have a single speed pump that uses $80 of electricity per month in the summer (half that in the winter). I think a variable-speed pump will pay for itself. I have a friend who runs his at low flow 24 hours/day, and I'd like to do the same. I expect it to also cost $1000. Any thoughts?

    - There is no heater (though there is a capped gas hook-up). I'm thinking of going solar thermal. Any thoughts?

    - I have an Aquabot with a broken timer (I sit a rock on the switch and it runs until I turn it off). It gets stuck on the VGB anti-vortex drain I installed, on the thermometer, sometimes even steps perhaps every other hour. Are there better vacuums? Can I leave in all the time? When I resurface, should I get a suction-side port installed, and do I need a special pump for such a vacuum?

    - We live near San Jose CA, so there's not much of a winter though the pool is too cold to swim. Can I close pool to save maintenance, chlorine, and pump cost, or is it easier to leave the pool open?

    - I'd love an automatic pool cover, but because of the swim-out I do not think there is enough space (we have a small yard). Any options? (I've even considered filling the swim-out -- I don't think it could be converted into a spa.)
    Attached Images Attached Images
    22,000 gallon in-ground pool. Was hayward Pro-Grid DE filter / Hayward RS 750 pump / Aquabot turbo / Solar pool cover. Remodel under progress to install safety cover. Will install new equipment, solar thermal, etc.

  2. Back To Top    #2
    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Help me make our pool as good as yours

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesvh@gmail.com
    Hello TFP! This is my first post!
    Welcome to TFP!

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesvh@gmail.com
    - I'm trying to make the pool (and house) lower maintenance, and I'm happy to buy even expensive stuff to help save time. What does everyone suggest to cut maintenance time?
    SWG, a good test kit, pool robot, possibly some kind of pH automation but I'm not sure how well they work.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesvh@gmail.com
    - I have a single speed pump that uses $80 of electricity per month in the summer (half that in the winter). I think a variable-speed pump will pay for itself. I have a friend who runs his at low flow 24 hours/day, and I'd like to do the same. I expect it to also cost $1000. Any thoughts?
    What is your cost per KW? Most of the time it is more cost effective to get a two speed motor and only replace that, keeping the existing pump. Variable speed is mostly useful when you have a lot of water features and can replace more than one pump with one variable speed.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesvh@gmail.com
    - There is no heater (though there is a capped gas hook-up). I'm thinking of going solar thermal. Any thoughts?
    Gas does a better job for a quick increase in temps. Solar does a good job of making the water warmer if you run it daily and use a "solar" cover at night. Depending on your roof, location, and climate solar is almost always much cheaper in the long term but gas is less expensive up front.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesvh@gmail.com
    - I have an Aquabot with a broken timer (I sit a rock on the switch and it runs until I turn it off). It gets stuck on the VGB anti-vortex drain I installed, on the thermometer, sometimes even steps perhaps every other hour. Are there better vacuums? Can I leave in all the time? When I resurface, should I get a suction-side port installed, and do I need a special pump for such a vacuum?
    If you want to reduce maintenance a robot will scrub the walks and floor for you. Either repair what you have or get something new like it. Get a cover that goes over the main drain designed for robots. It goes over the VGB one and doesn't change the safety. I don't know if robots care if they are left in bit you do need to clean the bag so when you pull it out for that why put it back? They make carriers that you can store your robot on that gander wheels.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesvh@gmail.com
    - We live near San Jose CA, so there's not much of a winter though the pool is too cold to swim. Can I close pool to save maintenance, chlorine, and pump cost, or is it easier to leave the pool open?
    if you have a lot of leaves you may want to close. If the water drops below 60 your SWG will not be able to make chlorine and your pool water will not grow algae. So the chemical use and electrical use drops - particularly if you plan on a two speed or variable speed pump. I'd toss the solar cover on it and keep it open year round.


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    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

  3. Back To Top    #3
    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: Help me make our pool as good as yours

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesvh@gmail.com
    Equipment: Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter. Hayward RS 750 pump. Aquabot turbo. Solar pool cover.
    Welcome to TFP Recommend putting your pool information & related equipment in your signature so it will automatically appear in all your posts without having to enter them each time.

