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Thread: New to TFP, Glad I found this site!

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    New to TFP, Glad I found this site!

    Wow, awesome in formation here. It will help us make our decision....

    Hello all! We are looking to make a decision on a pool in the next 2-3 months, start it this winter and have it ready for next summer. Any advice or information you would like to share would be much appreciated as we have never owned a pool.

    Just to give you some insight, I am leaning towards FG for the costs/maintenance. From my research so far (and you have to take most of the information with a grain of salt as there is a ton of "hype" vs. information I'm learning), I feel comfortable believing that the electricity, chemical, maintenance and repair costs will be less for FG during the life of the pool (as long as it is installed and maintained correctly).

    My wife is all about the overall look and doesn't care on the type of construction. She has some "must haves" which include an in-floor cleaning system, flagstone coping, pebble (looking, not texture) finish and a spill-over spa with a cascading waterfall.

    We are looking at smallish size, no bigger than 15'X30' ish and 3.5 to 5 or 5.5 in depth in a free-form design.

    Based on research so far, we can both get everything we want with a FG pool. I'm not opposed to Gunite, but it just makes sense to me that the operating and maintenance costs and labor for FG will be less which is critical to me and aesthetically they will look much the same.

    We just started the process and our first PB (Gunite) has completed a site survey and provided design overviews. We have another Gunite PB and one FG PB scheduled this week to do site surveys and provide initial design recommendations. Soon we will have approved designs and prices from 2 Gunite PB's and 1 FG PB and will make our decision.

    We only chose one FG PB because after our research, we decided that if we go FG, it will be a Viking pool (probably the Fiji) and Viking only recommended one PB in the Austin area for their pools.

    Please feel free to provide any feedback, especially if you have information contrary to anything above.

    I'm looking forward to spending lots of time here learning how to care for our pool the best possible way once we have one!
    12300gal IG PebbleTec w/7' raised Spa & Waterfall. Built Aug 2015
    Pentair IntelliFlo VS Pump, Pentair 420 Cartridge Filter, Ultra UV, Auto Fill
    EasyTouch control w/ Remote, Infloor Cleaner w/1.5HP Pump and Leaf Canister
    Stenner 45MPHP10 w/15gal tank, Rainbow 320 Chlorinator, TF-100 Test Kit.

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    Re: New to TFP, Glad I found this site!

    Need some verification.... 1st PB (Gunite) is recommending a UV Sanitizer as well as a Chlorine feeder. His recommendation is to adjust the feeder until FC is .5PPM-1PPM because the UV Sanitizer/Chlorine combination requires much less FC to keep the pool sanitized. (No mention of CYA at all, so assuming the .5-1 FC range is with CYA at the lower end of it's range).

    Does this sound right, the .5-1 range for FC when using a UV Sanitizer?
    12300gal IG PebbleTec w/7' raised Spa & Waterfall. Built Aug 2015
    Pentair IntelliFlo VS Pump, Pentair 420 Cartridge Filter, Ultra UV, Auto Fill
    EasyTouch control w/ Remote, Infloor Cleaner w/1.5HP Pump and Leaf Canister
    Stenner 45MPHP10 w/15gal tank, Rainbow 320 Chlorinator, TF-100 Test Kit.

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: New to TFP, Glad I found this site!

    UV sanitizers are typically not necessary for outdoor pools. When you say chlorine feeder do you mean a device that you load with Trichlor tablets or are you looking at a salt water chlorine generator? Continued use of chlorine tablet feeders is not recommended by TFP. This will lead to a build up of CYA over time, rendering your ability to maintain adequate free chlorine levels nearly impossible. If you're looking at chlorination options on a new pool, ditch the chlorine feeder/UV sanitizer idea and see what options they have for a SWCG.

    Reading more of the articles available here in Pool School will give you a better idea about the approach to pool care used here. The methods supported here are not compatible with most pool builder or pool service advice or recommendations. It's one or the other, not a confusing mixture of both. Start with the ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry and ask more questions from there.

    Also... WELCOME!
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: New to TFP, Glad I found this site!

