20/20 hindsight.... what do you regret spending or not spending $$ on?

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
8,247
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Hi Grammie! Welcome to TFP! What a great set of lists you've gotten so far!

About autofill/overflow, after reading others' threads, I'm convinced the one I have is best. It's called a PoolMiser (here). What I like about it: it's housed in its own PVC tank, and connected to the pool through an equalizer tube. Mine is by my skimmer, but it can be 30' away if desired. It contains both the overflow and autofill systems, so your minimum and maximum water level are both adjustable, and both controlled in the same place. And because its connected by an equalizer tube, that connects to your pool well below the surface, it is not subjected to waves and splashing like a plain ol' hole in the side of your pool would be.

I like my colored light. Not the goofy light shows, but the ability to have a bright white pool, or a blue pool, or a red pool as the mood strikes. I crank up the white when kids are in the pool, and I subdue the light when I'm just lounging around in it, or by it. I use the light more when I'm out of the pool than in, as it is a nice companion to the landscape lighting I enjoy. The major flaw of mine is the direction it points, right at the house, right at where I most want to sit outside. (That was the previous owner's doing.) Your pool light(s) should never shine at your house, and should shine away from where you'll want to hang out. In your pool, I'd want four, all mounted on the house-side of the pool, shining away from the house. Two small ones, one each for shelf and spa, and two large for main pool. I'd want them wired separately, so I could control which lights were on, and each color. You might not want the shelf light on, for example, while in the spa. Or maybe both dark and just the pool lights on, etc.

I wish I had maxed out my automation controller. I was sold the cheapest model, I wish I had the best, most capable one. I don't believe automation is a luxury (any more than a pool is). If you have a pool, you have automation. And that automation is controllable on a smart phone. And it drives a variable speed pump. Period.

I have both chlorine and acid automated dosing systems. I would not have another pool without them. It remains to be seen if your pool will need the acid automation component, but even if you only have to dose acid once a week, I think it a worthwhile addition. Saltwater pool with SWG is non-negotiable.

The notes about speakers in the yard vs over the patio table are dead on.

Landscape lighting a must. This is the stuff, IMO, the last you'll ever need to buy: Quality Outdoor Lighting at Factory Direct Low Prices | VOLT Lighting

The cleaner debate rages on! I like my suction-side cleaner. I don't mind that it puts its trash into my filter. I have a clean yard and expect to clean my filter but once a year. Yours will be similar, I'd expect, if you screen it in. A pressure-side cleaner adds an extra pump and mine had a tail, which was a major problem for me, as it would be for your screen room. Unless adjusted by some sort of miracle worker, these tails come out of the water periodically and hose down the surrounding area. Took me and a friend the better part of a day to remove pool water residue from windows about 15' away from my pool. We had to use abrasion, and buffers, no chemical would touch this stuff. Not to mention the thing will hose you down if you're out there during vacuum time. No thanks on the pressure vacs (even if there is one without a tail). I experienced little difference in cleaning ability. Robots must be the best at cleaning, and they brush your surface when others don't. And they don't need your pump or filter. But you must take them in and out of the water and they are heavy (though some leave them in), and you have this big, ugly electrical cable running across your deck when they are in the water. Pros and cons to every system. With an "indoor" pool, the robot would be tempting, as I expect you might not need to put it in very often. With pressure and suction vacs, you tend to leave them in all the time and then the hose gets in the way. No cleaner system should be running when swimmer are in the pool, as they all pose a potential danger to people.

I have very plain pebble, no sparkles, no regrets. I was after a specific color, not special effects.

No drains in the main pool.

2¢ please...
 

PoolguyinCT

In The Industry
Jul 21, 2014
3,077
Connecticut
Spend the money on safety safety safety

If you have floor drains, unblockable channel drains for pool & spa. If spa not big enough make the foot well bigger.

& a well illuminated pool is an after dark safety feature.
 

PoolguyinCT

In The Industry
Jul 21, 2014
3,077
Connecticut
Get a much decking as possible and install lighting over the equipment pad or flood lights if you don't already have.
& yes to the decking budget will allow.
That also reminds me, get wired up now.
Plugs, speakers, cable etc..

I can’t can’t the number of $250k or so pool builds that have to run an extension cord for a radio.
 

