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Thread: New Pool owner, need some advice on equipment

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    New Pool owner, need some advice on equipment

    We just bought a new house in November, and it came with the pool. We knew when we moved in that the filter had a small leak, and was pretty old. Now, after a few months of battling to keep the pool clean, I'm looking to replace the filter (possibly) and get an automated cleaner. I'm considering a lot of different things and don't really know which direction to go, so I'm looking for advice. I read the thread about getting started and about getting a green pool clean - so I'm trying to work through those steps - I think my main issue is my filter, so I'm looking to get it taken care of.

    Just for good measure, my chem levels at last Measurement - [FC- 2] [TC- 2] [CC- 0] [PH- 7.3] [TA- 80] [CH~ 300] [CYA- 40-50]

    I'm still messing with my in-line chlorine - right now I'm using Tri-Chlor tablets, I have the feeder full, but my chlorine is still low. I was lowering the PH from a bit over 800 and was shooting for about 7.2 as I thought I was going to need to shock, but then I didn't (yet). My calcium hardness was also pretty high, like 400, but through the process of vacuuming to waste that I've been going through mentioned below, I've lowered it. Any suggestions or advice here is certainly welcome.

    For the Filter:
    The current filter is an Atlas PA-48 DE filter, and I'm relatively certain that at least the filter grids need to be replaced. The pressure regularly runs pretty high, and the release valve is rusted off, so that would need replaced as well - I tried adding a bit of DE to it a few weeks ago through the skimmer, pouring slowly and making sure it all got sucked in through the pump... I ended up with DE clouding my pool from the returns. I was going to open it up to take a look, but with the pressure valve rusted off, I wasn't able to release the pressure and I'm not able to get the two halves of the casing open. Also, I don't necessarily trust the 3 different people from 2 different companies that have looked at my equipment in the past, as all 3 of them backwashed the filter during their process, yet never made any mention of adding DE, which I found during my research that you are supposed to rarely backwash DE filters, and add DE back to them afterwards... this on top of the 3 of them each giving different advice about the filter situation. As well... seems like none of them really wanted to open it up and take a look, even though I told all 3 that i thought it was having problems and wanted to find out what needed to be done about it - they all simply replaced vales etc outside the filter and wish-washed when asked about the filter itself.
    My Question: Should I keep the DE filter and just continue replacing parts (up to about $250 at least for the parts I know about without opening it), or should I just replace it? If I replace it, I've heard that Sand filters are better if you have animals that would get hair in the pool - I have two 60lb dogs that don't go into the pool, but do shed, and the hair has a way of getting in there.

    For the Cleaner:
    Right now I'm battling with sediment and floating debris (leaves, dog hair, palm tree junk). I haven't actually seen any live algae despite my chlorine levels fluctuating while I was figuring things out, probably lucky with the cold weather. The sediment issue seems like if I don't vacuum the pool every weekend I get pretty high amounts of sediment on the pool floor - even when I am vacuuming it each weekend, I'm picking up a lot of stuff, and I've been having to vacuum to waste in order to actually get rid of it instead of just recycling it. I'm not sure if this is normal, probably partially because of the issue with my filter as well. Regardless, I'd like to get an automated cleaner to at least cut back on the neccessity to setup the array of hoses etc to vacuum every weekend. A store close by here is having a sale, and they have a Polaris 3900 for sale for $610, now that I found the reviews on Amazon... they look horrible. I notice a few that have good reviews, and some are actually less expensive as well - the Baracuda G3, Polaris Vac-Sweep 360, Baracuda MX8, etc - some of these have a separate bag and some don't... if there's no separate bag, that means large debri will end up in my pump skimmer, right? I'd rather avoid that.
    My Question: Any suggestions or testimonials in regards to automatic cleaners? Are there good ones that don't require a booster pump?

    other questions:
    I've seen and heard a lot about salt generators for handling chlorine, some people swear by them... and some people say they wear down parts and in the end aren't much better... I've also seen about UV systems to reduce the need for chlorine - http://www.spectralightuv.com - is there any credibility to these?
    Appx 15,000 gallon (odd shape) IG Plaster, Hayward DE4820 DE filter, Hayward TriStar 1.58Bhp/1.0FRHp
    Pool built by previous owner, home purchased 11/2013
    Houston, TX - 2 dogs - Palm Trees

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool owner, need some advice on equipment

    Welcome to TFP!

    The filter does sound worth replacing. With that much rust, there are likely to be other problems you haven't noticed yet.

    Dogs don't make much of a difference to what kind of filter you should get. With pets it is best to use skimmer socks and catch the pet hair there.

