I have been lurking, reading, and educating myself on here for many months. Great site, great members and great info. This is going to be our first pool. I'll spare you the details of how we went from community pool members, to possible Intex, to permanent AGP. I've read Pool School several times and will continue to review it until I feel like I have a better understanding of what I'm doing.
We decided on an 18'x54" round, Sharkline Venture from Pool Supply World. As part of my order, I will purchase a TF-100 kit because I've decided we are going to start off, and hopefully stay with, the BBB method. I moved from self installation to hiring an installer, and done a ton of research on installers in my area. I'm very comfortable with our selection and have another really good one to go with if I decide to change. I know I will have many more questions as time goes on (please bear with us), but here is the two biggest issues I have now.
I'm told that a 54" pool will usually be filled to approximately 48". If that is correct, my volume calculations come to 7,600 gallons of water. Is that correct and is that the volume I should be using when I'm calculating chemicals or do I use 54"?
2) The installer I chose recommends a cartridge filter because he feels the online vendors usually under sell the sand filter to save on shipping. He also likes that the cartridge filter filters smaller microns. Another installer that we almost chose prefers a sand filter for cheaper cost and easier to use, but for the same reason stated above he recommends buying the filter locally. When I called the reputable local pool store, they recommended a 19" sand filter (approximately 150 lbs of sand) or a 150 sq ft cartridge filter. Pool Supply World offers a 16" or 19" Waterway sand filter and Hi Flo 1 hp single speed pump, or a Clearwater II 100 sq ft or 150 sq ft cartridge filter with a Hi Flo 1.5 dual speed pump. SO NOW I'M REALLY CONFUSED AND UNDECIDED with what to choose and do I buy the pump/filter locally or online. Between the forum and people I personally know, I realize that a pool can be successfully maintained with sand or cartridge, provided it is the correct size and runs for the correct amount of time per day. Like most other people, I want to balance energy efficiency and enough filter to efficiently clean my pool. I certainly don't want to save a few dollars on the set-up just to spend more time and money on maintenance.
3) Can simply purchase a time at a local home improvement store or should I buy one from a pool retailer?
4) Based on some research, I'm planning to use Gorilla Pad under the liner. The installer had no specific recommendation on brand, but certainly believes that some kind of underlay is good. Another installer recommended Perfect Bottom, but that stuff is very expensive (which is worth it if it works); however, I was able to find more info on Gorilla Pad and the reviews were very good. The price difference is significant ($80 or over $300). Any opinion on this issue?
5) Lighting is another confusion of mine. Through wall or over top? LED or regular and what wattage? We aren't concerned about colored lighting (at least I don't think so), but want sufficient lighting because we will likely be using the pool at night quite a bit.
I plan to order my pool within the next two weeks and have the install in 4 to 6 weeks. The beauty of this project is that I have had plenty of time to research and plan. Thanks in advance for your help and information.