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Thread: Hello!...and a cleaning system decision question.

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    Hello!...and a cleaning system decision question.

    Hi TFP people!

    What a great forum to help a pool idiot like myself get started. I've read and browsed most of the pertinent info, and appreciate that you guys take the time to answer questions.

    I've got a big one...it's become a sticking point for us before we pull the trigger on a new pool: What cleaning system should I use? I've read what's on here, but wanted to ask personally

    My wife and I have narrowed our PB choice to 2 builders: Cody Pools and Bayside Pools (Jason Fortney) out of Cedar Park, Tx. We know what we want when it comes to design, materials, size, decking, heat pump, etc, but cannot seem to make up our minds on cleaning system. Cody Pools suggests and highly touts a Paramount infloor system (haven't quite decided on model), while Bayside says they aren't worth the money and most of their clients have regretted having it installed. Of forums read, people polled, and articles read I have found about a 50/50 split on opinions of infloor systems.

    So, our particular circumstances that might affect cleaning: our pool will be about 100 Perimeter feet, will have a 3 HP variable speed Pentair pump, will have an 8' x 10' tanning deck, otherwise will be 3.5-6' deep. The pool will be situated in a yard that has a 30' + pecan tree whose canopy will come to within about 15' of the pool and 4-5 40' tall Crepe Myrtle trees whose canopies will come to within about 15-20' of the pool (backdoor neighbor's so I can't take them down). In other words...we have a lot of leaf debris!

    The two points we are stuck on:
    1. Will the infloor system clean our debris as well as (not necessarily better) a Pentair Racer or similar cleaner.
    2. What is a good estimate of the difference in monthly electricity cost when running an infloor system vs. a robot? This matters quite a bit to us.

    Thanks for any input you could give us!

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    Hello!...and a 'which cleaner is best' question!

    Deleting double post
    Last edited by eweberdc; 08-11-2014 at 05:28 PM. Reason: delete double

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Hello!...and a cleaning system decision question.

    Welcome to TFP.

    Just a short answer here. The infloor system will require you to run your pump at a higher speed longer than a robot will. Also that pump running almost wide open will use a lot more power than a robot will. From the amount of maintenance I've seen people have on an infloor system, I'd vote for the robot.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Hello!...and a cleaning system decision question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler View Post
    Welcome to TFP.

    Just a short answer here. The infloor system will require you to run your pump at a higher speed longer than a robot will. Also that pump running almost wide open will use a lot more power than a robot will. From the amount of maintenance I've seen people have on an infloor system, I'd vote for the robot.
    Thanks! Can you explain what you mean by 'amount of maintenance'? Are we talking under the pool leaks, heads breaking, etc?

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Hello!...and a 'which cleaner is best' question!

    Welcome to TFP!

    I'd be really surprised if the ratio on here is 50-50. I don't really recall more than a very few people happy with their system. I'd think the mix would be more like 90% regret and 10% like.

    In most areas, you may trim any tree branches that are in your yard whether the plant is on your property or not.
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Hello!...and a cleaning system decision question.

    We hear a lot of reports of distributor gear problems as well as head and popup problems. Then there's the freeze issue if you don't get everything blown out or antifreeze in completely.

    I think JT is close to correct about the mix of like/dislike.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Hello!...and a cleaning system decision question.

    Okay, thanks again. That ratio says a lot.

    And thanks to the moderators for fixing my double post! Didn't see the first one come up, so posted again...now I know.

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    Re: Hello!...and a cleaning system decision question.

    I will go ahead and give my 2 cents - I love how everyone gets all in a fuss when I profess my love for in floor cleaning

    First, the 90/10 ratio is complete BS. I have YET to see a completely objective review of an in floor cleaning system using the latest gen technology that was ALSO installed properly.

    I will eventually get around to writing this, just have not had the time.

    I can tell you that Paramount makes a great system (PV3) and Cody Pools is very experienced with installing them (about 2-300 systems a year). As long as they follow the mfg recommended install instructions - (follow engineering plans, use proper size plumbing, and place the distribution valve close to the pool), you will love the system.

    Now on to the specifics - will they clean the pool better than a robot or a suction side cleaner? No, but they will get close. The advantage is that you wont have an unsightly object and cord moving throughout your pool. As far as energy efficiency, an in floor cleaner will beat a suction side all day long, but they simply cannot compete with the energy efficiency of a robot.

    Paramount has a lifetime warranty on the cleaning heads. Its rare that they will break, but if they do the removal and replacement process will take you all of 1 minute.

