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Thread: Although it's snowing in West Michigan....

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    Although it's snowing in West Michigan....

    ...thoughts have turned to pool installation for the Spring.

    Good afternoon all.

    I'm located on the west side of Michigan, just outside the Grand Rapids area.

    My family and I are getting ready to hire a contractor to install a 20x40 inground liner pool.

    Just had a few questions, and thought I would throw them out there before I gave my contractor a deposit...

    What type of filter should I be looking for? sand/DE/cartridge
    I have heard to stay away from Hayward due to quality issues but that's only what I've read
    What type of pump is the best for a 20 X 40?
    What type of chlorination system to use? chlorine/salt-low chlorination/that UV zapper thingy
    And heaters...we need to maximize our swim season up here in the mid west and will be installing an lp heater and potentially a supplemental solar panel heater.
    Any other tips or suggestions?

    I grew up with both liner and gunnite pools, and finally want to get my kids one.

    Lastly, we are installing and automatic pool cover. What experiences if any have the good folks here at TFP had with auto pool covers?

    Thanks
    Brian

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Although it's snowing in West Michigan....

    Hi Brian, welcome to TFP.

    Spend some time reading Pool School, and many of your questions will be answered. You'll probably also come up with dozens more.

    Filter type depends much on your situation. Availability and quality of replacement water. The amount of dirt and debris that will enter your pool from the air. (Do things get dusty just sitting outside?)

    I don't think you'll have any problems with Hayward products.

    The UV system is a supplement to other forms of chlorination, so you'll still need normal chlorination or an SWCG for sanitation. There's some debate as to whether they are worth the added cost.

    Be careful that your pump isn't too big and that your filter isn't too small. You will probably be looking at a 1 or 1.5HP pump. What kind of electrical cost do you have? Do peak rates apply?

    Figure out where you might want to put solar panels so you can do the plumbing and plan for them before you build. I highly recommend them, even if you can't get as much as some sites recommend.

    Find out what local codes might apply. Talk to builders about electrical bonding. Check references. There are a lot of semi-shady builders out there, so it's worth a few extra bucks to go with somebody dependable.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Re: Although it's snowing in West Michigan....

    Well I am on the east side of the state, just south of Port Huron. I am going on my 3rd season with my first pool, it is an inground vinyl liner. I did like the post above stated spend alot of time reading here, lots of great info and great people to help out. I went with the salt water chlorine generator and could not be happier it is unbelievable how easy it is to maintain good pool water. I will say that the tfp test kit is a MUST. You absolutly need to have this kit. Second I had all Pentair equipment installed and have had zero issues what so ever. The cartridge filters have preformed awesome and would highly suggest them to you as well, no backwashing, no worrying how much media you have ect. ect. when the differential across the filter gets to high, pull the filters hose them of and re-install. Now on heaters I installed a 333,000 btu heater on mine, I raise temp about 1.5-2 degrees an hour. I would not go any smaller, since the cost in minimal to upgrade to this larger heater. I figured it out, it cost me a little over 7 dollars an hour to run teh heater, and I rarely need to run it more than 4 hours, so for a sat pool party in early summer it cost me $28, and to tell you the truth I have never noticed an increase in my gas bill, but i only turn it on when we are going to need it, i don;t keep my pool heated all the time, since i can heat it up so fast, that's why i recomend the larger heater. sorry for babling, any other questions feel free to ask.
    17,000 gallon IG Humpback Kidney
    333k Sta-Rite Max-e-therm Heater
    Sta-Rite Modular Filter
    Intellichlor IC-40
    Awesome Tiki Bar!!!!!

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    Re: Although it's snowing in West Michigan....

    Hi and congratulations on your coming new pool. I am a concrete contractor in Minnesota , I have a 20 x 40 in ground vinyl liner pool. We do a lot of pools and pool decks , you can see our pool on this site on show off you pool and kitchen , under 20 years in the making. It got a face lift last year, and we put in a auto cover , we have 6 grand kids. The 4th pic shows the trench for the pool cover , I would recommend a concrete one over the plastic one they supply. we also poured a concrete lid for the top to match the deck instead of the metal lid. we had it installed by a co. called Swim Safe ,they were great. Also got a wireless remote to open and close the cover. I have more pics of the install and could send them to your e-mail if you like.Any questions just ask. hope this helps a little, Brad p. s. would not be with out a auto cover~!

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    Re: Although it's snowing in West Michigan....

    Hey I'm Nate a swimming pool builder from Lansing, Mi. Give me a shout if you need any help or have anymore questions.
    http://www.ndkpools.com

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    Re: Although it's snowing in West Michigan....

    Welcome all to the 'newbys' here!!

    I love that, in the middle of winter, folks are here asking questions

    The pump and filter requirements are determined more by your plumbing, rather than the size of the pool (of course that does come into play )

    Mark (mas985) and Jasonlion (our administrator) can tell you lots about that stuff

    Hayward, as all the other manufacturers, has had a couple 'wrong numbers' over the years, but I trust most of their equipment!!

    Please keep posting and finding out the answers you seek - this site has a LOT of good people and knowledge to share
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: Although it's snowing in West Michigan....

    Thanks for the welcome everyone.

    I think I will have to set aside a Saturday afternoon to search and review a few more things for our pool, but overall the Pool School was quite helpful.

    Brad, thanks for the mention of the auto cover. My wife demands it (safety purposes) but still have only one contractor so far that is comfortable with it and can show his finished work (however he is "higher end" and we end up paying for that talent?. With us, we want the steps outside the pool dimensions to get maximum use of the shallow end. So the cover actually needs to extend beyond the normal pool dimensions. One other contractor has said that he can do it, but am a bit nervous since he has never it done it before. Also, do you have a separate winter cover for yours? It was not in my budget, but I think I might have to find a way to afford it.

    We are also going with a 48" shallow end wall since our kids are big enough to enjoy deeper waters. We plan on a diving board (my insistence) and I can not dissuade the family from going with a slide as well (although the contractors say that they typically get used until the kids are about 14). We anticipate two lights - with programmable light sequences (kids love that one). And before we finish, we are hoping to build a small pool house for changing, a outdoor commode, sink, small fridge and food prep area - along with an outdoor hearth and fireplace (to be built at a later time) - for now, we just want to get the pool put in and are anxious to get rolling.

    Thanks Nate for the heads up, you sure have some beautiful work on your website!

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    Re: Although it's snowing in West Michigan....

    Rather than an auto cover, have you thought about the deck mounted safety fences? With your steps being 'outside' of the pool body, this could be a much less expensive way to protect folks from accidentally falling in the pool. However, a solid or opaque cover will lessen the chlorine demand.

    It's your pool and, therefore your choice
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: Although it's snowing in West Michigan....

    No doubt about the expense factor Ted...and although we will need to have the pool area fenced off by law, the autocover is preferred by my wife....nuff said....

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    Re: Although it's snowing in West Michigan....

    with your steps outside the pool you will have to have a top mount track , we have a under mount so you don"t see it. the new covers now have a flush mount top track which is really cool. you don't have a track sticking up on top of the concrete deck.we also use ours as a winter cover.Brad

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    Re: Although it's snowing in West Michigan....

    And THAT good sir, was the problem everyone else (except for one) had exception with.....

    We definitely want the under mount....which can be done, but extends the length of the cover (and track....and expense)...

    Good to know about the winter cover....do you keep the autocover rolled up....or keep it covered with the winter cover on top?

    Also, do you have a pump on it during the swim season to remove rainwater before opening? This was another warning about the autocovers...

    Thanks

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    Re: Although it's snowing in West Michigan....

    our safety cover is our winter cover ,right now it has snow on it. yes a pump comes with the auto cover that will go on by it self , and turn off . we just throw it on if its going to rain. to clean it I take a power washer and spray it off as it rolls up, so easy. I don't see how you can have a under mount cover with the steps on the outside ? thats why i mentioned the new buried track , that top mounts in the concrete. I can give you the name of the guy from swim safe if you like, I'll wait for you to ask. don't want to be to pushy. Brad

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    Re: Although it's snowing in West Michigan....

    Thanks for the info on the pump.

    To anyone that reads this, feel free to offer names and numbers of reputable folks in the industry.

    Although we have a realistic budget for this, we have not given a deposit to any contractors yet, so we can still make some calls.

    As for the cover over steps with an under mount...

    I'm not an engineer but here goes...

    They drop the height of the steps below the track line and pour slabs on either side so it is recessed below the level of the rest of the pool deck, but just enough for track clearance...make sense??? It adds another 3-4ft on the cover

    I tried to post a pic, but it was too big.

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    Re: Although it's snowing in West Michigan....

    I get it, way cool , you just have a little 4" step up on to the deck. That would work. Still fasten the liner to the front of the fiber steps.I have a call into Rick from swim safe [great guy] I think he goes to mich. I'll let you know when he gets back to me . Brad

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    Re: Although it's snowing in West Michigan....

    Hi again, just got off the phone with rick at swim safe covers and he said he would be very interested in taking to you about your cover install. He was on his way to Texas to do one, so Mich would be no problem. You can reach him at 1-612-889-3436 , just tell him you talked to me [Brad]. you can reach me at 1-763-421-1736

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    Re: Although it's snowing in West Michigan....

    P.S remember to set your steps low enough , so that when you close your cover it won"t hit the corners of the steps, because the lead pole will sag about 2" in 20'. the new cover motors are much faster, and it would bang hard when it hit, maybe doing damage to the cover.

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    Re: Although it's snowing in West Michigan....

    My apologies for my brief sabbatical....besides work getting in the way of pool planning, we received another 10" of snow, so my thoughts wandered for a moment....

