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Thread: Please comment on Steve T's proposed pool/equipment setup

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    Please comment on Steve T's proposed pool/equipment setup

    Hello all,

    Newbie here who wants an IG pool, but trying to do my due diligence in specing out the equipment. Location in Sacramento area, CA. Plan to build a pool with combined spa. Would like to extend swimming season from april - october.

    Cost is a secondary concern, but I wouldn't want to throw away money if I don't need to.
    Convenience, energy efficiency, reliability, durability are the primary goals. With that in mind, please lend any helpful comments towards any/all aspects of my proposed setup:

    1. Structure: Viking Fiberglass pool. If I don't need a custom designed pool for my yard, can anyone give me a good reason to use gunite? There is a local Viking dealer here, and I like the idea of Crystite instead of a regular gelcoat. I would consider a Trilogy pool with their ultra-granicoat, but they don't have a dealer in the area.

    2. Pump: Pentair Intelliflo. It's got to be either this or the 4x160, because I definitely want the energy efficiency gains of this pump. Electric costs are too high here in CA for me to consider any other pump. As a newbie, I'm thinking that the Intelliflo will be easier for me to eventually program/customize myself, as opposed to the 4x160.

    3. Sanitizer: Autopilot Total Control: I like the idea of automatic control of pH and Chlorine.

    4. Filter: I think the convenience of sand filter + a little DE powder is probably the least labor intensive. I don't like the idea of pulling out cartridges and hosing them off. That said, I have no idea what the differences between various brands of sand filters are, so any comments would be appreciated.

    5.Heater: I believe many people around here use NG +/- Solar for their pool/spa combo. Since I do plan on using my spa, and I don't want to have a NG heater due to energy costs. I'm thinking of getting a heat pump, specifically Heat Siphon SX 5.0 for the high COP rating and warranty. I don't think I need any digital controls, since it will be hooked up to the automation, right?

    6. Automation: Intellitouch i5, or i7+3. Choosing Intellitouch instead of Jandy due to the Intelliflo pump. I would like automation to accomplish the following:
    - maintain pool heat temp continuously
    - automatically start water features and ( likely around 2-3 separate features) from 5pm - 7pm daily
    - automatically start spa spillover mode from 5-7pm daily
    - manual control of spa mode, and control spa temp once spa mode is entered
    - auto-shut off of spa mode after 15-20 minutes
    - manual start/stop of individual water features
    - automatically turn on /off pool lighting at preset times
    - automatic and manual control of landscape lighting

    7. Automatic Pool Cleaner: One of the aquabot or derivatives: leaning towards Blue Pearl, but would be willing to upgrade to the higher models if someone can give me a good reason to spend more.

    8. Pool Lighting system: haven't got a clue on this one, would welcome suggestions

    9. Solar cover/reel: I would consider an auto-cover, but I read somewhere that the life expectancy is only 7 years or so? If that's the case then it would cost around $1000/yr for an auto cover. So I'm looking for suggestions for a manual reel/cover system that's easy to use and not too obtrusive.

    10. Decking: Plan to use brushed concrete, not willing to use natural stone due to cost and maintenance issues (learned my lesson with me not taking care of my stamped concrete and 3 rivers rock structures). I want to seal the concrete to extend the decks life. Any ideas as to a good long lasting > 10 -15 yr. sealant? I've seen silica based sealants, acrylic, and epoxy coatings. Anyone with experience / recommendations on this?

    Sorry for such a long post, but the amount of knowledge and pool experience in this forum is vast, and my family and I would be eternally grateful for your thoughts....

