Abandoned Pool Build, Trying to finish

carx7

Active member
Apr 29, 2021
32
Austin Texas
Zero electrical has been run.

I have the Hayward Omni HL/PL box (not the little package but the larger one) that is configurable with 8+ relays I recall. Will need to dig into the instructions to confirm what is needed for a salt cell.

I own the heat/chill pump and propane heater. VS 950 pump, 1.5HP water feature pump, and a med/large cartridge filter plus the HL box. They are on pallets in my garage. Per the PB attorney they are delivery a Polaris 280 and associated pump today.... I don't really intend to use them, but at this point anything they'll give me is something I can sell later to recoup costs.

I need the spa bubbler, all valves, lights, all plastic fittings, SWG, and based on reading sounds like a robot should be on order.
 

Bperry

Gold Supporter
Aug 20, 2020
596
Knoxville, TN
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60
Zero electrical has been run.

I have the Hayward Omni HL/PL box (not the little package but the larger one) that is configurable with 8+ relays I recall. Will need to dig into the instructions to confirm what is needed for a salt cell.

I own the heat/chill pump and propane heater. VS 950 pump, 1.5HP water feature pump, and a med/large cartridge filter plus the HL box. They are on pallets in my garage. Per the PB attorney they are delivery a Polaris 280 and associated pump today.... I don't really intend to use them, but at this point anything they'll give me is something I can sell later to recoup costs.

I need the spa bubbler, all valves, lights, all plastic fittings, SWG, and based on reading sounds like a robot should be on order.
Since it sounds like it may be a while, you might want to wait on spending money on extra stuff until there’s water in the pool. Covid pricing might go down by then.
 

jonnyd91

Well-known member
Jul 21, 2020
170
NJ
Pool Size
24000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite Pro (T-15)
Zero electrical has been run.

I have the Hayward Omni HL/PL box (not the little package but the larger one) that is configurable with 8+ relays I recall. Will need to dig into the instructions to confirm what is needed for a salt cell.

I own the heat/chill pump and propane heater. VS 950 pump, 1.5HP water feature pump, and a med/large cartridge filter plus the HL box. They are on pallets in my garage. Per the PB attorney they are delivery a Polaris 280 and associated pump today.... I don't really intend to use them, but at this point anything they'll give me is something I can sell later to recoup costs.

I need the spa bubbler, all valves, lights, all plastic fittings, SWG, and based on reading sounds like a robot should be on order.
So it sounds like you are still in contact with the PB or at least their attorney, it seems they are willing to try and make some of this right or am I misunderstanding maybe?
 

carx7

Active member
Apr 29, 2021
32
Austin Texas
So it sounds like you are still in contact with the PB or at least their attorney, it seems they are willing to try and make some of this right or am I misunderstanding maybe?
Yes, we are, unfortunately. We have been pushing since April to make progress and it came to a head with several recent events including them raising prices and ultimately saying they were going to stop progress until we made the final payment. (even though they haven't completed we've already paid for).

So, we engaged an attorney and he proposed we try the "cooperative" demand letter path. We actually sent a certified letter to the PB to trigger Section 27 workmanship before that, but the PB refused the answer the door so the letter wasn't delivered and ultimately returned to us. So now we're in this 60 day window of allowing the PB to investigate the pool, propose resolution, etc.

I am, in parallel, trying to engage other experts and educate myself to understand what we need to point out. My challenge in trying to identified all the defects in the face of someone who has very little motivation to move forward on this project and is pushing back on everything that isn't mandated by "code".

The gunite is my biggest Concern at the moment, hollow spots, cracks, non-conformance with my steps, etc, etc.

However, I've been doing this for 14 months......
If this guy wanted to be helpful, or wanted to finish the pool, or cared about honesty, etc we would not be in this position.
I honestly believe he is going to string this out as long as he possible can while claiming he wants to fix the pool, but really is just trying to get under my skin and prevent us from having a pool.

Take today. They are supposed to bring the Polaris per his attorney. Between 9 and 5. It's 3:37 here..... he's just trying to push buttons.... and I'm trying to collect all the data and let the facts speak. Nobody should have to go through this.
 
