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Thread: What are the must have pool upgrades?

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    What are the must have pool upgrades?

    We are building a new house, and with it, a new pool. I know when I head to the sales office of the pool builder, I'll be overwhelmed with 100's of options/upgrades. I'm wondering from all you pool experts, what are the must haves? Which ones do you wish you had added or are really enjoying now?

    Which upgrades do I avoid? Or maybe add on later cheaper?

    Thanks in advance!

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: What are the must have pool upgrades?

    Welcome!

    I wish my pool was plumbed for solar heating. It would lengthen the swim season by about a month on each end.

    You cannot have too many electrical outlets around the deck. Lighting, fans, stereos, TVs, refrigerator, sump pump, vacuum cleaner - who knows what all you'll want out there in the next twenty years? It's real easy to add conduit when the trenches are open and there's no concrete.

    You ought to search through the Under Construction forum for more threads regarding design considerations and advice based on hindsight.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: What are the must have pool upgrades?

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    Likely not what you are asking, but:
    #1 The TF-100 test kit
    #2 A SpeedStir

    The only "must haves" are a waterproof shell, some water, a pump and a filter.
    Everything else are options which vary from person to person as to what they value.

    You need to make sure you build the pool the YOU want, not what the pool builder wants to build. Have seen often that the subcontractors can get in a rut where they always build the same type of pool regardless when the owner may have wanted.

    Get ALL changes and options in writing!!! If it is not written down, it did not happen.
    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
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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    Re: What are the must have pool upgrades?

    I really like having the option to set my sand filter to any setting I want: backwash, recirculate, rinse, etc.

    I also love that I have shut-offs on all my features so I can open/close them independently.

    Guests love our slide.

    A fountain or other water feature is pretty, sounds great, and helps if you ever have to aerate to adjust TA.

    We enjoy outside speakers for music with controls in the house.

    We installed a powder room in the garage so swimmers can pee without going into the air-conditioned house... I really love that one!

    A large deck for parties is really nice.

    I wish I could by-pass my heater during the hot season. Even though we don't use it during the hot summer, the chemicals constantly running through it makes me feel like I am shortening its life expectancy.

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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: What are the must have pool upgrades?

    First, welcome to TFP!

    I second Jason on the test kit. Do that without fail.

    I'm not sure what you are choosing in terms of "plaster" but go with a Top of the line Quartz finish or aggregate such as pebble.
    Long term, this is one of the best upgrades you can do. A good finish will last a long, long time. Put some time in deciding what you want the water color to be.

    Also, go with a top of the line Robot cleaner as opposed to a suction or pressure cleaner. Its about the same money as the latter, and this might be the very best
    option we chose to substitute for our build. I am so glad we did not go with the initial pressure cleaner setup our builder suggested.
    TFP Moderator
    Essential Links:
    ABC's Of Pool Chemistry, Test Kits, SLAM Your Pool
    28K Gal IG FreeForm, CLI Quartz, Pentair 36"SF & VS Pump, Dolphin M5, Rheem

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    Re: What are the must have pool upgrades?

    Color LED lights over standard. Unbelievable change in atmosphere. And the Speed Stir!
    18'x38' Rectangle (3'-8 1/2' deep w/ diving board) - 27K gal. w/ gray plaster
    Hayward equipment (cartridge filter, 2-speed pump, SWCG, automation) View Our Build
    Coverstar automatic pool cover | StoneMakers concrete retaining wall and decking
    Spring 2013 Build | Dolphin Active 20 robot cleaner | Support TFP!

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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: What are the must have pool upgrades?

    Top quality plaster or quartz as Brushpup suggests
    Top quality robot, again as brushpup suggests
    A few electric outlets spread around
    Two Speed or Variable speed pump-must have for sake of the electric bill (I prefer the VS)
    LED lighting - easy upgrade later with a retrofit bulb.
    Must have - Landscape lighting . Cant be beat for ambience after sunset. Easy enough DIY job if you're handy.
    Nice Deck finish - upgrade from broom finish to Exposed Aggregate or Limestone Tiles or something else you like.
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

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    Brentr's Avatar
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    Re: What are the must have pool upgrades?