    There are many cleaners. The older Polaris models, for example 280, are much better thought of. The Pool Cleaner is well thought of.

    Salt systems (SWG) don't "wear down parts" unless the pool is built with inferior materials. I have one and love it, as do many others of the forum.

    There is no point in getting a UV system unless you have large pool parties multiple days in a row on a regular basis.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    JoshU's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool owner, need some advice on equipment

    Great to have you here. Welcome!

    With pets it is best to use skimmer socks and catch the pet hair there.
    This is a great tip that Jason provided. Although skimmer socks may not look like much they can greatly cut down on filtration load.

    A store close by here is having a sale, and they have a Polaris 3900 for sale for $610, now that I found the reviews on Amazon... they look horrible. I notice a few that have good reviews, and some are actually less expensive as well - the Baracuda G3, Polaris Vac-Sweep 360, Baracuda MX8, etc - some of these have a separate bag and some don't... if there's no separate bag, that means large debri will end up in my pump skimmer, right? I'd rather avoid that.
    There are 3 different types of automatic cleaners on the market.

    Suction-Side
    Pressure-Side
    Robotic

    The suction-side units do not have a bag or filter and they do deposit debris in to the filter. In my opinion they are typically the most hassle to operate. There are tons of different models other there. The Baracauda G3 & Kreepy Krauly Classic are two of top selling and better reviewed units in this category.

    As for pressure side there are only a handful of options. Polaris is the market leader in this area for the past 25+ years. I would go with the 280 out of any of there models as Jason mentioned it is an older model which is very proven. The Polaris 3900 and 280 both require an additional "booster pump" to work properly so you'll need to add somewhere around $250.00 or so for that (plus installation materials and/or labor). The Polaris 360 does not require a booster pump.

    Robotic cleaners are a very fast growing segment of the industry. The Dolphin brand products from Maytronics are getting overall pretty great reviews in the market right now. These units plug in to an electrical outlet and are powered by their own internal drive motors. These units are as plug-n-play as a automatic cleaner gets. Overall this is my favorite choice. I've used dozens of different types of suction, pressure and robotic cleaners over the years.

    Salt systems (SWG) don't "wear down parts" unless the pool is built with inferior materials. I have one and love it, as do many others of the forum.
    We would certainly see people talking about it here if this was happening. With a moderate amount of salt added to the pool this isn't an issue. Most U.S. made systems require 3,000 +/- ppm of salt. Ocean salt water is 35,000 ppm.
    Josh Ulfers - josh@saltpoolguys.com - 888-725-8766
    SaltPoolGuys.com - AutoPilot Pool Pilot Systems, Parts & Cells - AquaCal Heat Pumps

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    Re: New Pool owner, need some advice on equipment

    If by "wear down parts" you mean the SWG cells wear out and in the end it's no cheaper than bleach, this is true. Don't look at the SWG as a way to save money. Think of it as a way to save your back from carrying bleach. Convenience is the key. Especially if you travel a lot, like me. I can go away for a week and not worry about the FC level in my pool.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    Re: New Pool owner, need some advice on equipment

    This is the big concern for me. We weren't necessarily looking for a pool, but it was the right house in the right neighborhood... the pool just came with it. That said, I'm probably not a good pool owner. There are days that I'm gone from 6AM to 8-10PM, I *might* do a quick chem test when I get home, but no chance will the pool get skimmed or much get checked on those days... just in general, the idea of having to touch the pool every day is an impossibility for me in the long-term, every 2-3 days I could do, so I'm looking for anything that will cut the labor.
    Appx 15,000 gallon (odd shape) IG Plaster, Hayward DE4820 DE filter, Hayward TriStar 1.58Bhp/1.0FRHp
    Pool built by previous owner, home purchased 11/2013
    Houston, TX - 2 dogs - Palm Trees

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    Re: New Pool owner, need some advice on equipment

    Next stop, SWG store.

    I will mention once you have an SWG, you should check pH weekly (minimum), and be prepared to add muriatic acid. But, I'd rather add MA once a week than bleach daily. For me to add bleach daily to my 44,000 gallon pool required way too many trips to Kroger and Costco.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool owner, need some advice on equipment

    Another point here, there is no one right pool cleaner for everyone, even assuming price difference does not matter between suction, pressure side and robot cleaners, each one has its strong and weak points. Suction side cleaners tend to not do walls well, and can have problem with large leaves, and some other types of debris, pressure side does not do well with most heavy objects, seeds, nuts, acrons, etc. These same sorts of things can cause different problems with tracked robots as they can get caught in the tracks, and wheeled robots don't climb walls. Personally I used suction side cleaners for years (decades), but switched to a robot a couple of years ago and can't imagine going back. I think I paid about $300-$350 for my current robot off ebay, it was an open box deal, never been used, discontinued model, same unit was selling elsewhere as closeout refurbs for about $550.

