Great website - certainly learning a lot from reading Pool School and other posts.
As my signature states, this is the 2nd AGP for us. Got an Easy Set from a friend and enjoyed it last year while learning many do's and doníts. Just received our new 14'x42" Ultra Frame and our new Intex Sand & SWG combo. I went with the combo because I wanted one less power line (extension cord) going to the pool.
Pool Placement: The best location for the pool has some leveling issues and is a drainage area for the yard as water flows from our neighbors and from one side of our house. This spot is a good 20' from the house and does not have tree branches above it. It also helps us maintain a large open area of grass for other uses. We considered building an 18x18 paver or concrete slab, but are planning to completely redo the backyard in a couple years and want to invest the money at that time and put the pool in a different location. So the plan now is to remove the grass, dig a few inches down, level the ground, dig in the pavers for each of the 14 legs, put some padding below, and set up the pool.
Drainage: Last year I didn't remove the grass or level the ground. When I first put the Easy Set up it collapsed when the angle got too steep. I put an old hot tub cover on the low end which helped keep it level and enjoyed the rest of the summer with the pool. But I learned my lesson for this year - level the ground. It's raining pretty good right now so you can see that water will want to go directly where the pool is to be placed. Here's a photo. Please focus on upper left quadrant of the picture. I took a larger picture because I wanted to show the drainage away from the house (right side of the photo):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/97900083@N ... otostream/
That area is still suffering some of the ramifications of having the pool there last year - spotty grass regrowth - so it makes sense to use it again and not damage the grass elsewhere. In normal conditions (without an AGP) that area would continue to drain/flow through the yard and dry completely. My concern is the yard drainage. Will the filled pool act like a large boulder and all water will go around it or will the ground continue to soften/weaken and impact how level the pool remains?
Once the ground dries and I can remove the grass and level the ground, what would be the best 1 or 2 year ground cover solution? I'm thinking about doubling over a large tarp and inside either put interlocking rubber mats (1/2" thick or less) or a few sheets of 4x8 foot 1/2 inch thick Styrofoam taped together. A quick search has the mats costing around $200 and the styrofoam closer to $75. I don't want to use sand because I will eventually resod and reuse this grass area. I would then put down the Intex ground cloth and then the pool.
Will the leveled virgin ground, tarps, styrofoam or mats, Intex ground cover be enough to not put down a weed/vegetation killer so the soil will be more receptive to growing grass again when the pool is removed?
Container for Filter: I'm thinking about putting the filter into a very large plastic container to protect it from the elements - including the power cord connections. My concern is decreasing the air flow to the motor. I've seen several YT videos with various containers for filters, but I'm not sure if they have decreased the life of the motor with less air flow or increased the life due to keeping the filter out of the elements. Thoughts/Recommendation?
Filter placement: Most pool installers recommend putting entry (ladder) and filter away from the house and on the low side of the pool. That would be the left side of the photo. In case I do have some leveling issues later, at least the filter intake/outtakes would be on the low side of the pool. Last year I wanted the equipment on the right (house) side so it would be closer to power connections, but my optimism was quashed when the pool shifted to the low side and the pool filter intake was exposed.
Rust Prevention: Many posts have Ultra Frame purchasers reporting rust issues with SWG. I'm thinking about painting all frame components with Rust-oleum before first use to proactively get some additional life of the pool. Has anyone thought about or done this before?
Skimmer: We didn't have any skimmer with the Easy Set. This Ultra Frame comes with the basic skimmer. I definitely want to go with a through the wall wide mouth skimmer - as well as switch to PVC pipe - but I think those are projects for 2014. We weren't going to put up a pool this year thinking the Cicadas were going to be a summer long threat. Turns out we haven't had any Cicadas and won't this year. Next year we will set up the pool in April for a full 6 or 7 months of use. With only 3 more months of pool use this summer, I'm thinking I get it set up and enjoy without going for the inwall skimmer now. Is the increased pool performance that much more to go ahead and upgrade to the new skimmer?
Pool in Gallons. Using the pool calculator (12' x 42" [3.5'] = 4000 gallons. But since the pool level will be 6 or so inches less than the height of 42", should I use 36" = 3500 gallons for all pool chemical calulations?
Thanks for all your suggestions/recommendations!