Become a TFP Supporter Pool Math Forum Rules Pool School
Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: To automate or not automate

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Magnolia, TX
    Posts
    25

    To automate or not automate

    Hi folks! Awesome forum you have going here! I've learned so much already and I'm ready to start asking some direct questions. Thanks in advance for your advice!!

    I'm going to have an inground pool installed soon and have tons of decisions to make haha. We live just north of Houston, so expect a fairly long pool season. The basic pool specs are inground, about 30 or 35 x 18 free form, 10foot spa. We have two kids, 8 and 9, and four other kids in our immediate neighbors houses so I expect a decent load. My wife is absolutely fabulous, but scared about being able to deal with chemicals. I'm as mechanical as they get so no fear on my part...but I travel for work a lot, sometimes for three weeks straight. She's fully on-board with anything I can do to make maintenance easier.

    Its because of my extended travel that I am thinking of going the automated route for chlorine (SWCG to be accurate) and Ph (acid injection). I dont want a call in the middle of the night while I'm in China that the pool is green lol! I'm leaning towards Hayward Omnilogic with their orp and ph sensing setup. Besides, once I have the main controller, everything can be adjusted remotely which will be very convenient.

    Thoughts/advice appreciated on whether this is a good route to reduce regular chemical "hands on" time, stabilize pool performance, etc. of course with the knowledge that the up front cost is pretty steep.
    Last edited by cmc#5; 02-21-2015 at 11:46 AM. Reason: corrected grammar haha

  2. Back To Top    #2
    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD
    Posts
    37,879

    Re: To automate or not automate

    Welcome to TFP!

    Hayward Omnilogic is brand new. While the promo material looks amazing, you should keep in mind that new products often have some glitches that take a season or two to work out. I can't say for sure that anything like that will happen this time, but such issues are fairly common with new products.

    I don't recommend any brand of ORP based control, it costs more, requires more work, breaks more often, and is in all ways inferior to normal percentage based SWG control for outdoor residential pools. I wouldn't bother with automated PH control unless you have high TA fill water. In nearly all other cases (other than fresh plaster and high TA fill water) it is possible to balance the levels so that regular acid additions are not required.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  3. Back To Top    #3
    Divin Dave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Longview, Texas
    Posts
    4,926

    Re: To automate or not automate

    Hi cmc
    welcome to TFP!

    I agree with Jason regarding the ORP's. I used to be a Saltwater Reef Aquarium guy and depended on them for dosing chemicals.
    Big mistake. Anyways...

    The SWG is awesome. It makes life really easy.
    The chemistry is not difficult if you know what to do. First and foremost, you will need a reliable test kit. If you use the ORP's then you can compare the ORP result against your own test. This may give you some comfort in the accuracy.
    Most of us here at TFP use the TF100 test kit. Its the best on the market and the best bang for the dollars.
    www.tfetsts.net

    If you havent already started reading Pool School, I would also recommend to start learnign about pool water chemistry and what the water parmaeters mean. Start with the ABC's. Since your build hasnt started yet, there is plenty of time to lean about it and ask questions as they arise.
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/conte...ater-chemistry

    This is about the best info I can give you for now.
    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 !!

  4. Back To Top    #4
    Patrick_B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Midland TX
    Posts
    15,001

    Re: To automate or not automate

    It sounds like you'll primarily be the one testing the pool, and if you are gone three weeks with a bad pH controller it could get pretty messy. It all sounds nice, but automation equipment should be checked on for calibration/accuracy much more than PBs allude too. They give the impression that it's set and forget, but that's not the best approach. Good luck in your decision, and welcome to TFP!
    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

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Magnolia, TX
    Posts
    25

    Re: To automate or not automate

    I'll definitely be the primary caregiver for this pool but the more I read the more the wife and I are coming to grips with her having to be able to test and adjust things also. I just dont see much good around here on ORP systems so we're both turned off on those now lol. Plus, we've had four PBs give us an initial consultation and all four didnt recommend ORP control. Interestingly, two pushed very hard against SWG. Not to the point of saying they wouldnt install it, but seriously pushed for us to not go that route.

    No ORP control ok, I can get on board with that. No Ph control because it moves slowly and is easy to control, ok I can get on board with that too. But no SWG just "regular" testing and manually adjusting chlorine? Are those PBs just angling for a future pool service contract or what?
    19k inground w/raised spa, Hayward Omnilogic, Tcell-15, Tristar 1.85hp VSP, 250MBtu heater, C4030 filter

  6. Back To Top    #6
    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD
    Posts
    37,879

    Re: To automate or not automate

    SWGs have a bad reputation in the Texas area. There is some kind of especially soft stone that is very commonly used for coping in that area that is sensitive to the higher salt levels with a SWG. If you stay away from the local flagstone coping there won't be any problems with the SWG.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  7. Back To Top    #7
    Divin Dave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Longview, Texas
    Posts
    4,926

    Re: To automate or not automate

    Yeah,
    its actually called Oklahoma Flagstone. Apologies to the Oklahoma folks, no bashing or pun intended, but that's what it's called. A large portion of the flagstone we get here in Texas is pretty susceptible to degradation from the salt. For whatever reason, I dont specifically know, but it does. I suspect however, that it may be because of high iron content in the stone.