    Quote Originally Posted by TexKSAH View Post
    Need some verification.... 1st PB (Gunite) is recommending a UV Sanitizer as well as a Chlorine feeder. His recommendation is to adjust the feeder until FC is .5PPM-1PPM because the UV Sanitizer/Chlorine combination requires much less FC to keep the pool sanitized. (No mention of CYA at all, so assuming the .5-1 FC range is with CYA at the lower end of it's range).

    Does this sound right, the .5-1 range for FC when using a UV Sanitizer?
    Welcome to TFP!

    The UV doesn't change the need for standard chlorine levels in the pool. One of the primary functions of the sanitizer in the pool is to prevent person to person transmission of pathogens. The UV system only acts on water that is passing through the filter at that exact moment, and normally the water in the pool only passes through the filter once a day. Unless there is a residual sanitizer in the water at a level that can quickly kill pathogens, the health of bathers is at risk. You need a safe level of chlorine in the water at all times according to Chlorine CYA Chart



    The UV system isn't worthless, as it does kill a few pathogens that chlorine struggles with. In reality there is very little to be gained by adding the UV system to a residential pool considering its cost.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: New to TFP, Glad I found this site!

    We don't recommend UV systems (for a residential pool it is expense with no benefit) and in floor cleaning is not well thought of. Do some searching on the site for these and you will find plenty of discussion.

    We always recommend keeping FC at a level appropriate for the CYA. Less than 1ppm of FC is not appropriate for a pool with CYA. This is hype for the UV system that doesn't translate to a real world residential pool.
    TFP Method Advanced Intermediate
    • 17,500 gallons - In Ground - Plaster - Hayward Swimclear 3020 Cartridge Filter - Sta-Rite Max-E-Glas Main Pump upgraded with A.O. Smith B2980 E-Plus New Centurion Two-Speed Motor - Polaris 280 Cleaner with Polaris PB4-60 Booster Pump - TightWatt2 Timer - Taylor K-2006 Test Kit - Pool Pilot Digital Nano SWCG

    Helpful Links: Pool School, BBB for Beginners, How to Shock (hint...it's a process not a product), Chlorine/CYA Chart, Jason's Pool Calculator

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    Re: New to TFP, Glad I found this site!

    I would delete the UV, in floor cleaner and chlorine feeder and add a Polaris cleaner or robot and SWG.
    TFP Method Advanced Intermediate
    • 17,500 gallons - In Ground - Plaster - Hayward Swimclear 3020 Cartridge Filter - Sta-Rite Max-E-Glas Main Pump upgraded with A.O. Smith B2980 E-Plus New Centurion Two-Speed Motor - Polaris 280 Cleaner with Polaris PB4-60 Booster Pump - TightWatt2 Timer - Taylor K-2006 Test Kit - Pool Pilot Digital Nano SWCG

    Helpful Links: Pool School, BBB for Beginners, How to Shock (hint...it's a process not a product), Chlorine/CYA Chart, Jason's Pool Calculator

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    Re: New to TFP, Glad I found this site!

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT View Post
    The UV system isn't worthless, as it does kill a few pathogens that chlorine struggles with. In reality there is very little to be gained by adding the UV system to a residential pool considering its cost.
    Outdoor pools have the ultimate UV system for free in form of the Sun.
    TFP Method Advanced Intermediate
    • 17,500 gallons - In Ground - Plaster - Hayward Swimclear 3020 Cartridge Filter - Sta-Rite Max-E-Glas Main Pump upgraded with A.O. Smith B2980 E-Plus New Centurion Two-Speed Motor - Polaris 280 Cleaner with Polaris PB4-60 Booster Pump - TightWatt2 Timer - Taylor K-2006 Test Kit - Pool Pilot Digital Nano SWCG

    Helpful Links: Pool School, BBB for Beginners, How to Shock (hint...it's a process not a product), Chlorine/CYA Chart, Jason's Pool Calculator

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    Re: New to TFP, Glad I found this site!