    Sandy Beach...Thank you for the info and advice - but of course, being a pool noob, you have left me with other questions.

    Should I only use ONE contractor for the whole pool installation? (What happens if I want your buddy to come install HIS cover instead of using a local installer...?)

    The two guys that I have been contacting, have years of experience and great references....however, in reviewing my literature over the weekend, I was just wondering what happens if I started going with different contractors for different phases of the pool? (i.e. excavating, pool installation, auto cover installation, flat work, etc.)

    How difficult does it make the project and do I save anything by trying to be the general contractor?

    I definitely want the most bang for my buck in this investment, but I also want to make sure it is installed properly....I know that one of the contractors is probably unaware of the 2" sag in 20' which could potentially create a HUGE headache....

    I also noticed that neither one of these contractors was recommending a SWG or cannister system that I have been reading about in Pool School and sounds like a real possibility....

    Why would they omit this? Is it more prevalent in certain parts of the country, or is it difficult to install?

    Sorry for the questions, and since we are expecting another 2" tomorrow, I don't see me breaking ground any time soon, so no rush to respond.

    And thanks to everyone that has helped out with their advice so far....

    Brian

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    Re: Although it's snowing in West Michigan....

    Salt water generators are not difficult to install, especially during pool installation. They can be expensive, though they eventually pay for themselves. The larger the pool, the quicker they pay for themselves, even using BBB.

    Be sure you research which ones are the best; I didn't when my pool was installed and just got whatever the builder gave me. I am not happy with the Polaris at all, but that could also be my lack of proper pool care.

    All in all, I am happy for you because you found this site BEFORE building your pool. You will have soooooo many headaches avoided just buy doing a little reading here.

    Good luck and don't forget to ENJOY your pool when it's built.
    45,180 gallon 26' x 53' IG Vinyl, irregular shape. Hayward sand filter / pump. Polaris AutoClear SWG, supplemented with a Hayward Automatic Chlorinator (In-Line). Hayward 400K BTU heater. Paramount "turnover" system. Polaris 480 PRO cleaner.

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    Re: Although it's snowing in West Michigan....

    Quote Originally Posted by Baddad
    Should I only use ONE contractor for the whole pool installation? (What happens if I want your buddy to come install HIS cover instead of using a local installer...?)

    If you're considering an automatic cover, at the very least, your deck sub has to be in on the plan. I wasn't sure from your original post -- are you planning on being your own general contractor (GC)? If not, get all details written up and plan drawing from the GC. You could always suggest to your GC that company X do the automatic cover but most of them have either the crew or other subcontractors they normally work with to build all aspects of the pool, from excavation and engineering to concrete work, gunite and electrical/plumbing... equipment installers and landscaping services.

    The two guys that I have been contacting, have years of experience and great references....however, in reviewing my literature over the weekend, I was just wondering what happens if I started going with different contractors for different phases of the pool? (i.e. excavating, pool installation, auto cover installation, flat work, etc.)

    How difficult does it make the project and do I save anything by trying to be the general contractor?

    Most, but not everyone, who acts as their own general contractor has some experience in the construction or building trades. If you're a die-hard DIY'er with a civil engineering background or degree and are currently retired, work part time or from home -- or have 6 months of spare time, it should be doable. If you make good decisions, are lucky and smarter than your average turnip truck, you'll save $2000-$20,000 -- the gross profit enjoyed by pool builders. There's information on how to go about this in threads on this site (use the google search at the left hand bottom of this page); also check out these external links:

    How I Built My Own Pool

    How I acted as my own GC to build a pool

    Otherwise, hire a GC and pay them to produce a turn-key installation.



    I definitely want the most bang for my buck in this investment, but I also want to make sure it is installed properly....I know that one of the contractors is probably unaware of the 2" sag in 20' which could potentially create a HUGE headache....

    I also noticed that neither one of these contractors was recommending a SWG or cannister system that I have been reading about in Pool School and sounds like a real possibility....

    Why would they omit this? Is it more prevalent in certain parts of the country, or is it difficult to install?

    They may be getting ready to submit bids for low-end systems.... but SWGs are pretty simple to install. Get a list of everything you want in the system and talk to the potential general contractors or pool companies. If you're interested in seeing a sample bid document (to be used for discussion or requesting bid prices), send me a Private Message and I'll send you the one I prepared 3 years ago for my build. Or Google "bid document" or "RFP" on this site -- I believe I've posted it somewhere here.

    BTW -- every region seems to be different in the time it takes to build a pool. If you're dreaming of swimming at the start of summer, find out how long the process takes in your area. I was getting bids by mid-April but didn't swim until the very last week of August!


    Sorry for the questions, and since we are expecting another 2" tomorrow, I don't see me breaking ground any time soon, so no rush to respond.

    And thanks to everyone that has helped out with their advice so far....

    Brian
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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