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Bperry

Gold Supporter
Aug 20, 2020
596
Knoxville, TN
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60
Yes, we are, unfortunately. We have been pushing since April to make progress and it came to a head with several recent events including them raising prices and ultimately saying they were going to stop progress until we made the final payment. (even though they haven't completed we've already paid for).

So, we engaged an attorney and he proposed we try the "cooperative" demand letter path. We actually sent a certified letter to the PB to trigger Section 27 workmanship before that, but the PB refused the answer the door so the letter wasn't delivered and ultimately returned to us. So now we're in this 60 day window of allowing the PB to investigate the pool, propose resolution, etc.

I am, in parallel, trying to engage other experts and educate myself to understand what we need to point out. My challenge in trying to identified all the defects in the face of someone who has very little motivation to move forward on this project and is pushing back on everything that isn't mandated by "code".

The gunite is my biggest Concern at the moment, hollow spots, cracks, non-conformance with my steps, etc, etc.

However, I've been doing this for 14 months......
If this guy wanted to be helpful, or wanted to finish the pool, or cared about honesty, etc we would not be in this position.
I honestly believe he is going to string this out as long as he possible can while claiming he wants to fix the pool, but really is just trying to get under my skin and prevent us from having a pool.

Take today. They are supposed to bring the Polaris per his attorney. Between 9 and 5. It's 3:37 here..... he's just trying to push buttons.... and I'm trying to collect all the data and let the facts speak. Nobody should have to go through this.
Yea, I think he may just be trying to get you to give up and fire him. There’s no reason to deliver a Polaris when there’s no plaster on the pool walls.
 

PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
6,145
Damascus, MD
Pool Size
29000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Jandy Aquapure 1400
I think you are going to need to decide the path you want to take and take it. Perhaps get a more aggressive lawyer? Do you want to swim this season or not? If you keep pushing your builder you won't be swimming for sure this year and who knows when. If it was me, I would cut my losses with this builder, send him an official stop work order, and work towards finishing the pool with another builder or on your own. When it is all said and done, sue him for your damages (including punitive damages). Swimming in the pool is the ultimate goal and I don't see that happening with this builder. Ever.
 

carx7

Active member
Apr 29, 2021
32
Austin Texas
I think you are going to need to decide the path you want to take and take it. Perhaps get a more aggressive lawyer? Do you want to swim this season or not? If you keep pushing your builder you won't be swimming for sure this year and who knows when. If it was me, I would cut my losses with this builder, send him an official stop work order, and work towards finishing the pool with another builder or on your own. When it is all said and done, sue him for your damages (including punitive damages). Swimming in the pool is the ultimate goal and I don't see that happening with this builder. Ever.
I agree with everything you've said.
 

Snoobug

Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
Jun 2, 2020
692
Iowa
Pool Size
21000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I am so so sorry for all you've been through. I have no advice, just a virtual hug from a random stranger. I hope you find an honest builder and I look forward to seeing pics of a beautiful swimmable pool! We are here for you!
 
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Robtown

Bronze Supporter
Jul 16, 2020
134
The Woodlands, TX
Pool Size
18500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Like everyone, I’m sorry to hear about your issues.

I’m curious, was the Gunite done over 2 days? It almost looks like there is a seam along the middle of the walls. You mentioned they used some of the rebound in the shell, could that be contributing to your efflorescences if there was a “cold joint”
 

tenderfoot

Bronze Supporter
Aug 10, 2017
97
North/TX
I am very sad to read this, God bless you.

I went through a similar situation with my pool build a few years back. And just like you, that's how I discovered this wonderful forum.

I did not have issues with the gunite though, so that bit was easier for me.

Did the PB take you to a few places to choose tile and to choose the plaster material and color?

If so, I'd go to those businesses and tell them the story (don't mention the PB name) and ask for recommendation of a contractor who can do the plaster. This is how I found the crew that ended up finishing up mine. I, of course, spoke with several of them before deciding on one.

Did you video of photograph any of the build stages? That could help you with figuring out some of the plumbing.