    JV, yes the PB was referring to an automated tablet or granular chlorine feeder. He was strongly against SWCG for a gunite pool due to what he referred to as "long term hazardous affects of salt water on concrete/plaster based products". I have read the pool school articles and continue to learn from them, but didn't see any mention of FC levels when using UV, so I asked to verify what the PB was saying. I think the long term CYA troubles are enough deterrent for me to skip the automatic chlorine dispenser. Thanks.

    JohnT, svenpup, thanks for the feedback on UV Sanitizers. My wife is dead set on the in-floor cleaning system though. Our neighbor's pool has one and they swear by it plus the 1st PB highly recommends it for drastically reducing the amount of time spent brushing and vacuuming. I'll research here threads on this to get a better understanding of why they are not well liked, but increased circulation and reduced brushing/vacuuming seem like good ideas to me. Maybe not worth the increased costs, but when you weight the cost vs. WHL (Wife Happiness Level), it might be a bullet I will have to take
    12300gal IG PebbleTec w/7' raised Spa & Waterfall. Built Aug 2015
    Pentair IntelliFlo VS Pump, Pentair 420 Cartridge Filter, Ultra UV, Auto Fill
    EasyTouch control w/ Remote, Infloor Cleaner w/1.5HP Pump and Leaf Canister
    Stenner 45MPHP10 w/15gal tank, Rainbow 320 Chlorinator, TF-100 Test Kit.

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    svenpup's Avatar
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    Re: New to TFP, Glad I found this site!

    Quote Originally Posted by TexKSAH View Post
    He was strongly against SWCG for a gunite pool due to what he referred to as "long term hazardous affects of salt water on concrete/plaster based products".
    One consistent theme that you will see if you stick around TFP for a while is that the so called "experts" (PS and PB) are really motivated by profit. If your builder doesn't have access to SWG systems, or his profit margin is lower that would explain this attitude. SWG pools have 1/10th the salt level of seawater which is below the threshold where corrosion is typically a problem. There are some rare issues with some natural stone products, but there isn't an issue with "concrete/plaster based products". You notice he didn't mention any "long term hazardous affects" of long term use of stabilized chlorine products (trichlor) but that is an issue that almost everyone at TFP has experienced.
    TFP Method Advanced Intermediate
    • 17,500 gallons - In Ground - Plaster - Hayward Swimclear 3020 Cartridge Filter - Sta-Rite Max-E-Glas Main Pump upgraded with A.O. Smith B2980 E-Plus New Centurion Two-Speed Motor - Polaris 280 Cleaner with Polaris PB4-60 Booster Pump - TightWatt2 Timer - Taylor K-2006 Test Kit - Pool Pilot Digital Nano SWCG

    Helpful Links: Pool School, BBB for Beginners, How to Shock (hint...it's a process not a product), Chlorine/CYA Chart, Jason's Pool Calculator

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: New to TFP, Glad I found this site!

    Quote Originally Posted by TexKSAH View Post
    JV, yes the PB was referring to an automated tablet or granular chlorine feeder. He was strongly against SWCG for a gunite pool due to what he referred to as "long term hazardous affects of salt water on concrete/plaster based products". I have read the pool school articles and continue to learn from them, but didn't see any mention of FC levels when using UV, so I asked to verify what the PB was saying. I think the long term CYA troubles are enough deterrent for me to skip the automatic chlorine dispenser. Thanks.
    There are no recommended levels for FC when using UV because in an outdoor residential pool, it's simply not necessary and will not change the required FC level for a specific CYA level. FC is ENTIRELY based on CYA level for outdoor residential pools. Even if you had a UV sanitizer, the FC level recommendation would be the same with TFP method. Now you can see how it would be a waste of money.

    If your builder does not offer SWCG systems or if they will not warranty a pool that has one... I hate to say it but find a new builder. They are VERY commonly used with many satisfied customers. Read the forums here and you'll find many people who swear by them and even would joke (or not) that they'd fill in their pool if they didn't have one.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    Re: New to TFP, Glad I found this site!