    Steve
    17,500g, IG pool/spa, pebblesheen, Autopilot TC SWG, Pentair 4x160 variable speed pump. Sta-rite cartridge filter, Sta-rite Gas heater, Polaris 280 cleaner

  2. Back To Top    #2

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    Hey Steve,

    Sounds like good selections...especially #3.
    You should also consider the Aqua Cal Heat Pump. I know the Viking dealer in Sacramento and I believe they would give an additional discount if you did the Total Control and Aqua Cal Heat Wave heat pump, as we are the manufacturer of both.

    sorry, I cannot comment on the rest of the equipment as I have an opened pool (no solar cover), Diamond Brite blue exposed aggregate finish, a suction side cleaner (Sta-Rite Great White), Sta-Rite Duraglas 1 hp pump (running 2x 4hrs/day cycles), Cartridge Filter, Standard Pool Light (although I have an LED ready to go in this weekend), no automation (except the Total Control), and naturally a Total Control and Heat Wave. And in Sunny South Florida, we're swimming 12 months long!
    I can't complain because my pool is crystal clear.
    Sean Assam - Sean@teamhorner.com
    National Accounts and Commercial Products Manager
    AquaCal Heat Pumps www.aquacal.com
    AutoPilot Salt Chlorine Generators www.autopilot.com

  3. Back To Top    #3

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    I don't know much about equipment.

    Sand filters are good choices. Have you considered using Zeo in it instead of sand? I personally used ZeoBest in my sand filter and I just love it. No DE required for me, but you can use it with Zeo as well. I got away from my DE filter. Recharging the DE every time got to be a chore I no longer wanted. Plus, a lot of HOA neighborhoods around here don't allow DE, anymore. I had an old sand filter, went to the DE filter 7 years ago and am now back to the sand filter.

    I think you'll like the Blue Pearl. I personally have a Blue Diamond remote for only 2 weeks now. I love it, but in hindsight I may have gotten the Blue Pearl and saved quite a lot. I did get a great deal on my BD, though, at www.poolsupplyworld.com. I thought I just had to have the remote. Not necessary, really. The nice thing about it though is that I can choose to use the 90 minute bottom only mode or the 3 hour bottom and walls mode. The other nice thing about the Blue Pearl and the Blue Diamond is the floating cord. I gather the other brands send you floats that you use on the cords and that they can be a little problematic for some reason.

    I have a Sta-Rite 1 1/2 hp pump. It's been a workhorse for the last 6 years. It runs 365 days per year.
    Buggs

    14,000 gallon, in ground, plaster, free form, play pool.
    Sta-Rite Max-E-Glass with a 1.5 hp Emerson motor
    WaterCo Micron High Rate sand filter S750 490 lb, 4883 sq ft - using ZeoBest
    In floor Polaris cleaning system
    Blue Diamond robot for those after storm days when I can't wait overnight for the in floor to clean it.

  4. Back To Top    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Poolsean
    Hey Steve,

    Sounds like good selections...especially #3.
    You should also consider the Aqua Cal Heat Pump. I know the Viking dealer in Sacramento and I believe they would give an additional discount if you did the Total Control and Aqua Cal Heat Wave heat pump, as we are the manufacturer of both.
    Good to know! I didn't realize that Aqua Cal made both. Seems like a good warranty on the Heat Wave too. What's the difference between the Heat Wave and AeroTemp series? The heat pumps all seem so similar...
    17,500g, IG pool/spa, pebblesheen, Autopilot TC SWG, Pentair 4x160 variable speed pump. Sta-rite cartridge filter, Sta-rite Gas heater, Polaris 280 cleaner

  5. Back To Top    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Buggsw
    I don't know much about equipment.

    Sand filters are good choices. Have you considered using Zeo in it instead of sand? I personally used ZeoBest in my sand filter and I just love it.
    Yes, I tried to imagine myself removing a cartridge filter, hosing it down, making a big mess... Maybe it's not so bad, but in my mind's eye, I don't think I'd want to do the cartridge. I'll check out the Zeo, seems like a good idea. But the feeling I'm getting is that a sand filter is a sand filter, just choose an appropriate size, and then upsize...? Maybe go with the least expensive one of the correct size?