In terms of equipment hook up, besides the electrical, you should be able to do that yourself or hire a plumber whom you can supervise closely.

I made sure all the different crews that came to finish it up knew how painful this project had been (without revealing any names) and told them they'd have to therefore forgive me but I would be looking over their shoulder the entire time, so they needed to be comfortable with that... I did a LOT of research and at the time learned everything that they needed to do, how they needed to do it, what not to do, etc... This way I could make sure they were doing this the right way. I'd suggest you do similarly.

Also, please know that even though this will likely cost you some more $$$ than you had originally planned to invest, and some gray hairs, you will eventually have a pool and this ordeal will be behind you. Right know you just need to make good, well informed decisions so that the mistakes get corrected and you end up with a good pool.

I would not rush anything. Austin doesn't get that cold in Fall, so you can always swim even in October! :)
 

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carx7

Active member
Apr 29, 2021
32
Austin Texas
Appreciate all the support and even though sympathy won't get it done more quickly, it does help :)

The gunite was installed over 2 days and yes, there appears to be a seam. There is definitely rebound on my sun shelf in one place probably 2 with the possibility of a "cold joint". In fact, a plaster company came out this week and said he was concerned about a cold joint and talked about removing material and re packing that part of the wall.

I think next steps are likely to include core sampling of the gunite from an engineering firm to show how it conforms to the requirements (it won't, but I need proof)

The pool bottom doesn't conform to the intended plan. As someone said yesterday it's like the PB dug an adult volleyball pool. The shallow end is 4ft, down to 7 in the middle and back to 5..... no real shallow end for my twin 8 year olds. The plan shows 3.5 ft sloping to 7, and I was out of the country on business when it was dug.
The sun shelf is exactly 1ft longer than plan and when combined with the pool bottom being wrong my steps into 5 feet of water.

I only have 2 steps at 12" and 24", so the last step is a cliff into 5 ft of water. They offered to add another step post gunite for $2500. LOL at this point.

I know of one other person in a similar situation with this PB though their contract was signed 3 months after mine. Same line of excuses.
1 other person actively in a lawsuit for warranty issues (basically anyway)
1 dealing with warranty like issues but I think has not engaged an attorney
1 who had to hire a lawyer last year to finish her pool.. Ironically, the timeline of her completion seems to align with the first check I wrote (and we then waited 3 months for any activity)

Suffice to say we have a real challenge. I have days where I let it roll and can sit back and wait for my latest contact to return from vacation. We spoke verbally after a referral and he thinks can help with every single aspect I have described... including complete removal and restart if the gunite is really that bad.

Then there are days when I see a picture of my neighbor (who recommended the PB and now works for them) and the PB on the lake drinking beers while his kids are at my house playing with my kids. <- Yep, trying to allow this guys kids in my house because they play together takes a bit of self talk. Thanks for reading.
 
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carx7

Active member
Apr 29, 2021
32
Austin Texas
I am very sad to read this, God bless you.

I went through a similar situation with my pool build a few years back. And just like you, that's how I discovered this wonderful forum.

I did not have issues with the gunite though, so that bit was easier for me.

Did the PB take you to a few places to choose tile and to choose the plaster material and color?

If so, I'd go to those businesses and tell them the story (don't mention the PB name) and ask for recommendation of a contractor who can do the plaster. This is how I found the crew that ended up finishing up mine. I, of course, spoke with several of them before deciding on one.

Did you video of photograph any of the build stages? That could help you with figuring out some of the plumbing.

In terms of equipment hook up, besides the electrical, you should be able to do that yourself or hire a plumber whom you can supervise closely.

I made sure all the different crews that came to finish it up knew how painful this project had been (without revealing any names) and told them they'd have to therefore forgive me but I would be looking over their shoulder the entire time, so they needed to be comfortable with that... I did a LOT of research and at the time learned everything that they needed to do, how they needed to do it, what not to do, etc... This way I could make sure they were doing this the right way. I'd suggest you do similarly.

Also, please know that even though this will likely cost you some more $$$ than you had originally planned to invest, and some gray hairs, you will eventually have a pool and this ordeal will be behind you. Right know you just need to make good, well informed decisions so that the mistakes get corrected and you end up with a good pool.