Tenamarie123

Bronze Supporter
Jul 6, 2017
68
Warren, MI
Really like having the sunshelf and would not want a pool without it. We have 6" deep water on the shelf and we and others really like that depth. We put some adirondack style chairs in there and sit with our feet on the bubblers...love. Also really enjoy our colored lights, two in the pool and the bubblers are lighted. Kids and us love to swim at night with them and even when you're not in the pool, it provides a beautiful ambiance to the backyard. Regrets....no handrail. Didn't like the looks of them but when all is said and done, we do have some older folks that have a hard time getting in and out of the pool and a handrail would have been helpful. We're in Michigan so a heater was a must and the SWG goes without saying. Good luck on your build :)
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
8,247
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Forgot handrails! Yes. But removable (just install the fixtures for them in the deck and/or pool, however that works). Leave them off most of the time, slip them in for when the ol' folks visit, or when you get old enough.

And forgot my solar system. Good investment, though not sure if needed/used in your climate.
 

Nectarologist

Well-known member
Apr 3, 2015
579
New York
For a functional improvement I would never do without a bench in the deep end (deep enough to not be able to stand). We use the entire pool because of the bench. I got multicolor lights but they are not necessary. I'd be fine with white lighting for the money difference.

Regardless of what your builder does, insist on an electrical outlet more than 10 feet away from any part of the pool but no more than 20 feet away (& no outlets closer than 10 feet). This is a safety issue and if your locality doesn't follow the nec it might not be mandatory (though most suburban areas follow the nec or very similar standards).
 

BMK

Bronze Supporter
Mar 29, 2016
448
SW PA
Well, put me down for 'Regret not having it, but don't regret not spending the money' on this one:

Autocover.

Had one on our previous pool and it was amazing how much heat, chemicals and maintenance it saved....not to mention the safety factor. As someone else around here once said, You can't have a truly trouble free pool without one.

But with a larger free-form pool, the cost was just too prohibitive. Sigh......
 

BMK

Bronze Supporter
Mar 29, 2016
448
SW PA
I like my colored light. Not the goofy light shows, but the ability to have a bright white pool, or a blue pool, or a red pool as the mood strikes. I crank up the white when kids are in the pool, and I subdue the light when I'm just lounging around in it, or by it. I use the light more when I'm out of the pool than in, as it is a nice companion to the landscape lighting I enjoy.
X2.

We use the pool area a great deal even when not using the pool itself. Sometimes we're gathered around the fire pit, using the hot tub, or just hanging out back there, with the sight and sound of the waterfall a perfect backdrop. Since the pool is obviously the 800 pound gorilla back there, being able to tone it down a bit to match the ambiance is just as important as the music or the other ambient lighting.
 

scdaren

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
May 20, 2018
418
Clovis, CA
Hi - thanks for your response. I appreciate the advice on the SWG size. What kind of "functional improvements" do you mean/recommend?

Here's one rendering of the pool: View attachment 86557 . The only difference is that we have decided to go with square corners instead of rounded off corners.
Cheers, and thanks for the help!
I would definitely do more seating in the deep end and along the sides. That's one of my favorite features of our pool, is all the seating and places to relax. It's also great for kids who are learning to swim and like to play in all areas of the pool -- both for fun and safety. Our pool has a bench along one whole side of it shallow to deep. You can see pics in the link in my signature. And that extra seating added little if anything to the cost.
 

chiefwej

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 12, 2011
3,542
Tucson
Infloor cleaning system- although I have neighbors who love theirs, I wish I had saved that money. The system is just designed to blow the dirt and debris around in the pool until it falls into the drain. A good robot does a much quicker more thorough job in a fraction the time, at a fraction of the cost, (both initial and operating costs).

An auto cover would have been nice to have and a place I could have put the infloor money.

I have a tanning shelf about 18 inches deep that’s about 8x8. I love the depth but a bit a bit bigger, maybe 10x10 would have been nice.
I like my attached spa, but if build money were really tight, I could forego one.

Automation systems are overpriced, out-of-date, antiquated technology, and severely limit your choice of all other equipment to a single brand, and often then to a specific model. Using currently available Smart Switch type products, I’ve setup my pool lights, spa pump, heater and patio lights to work voice activated by Alexa or from my iPhone, for less than $200. It’s a simple system, but I couldn’t think of much else I needed to control from a phone, and it saved $$$ over the cost of any automation system.

Speaking of lights, I just used standard lights (facing away from the house and sitting area) and replaced the bulbs with LED for energy efficiency. White only, I’m not after a color show.