    Quote Originally Posted by Buggsw
    I think you'll like the Blue Pearl. I personally have a Blue Diamond remote for only 2 weeks now. I love it, but in hindsight I may have gotten the Blue Pearl and saved quite a lot.
    Thanks for this. It seems like Blue Pearl seems to be almost universally liked. But I'm a little bit concerned about the shorter warranty as compared to the Diamond. Anyone know if there is any difference in build quality between the 2 models?
    17,500g, IG pool/spa, pebblesheen, Autopilot TC SWG, Pentair 4x160 variable speed pump. Sta-rite cartridge filter, Sta-rite Gas heater, Polaris 280 cleaner

  6. Back To Top    #6

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    Hi Stevet1
    comment on #10 Brushed concreate
    I have brushed concreate (brume finish) It was our choice. I feel this was a big mistake. I have a three year old and her nees and elbows, hands and legs are always skinned up. My wife and I thought a falls would be less with a brume finish. but as it turns out the scrapes are worse then the falls. Also this type of finish is very hard on vac hose and other equip that is slid across the deck. If i could do it over I would at least go to a wood trawl finish. I think you will get plenty of ansers on the other 9 items. Didnt know if you would get any on this one.
    Ric W
    My Pool
    8605 gal fiberglass, 3/4 hp pump, sand filter, aquabot cleaner, heat siphon heat pump, tiger river(sumatran) spa

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    We are very pleased with our Viking.
    "It's All About The Duck"!

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    Getting the full Intelliflo would be a good choice. I have the 4x160 mainly because I wanted to stay with the cheaper Easytouch system. Also I dont have any water features other than a large spillway at the spa. Since you are going with the newer Intellitouch its a no brainer. The full intelliflo has a flow meter built in which is very important. Once you determine you pool gallons and turnover rate you can just set you pump for how many GPM you want. That way you are running the pump as slow as possible for your turnover rates. That is where the money savings come from.

    For your decking you might want to look at a product like Sundek. It is a spray on coating that goes over your concrete deck. Here its around $3 a sq foot. It is smoother than concrete although it does have texture and it stays cool in the hot sun. It can also be repaired easily if needed.

    The rest of your choices look good. I couldnt find any pool builders that installed the Autopilot Total Control system or I would have purchased that one when I had my pool built.

    Gunite pools are the only types built in my area. Not sure what the pros/cons would be as compared to fiberglass other than customization as you mentioned.

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    [Good to know! I didn't realize that Aqua Cal made both. Seems like a good warranty on the Heat Wave too. What's the difference between the Heat Wave and AeroTemp series? The heat pumps all seem so similar...[/quote]

    color of the unit and region that it's sold. The Aerotemp is mostly for the NE US. Heat Wave everywhere else. Basically the same unit.
    Sean Assam - Sean@teamhorner.com
    National Accounts and Commercial Products Manager
    AquaCal Heat Pumps www.aquacal.com
    AutoPilot Salt Chlorine Generators www.autopilot.com

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    [Good to know! I didn't realize that Aqua Cal made both. Seems like a good warranty on the Heat Wave too. What's the difference between the Heat Wave and AeroTemp series? The heat pumps all seem so similar...[/quote]

    color of the unit and region that it's sold. The Aerotemp is mostly for the NE US. Heat Wave everywhere else. Basically the same unit.
    Sean Assam - Sean@teamhorner.com
    National Accounts and Commercial Products Manager
    AquaCal Heat Pumps www.aquacal.com
    AutoPilot Salt Chlorine Generators www.autopilot.com

  11. Back To Top    #11

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    We have the Hayward Colorlogic LEd lights, we really like them, there are 8 or some different programs... awesome light show in your pool. We have a dark vinyl liner and it still shows great. Not as powerful as your standard halogen, but LED consume less energy and last a long time. Thats my vote.

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    I'll second the ColorLogic. The static colors are very saturated and the color "scenes" make a nice light show. They only consume 50 watts as apposed to 300W to 500W for an incadescent. Simply flip the switch on and off to cycle through the different programs.
    20K IG Fiberglass, 3/4 hp Sand, Hayward ColorLogic

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    divnkd101's Avatar
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    Here is a video of my color logics in Disco Mode, taken at night.