    I couldn't comment one way or other about flagstone from other parts of the country.

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion View Post
    SWGs have a bad reputation in the Texas area. There is some kind of especially soft stone that is very commonly used for coping in that area that is sensitive to the higher salt levels with a SWG. If you stay away from the local flagstone coping there won't be any problems with the SWG.
    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 !!

  8. Back To Top    #8

    TFP Guide

    chiefwej's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Tucson
    Posts
    2,853

    Re: To automate or not automate

    All natural stone can be damaged but Texas limestone and Oklahoma flagstone are both very susceptible to salt damage, and both are plentiful and cheap in Texas. Pool builders love to use them because they are cheap, soft and easy to work with, and look great. Unfortunately after a few years near a salt pool they start eroding badly. A SWG can't be beat for a way of chlorinating a pool, but if you want a salt pool avoid natural stone or at least (if you just must have stone) stick to the very hard stone and seal it.

    My pool builder said: "Salt or stone pick one but you can't have both." We picked salt!

    As far as automation, my pool has no automation at all. It just has a timer that controls the SWG and the VS pump is controlled by its own onboard timer. I don't see that I have any need for automation, it's just an added expense and something else to go wrong. I don't know how much easier it could make having a pool. I just adjust my SWG to maintain my chlorine level, I've lowered the TA and added borates so the pH is relativly stable on its own. All that's left is empty skimmers, brush, test and make small adjustments occasionaly.
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Magnolia, TX
    Posts
    25

    Re: To automate or not automate

    Excellent and reasonable explanation. As luck would have it, our preference was to go brick anyway for coping and we're not looking at any stone waterfalls etc. so I think we're in good shape. We are looking to have a raised spa with a cascading overflow and that and the outside wall around the spa will be some kind of stone or stone looking brick. Any suggestions as to what materials to avoid in those areas?
    19k inground w/raised spa, Hayward Omnilogic, Tcell-15, Tristar 1.85hp VSP, 250MBtu heater, C4030 filter

  10. Back To Top    #10
    Divin Dave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Longview, Texas
    Posts
    4,926

    Re: To automate or not automate

    I really couldn't comment on which type of material use. There are lots available. Some people even create their own rocks and waterfalls out of gunite and look awesome.

    I would like to add however regarding some of the stone materials. If there is some question about the corrosion of it by the salt, then the stone could certainly be sealed with sealer. Thats what most folks do. Its a eay enough DIY project to seal or reseal coping, deck, watefalls, if you were to chose to do that. Should be done every couple of years.

    You can get natural look sealer that will protect the material and at the same time, maintain the natural appearance of it.

    On the earlier subject of testing, in case you dont know what's involved in testing pool water, here is a youtube video of how to use the TF100 test kit. Its extremely easy to do.
    https://www.youtube.com/user/TF100TestKit
    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 !!

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Magnolia, TX
    Posts
    25

    Re: To automate or not automate

    Ok cool...I think I have a good handle on this aspect of it anyway. We're thinking that we'll continue down the road of SWG and non all natural stone coping.
    19k inground w/raised spa, Hayward Omnilogic, Tcell-15, Tristar 1.85hp VSP, 250MBtu heater, C4030 filter

  12. Back To Top    #12

    TFP Guide

    chiefwej's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Tucson
    Posts
    2,853

    Re: To automate or not automate

    Quote Originally Posted by cmc#5 View Post
    Excellent and reasonable explanation. As luck would have it, our preference was to go brick anyway for coping and we're not looking at any stone waterfalls etc. so I think we're in good shape. We are looking to have a raised spa with a cascading overflow and that and the outside wall around the spa will be some kind of stone or stone looking brick. Any suggestions as to what materials to avoid in those areas?
    Yes, in the area that the water will be cascading over, I would put tile. Glass tile or ceramic., there are many that would be gorgeous. Either would never be damaged by salt water and would be much less susceptible to calcium deposits. And if and when they do develope the inevitable deposits, they can be cleaned.
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Magnolia, TX
    Posts
    25

    Re: To automate or not automate

    How is a cascading spillover with several little steps between the top and the waterline get made using ceramic tiles? I can see that stones are thick enough that they just get stacked on top of each other, but can the same look be obtained with tile or other material that isnt so susceptible to the salt?
    19k inground w/raised spa, Hayward Omnilogic, Tcell-15, Tristar 1.85hp VSP, 250MBtu heater, C4030 filter

  14. Back To Top    #14
    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD
    Posts
    37,879

    Re: To automate or not automate

    Tile won't look the same as stone, but it could be fairly close to the same overall shape easily enough.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  15. Back To Top    #15

    TFP Guide

    chiefwej's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Tucson
    Posts
    2,853

    Re: To automate or not automate

    If you want the look of stone, go with it. But, pick a hard stone and seal it, of you can have the look of stone made out of gunite.
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •