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Thread: Pool renovation questions

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    Question Pool renovation questions

    I am in the process of getting bids for a renovation of my pool. We are looking for a pebble finish, new waterfall, full automation, salt, heater and converting the attached spa into a Baja shelf.
    The different pool contractors have told me so many different things so I am coming to you for advice. Some of the conflicting pieces of advice are:

    • Salt systems are trouble and an intelliChem system is almost a requirement.
    • Heatpump heaters do not work and I am better off getting solar. I live in central California and really only plan on heating the pool during the warm months up to about 80-82.
      • I am getting PV solar that is rated 115% of my current power usage to cover the running of the heatpump.
      • I do have great sun coverage for solar pool heating but really don't like the idea of PV + Pool solar covering my entire roof on the street side.

    • Cantilever decking is not good vs is recommended with my expansive soil. At first we were planning on doing a stamped concrete all the way up to the pool edge but once we heard that a separate coping is recommended we are now looking into a flagstone or natural stone edge.


    All of this information and choices is so daunting. Some of them will only do my plaster and do not want to touch any water feature and others say they they can do anything but don't give details explaining how or why they do the work the way they do.

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: Pool renovation questions

    K,

    Welcome to TFP... A great place to debunk all of your pool builder's myths...

    As far as the salt system comments, it is apparent they have never used one.. Having a Saltwater pool is by far the best and easiest possible way to sanitize your pool. The key, like anything, is to understand how they work, before buying one, so that you can get right one for your pool.

    The IntelliChem is not a requirement and in most cases is not recommended by this site.. They are basically more trouble than they are worth...

    One main key to a good salt system is that they need to be the same brand as your automation.. The other key is size.. Sounds like you are looking a Pentair, which means your salt cell would need to be an Intellichlor.. And it needs to be at least 2 x the volume of your pool or larger.. So for a 20K pool, a 40K cell (IC40) would be required.

    I'll leave the answers to your other questions to those that have a solar system..

    Thanks for posting,

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Caldera Spa.

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    Re: Pool renovation questions

    Thanks
    I do plan on going all Pentair products (I currently have their Intelliflow VS). I would like to be able to hook up the automation to yard lights in the front and back so am looking at the Intellitouch i7.

    As far as heating... I am leaning towards Solar because I have full day sun on my roof and there is enough room for it.

    Still waiting on getting back my last estimate (Burkett's Pool Plastering) then we will make our decision on who we are going with. Hopefully it can get started within a month or so and be finished in time for swim season!

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: Pool renovation questions

    K,

    I believe that the IntelliTouch is a much more expensive option than you need...

    Unless you have some overriding reason for going with the i7, I would recommend the EasyTouch 8...

    The IntelliTouch was designed for very complex pools with lots of pumps and water features...

    Here is a good example of a package deal... Pentair Easy Touch Control System 520545. EasyTouch 8SC-IC40 Control System. Pentair 520545.

    Thanks,

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Caldera Spa.

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    Re: Pool renovation questions

    The automation systems seemed so overwhelming on what is actually needed and what comes in the systems that I guess I aired on the 'too much' side. I think I will pencil in the EasyTouch... Thanks!
    13000 g free form; Wet Edge Prism Matrix Twilight; Pentair Intelliflo VS.; EasyTouch 8 w/ ScreenLogic; IntelliChlor ic40; 6 Solar panels 10x4.

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: Pool renovation questions

    K,

    No matter if you get the IntelliTouch, or the EasyTouch, make sure you also get ScreenLogic2. It will allow you to program and control your Pool via your PC, Tablet, or Phone..

    It makes using either system about 10 x easier than trying to use the main panel... and only costs about $370... Below are a couple of screen shots... Kind of like a worm on the end of the hook...



    .




    Good luck with your upgrade...

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Caldera Spa.

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    Re: Pool renovation questions

    welcome KilLogic.

    Some comments in no particular order.

    I'm pretty close to you. about 30 miles east, and solar heating panels will make a huge difference. My pool is partially shaded and I get at least an extra month of warm water in spring and another in fall. I also bought a cover and put it on in april to give the pool a kick start warming up and am often swimming late april, early May. If you don't have a cover, consider one. Even one that covers 2/3 of the pool and is easy to roll will cut the evaporation down and keep temps up early and late in the season. Without a cover I get 7 to 10 degree temp swings over night due to evaporation. I have a 12x24 cover on a 33x16 pool and the cover cuts the temp loss in half overnight. Its a little pain to roll up,but getting the pool to 80 in april is worth it,and by memorial day it is rolled up and stored in the garage.