    Ike
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: New Pool owner, need some advice on equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac-1 View Post
    Suction side cleaners tend to not do walls well, and can have problem with large leaves, and some other types of debris, pressure side does not do well with most heavy objects, seeds, nuts, acrons, etc. These same sorts of things can cause different problems with tracked robots as they can get caught in the tracks, and wheeled robots don't climb walls.
    Thanks for this, one of the big problems I'm having is two large palm trees that nearly overhang one side of my pool... they drop a lot of seeds, so I guess I've at least ruled out pressure side and wheeled robots. I think I'm looking at tracked robots, I planned to spend about $800, right now I think I've seen a Hayward and a Dolphin that were looking pretty solid.
    Appx 15,000 gallon (odd shape) IG Plaster, Hayward DE4820 DE filter, Hayward TriStar 1.58Bhp/1.0FRHp
    Pool built by previous owner, home purchased 11/2013
    Houston, TX - 2 dogs - Palm Trees

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    Re: New Pool owner, need some advice on equipment

    My pressure side Polaris (we named it Puff) does just fine with acorns and it even sucks up my pool thermometer from time to time. Which I find impressive. I guess with enough weight it would tip over, but I haven't had that problem yet. From what I read here, the older Polaris models are some of the best, so I'm probably biased by having one.
    20,000 gal in-ground plaster pool with sand filter. Replastered recently. Mostly adding bleach and acid. CYA was high when I took over.

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    Re: New Pool owner, need some advice on equipment

    One thing I've been told, and I don't know how accurate it is, is that pressure side cleaners don't scrub very well, or remove algae bits as well as robots, is this true?

    seems like a robot is the most expensive way to go, both up front and in part throughout it's life, but from what I've heard, can save a lot of time in scrubbing and vacuuming.
    Appx 15,000 gallon (odd shape) IG Plaster, Hayward DE4820 DE filter, Hayward TriStar 1.58Bhp/1.0FRHp
    Pool built by previous owner, home purchased 11/2013
    Houston, TX - 2 dogs - Palm Trees

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool owner, need some advice on equipment

    If the chlorine is maintained correctly, there is no algae to scrub off. Generally a good idea to brush the pool every week or so, but there are likely many of us that will not admit to only brushing every few months at best and see no algae.

    OK, I will admit that I have not run my robot or brushed my pool since maybe back in November ... certainly looks dirty with leaves and such, but there is no algae. Since the water is warming up, I have been meaning to get it cleaned up, but other work around the house keeps taking precedence.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: New Pool owner, need some advice on equipment

    Pressure side cleaners are great for acorns, leaves, that sort of thing. Robots are good for scrubbing, fine dust, dirt. I could see a pool owner owning both and using them alternatively or based on what is in the pool. For example, I could see me running the robot a couple times a week, then dropping in the pressure side cleaner (I only have a robot currently) when there is large debris in the pool.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    Re: New Pool owner, need some advice on equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by LCMatches View Post
    One thing I've been told, and I don't know how accurate it is, is that pressure side cleaners don't scrub very well, or remove algae bits as well as robots, is this true?
    No idea about robots, but yes, my pressure side cleaner doesn't substitute for brushing. When I was paying someone to chlorinate the pool, I had algae problems and the Polaris wasn't any help as far as I could tell.
    20,000 gal in-ground plaster pool with sand filter. Replastered recently. Mostly adding bleach and acid. CYA was high when I took over.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool owner, need some advice on equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by SwimAustin View Post
    No idea about robots, but yes, my pressure side cleaner doesn't substitute for brushing. When I was paying someone to chlorinate the pool, I had algae problems and the Polaris wasn't any help as far as I could tell.
    Again, it is lack of chlorine that causes algae ... not cleaners or scrubbing or brushing ... although they can help some if your chlorine level became marginal.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
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    Re: New Pool owner, need some advice on equipment

    I have a polaris 380 (we named it "Numnum") and it has no problem sucking up big things like the kids goggles, dates from the pineapple palm, and big leaves.

    I'm really intrigued by the robotic cleaners but for now, if it's not broke I'm not replacing it!
    17,000 inground gunite pool finished June 2013. Pentair variable speed something or another. Polaris cleaner, inline rainbow chlorinator. Using trichlor until CYA reaches 50-60.

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