20x40 Vinyl IG and Poolhouse, Maine Owner Build

KJohn

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Aug 13, 2020
46
Maine
Hello,

Have been “data-mining” here for a while, and would not be doing an owner-build without the great info.

I’ve cleared the pool area of trees, put in an access road, and am waiting for permits.

I think all design decisions have been based on what I’ve read on TFP, but more eyes would be appreciated for anything I’ve overlooked or gotten wrong! Here's the concept:

Pool is a 20x40 steel wall inground, 8.5’ deep end with diving board, 35K gallons. Auto cover.
Soil is clay. Deep end will have permanent sump with 12” PVC riser for drainage during construction and future liner change
Will backfill around wall panels with ½” crushed stone (aka 57 stone), wrapped in fabric, up to paver sub-grade
Buried anode attached to bonding grid
Equipment other than heat pump will be inside

Pentair Intelliflo VS Pump, 011028
Pentair 160332 Clean & Clear Plus cartridge filter
AquaCal SQ-225 143K heat pump
AquaCal STK0135 Heater Bypass External (flow recommended for solar panels exceeds maximum flow for heat pump)
Union fittings @ pump, filter and heat pump
Solar panels (brand TBD), 750 SF on roof of poolhouse
Pentair SunTouch solar controller, will also control SWG
Pentair Intellichlor IC60 SWG
Jandy Never-Lube valves
Two Pentair SL1DW in-Line Thermometers
FlowVis FV-C Flow Meter and Check Valve
Perma-Cast PB2008 Water Bonding Fitting
Two Hayward wide mouth skimmers, one with equalizer; no main drain, 1” overflow pipe from skimmer
Six returns, 2 mounted low on wall for deep end
Five J&J Electronics 24w ColorSplash nicheless lights with 300w transformer and ColorSplash controller
Robot cleaner, brand TBD
Automatic Pool Covers APC 365


Thanks,

John
 

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Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
10,833
NY
Belated Welcome John !!!!!

*in to gawk. I. Mean. Help.

ok ok ok I’m really looking forward to gawking. But I’ll help too. Promise.
:epds:
 

KJohn

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Aug 13, 2020
46
Maine
Why thank you!

Hopefully I won't give you a train-wreck to gawk at!!

But definitely thanks for the help, past and future!
 
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Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
10,833
NY
For the record, 20X40 is my jam. They’re all beautiful but I’d go with honking big over features any day of the week. I had one and we moved and will be building another soon.

We got soft quotes in February and a 24X40 was about $7k more. I wanted to go wider because my wife wanted more shallow end and I wanted more deep end and it woulda helped us both. We decided to let the dust settle being so soon after moving and a few months later the material increases at that upgrade money. So it’s still gonna cost the same but *only* be the 20X40. Boohoo, right ? It’s still honkin. Lol.
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
10,833
NY
So your pump, filter and SWG are all Cadillacs. Gold standards for all 3. No question. I wanna talk about the heat pump with 35k gallons in Maine. If you want to take the edge off on some cooler July/August days, it will work like a dream. If you are looking to extend the season, it is going to really struggle more than 2 or 3 weeks either way. It takes BTUs to heat gallons, no too ways about it and you’ll have honking gallons. It also needs to be above 70 for the heat pump to start to shine. It can work lower but the efficiency falls off a cliff.

A gas heater will work down to 50ish and with 3X the max BTUs, will overcome a lot more of your Maine season.

if Gas is not an option, then getting a heat pump is still way better than nothing, but go in eyes wide open and you’ll understand it’s limits with less buyers remorse.

All the way in south NY, I needed both the weather to cooperate early/late, and our schedule. If it was a beautiful weekend with nice temps in late September (with the heat pump capable of helping), all the activities/sports kept us from swimming. On the cold/rainy weekends that we were free with everything cancelled, the heat pump did next to nothing and we still couldn’t swim. But we had to leave it running 24/7 to hope to maintain the warmer temps, so we paid for alot of uses that we didn’t get. It was frustrating to say the least.

With gas we would have paid for use, but only as needed so it would have been better mentally. Mid season it costs alot more to run than the heat pump, but only needing it to run 1/3 as much helps some, and I wouldn’t have minded to pay more in the times we needed it less often mid season.
 
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wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
2,964
Spring Valley, NY
I'm with Newdude all the way. I have a pool open every year mid March to third week November. @28k gallons the heat pump would never cut it. They have a Raypak 406a which keeps to a toasty 87 deg.
 
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KJohn

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Aug 13, 2020
46
Maine
Wow, congrats on your new house and honkin' upcoming pool!

And thanks Newdude and Wireform for the real world experience.

Yeah, I've gone back and forth (and back and forth, and back and forth...) about the heat. We don't have natural gas, only propane, which would cost $2500 extra to run the pipe, and maybe $2000 per year more than heat pump (and this includes some help from the solar heaters). BUT... with gas the pool is warm when you want it, no questions asked and no help needed from the weatherman, and the season can really be extended.

Mid March to late November is amazing, Wireform. And the Raypac was the model I was looking at.

Helping the heat pump fight the good fight would be: 750 SF of solar, the pool covered at night, and unobstructed sunlight for most of the day.