    Met with the 2nd gunite PB a little while ago. Went very well, very similar recommendations, ideas, options and opinions as the first PB. He advised as well against SWCG due to the damage he has witnessed with coping, decks and finishes over extended periods and recommended using chlorine instead. I'm not seeing the profit angle here. The PB had the opportunity to recommend I purchase a SWCG, but instead chose to advise me to use chlorine instead that I can purchase anywhere myself. Both PB's are very well known, highly recommended with extremely high BBB ratings, both would do SWCG if I wanted, but both recommended against it. Definitely something I will need to research more....

    Today's PB also suggested UV, but clarified (maybe I asked the right questions this time since I knew more thanks to you guys) that it will not lower the FC level required for proper sanitation, but will reduce the amount of chlorine required to maintain the proper level of FC. Maybe that is what the first PB was telling me as well, but I didn't understand what he meant. That seems to make sense as the UV would do some of the work for the chlorine thus helping to maintain FC levels with less chlorine, right?

    Next up tomorrow is the FG PB recommended by Viking. We will see what they say about all this.
    12300gal IG PebbleTec w/7' raised Spa & Waterfall. Built Aug 2015
    Pentair IntelliFlo VS Pump, Pentair 420 Cartridge Filter, Ultra UV, Auto Fill
    EasyTouch control w/ Remote, Infloor Cleaner w/1.5HP Pump and Leaf Canister
    Stenner 45MPHP10 w/15gal tank, Rainbow 320 Chlorinator, TF-100 Test Kit.

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: New to TFP, Glad I found this site!

    Your options, if you choose to follow the guidelines here are a SWCG or LIQUID chlorine, aka bleach, perhaps supplemented by occasional tablet/feeder usage. Otherwise you can use PB advice and go with continuous tablet use and periodic draining/refilling to lower CYA. Depending on costs of water and time spent doing so, maybe it's a viable option.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    Re: New to TFP, Glad I found this site!

    I like my set up very much. My in floor pop up system works very well and I swear by my SWG. The pop up system works so well that I can pretty much put away my brush. I don't have to supplement my chlorine with bleach/liquid chlorine at all with my SWG. Set properly, they work fantastically and I highly recommend both.
    IG Pebbletec Blue Tahoe; Paddock Pool PCC 2000 pop-up; 22,275 gal 32' x 16' Diving with Auto-Fill
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    Re: New to TFP, Glad I found this site!

    I went SWG and wouldn't have it any other way. All it takes is a few days to forget to check levels or add chlorine and you'll be posting in the algae section of the forum asking how to SLAM the pool properly. I haven't had a single algae problem since going with SWG. The fact the builder said chlorine is better than salt shows some ignorance. A salt pool IS a chlorine pool, it just makes it's own chlorine using electricity rather than dumping in bleach. You can't use pucks 100% of the time, your CYA will go through the roof and you'll have to drain the pool in a year or two. They're fine for vacation or when your CYA needs a bump though. If you don't want salt, you can look at chlorine injectors (stenner pump).

    Can't talk to the infloor cleaner, but since you're planning a new pool- I would seriously consider having a Polaris pool vac added (requires booster pump and a water outlet) as well as more pool lights than you'll think you need. You can't add them later. I can't belive how much stuff the polaris picks up on a daily basis. Especially if you have trees nearby.
    45'x12' 17k gal, IG plaster, Pool Pilot Nano+ SWG, 1/2hp Whisperflo pump, PAC-FAB TA-60D sand filter, Raypak 266 heater
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    Re: New to TFP, Glad I found this site!

    JVTrain, I don't think it has to be ONLY one or the other.

    I agree with bleach/liquid chlorine. For the everyday, normal care it makes sense. Still on the fence on SWCG until I can figure out why gunite PB's here in Austin are against them.

    I grew up as a network and information security engineer, so I understand and depend on the benefits of redundant and layered systems to provide the most robust and secure network. I think those same principles can apply here. Automatic chlorine dispenser, in-floor cleaning and UV can be the redundant and backup layers for the normal everyday maintenance schedule giving me more piece of mind that I can have a TFP year around that can better withstand the interruptions, delays, events, toad strangling t-storms, season changing shocks, etc that everyday life can bring.