    Aside from the cleaning benefits, you will also have tangible benefits with efficiency as it relates to heating the pool and chemical distribution
    28000 gallon IG pool, 3.5ft - 8ft deep, Stonescapes Tropics Blue Interior, Pentair Intellichlor SWG, Pentair Quad DE 100 filter, Pentair Intelliflo VS-SVRS, Whisperflo 3hp (water features), A&A Max in floor cleaning, Pentair Easytouch 8 Automation, Screenlogic II, Pentair Mastertemp 400k BTU heater, Pentair Intellichem with acid injection via stennar pump, 9'x7' spa with Infiniti edge

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    Re: Hello!...and a cleaning system decision question.

    Thanks Jam! It would be great to have an estimate of time saved manually cleaning, even if the system isn't necessarily as good as a robot. If we knew the amount of time the system saved per month we could calculate the worth of the system based on man hours.

    $5k extra upfront is a lot to swallow, and would have to be totally justifiable as we would have to eliminate other amenities to afford it.

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    Re: Hello!...and a cleaning system decision question.

    I have never had to vaccum my pool manually in three years with our Polaris 280 and a auto pool cover. We have main drains in our main pool, wading pool and hot tub which probably contribute to the low maintenance.
    Inground 22k gallon gunite 15x31 main pool, 15x7 wading pool/sunning deck, hot tub/with overflow (9' octagon with limestone top) & slide NSWG, Aqua Blue Pebble Sheen
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    Re: Hello!...and a cleaning system decision question.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamcha02 View Post
    I will go ahead and give my 2 cents - I love how everyone gets all in a fuss when I progress my love for in floor cleaning

    First, the 90/10 ratio is complete BS. I have YET to see a completely objective review of an in floor cleaning system using the latest gen technology that was ALSO installed properly.

    I will eventually get around to writing this, just have not had the time.

    I can tell you that Paramount makes a great system (PV3) and Cody Pools is very experienced with installing them (about 2-300 systems a year). As long as they follow the mfg recommended install instructions - (follow engineering plans, use proper size plumbing, and place the distribution valve close to the pool), you will love the system.

    Now on to the specifics - will they clean the pool better than a robot or a suction side cleaner? No, but they will get close. The advantage is that you wont have an unsightly object and cord moving throughout your pool. As far as energy efficiency, an in floor cleaner will beat a suction side all day long, but they simply cannot compete with the energy efficiency of a robot.

    Paramount has a lifetime warranty on the cleaning heads. Its rare that they will break, but if they do the removal and replacement process will take you all of 1 minute.

    Aside from the cleaning benefits, you will also have tangible benefits with efficiency as it relates to heating the pool and chemical distribution

    That makes two of us
    As you can see from my response I am not having any performance issues:

    I have this system in my pool now for about 3 months with no problems. This is the third pool I have had built and the first with the in-floor Q-360 system. My personal preference in not to see any cleaning unit in my pool as I had in the past as they were a pain, would get hung up on the steps and other places in my other pools.
    One point is that the pool builder needs to submit your pool plans to the in floor people and the floor system manufacturer will tell them where to put the heads and what type of head to install. I have a huge mosaic on the floor of the pool and the last thing I want to see is a cleaner.
    Just my .02 cents

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    Re: Hello!...and a cleaning system decision question.

    Quote Originally Posted by eweberdc View Post
    Thanks Jam! It would be great to have an estimate of time saved manually cleaning, even if the system isn't necessarily as good as a robot. If we knew the amount of time the system saved per month we could calculate the worth of the system based on man hours.

    $5k extra upfront is a lot to swallow, and would have to be totally justifiable as we would have to eliminate other amenities to afford it.
    I wouldn't really say the primary benefit is saved time. The no 1 benefit is not having an unsightly object swimming in the pool. A secondary benefit is not having to clean or maintain a robot or suction side.


    It's just pretty awesome to not have to mess with a robot. Since in floor cleaning systems focus all of the suction on the main drain, they almost always use venturi skimmers as well, which are also awesome.

    Additionally, you'll get 3 inch plumbing on the suction side, and a 2.5 inch return run to the water valve. They also install a heater bypass. I can tell you that from a hydraulic perspective this is **** efficient and extremely flexible if used with an intelliflo pump.

