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....