    <embed width="430" height="389" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" src="http://vid112.photobucket.com/player.swf?file=http://vid112.photobucket.com/albums/n186/divnkd101/FamilyPics2003CannonPowershot.flv"></embed>

    As Nocaster and CrazyCanuck have said, there are several different settings including fades/blinkings/moods/ and constant on lighting. Well worth the money I spent. Good Luck in your choices.
    MIKE

    21K Inground Custom w/ Spa (Gunite/Plaster), SWCG, Hayward Northstar, Polaris 280, Hayward Color Logics, Jandy PS-8

  14. Back To Top    #14
    CrazyCanuck, nocaster, divnkd101:

    Thanks for the recommendation. I love it when you get like 3 in a row of consensus agreement over a product. I will be adding it to my specification list for my future pool. Thanks again!

    And everyone else with your recommendations/ideas: I love them. Thanks and keep throwing out those ideas. I like to make as well informed and thought out decisions as possible.

    Ric,

    Thanks for the insight over the broom finish. I was thinking of having a non-slip surface, but will have to reconsider this now. I don't know much about concrete, and can't easily find what a wood trawl finish looks like.

    TheOne,

    DO you know what Sundek coating actually is? It looks like an epoxy or acrylic based overlay to me, but their website doesn't give a whole lot of technical detail. I was actually just thinking of coating the deck myself with something like this:

    http://www.armorpoxy.com/home25.html

    Thoughts?
    17,500g, IG pool/spa, pebblesheen, Autopilot TC SWG, Pentair 4x160 variable speed pump. Sta-rite cartridge filter, Sta-rite Gas heater, Polaris 280 cleaner

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    Yes Sundek is an Acrylic finish. I used a diy epoxy coating in my garage and it worked ok but it is wearing through where the car tires are. You wouldnt have anything that heavy on your deck so it may be ok. The deal is once you put one of these types of coatings down you are kind of married to them. Other coatings generally wont adhere to them later on.

  16. Back To Top    #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevet1
    Quote Originally Posted by Buggsw
    I don't know much about equipment.

    Sand filters are good choices. Have you considered using Zeo in it instead of sand? I personally used ZeoBest in my sand filter and I just love it.
    Yes, I tried to imagine myself removing a cartridge filter, hosing it down, making a big mess... Maybe it's not so bad, but in my mind's eye, I don't think I'd want to do the cartridge. I'll check out the Zeo, seems like a good idea. But the feeling I'm getting is that a sand filter is a sand filter, just choose an appropriate size, and then upsize...? Maybe go with the least expensive one of the correct size?

    Quote Originally Posted by Buggsw
    I think you'll like the Blue Pearl. I personally have a Blue Diamond remote for only 2 weeks now. I love it, but in hindsight I may have gotten the Blue Pearl and saved quite a lot.
    Thanks for this. It seems like Blue Pearl seems to be almost universally liked. But I'm a little bit concerned about the shorter warranty as compared to the Diamond. Anyone know if there is any difference in build quality between the 2 models?
    I agree about the cartridges. Takes more time than the couple minutes of backwashing. I have a separate spa that has a cartridge filter and I think that thing is a pain in the patoot. There are many people who have them and love them, though.

    I haven't had to backwash my sand filter with zeo very often. I have to tell you, I was very skeptical about using zeo and the claims the pool guy was making about it, but I did tons of research on it. I cannot tell you how pleased I am with it. It costs a little more than just buying sand, but I really think it's worth it. There are some naysayers about zeo on this board and elsewhere, but I sure have liked it so far and I swear it does as good as my DE filter, although as true with any sand filter it doesn't work quite as quickly as a DE filter but far quicker than any sand filter I've seen. Perhaps it makes a difference in the brand of zeo - different sources, different qualities.