    I keep my pool operational year-round mainly to keep tabs on water balance which is important for maximum life of your pool surface & equipment and to keep the pool looking good. We entertain somewhat frequently even in fall-winter and we like to have the waterfall going...no one wants to look at a dirty pool.

    As for the pool robot, I would recommend storing it out of the pool when it is not in use. The first year I had this pool, I kept the Polaris cleaner in the pool all the time. By the end of that first winter (which was a cold one by DFW standards), the unit was not running properly and the hoses/fittings had sprung several leaks. Took it to a reputable pool store (yes, there are some out there) and found that the colder water makes the parts more brittle and susceptible to breakage and/or malfunction. Several internal parts had to be adjusted or replaced. Now, the cleaner is in the pool only when in use and I have replaced just one hose since that first winter.

    If the stains you are referring to are rebar, then you may need to resurface or at least apply a temporary patch in that area until you can resurface the entire pool. As for the surface, Pebble-Tec is more durable than plain plaster and should last a few more years vs. plain plaster at the expense of a slightly rougher surface. Don't see how Pebble-Tec or similar surface should stain any more than plain plaster. I get an occasional stain from leaves/pollen but it clears up in a day or so with proper chlorine levels.

    The other possibilities are that the stains could either be algae or metal stains. Here's a quick way to determine which:

    • 1. Take a trichlor puck and hold it over a section of the stain for about 30-60 seconds. If it fades, then the stain is of organic origin (algae).


    • 2. If it does not fade after doing step 1, then take a vitamin C tablet (which is ascorbic acid) and hold it against the stain for 30 seconds. If the stain vanishes or lightens noticeably in that area, you should do an ascorbic acid treatment. If this is the case, here are two articles describing the procedure: (1) pool-school/metal%20stains, and (2) ascorbic-treatment-to-rid-pool-of-metal-stains-t2298.html. You will still need to do a partial drain & refill (D&R) to lower CYA. However, complete the ascorbic acid treatment just before doing a partial D&R so that a maximum amount of metal is removed from the pool with the water.


    I would do both steps described above on different areas where the staining is present, especially on areas of the stain that appear different. You could have both types of stains. If that is the case, do the ascorbic acid treatment first and then do the partial D&R.
    Gold Supporter, TFP Lifetime Supporter, 26,680 gal Plaster IGP 3.5 - 10' depth / Attached Waterfall Spa, Manually Chlorinated, Triton Sand Filter, 1.5 HP * 1.1 SF = 1.65 SFHP 1-speed Pentair WhisperFlo WF-26 Pump, 400K BTU NG Teledyne Laars Series One Heater, Polaris 360, Test Kit Comparison, Chlorine/CYA Chart, SLAMing Your Pool, OCLT
    A good test kit is an investment, not an expense.

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    y_not's Avatar
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    Re: Help me make our pool as good as yours

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesvh@gmail.com
    - I'm trying to make the pool (and house) lower maintenance, and I'm happy to buy even expensive stuff to help save time. What does everyone suggest to cut maintenance time?

    - To save time, I think I'd like a saltwater generator. I gather it will cost about $1000 installed for a good one, plus $400 every 4 years for a new cell. Any thoughts?
    In regards to these things, adding to what UWV said. I would install an automatic liquid chlorinator.
    I personally feel SWGs/SWCGs are convenient, yes. Are they cool? Sure! However, they are an absolute maintenance pain. Cost, breakdowns, is it outputting right, can I trust it? When will it fry, how much will I be out in repairs, will my pool go green because I thought it was working, PCB replacement, transformer, board repair, cell replacement, headaches. UGH!!

