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Thread: New to AGPs and looking for suggestions.

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    New to AGPs and looking for suggestions.

    Thanks in advance. I am new to these forums and just located this one. I posted in another forum and got zero responses, so I am hoping for better results here.

    I have had inground pools my whole life in PA and CA. Now that I live in WA, I cannot justify the cost of an inground, so I have been looking at AGPs.

    I want to install the pool in an area that gets heavy winter snow (Cle Elum, WA). The snow load for the roofs is 135 pounds per square foot. The snow can get about 5 feet deep. I am planning on winterizing the pool. This usually involved lowering the water below the skimmer and blowing the lines for ingrounds and installing a winter cover with floating supports, is it the same for AGPs? Or Should I drain the pool completely?

    I wanted to know if this snow is an issue for AGPs. I know that AGPs are everywhere on the east coast, so cold and snow should not be an issue. What type is going to be best for this type of weather. I am leaning to extruded aluminum (Esther Williams) for the strength. As well I like the idea of being able to bring the dirt right up to one side since this works nicely in saving me to build a snow bearing deck next to the pool.

    The issue is what Brand too? I see the Esther Williams are about $8,000 with the lowest I saw at $5,500 for the millenium 15 by 30. I was hoping to find a good $2,000 pool to fill this immediate need, but from what I read it is a headache to keep repairing/replacing the pools every 3-5 years.

    Also, what about the base. I prefer a permanent base. I have seen the gunite type recommended, but that requires the blowing equipment to install. Will a concrete slab work too? I really don't want any settling issues and figure the solid slab is the best way to ensure this.

    I am definitely planning on going with a pad under the liner with coping material versus sand. Relatives had this in the past and it was just problematic. I see geotechnical and assume it is the industrial grade landscape frabric used for such things as roads. The foam sounds like it will not be as resilient. Kind of like the pad under your carpet getting compressed over time.

    I also plan on doing the DE filter system. Having used it in the past with inground it really is the best. I have not found any stainless steel tanks though. They seem to all be plastic/resin now. Stainless Steel ones last forever. What about the HP? Is 1 HP sufficient for a 15x30?

    Which automatic cleaner type is better on AGPs, suction or pressurized?

    I plan on using a SWC system. I like Ozone/Nature2 for my spa, but not sure about for an AGP.

    Also looking at the solar heating. Had FAFCO panels back in 78 on our inground. It really WORKED and extending the swimming season. We could keep the water at 82 automatically and even cool it down at night if it got too warm.

    Sorry to ask so much as a newbie, but I wanted to get real feedback. Reading all this stuff on the web can be overwhelming. I am a spa/pool novice so I will try to contribute in those areas.

    I just discovered the BBB method. If you read the ingredients on the spa/pool chemicals you will see they are the same as those in the common products used in that system. Never thought to look there. Although the concentrations may differ, it sounds more economical.

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    SWSuburban Chicago, IL

    Re: New to AGPs and looking for suggestions.


    Welcome to TFP. I'll try to address some of them, but I'm certain I can't advise you on each issue.

    Snow shouldn't be a problem. Plenty of people in snowy areas have AG pools. As for winterizing, you do not want to completely drain an AG pool, it can lead to problems with the liners, and people have reported the walls collapsing in various scenarios. What we do is we have an Aquadoor skimmer. It's sort of a tupperware lid that snaps on the inside of the skimmer, the water side. It makes it so you don't have to drain the water down. Then a plug goes into the return opening. The water sitting higher, means the cover/pillow sit higher, forming a sort of peak. About 4 inches of rainwater/snow can collect there, the rest will overflow and drain off. That should help keep the snow load off, by having your water level higher. A good cover is probably a good idea too, we tend to go with the cheapy version but have had problems. With that much snow, I'd not go cheap.

    We remove the filter/plumbing (that's not permanent), dry it out, and put it in the shed. The permanent plumbing and heater is blown out with air, tho I have heard of some who use RV antifreeze in lines that run under ground. We have a bottom drain and we blow the air through, no antifreeze, no leaks in 7 years.

    Lets see....we bought midgrade. Esther Williams was in the bracket above our Johnny Weismuller. Our pool has held up very well in 7 years, liner is great, some of the top rail brackets have some corrosion from my Pre-TFP days when my PH got too low. But the walls and remainder of the pools look great. Our neighbors had the lower bracket, got their pool the year before us and they have had problems with the fencing and already replaced the liner. My BIL got the same pool as them, the same year as us, but his has held up better. A main component of how pools hold up is the owner and how they maintain them. A properly balanced and maintained pool shouldn't have too many problems. You get a pool owner that is clueless about their water chemistry or proper maintenance and they will shorten the life of their pool.

    We have the sand bottom and I too would upgrade to a better system, now that I know better. I don't know much about bases and recommended surfaces under the liners, but with the sand we have had problems with settling, and impressions, toads that dig out around the edge and we have these channels there where they dug out the sand and the liner settled. All the "dusties" settle in the divets etc. So if there's a better way than sand, go for it.

    As for filters, I say go with what you know/like. I like a cartridge, and I don't think I would ever go with sand. So if you like the DE, why not? I do recommend oversized filters... but make sure your pump is the appropriate size for your filter. I have a 2 HP 2 speed pump paired with a 150SQft cartridge, and my pool is 24 round. I run it on low 24/7. This way my heater is set to 86 degrees and it kicks in automatically if the temp drops. Others would recommend a smaller pump/filter combo for my pool, but it works for me, and the low speed is not as costly here, for electric. But others who know more about that sort of thing might be able to advise you better. I don't know alot about filters/pumps.

    Like I said I have a gas heater, but there are plenty of members on here that swear by their solars. Either way I would really really really recommend a solar cover. It helps maintain the heat, reduces evaporation, and generally seems to keep the pool cleaner.

    BBB is by far the most economical way to keep a pool sanitized. I highly advise against ionizer systems for pools, like the Pool Frog or the Nature 2. I was so lucky to find this forum when I did. It has saved me hundreds and hundreds of dollars, compared to my old PS methods, which brought me nothing but frustration.

    Good luck, hope this helped, hope you get lots of good advice!
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    Perfectly Clear Pool Service, Find me on Facebook!

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Re: New to AGPs and looking for suggestions.

    It was all the pent up questions from reading things all over the web!

    Thanks for the suggestions. I really appreciate it.

  4. Back To Top    #4
    launboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    S.E. Wisconsin

    Re: New to AGPs and looking for suggestions.

    I can't help much, but I can adress two things. First, I think you would be better off with a plastic/resin filter tank, especially since you are thinking of doing a saltwater pool. I'd tend to stay away from fiberglass filter tanks because they tend to tear open as they age.

    Second, GET SOLAR!!! You will not regret it. We have it and our pool has been 87-90*(where we prefer it) all summer long.

    18' x 42" Intex Easyset Pool, with 16' x 52" deep end in the middle. Approx. 5500 Gal.
    Hayward Power-Flo LX 1 HP, 100# Jacuzzi Brand Sand Filter(Piped underground so it looks nice) 8)
    3 - 2' x 20' Solar Pool Heater Panels(roof mounted)
    Goin' on 9 summers...NOBODY thought it would last this long.
    Buried Portable Spa sharing pumps and water with pool (Almost complete project)

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