    Now, if you really want to save time maintaining a pool, get a SWG and an intellichem with acid feed. I spend almost no time on adding chemicals or maintaining chemistry. Once a month, I fill an acid tank and test my water once a week to ensure everything within spec
    28000 gallon IG pool, 3.5ft - 8ft deep, Stonescapes Tropics Blue Interior, Pentair Intellichlor SWG, Pentair Quad DE 100 filter, Pentair Intelliflo VS-SVRS, Whisperflo 3hp (water features), A&A Max in floor cleaning, Pentair Easytouch 8 Automation, Screenlogic II, Pentair Mastertemp 400k BTU heater, Pentair Intellichem with acid injection via stennar pump, 9'x7' spa with Infiniti edge

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Hello!...and a cleaning system decision question.

    We have LOTS of trees that drop LOTS of stuff in our pool 2-3 times per year and a little stuff all of the time. We have a 3hp VS pump that has run on 1100ish rpm continuously for 3 years and 1950 when solar is on. It uses about 150w at 1100 rpm which equals 3.6kw per day x .0825 per kW = 30 cents per day. We also have a pressure side robot that normally runs an hour a day and is switched on manually as needed. Running the pump 24x7 means that most stuff gets skimmed before it drops to the bottom. We have to net out leaves and seed pods daily for about 2 weeks in spring and fall. The rest of the time we empty skimmer baskets once or twice daily or less and the robot net once or twice per week or less. We never brush in swim season and brush maybe once a month in winter if we feel like it.

    20k gal gunite, salt water, pebblesheen pool in DFW

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    Re: Hello!...and a cleaning system decision question.

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    We have LOTS of trees that drop LOTS of stuff in our pool 2-3 times per year and a little stuff all of the time. We have a 3hp VS pump that has run on 1100ish rpm continuously for 3 years and 1950 when solar is on. It uses about 150w at 1100 rpm which equals 3.6kw per day x .0825 per kW = 30 cents per day. We also have a pressure side robot that normally runs an hour a day and is switched on manually as needed. Running the pump 24x7 means that most stuff gets skimmed before it drops to the bottom. We have to net out leaves and seed pods daily for about 2 weeks in spring and fall. The rest of the time we empty skimmer baskets once or twice daily or less and the robot net once or twice per week or less. We never brush in swim season and brush maybe once a month in winter if we feel like it.

    20k gal gunite, salt water, pebblesheen pool in DFW
    Thanks for the technical input, pooldv. Just to be sure I understand what you're trying to say...the inground is relatively cheap to run with the VS pump (we'll have a 3hp Pentair Intelliflow VS), and you're overall pretty happy with your inground system considering the amount of debris you get from trees?

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Hello!...and a cleaning system decision question.

    I don't have experience with Pecan trees and their debris, but I have a lot of experience with Crepe Myrtles! My absentee neighbor planted crepe myrtles all along the fence line and the prevailing winds dump every single dropped blossom into my pool. The blossoms also have gritty, dirt-like stamen that break off and collect on the pool floor. Crepe Myrle blossoms float for days and if you have a lot of them they will clog a skimmer in a couple of hours. Based on this here is my advice for you:

    Ask the builder if they install returns in pools with in-floor cleaning systems. If not, ask if they will install returns and a valve that allows you to switch between in-floor cleaner and returns. I don't know if using the pop ups for return flow is a standard practice with in-floor cleaners, but I have seen some posts on TFP where the pool only had pop ups and no returns plumbed into the system. Having both will allow you more flexibility in case the in-floor system needs servicing.

    If your Pecan tree debris is hard and larger than a thumbnail you may still need a manual vacuum or robot to clean it up. Have them show you the drain cover and see if the debris will fit. If not you will need something to take care of the larger debris.

    Regardless of the cleaning system you use, make sure the skimmers are installed so the prevailing winds blow toward them. This will help direct floating debris into the skimmers before they sink.

    Also ask the builders if they have references from people in the area who have similar pools installed. Contact them and ask plenty of questions about the build and support for the cleaning system, and how well the in-floor system works for them. Take note of the type of landscaping and trees they have to see if their debris load is similar to yours.
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    Re: Hello!...and a cleaning system decision question.

    This is an interesting thread. We just signed a contract to build a pool and knew we wanted an infloor cleaner from the start. We want as fully automated of a pool system as we can get so having an infloor cleaner is really appealing. Plus we didn't like the appearance of a robot with hose running around the pool. In doing my research, it was difficult to find any recent feedback or reviews, on this site or the web in general. It seems most of the input was from years ago and like everything else, technology has improved. We talked to two pool builders and they both recommended and stood behind the infloor cleaners. So that's what we're going with. Hopefully in a few months, I will also be able to write how happy we are with it.
    21k gal IG, SWG, WetEdge Satin Matrix Antigua in pool, Primera Stone Tahoe Coast in spa, 430 sq ft cartridge filter, 2.7 HP variable speed pump, infloor cleaner

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    Re: Hello!...and a cleaning system decision question.