    Don't forget plans for summer kitchen, plumbing, water and electric. You can never have too many outlets, believe me. And also the largest deck possible, you will be surprised how much space chairs, tables and lounges take up and leaves no room for dancing...We have aprox 1600sqft of pavers and we easily run out of space.
    6,000 gal, IG free form,Beach Series Antigua by Marbletite Pebble finish,Sheer Descent, IG Fountain, Dolphin / Mermaid Statues,Dura- Glas 1.5hp pump,Hayward Pro-grid DE4820, Aqua Rite SWG with T-Cell 15,Heat Siphon Heat Pump DX 5.0 109,000 btu, Pool Cage, 1800sq ft Tremron Estate Pavers,Aquatherm Ecosun Solar Panels 192 sq ft with GL-235 Controller,Pentair IntelliBrite, Apollo Magnetic Stirrer Our New Poolbuild, Jacksonville, FL yr 2009 Solar install Outdoor kitchen upgrade

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    Re: What are the must have pool upgrades?

    What is the budget, type and size of pool that you are thinking about?
    16k gal plaster with raised spa, Jandy DEV60 filter, 2 HP 2-speed SHPF Jandy Stealth pump
    Hayward Aqua Rite T-15 SWCG, Jandy LXi 400k BTU NG heater, 350 sq.ft. of Sun Star solar panels, TF-100 Test Kit, Dolphin s300i Cleaner
    Test Kits . Pool Math . Chlorine/CYA Chart . The SLAM Process

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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: What are the must have pool upgrades?

    Quote Originally Posted by Divin Dave View Post
    Top quality plaster or quartz as Brushpup suggests
    Top quality robot, again as brushpup suggests
    A few electric outlets spread around
    Two Speed or Variable speed pump-must have for sake of the electric bill (I prefer the VS)
    LED lighting - easy upgrade later with a retrofit bulb.
    Must have - Landscape lighting . Cant be beat for ambience after sunset. Easy enough DIY job if you're handy.
    Nice Deck finish - upgrade from broom finish to Exposed Aggregate or Limestone Tiles or something else you like.
    Good suggestions, and I don't know how I forgot it, but I second the VS pump with great enthusiasm.

    I was discouraged by many on this, including the PB. Most everyone said don't do it, it isn't worth the extra money unless you can re-coup the electrical savings quickly.

    Having one in place, I couldn't disagree more, and absolutely love having the option to adjust speeds to whatever I want them to be. When you consider
    the cost of the build, the upgrade price to VS is nothing and I like having the best/most options I can afford. Even if you don't have much automation, you can have four speeds with my pump and it's nice to have the flexibility, especially compared to having just one where the pump runs full out all the time. I put in minimal automation, and that enables me to adjust my pump in incremements of 10 RPM from 750-3150. It's just nice to have, and I encourage anyone doing a new build to put one in if at all feasible.
    TFP Moderator
    Essential Links:
    ABC's Of Pool Chemistry, Test Kits, SLAM Your Pool
    28K Gal IG FreeForm, CLI Quartz, Pentair 36"SF & VS Pump, Dolphin M5, Rheem

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    Re: What are the must have pool upgrades?

    Against the common opinion of most of the people here I would recommend to you the installation of a UV bactericidal lamp in series with the pool filter. This cannot be considered a viable sanitation system since it cannot sterilize anything that do not pass through the lamp, but is a great thing to have if you are not there to service the pool. If you have a SWG system, than this pool can be left unattended for about one week, but if you have longer holidays, than a UV lamp will keep the water free of algae and you will have to clean only the pool walls. Great backup.
    South of France inground rectangular 17k pool - ruber membrane. Sliding dome, black thermal blanket covering 75% of the pool surface. Aqualux 3/4Hp pump, glass media sand filter, Zodillac robot, 110W UV-c lamp, Hayward brominator, Caliente 12kW heat pump.

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    Re: What are the must have pool upgrades?