    I don't know if it makes sense cost-wise to use PV panels to power your heat pump. It might be better to put some solar pool panels on the roof and ditch the heat pump. especially if you are ditching the spa and don't need the heat for that.

    Are you SMUD? or PG&E? PG&E is pushing customers to time of use rate plans so you might want to research this and how this affects what you choose for solar. I hear it is coming to everyone in CA in the next couple of years. If so, consider which direction to placethe panels. If you can swing it you might want to get the PV panels facing west-southwest, and have the pool heating panels facing east -southeast

    why? The pump will use more power pushing the water up to the roof for the solar heating, and if the pool panels face east and south you'll be able to run the pump harder in the morning when electricity is cheaper and when your house AC is probably not running. Later in the afternoon if the PV panels are facing south/southwest they will generate more power when you need it to power the AC and will offset power that is higher cost.

    I'm not an expert in PV solar generation but changing when you use power will affect costs because if you generate power when it is cheap, and don't generate power when it is more expensive this devalues the solar system. If you can maximize power generation when you are using it most and when it is most expensive the solar PV will have greater value.

    I would ask a ton of questions. Are you looking at PV and pool heating solar from the same company? Sierra Pacific did my pool solar. Solid company in the Sacto area, and they do both pool and PV. they are not the cheapest, but you might want to give them a call. I'm considering them for PV also.

    Some other items. SWG: one of the best investments I've made. I went to a salt pool about 5-6 years ago when I did the solar. Huge improvement. Pool is always sparkling and the chems are easy to keep in balance. Sacto area water is pretty easy to work with. For me, acid and some occasional baking soda keep it perfect all summer long. And, the salt pool is much, much nicer on the skin and the eyes.

    I agree with Jimrahbe on the size of the intellichlor, (IC40) and an Easy Touch 8. I have an easyTouch 8, and it runs a solar valve, two valves for the pool/spa combo, a separate valve for water features and a separate valve for the pool cleaner. It also controls two lights and a blower for the spa, and I have one solenoid left to run landscape lights but have yet to wire them in.

    edit: If you don't have a lot of valves or other things to control, an easy touch 4 might be enough and is less costly. / edit

    This year I think I'll invest in a screen logic 2.

    good luck with your renovation.
    Last edited by Dan-H; 03-06-2018 at 10:36 AM. Reason: added not on easy touch 4.
    Pool IG 17,000 gallon (33 x 16) Spa IG 700 gallon - under renovation
    Sta-Rite IntelliPro VS 3050, Pentair Easy Touch 8, Intellichlor IC40, Pentair FNS Plus 60, TF-100 Test Kit w/ salt test
    Pentair Intellibrite 5G Color LED, Polaris 360, Lars Lx400 NatGas heater, Fafco Solar panels

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    Re: Pool renovation questions

    It sounds like your really being overly optimistic for having your pool ready for this season. This is the time when everyone gets a pool. Pools typically take 8-12 weeks until you can swim in them from ground-breaking. If you are not even starting until April, that puts you at sometime in July. Not too bad but that is if everything goes as planned. I would get your builder going asap. Any hiccup in permitting or scheduling and you could push that schedule by months. Good luck! Post up some pics and your plan when you get it!
    29k Gallon Free Form Gunite Pool, 3 floor returns, 2 wall returns, 1 vacuum pressure port, 2 skimmers, Main drain, Jandy 2.7HP VSP, Jandy JXI400N Gas Heater, Jandy CV340 Cartridge Filter, FusionSoft 1400 SWG, 2 Watercolors LED, iAqualink with PDA, Sheer Waterfall, Rock Waterfall, 9' Deep End w/Diving Board, SunDeck, Polaris 9650iQ, TF-100 - Pool Build - 2017 - Google Photos

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    Re: Pool renovation questions

    Thanks for the info.

    I did have a pool cover in the past years but the shape of my pool and yard makes it major PITA to get on and off. I think I will be getting a new one that is smaller or even in 2 pieces will be beneficial. I'll probably wait to see how good the solar works though.
    As far as PV solar and time of use; I am on PG&E and they will be putting me on time of use. My panels will be facing almost due south but slightly angled west. This should actually give me excellent generation for peak hours. My PV company is Tesla/Solar City. They should be starting install in about a month. Depending on my generation and usage I will adjust my pump to run on or off peak hours.
    13000 g free form; Wet Edge Prism Matrix Twilight; Pentair Intelliflo VS.; EasyTouch 8 w/ ScreenLogic; IntelliChlor ic40; 6 Solar panels 10x4.