    I think most people will tell you that you should always upsize your sand filter. The cost difference between the bigger and the "right" size isn't that much, is it? I know others can give you good recommendations for the size of filter you should get.
    One thing I might mention is that my new sand filter has a 6 position top mount multiport valve and I like that so much better than the backwash valve I had on my old DE filter and another sand filter. I don't know what you call those, it's like a plunger or gate, you turn and pull up. Those things sure seem to wear out quickly and it was difficult for me to get it pushed back down and turned/locked after only a year it seems. Sure hope my new MP valve works better for longer.
    Buggs

    14,000 gallon, in ground, plaster, free form, play pool.
    Sta-Rite Max-E-Glass with a 1.5 hp Emerson motor
    WaterCo Micron High Rate sand filter S750 490 lb, 4883 sq ft - using ZeoBest
    In floor Polaris cleaning system
    Blue Diamond robot for those after storm days when I can't wait overnight for the in floor to clean it.

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    viking pool, concrete decks, etc

    hey steve,
    this is some additional info plus some from an earlier post of mine.

    I had a Viking pool(16 x 40 carribean) installed last year & I LOVE it! Mine is sapphire blue with borrego tiles in lake blue(nice combo, suggested by my sales girl), 1 cascade, 2 fiber optic lights - fiberstar...this was the brand offered by the PB they are pretty and dramatic. If you like a lot of light make sure you spring for more lights (my fiberstars are not too bright more of an accent....especially when it's not "pitch Black" out....personally I could have used 1 more...but everyone who sees them oohs & ahhhs). Our PB was excellent and I have had no problems at all.

    My deck is exposed aggregate, small smooth river rocks embedded into the concrete(I also had some sea glass added which looks nice), with a "blue stone" stamped concrete coping...I wanted the blue stone look to tie in with an existing blue stone patio. I really love the deck/coping it looks great, it's not slippery(like my friend's stamped concrete), the aggregate does not need to be sealed. I haven't had any scraped knees (yet) and I regularly have 3-8 kids in the pool from ages 3-13.

    As i mentioned before (on another thread), I really like my in-floor Vantage cleaning system....I know some of the experts on this board don't like them(i am no expert!...just a mom), but for me it was a good option for a few reasons:

    1. my DH didn't want a pool and does NOTHING for it's maintenance, and I have 3 girls including a set of 5/yr old twins
    2. For everyone I know who has the robot (including my mother) it seem like a daily chore(that I don't have the time for). Especially when the kids decide that what to go back in the pool at 10pm

    3.Probably most important(I omitted from my last post ) it helps keep the pool warm and cuts down on heating costs DRAMATICALLY! The way the water is circulated bottom to top, it works like a passive solar system, so I run my heat much less than other friends that have pools. Last year I only spent $500-$600 ...no solar cover... for the season jun-oct to keep pool between 82-84 (which is pretty amazing in new england). My mother spends almost $500/month to run her heat pump!
    heres a link for the vantage system http://www.vantagepoolsystems.com/system.htm

    This is only my 2nd year with the pool so I can only guess as to break down issues for the in floor system, but here's my .02.... The heads in the floor are individually replaceable, valve is above ground and, there are several underground pipes which I guess could be a problem(but no more than other pipes for skimmer, drains, etc). As waterbear says You definitely still need to brush the pool, and not much sticks to the fiberglass(makes cleaning & maintenance easier to start with), and large debris could be a problem(I'm close to the ocean & I get very few leaves but I do get dirt/sand from lots of little feet ).

    In the end, I'm not an expert and maybe a little spoiled & naive, but I'm happy! Hopefully, my in floor cleaner will last many years...if not....I'll have to get a robot.

    I really don't know anything about equiptment. I have a cartridge filter and the pool company cleans it after they open the pool...then I watch the pressure....don't know anything else. I have an in-line chlorinator and I use the pucks , and baking soda & borax for ph/alk...didn't know about the autopilot or I probably would have gotten that too . We were originally going to do gunite but then I got scared of the maintenance, I was told it's not for a newbie(this from a company who installs both vinyl & gunite pools and was trying to talk me into a liner pool....pretty stupid since he lost the sale

    steve...No matter what... if you get one, you'll love your viking pool!

  18. Back To Top    #18
    mas985's Avatar
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    Steve,

    Double check with your city. Many cities in CA like mine are requiring separation tanks with DE or sand filters which also need to be cleaned but are not much different then cleaning a cartridge filter. You don't want to wait and find out at your equipment inspection.