Are/were your pools covered?

I haven't ordered the heater - may have to go back to the drawing board about this. At the very least I should run the propane piping while the yard is torn up.
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
10,833
NY
We don't have natural gas, only propane, which would cost $2500 extra to run the pipe
Check into the added cost for electric to cover the heat pump. I initially wanted l larger sub panel to cover future yard circuits like the shed, or in your case, getting a heat pump. My electrician said upgrading from 50A to 80A needed thicker wire run to the panel and he wouldn’t even give me a price other than telling me I didn’t want to know how much it would cost.

Depending on how far the run is to the pool panel, it could cost just as much as the propane conversion, seeing how the price he had no problems quoting me was $5200.
 

Aquaman7

Well-known member
Sep 15, 2019
492
NJ
Pool Size
21000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
I'm with Newdude all the way. I have a pool open every year mid March to third week November. @28k gallons the heat pump would never cut it. They have a Raypak 406a which keeps to a toasty 87 deg.
Wire form, mid March to mid November. That’s impressive. I wonder if it’s expensive to run.
 

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wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
2,964
Spring Valley, NY
Wire form, mid March to mid November. That’s impressive. I wonder if it’s expensive to run.
I had asked him last year and he wasn't sure what things cost as he's on 12 month fixed plan which is electric and gas combined. Well I guess I can take those bills and look at the actual costs for the given month but I don't have the guts to go there.
 
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KJohn

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Aug 13, 2020
46
Maine
Thanks Wireform.

Newdude, good point that downsizing the electrical service could help offset the propane installation. I think the pain will be felt in the annual cost. My propane dealer said people run their heater one season, see the bill, then never use it again!
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
10,833
NY
My propane dealer said people run their heater one season, see the bill, then never use it again!
It’s all relative. I ran my heat pump for 1.5 seasons and left it off for the next 6 for the same reasons. Lol.

I’m going gas this time, but not immediately to help keep the exorbitant costs down. When the time comes I’ll fill 500 gallons a season when it’s cheap and just equate that to 10 (?) good weekends of use.
 

KJohn

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Aug 13, 2020
46
Maine
There's no easy way out, is there? You wanna play, you gots to pay!

Will you own the tank? Propane is about 50 cents per gallon cheaper here that way.
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
10,833
NY
Will you own the tank? Propane is about 50 cents per gallon cheaper here that way.
I haven’t gotten that far into it yet but will weigh those options when the time comes.

I really think I could squeeze a lot of use out of the gas heater by using it only when needed and at minimal lengths when so. Turn it on Friday night for 12 hours for a warm pool Saturday…….. only a few hours Saturday night for a still pretty warm Sunday. I’m only going to be looking to take the edge off.

I was already sold on the idea and a buddy had a late season party that cemented it for me. Mid sports season they said they would have a party after the last game. Of course when the time came 1.5 months later it was cold that week. He fired up the gas heater and it didn’t matter. He spent many times the gas cost on food and drinks. If it cost him $100 it was nothing in the grand scheme of things. It probably only cost him $50 because it was only for the party itself. They could have easily swam the next day at 7 degrees cooler for free still being warmer.

the way I see it is it costs close to $100 for my family of 4 to see a movie and get snacks and it’s barely half an afternoon. If I get most of the weekend swimming instead, it’s a bargain.
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
10,833
NY
My heat pump cost darn near as much due to needing it to run no matter what. If it lost the warm water temps, the 3/4 degree (or less) an hour simply could not overcome the weather on a cool week. So we had lots of runtime for very little use.

Down south they can fire their heat pumps on occasion like we do with gas and it totally changes the equation. Not up here though and most of your state is north of the lowest Canadian border. :)
 

KJohn

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Aug 13, 2020
46
Maine
And remind me, did you use a pool cover?

I'm in Southern ME, so I wouldn't think too much cooler than you.
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
10,833
NY
And remind me, did you use a pool cover
When we got the first 2 month bill from the uncovered heated pool I ran out and bought a solar cover. That cut the costs in half down to $400 for the cold month and $300 for the cooler month on each end. But we just didn’t get the use due to the weather and schedule and ultimately went without.

I did keep the solar cover until it died 3 years later but *that* was it’s own PITA so I didn’t replace it and the rest of our time was au natural.
I'm in Southern ME, so I wouldn't think too much cooler than you
Ok. That should help a good deal. Even here in NY, Down by me we can get almost as hot as anywhere else but far enough upstate is the Tundra. Lol.
 

KJohn

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Aug 13, 2020
46
Maine
Spent six hours yesterday scrounging for pipe, conduit and fittings. The scarcity - not to mention prices - is pretty amazing. One supplier said fittings have been going up 10% per month! Think I got it all though, which is lucky.

Thanks for the additional info Newdude, very helpful. A wildcard for me is how much heat the solar heaters will contribute. The past week or so have been mostly cool and overcast, so neither solar nor heat pump would be doing much:(

After checking with my propane dealer, I'm planning to run the gas pipe, tracer and marking tape. The trench has to be dug anyway for other services, and laying the pipe myself won't cost much. So we'll have the option to go either way, and will see if we can swing the extra $ for gas.
 

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