    I'm a nerd, a tinkerer. But I don't have a lot of money, if I did I might do one just because I think it'd be a fun toy. If it actually worked problem free and I got my money's worth out of it. AWESOME!! But I have worked with so many electrolytic type designs, they're just flakey in general.
    Thanks for reading... - Tony
    Da' Pool: Intex 15'x42" 3284gal AGP EasySet (Inflatable Ring) - (Summer 2014: 27' round EW /w 6.5' deep end @ 22,500gal)
    Pump & Cart Mod: 1000gph Cart. 5ft² - 2 nylons, 24/7 OP. Traps bugs/bits, lasts longer/cleans easier = Happier Pool Owner!!
    The Bible for a "Trouble Free Pool" life = PoolSchool, the BBB method a TF100 test kit(Recommend Kits Compared). - Cleaning a Sand Filter
    Water looks like GLASS, if yours doesn't...SLAM IT! Feels nice and never been happier!!! :D

  5. Back To Top    #5
    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Help me make our pool as good as yours

    [quote=y_not]
    Quote Originally Posted by "jamesvh@gmail.com":21y0a4uk
    - I'm trying to make the pool (and house) lower maintenance, and I'm happy to buy even expensive stuff to help save time. What does everyone suggest to cut maintenance time?

    - To save time, I think I'd like a saltwater generator. I gather it will cost about $1000 installed for a good one, plus $400 every 4 years for a new cell. Any thoughts?
    In regards to these things, adding to what UWV said. I would install an automatic liquid chlorinator.
    I personally feel SWGs/SWCGs are convenient, yes. Are they cool? Sure! However, they are an absolute maintenance pain. Cost, breakdowns, is it outputting right, can I trust it? When will it fry, how much will I be out in repairs, will my pool go green because I thought it was working, PCB replacement, transformer, board repair, cell replacement, headaches. UGH!!

    I'm a nerd, a tinkerer. But I don't have a lot of money, if I did I might do one just because I think it'd be a fun toy. If it actually worked problem free and I got my money's worth out of it. AWESOME!! But I have worked with so many electrolytic type designs, they're just flakey in general.[/quote:21y0a4uk]

    I would probably advise a liquid chlorine dispensing system to someone who wanted less work but also didn't have the operating capital to buy an SWG. In either case you still need to test and verify operation - so I don't think one is easier than the other - but you get the benefit of chlorination without having to handle any bleach and that stuff is heavy.
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

  6. Back To Top    #6
    y_not's Avatar
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    Redmond, OR
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    Re: Help me make our pool as good as yours

    Quote Originally Posted by UnderWaterVanya
    I would probably advise a liquid chlorine dispensing system to someone who wanted less work but also didn't have the operating capital to buy an SWG. In either case you still need to test and verify operation - so I don't think one is easier than the other - but you get the benefit of chlorination without having to handle any bleach and that stuff is heavy.
    I just simply view them as a bit of a money pit is all. Not a huge one like a bad car or anything, but still. They're akin to a leaky faucet, it slowly bleeds you dry over the course of many years.

    *soapbox*
    Honestly, I'm going to make my own SWG. Those things are a RIP! They aren't rocket science, they just look like it. :P
    They're definitely a great concept though, they just need more serviceability. I mean $500 for a cell? C'mon!! The manuf. must think I just fell off the turnip truck.
    Oh wait... There it goes now *rumble*
    If only they'd make the cells more affordable and the salt sensor inside the cell serviceable, I think they'd be less of a niche market. They could easily overtake all the "puckers" out there. But sadly companies both big and small, as well as corporations have a tough time grasping the concept of lower price per unit or part, higher sales, more volume, more money. Instead they just overcharge and wonder why they don't sell enough, so they just keep hiking things up.
    *off soapbox*


    Yeah, it does bite you have to haul in liquid CL, but isn't that what the neighbor kid is for?
    I like simple, but functional. Basic yet seemingly complex in end function. The more complex a design is, the more things to break. That means the more stuff I have to fix and the less time I get to spend enjoying it.
    Thanks for reading... - Tony
    Da' Pool: Intex 15'x42" 3284gal AGP EasySet (Inflatable Ring) - (Summer 2014: 27' round EW /w 6.5' deep end @ 22,500gal)
    Pump & Cart Mod: 1000gph Cart. 5ft² - 2 nylons, 24/7 OP. Traps bugs/bits, lasts longer/cleans easier = Happier Pool Owner!!
    The Bible for a "Trouble Free Pool" life = PoolSchool, the BBB method a TF100 test kit(Recommend Kits Compared). - Cleaning a Sand Filter
    Water looks like GLASS, if yours doesn't...SLAM IT! Feels nice and never been happier!!! :D

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