    Quote Originally Posted by Divin Dave View Post
    Nice Deck finish - upgrade from broom finish to Exposed Aggregate or Limestone Tiles or something else you like.
    +1 -Karen
    New in 2017, will update

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: What are the must have pool upgrades?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tepelus View Post
    Against the common opinion of most of the people here I would recommend to you the installation of a UV bactericidal lamp in series with the pool filter. This cannot be considered a viable sanitation system since it cannot sterilize anything that do not pass through the lamp, but is a great thing to have if you are not there to service the pool. If you have a SWG system, than this pool can be left unattended for about one week, but if you have longer holidays, than a UV lamp will keep the water free of algae and you will have to clean only the pool walls. Great backup.
    I totally disagree. The UV lamp will increase chlorine usage and require the SWG to produce more to maintain adequate FC levels. And you can leave a SWG pool for much longer than a week without a problem.

    The UV systems are just an added cost which add virtually no value to an outdoor low-use residential pool.
    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
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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    Re: What are the must have pool upgrades?

    If you plan on having any water features, heated spa, multiple pumps (or VS pump), or lighting features, I highly recommend an automated control system with remote capability so you can operate the various elements from inside your house. It might sound like a frivolous upgrade, but it's quite nice to NOT have to go out to the equipment pad to make all adjustments.

    I'm also big on Salt Water Generators, which greatly reduce the quantity of pool maintenance activities throughout the swim season. You'll still need to adjust the usual parameters (pH, hardness, alkalinity, etc), but you won't have to be adding bleach every other day. No matter what type of sanitation mode you go with, please stay away from chlorine pucks.

    Now if you have extra monies to banter about and really like convenience, I recommend an in-floor cleaning system. I have the Paramount PCC2000 and I cannot say enough good things about it. It really works as advertised, and I don't have to worry about taking my Polaris out of the pool every time the kids want to swim. Nothing is more convenient than being able to empty the dirt from the bottom of my pool via a skimmer-type basket in my pool decking. There are also secondary advantages of having most of my water returned to the pool through floor jets, which really enhances chemical dispersion and speeds up the time required for heater to raise water temperature.
    23' x 37' IG 18.5k gallon SWG w/ raised spa, Build Thread -->Here
    Wet Edge® Pearl Matrix®, Hayward® SwimClear™ 525 ft², Hayward® Goldline Controls® PS-8
    4x Hayward® TriStar™ pumps, Paramount PCC2000® ICS, TF-100 w/Speedstir

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    CUTiger78's Avatar
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    Re: What are the must have pool upgrades?

    A handrail at steps used for pool entry & exit.
    36K gallon 42X22 gunite/plaster kidney-shaped IG;
    1 hp Hayward Super Pump (new in 2012);
    Hayward S244T sand filter w/ Zeosand (both new in 2009);
    175K BTU LAARS Lite2 LG natural gas heater; Polaris 380;
    TF-100 test kit.

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    acgibson's Avatar
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    Re: What are the must have pool upgrades?

    I just put in a fairly high dollar pool setup last summer (most of the equipment is in my signature). My absolutes from my build would be the SWG, heat pump, Kreepy Krawler Robot, and Auto Cover.

    SWG....easy no hassle Chlorine
    Cover opens and closes in seconds and keeps all debris out and chlorine consumption to next to nothing. (especially if you have tress nearby that will blow leaves and junk in)
    Heat pump both heat and cools the pool, so whatever temp you set pool at it stays there full time. It is also very efficient. Important with an auto cover because water heats up under it in summer!
    Kreepy Krawler is just a plug in robot that you toss in the pool, let it clean, pull out and hose off screen. No pool ports, hoses, pumps to deal with. Cleans very well, even gets rocks and nuts.

    My setup works so well that I don't have to do anything. SWG is only set at about 3%. I check ph and chlorine every couple days, but it very rarely moves. check other readings every week or two, but hardly ever have to add much unless Im running water features a lot. I toss robot in once a week or so. Only have to brush every 4-6 weeks, maybe. I emphasize that I am extremely picking about everything including my pool, and my water is crystal clear.