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    Re: Pool renovation questions

    My neighbor went with salt with his new pool build about 10 years back. He constantly has to seal his flagstone coping and stone veneer around his pool yearly so the salt will not damage it. He didn’t seal the stone veneer from the beginning and it started to disinegrate after a few years. I didn’t want to go through the hassle of sealing every few years so I just stayed with chlorine. Not sure if it was the materials his builder used or if this is something common that happens with salt. Maybe some others can chime in....
    Remodel Completion 8/22/16. Pool-16x32', Raised Stacked Stone Spa with Waterfall - 9x9', Pool Depth 4-6', Pentair Intelliflo VS Pump, Intelliflo VF Pump, WhisperFlow 2HP Pump, Pentair 320 Clean and Clear filter, Easytouch 8, Screenlogic 2, (3) Pentair Globrites, Pentair Intellibrite 5G, 1.5HP Blower, 4 Sheer Descent Waterfalls, Rico Rock Waterfall.

  11. Back To Top    #11
    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: Pool renovation questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Davidc21a View Post
    My neighbor went with salt with his new pool build about 10 years back. He constantly has to seal his flagstone coping and stone veneer around his pool yearly so the salt will not damage it. He didn’t seal the stone veneer from the beginning and it started to disinegrate after a few years. I didn’t want to go through the hassle of sealing every few years so I just stayed with chlorine. Not sure if it was the materials his builder used or if this is something common that happens with salt. Maybe some others can chime in....
    D,

    Please go over to your neighbor's pool and take some pics of the damage... I have yet to see any...

    The salt level in a salt water pool is about the same as what is in your tears...

    I suspect it was the rock itself and not the saltwater... My daughter had flagstone coping before we converted to saltwater... you could just look at the stones side by side and see that some had thin sheets of stone that would just flake away.. Right next to it would be another stone that did not have the same look... It has now been almost five years since we converted to salt water... The flaky stones are still flaky and the non-flaky stones still do not flake.. They look today just like they looked when the pool was a non-saltwater pool..

    If you listen to the stories about saltwater pools, you would be convinced that saltwater is what sunk the Titanic... It is obvious.. it was in saltwater and it sank!!! What else could it have been...

    Thanks,

    Jim R
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Caldera Spa.

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    Re: Pool renovation questions

    We have made a decision on contractors and have a tentative agreement (still waiting on finalized contract). The price if all of this is quite a bit more than what I was hoping for but with a WetEdge pebble finish hopefully I won't have to touch it for over 30 years.
    The install will include:
    WetEdge Signature Matrix Tahoe
    NPT tile- Aztec Cobalt
    Tumbled Flagstone coping
    Salt finished concrete (unsure on color)
    3x5x6 waterfall
    EasyTouch 8 with Screenlogic
    Intellchlor IC40
    Solar Heating
    Spa is being filled in and covered with concrete
    New skimmer basket, VBG drains and all new pad plumbing.

    I'll be taking come pre-project pictures and get them up and add others as the project gets underway.

    THANKS FOR ALL THE ADVICE TFP!!
    13000 g free form; Wet Edge Prism Matrix Twilight; Pentair Intelliflo VS.; EasyTouch 8 w/ ScreenLogic; IntelliChlor ic40; 6 Solar panels 10x4.

  13. Back To Top    #13

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    Re: Pool renovation questions

    Quote Originally Posted by KilLogic View Post
    We have made a decision on contractors and have a tentative agreement (still waiting on finalized contract). The price if all of this is quite a bit more than what I was hoping for but with a WetEdge pebble finish hopefully I won't have to touch it for over 30 years.
    The install will include:
    WetEdge Signature Matrix Tahoe
    NPT tile- Aztec Cobalt
    Tumbled Flagstone coping
    Salt finished concrete (unsure on color)
    3x5x6 waterfall
    EasyTouch 8 with Screenlogic
    Intellchlor IC40
    Solar Heating
    Spa is being filled in and covered with concrete
    New skimmer basket, VBG drains and all new pad plumbing.

    I'll be taking come pre-project pictures and get them up and add others as the project gets underway.

    THANKS FOR ALL THE ADVICE TFP!!

    Mind me asking who you are going with? I am in NorCal and am looking for someone to reno my pool as well.
    Thanks.
    IG ~18,000 gallon Primera Stone Tahoe Coast freeform pool. PureLine 2.7HP VS pump, Hayward booster, FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Crystal Pure 40K SWCG, Kreepy Krawly Legend. TF-100 test kit.

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