    Quote Originally Posted by aprillh View Post
    This is an interesting thread. We just signed a contract to build a pool and knew we wanted an infloor cleaner from the start. We want as fully automated of a pool system as we can get so having an infloor cleaner is really appealing. Plus we didn't like the appearance of a robot with hose running around the pool. In doing my research, it was difficult to find any recent feedback or reviews, on this site or the web in general. It seems most of the input was from years ago and like everything else, technology has improved. We talked to two pool builders and they both recommended and stood behind the infloor cleaners. So that's what we're going with. Hopefully in a few months, I will also be able to write how happy we are with it.

    Spot on. Every. single. published. review is way outdated using first generation technology. Further, on every review I've read with pictures I've noticed a number of installation errors. If the system is installed per mfg engineering specs, combined with a variable speed pump, they are absolutely awesome.

    its amazing to me how quick people are to chime in bashing these systems.
    28000 gallon IG pool, 3.5ft - 8ft deep, Stonescapes Tropics Blue Interior, Pentair Intellichlor SWG, Pentair Quad DE 100 filter, Pentair Intelliflo VS-SVRS, Whisperflo 3hp (water features), A&A Max in floor cleaning, Pentair Easytouch 8 Automation, Screenlogic II, Pentair Mastertemp 400k BTU heater, Pentair Intellichem with acid injection via stennar pump, 9'x7' spa with Infiniti edge

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    Re: Hello!...and a cleaning system decision question.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamcha02 View Post
    Spot on. Every. single. published. review is way outdated using first generation technology. Further, on every review I've read with pictures I've noticed a number of installation errors. If the system is installed per mfg engineering specs, combined with a variable speed pump, they are absolutely awesome.

    its amazing to me how quick people are to chime in bashing these systems.
    To be fair to everyone I did ask for opinions. And I personally wanted and appreciate both sides of the argument. Based on what everyone has written I feel like I have a more realistic idea as to what to expect. As long as we can fit it into our budget we are going to go ahead with the Paramount PV3 hooked up to our Pentair Intelliflo VS pump. We understand that we will still have to manually clean some, but that's okay. BUT I will make sure that we will have the ability to hook up a robot or Polaris for those few weeks in the fall when the pecans, myrtles, and seemingly everything else drops their leaves.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Hello!...and a cleaning system decision question.

    Quote Originally Posted by eweberdc View Post
    Thanks for the technical input, pooldv. Just to be sure I understand what you're trying to say...the inground is relatively cheap to run with the VS pump (we'll have a 3hp Pentair Intelliflow VS), and you're overall pretty happy with your inground system considering the amount of debris you get from trees?
    we have the same pump as you. Which is very cheap to run at low speeds. We do not have an inground clean in system, just two skimmers, main drain and a pressure side robot. I have no experience with in floor cleaning systems, but I'm happy with what we have and how we run it.

    I don't know enough about in floor cleaning systems to bash them, otherwise I probably would too. kiddiiinnnngggggg.

    P.S. having the robot in the pool can be slightly annoying at times and it certainly isn't pretty. But, it only takes about 9 seconds to take it out when we have extra people swimming with us. Otherwise we just move it to a corner and it behaves pretty well.

    So, how does an in floor cleaner deal with 2 or 3 bazillion leaves on the bottom? Seems like you are gonna have to net that no matter what.

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    Re: Hello!...and a cleaning system decision question.

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    we have the same pump as you. Which is very cheap to run at low speeds. We do not have an inground clean in system, just two skimmers, main drain and a pressure side robot. I have no experience with in floor cleaning systems, but I'm happy with what we have and how we run it.

    I don't know enough about in floor cleaning systems to bash them, otherwise I probably would too. kiddiiinnnngggggg.

    P.S. having the robot in the pool can be slightly annoying at times and it certainly isn't pretty. But, it only takes about 9 seconds to take it out when we have extra people swimming with us. Otherwise we just move it to a corner and it behaves pretty well.

    So, how does an in floor cleaner deal with 2 or 3 bazillion leaves on the bottom? Seems like you are gonna have to net that no matter what.
    Yeah, I think we'd have to net no matter what, but we're okay with that. I think the infloor will cut down on brushing the tanning ledge and steps, too.

    We're back and forth on our decision. Ask me yesterday and I'd say we're having it done. After today's summer electric bill on jumped the fence. Who knew designing something as relaxing as a pool would be so stressful?

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