    The rest of my equipment is very nice, but also a lot of money for the nicer stuff. I will say I love the screenlogic and being able to control pool from iPhone (if you do this only use the wired connection and not the wireless because it is spotty and always needs reset. Hard wired has zero issues). I prefer the Cartridge Filters for super filtering they provide and I like to see how dirty it is and I just pull it out and clean it or swap it out. Pentair Magic Laminars Jets are really cool (and great for adjusting TA) of which I have 3, but a pricey upgrade.
    18,900gal Viking 16'x40' Fiberglass In-Ground Pool w/ Cover Pool Auto Cover.
    WhisperFlo WF-24; Clean & Clear RP 150 Cartridge Filter; UltraTemp Heat Pump; IntelliChlor IC40 w/ IntelliPh Acid Pump;
    Easytouch Panel w/Screen Logic. Kreepy Krauly 820 Robot.
    LaMotte WaterLink Mobile Spin Lab & TF100/K2006 w/ Speed Stir.

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    Re: What are the must have pool upgrades?

    Yeah forgot the autocover. That was the only real absolute for us besides water. No autocover, no pool.

    And an oft overlooked one, a personal umbrella insurance policy!
    18'x38' Rectangle (3'-8 1/2' deep w/ diving board) - 27K gal. w/ gray plaster
    Hayward equipment (cartridge filter, 2-speed pump, SWCG, automation) View Our Build
    Coverstar automatic pool cover | StoneMakers concrete retaining wall and decking
    Spring 2013 Build | Dolphin Active 20 robot cleaner | Support TFP!

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    Re: What are the must have pool upgrades?

    Quote Originally Posted by Divin Dave View Post
    LED lighting - easy upgrade later with a retrofit bulb..
    Are these as functional as installing them originally? Do you get all the light shows & synchronization? - Love them light shows. Doesn't affect me but just trying make sure the comparison is apples to apples. But if the OP doesn't like apples then it doesn't matter.

    And not directly pool related but skin cancer protection (i.e. shade).
    18'x38' Rectangle (3'-8 1/2' deep w/ diving board) - 27K gal. w/ gray plaster
    Hayward equipment (cartridge filter, 2-speed pump, SWCG, automation) View Our Build
    Coverstar automatic pool cover | StoneMakers concrete retaining wall and decking
    Spring 2013 Build | Dolphin Active 20 robot cleaner | Support TFP!

  19. Back To Top    #19
    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: What are the must have pool upgrades?

    Brushpup, I agree with you 100%. I love me VS pump! The thing is downright fun!

    Quote Originally Posted by Brushpup View Post
    Good suggestions, and I don't know how I forgot it, but I second the VS pump with great enthusiasm.

    I was discouraged by many on this, including the PB. Most everyone said don't do it, it isn't worth the extra money unless you can re-coup the electrical savings quickly.

    Having one in place, I couldn't disagree more, and absolutely love having the option to adjust speeds to whatever I want them to be. When you consider
    the cost of the build, the upgrade price to VS is nothing and I like having the best/most options I can afford. Even if you don't have much automation, you can have four speeds with my pump and it's nice to have the flexibility, especially compared to having just one where the pump runs full out all the time. I put in minimal automation, and that enables me to adjust my pump in incremements of 10 RPM from 750-3150. It's just nice to have, and I encourage anyone doing a new build to put one in if at all feasible.
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

  20. Back To Top    #20
    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: What are the must have pool upgrades?

    I put in a LED retrofit bulb, and yes, there are light shows 5 or 6 of them I think. Just flip the switch off an back on and it goes from one show to the next. Or you can stop it and have the light just remain whichever color you want it to be. The one I call the Disco Show is WILD!

    haha

    I dont have a spa, so I dont know if you can synch up a pool retrofit bulb with a spa retrofit bulb or not.

    I think the biggest difference in teh retrofit bulb and the 'original' LED system, is you cannot control the retrofit to change shows via remote control.

    Quote Originally Posted by bmoreswim View Post
    Are these as functional as installing them originally? Do you get all the light shows & synchronization? - Love them light shows. Doesn't affect me but just trying make sure the comparison is apples to apples. But if the OP doesn't like apples then it doesn't matter.

    And not directly pool related but skin cancer protection (i.e. shade).
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

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