    I have a large cartridge filter and need to clean it only once a year so it is not as bad as you might think.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

  19. Back To Top    #19

    !

    Thanks for all the tips.

    I just checked on my water municipality's website, only DE filters need a special holding tank. cartridge and Sand can discharge back into the main sewer. Thanks for the heads up though.

    I'm having second thoughts about a FG pool. I had a landscape architect from one of the local PB's come in this week. Now I'm starting to feel that customizing your pool, like making a shallow shelf area for the kids, and designing it to blend into the landscape plan is becoming more appealing. Overall costs are about the same, maybe even a little less for a gunite pool compared to fiberglass. I think I will ask on the pool building section for more opinions about this.

    People seem to be very pleased with their robots, so I think I'm going to forego the in-floor cleaning.

    In terms of the deck, I'll definitely consider the exposed aggregate finish. However, knowing my own (lack of) ability for routine flooring maintenance, I'm going to try to steer clear of stamped concrete and even colored concrete. Without proper maintenance, the color will fade and the it will look just plain bad.

    Thanks everyone for all your opinions, it's very much appreciated!
    17,500g, IG pool/spa, pebblesheen, Autopilot TC SWG, Pentair 4x160 variable speed pump. Sta-rite cartridge filter, Sta-rite Gas heater, Polaris 280 cleaner

  20. Back To Top    #20
    Steve,

    I built my own swimming pool 1 year ago. Three of my neighbors also have in ground pools, so before I built, I took a close look at each to try to build the best pool for my family. I had some similar Ideas as yours until looking closely at them.

    Consider a gunnite pool. Fiberglass limits the width of your pool as they have to put it on a truck and drive it on the highway. I get a crowded feeling with fiberglass. I found the cost to be not so different than gunnite. The biggest advantage to a fiberglass that I found was the construction time was much less than a gunnite. In my area, a fiberglass can be as fast as three weeks, and gunnite is usually three months. I did not use a pool contractor and was able to get my gunnite pool built in six weeks.

    I use the Letro Legend Platinum pool cleaner. I love it! It climbs walls and steps and does a great job cleaning. It is a pressure side cleaner so it uses its own booster pump. This is probably the only draw back. Having its own pump means more equipment to buy and maintain and more power consumption from your pool equipment. It does an incredible job though and can actually be fun to watch.

    As far as filters go, I was sold on a sand filter until I looked at a pool with a cartridge filter at night. It was crystal clear! I looked at pools that were sand and there was a very noticeable difference. I decided on a cartridge filter (Pentair Clean and Clear) even though I thought the filter would require more maintenance. It has been a year and I have only had to clean the filter twice. I plan on cleaning again next week when my kids get out of school for the summer. Cleaning takes about 30 minutes. The clarity of my pool is incredible! I can tell the difference both in the day and at night. My neighbors with the sand filters have noticed as well. I have also been able to reduce my filtering time and have been able to lower my electric bills. Deciding on this filter was probably one of the best equipment decisions that I made with this pool!

    With regard to decking, I have found that brushed concrete can be rough on the feet. I wanted to do use stamped concrete but my budget wouldn't allow for it. I decided on salt finish. It is easy on the feet and still provides a good grip. Overall I think it was a good compromise between broom and stamped finish. Just remember, Concrete is very permanent. You get only one opportunity to get it right.

    Lighting...... White lights are functional while colored lights are inviting. I use the SAM lights. They work well. If you have a dark color pool as opposed to white, you may need more than one SAM depending on the size of your pool. I have a large (23 X 46) gray bottom pool and decided on three SAM lights. My neighbor has one SAM in his 15 x 33 gray bottom and he would have benefited from one more. Just remember dark colors absorb light.

    These are just my own opinions from my experiences. Take them for what they are. I am by no means a pool expert......

    Good luck on your pool!
    K HOLMES

    23 X 45 GUNNITE
    OWNER/BUILDER

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