    I like the idea of turning on the chlorine dispenser when we are leaving on vacation for 10 days and coming back to a perfect pool that is ready to swim in. ****, I can even turn it on and change the filtering and in-floor cleaning schedules and monitor and change all other systems with an APP on my phone from San Diego if I need to! How cool is that? I like the idea of knowing I will always have UV working if an emergency arises and we are gone for 3-4 days or longer, or knowing that even during normal care, it's there as a redundant system at work. These principles make sense to me. They may not be cost effective, but what redundant and backup systems are?

    In the grand scheme of things (installing a $55-$65K pool from scratch and being the first pool I have ever owned) I think the minimal increase in up-front costs are greatly outweighed by the long term piece of mind of knowing there are some redundancies and backups built into the pool sanitation system. Now, that may change if when I get the quotes, the in-floor, UV and chlorine dispenser adds up to $20K or something ridicules, but preliminary estimates so far are in the range of $6-8K. 10-15% to add redundant and backup systems to supplement the TFP plan and give me greater confidence that all will be well with the pool in almost any scenario seems reasonable to me.
    12300gal IG PebbleTec w/7' raised Spa & Waterfall. Built Aug 2015
    Pentair IntelliFlo VS Pump, Pentair 420 Cartridge Filter, Ultra UV, Auto Fill
    EasyTouch control w/ Remote, Infloor Cleaner w/1.5HP Pump and Leaf Canister
    Stenner 45MPHP10 w/15gal tank, Rainbow 320 Chlorinator, TF-100 Test Kit.

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    Re: New to TFP, Glad I found this site!

    Zimm, I understand how SWCG works and I think both PB's do as well, they just didn't recommend using them in a gunite pool due to the staining, deterioration and repairs they have witnessed over the years. I'm following up with both PBs we have met with so far to get more details as to why they do not recommend them. That along with other research and hearing from the 3rd PB this afternoon and I should be able to make a decision soon on whether or not to pursue SWCG.
    12300gal IG PebbleTec w/7' raised Spa & Waterfall. Built Aug 2015
    Pentair IntelliFlo VS Pump, Pentair 420 Cartridge Filter, Ultra UV, Auto Fill
    EasyTouch control w/ Remote, Infloor Cleaner w/1.5HP Pump and Leaf Canister
    Stenner 45MPHP10 w/15gal tank, Rainbow 320 Chlorinator, TF-100 Test Kit.

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    Re: New to TFP, Glad I found this site!

    Here is feedback from one of the PBs who is also one of the top ranked PBs in the nation year after year by Pool and Spa News (not familiar with Pool and Spa News, but maybe some of you are).

    "Salt water is very corrosive to the concrete and porous stone we have here in Central Texas. The water collects where bathers get in and out of the pool and the salt recrystallizes. The deterioration to the concrete and stone becomes very noticeable within 12 months or so. I've attached two PDFs with some additional info and pictures".

    So, it seems it is an issue that maybe only affects the Texas Hill Country/Central Texas area. The cement and plaster mix in this part of the country is made with lime that is mined from the Texas White Limestone or otherwise known as Austin Limestone that is so prevalent in this area. Not only is the native stone in this area soft and porous, the limestone that the lime is mined from for cement and plaster mix reacts more vigorously with salt due to the chemical make-up of the lime in Texas White Limestone.

    So, I guess no SWCG for me. Wet concrete will not make the 3.5 hour trip from Dallas where they use cement made from a different type of lime.
    12300gal IG PebbleTec w/7' raised Spa & Waterfall. Built Aug 2015
    Pentair IntelliFlo VS Pump, Pentair 420 Cartridge Filter, Ultra UV, Auto Fill
    EasyTouch control w/ Remote, Infloor Cleaner w/1.5HP Pump and Leaf Canister
    Stenner 45MPHP10 w/15gal tank, Rainbow 320 Chlorinator, TF-100 Test Kit.

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