Other thoughts:
VS pumps are a must have. SWG-if I didn’t have a salt water chlorine generator, I wouldn’t have a pool. And buy the largest capacity SWG in the brand you choose. Also the biggest filter you can afford and fit in.
Plumbing- two skimmers, separate runs for skimmers/main drain, several returns to provide good surface movement, and valves for maximum flexibility. All valves should be the good pool type, no cheap ball valves.

Sorry for the rambling nature of the post, but it’s just some of my thoughts as they come to me.
 

jaymantx

Silver Supporter
Apr 3, 2018
146
Houston/TX
I am glad I got rid of the pressure/suction side cleaner/booster pump, and switched to a robot cleaner. It's more energy efficient, and I don't have to deal with a hose floating around the pool.

Autofill is a must if you don't want to constantly check on the water level. I am in Houston, and water evaporates a lot during the hot summer season. My neighbor without an autofill has to manually turn on the water faucet when the pump is sucking air in. One time they forgot to turn the water off for two days, and wasted a lot of water.

Install outdoor power outlets strategically placed around your yard and deck. I put in 4 outdoor power outlets around the deck and by the fence -> Link to my post. It only cost me $900 through PB's electrical subcontractor. I am so glad I did. It made my deck so much more usable. Also, I did my own landscape lighting project, and it was literally a plug and play. I didn't have to dig grounds for days to bury extension cords...

Automation + SWCG: I travel a lot, so without automation and SWCG I would have to hire a pool maintenance company. So, you pay the money up front with automation + SWCG, but in the long run, it's definitely a money saver.

My contract had Pebble Sheen "white", which meant I had to spend extra $1300 to get the level 1 colors. I upgraded it to Aqua Blue, and I am glad I did. Not only the water color looks so much better, but it hides all the grass clippings, dead bugs, and dirt at the bottom of the pool in between my robot cleaning days.

I added two bags of shimmering sea (abalone shells). It definitely adds the sparkle, but It's totally not necessary and most people don't even notice it until I point it out to them...
 

Coheed

Active member
Apr 14, 2018
28
Jacksonville, FL
I am glad I got rid of the pressure/suction side cleaner/booster pump, and switched to a robot cleaner. It's more energy efficient, and I don't have to deal with a hose floating around the pool.

Autofill is a must if you don't want to constantly check on the water level. I am in Houston, and water evaporates a lot during the hot summer season. My neighbor without an autofill has to manually turn on the water faucet when the pump is sucking air in. One time they forgot to turn the water off for two days, and wasted a lot of water.

Install outdoor power outlets strategically placed around your yard and deck. I put in 4 outdoor power outlets around the deck and by the fence -> Link to my post. It only cost me $900 through PB's electrical subcontractor. I am so glad I did. It made my deck so much more usable. Also, I did my own landscape lighting project, and it was literally a plug and play. I didn't have to dig grounds for days to bury extension cords...

Automation + SWCG: I travel a lot, so without automation and SWCG I would have to hire a pool maintenance company. So, you pay the money up front with automation + SWCG, but in the long run, it's definitely a money saver.

My contract had Pebble Sheen "white", which meant I had to spend extra $1300 to get the level 1 colors. I upgraded it to Aqua Blue, and I am glad I did. Not only the water color looks so much better, but it hides all the grass clippings, dead bugs, and dirt at the bottom of the pool in between my robot cleaning days.

I added two bags of shimmering sea (abalone shells). It definitely adds the sparkle, but It's totally not necessary and most people don't even notice it until I point it out to them...
Got a link or additional info you can message me on the landscape lighting without diggin and such? My pool was built in 93, the light cables out there aren’t working anymore and want to get some lights running.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
8,247
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40

dunginhawk

Bronze Supporter
Jul 10, 2018
473
CLIVE/IA
There are some great ideas in here... Luckily I have a neighbor who just did a pool and was smart enough to put in Water Boxes The Waterbox - Green: RG522G | RR Products, Inc. - Commercial Golf and Turf Industry Replacement Parts and Accessories

They also put 2 outlets in the yard.. I think i will probably do at least that...
I am probably going to tackle fixing irrigation after they tear it up (wish there was a wireless system that sat in valve box and sent wireless to panel, so i dont have to re run the wire 150 ft). and landscaping myself...
Thanks for the tips.