I have an Intex 18'x48" metal frame pool that I'm about to setup. It is a little less than 6500 gallons according to Intex's website. I would like to upgrade the pump and filter and possibly the plumbing before I set it up. I'm not sure if I need to completely change the plumbing or just make some modifications to the included hoses? I see where some people here are adding additional lines with their upgrades. Any suggestions on how to do this and is it necessary for easy low-no maintenance?
I'm trying to decide between a sand filter and a cartridge filter. I'm looking for the easiest, fastest, and cheapest way to filter my pool. I've read about each and kind of leaning towards a sand filter. I have no idea which size sand filter would be good for my pool. I know a bigger filter is better, but this is my first pool and I don't know if 19", 21",24" etc. is good enough. I'm sure they are all good enough, but which is the best for low-no maintenance? Also, which brand is the best bang for my buck? Looking for good quality and durability for a cheap price.
Next, which size pump should I get? Can I get by with a 1/2hp. pump? Also, should I get a 1 or 2 speed and should this pump be uprated or fullrated? Again, which brand is the best bang for my buck? I've read the posts and other websites about how to choose a pump, but it is all over my head. Also, what brand of timers does everyone recommend for their pump? I know my Intex is a cheap pool, but I would like to make the above, costly, upgrades now to help with maintenance because of my schedule.
Sorry so many questions, but my wife is on me about setting this thing up. I just want to do it right from the beginning to hopefully avoid any problems in the future.
I appreciate any help I can get.