I would not rush anything. Austin doesn't get that cold in Fall, so you can always swim even in October! :)
I meant to respond to the tile question specifically....

This guy has a crazy nice showroom. It actually "looks" like a legitimate place. They had TONS of tiles, plaster samples, pool equipment from different vendors, etc. The more I learn, the more I honestly think this guy is just a fast talker who acts like he knows but really doesn't.

2 plaster companies have physically seen the pool and both said it cannot be plastered "as is" and needs gunite work. 1 PB (who was referred to me from a 3rd plaster company) came to look at the pool and said it could not be plastered and refused to get involved.

I'll know more next week after speaking with the next guy.
 
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mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Hang in there. We are with you and will post up suggestions as we can. It sounds like you have developed a plan of attack with your counsel .. that is good. Sounds like he has given you all the things you need to do the follow this through; evidence gathering, documentation.. etc etc. It my very well end up in a settlement, because actually going to court is a major pain, investment in time and money for both sides. So prepare like you are going to take it all the way. They will flinch first. Alas I've been there done that many times. I hate playing that kind of chicken but it does work....on to a suggestion...

The pool bottom doesn't conform to the intended plan. As someone said yesterday it's like the PB dug an adult volleyball pool. The shallow end is 4ft, down to 7 in the middle and back to 5..... no real shallow end for my twin 8 year olds.

I wouldn't worry too much about it being too shallow for the 8 yr olds. They are only 8 for a short time and the next thing you know they are 18, then 28 then... I raised 4 kids with a pool and they were happy to float around until they could touch the bottom. And really then they preferred to play deep end games with their friends. The nice thing about a that kind of shallow end is you can swim laps and do a kick turn without hitting the bottom.. just sayin'

No doubt the gunite is going to have to be repaired before a plaster.. so I would approach it that way. I have meet a number of plaster contractors that will do some gunite work to prep for the plaster. It is common in renovations where someone wants to do a plaster chip out and add some steps or a baja shelf. So approach it like that.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
18,177
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
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SWG Type
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Then there are days when I see a picture of my neighbor (who recommended the PB and now works for them) and the PB on the lake drinking beers while his kids are at my house playing with my kids. <- Yep, trying to allow this guys kids in my house because they play together takes a bit of self talk. Thanks for reading.

And here is a VERY PERTINENT piece of information that would have been nice to know in Post #2 or so …. there is a personal relationship with this PB that involves your kids. Do you see what kind of person this PB is? He’s con-man and he’s using his kids to keep stringing you along. I would say this PB would make for a very interesting client in my friends psychiatry practice …

You need to cut off ALL relationships with this guy, including your kids. I’m sorry, I know that’s easier said than done abad it will involve a very hard conversation with your children who may not fully understand everything but it is necessary. This PB has shown himself to be a very, very untrustworthy individual with an alleged criminal history. Is this the type of person you wish your children to be around? I wouldn’t allow it.

You see, this guy gets to act like a crook, take people’s money and not honor his obligations. Then he gets to be allowed to live a normal life (beers on the lake, kids over your house, etc) without any repercussions. Sorry, that’s not right. If he’s going to be a crook then you don’t need to be enabling his bad behavior by allowing him to live a normalized life at your expense. It’s time to treat him as the criminal he is and hopefully he’ll learn a lesson. It’s well past time to cut him lose, drop the hammer of legal action on him and cut him off from civil society until he’s learned that you can’t screw people over and get away with it. And, within reasonable and legal limits that protects your claims against him, EVERYONE in the neighborhood needs to know your story and see him for the crook that he is.

Good luck to you, I hope you find a reputable builder to help you out of this mess.
 

Bperry

Gold Supporter
Aug 20, 2020
596
Knoxville, TN
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60
Appreciate all the support and even though sympathy won't get it done more quickly, it does help :)

The gunite was installed over 2 days and yes, there appears to be a seam. There is definitely rebound on my sun shelf in one place probably 2 with the possibility of a "cold joint". In fact, a plaster company came out this week and said he was concerned about a cold joint and talked about removing material and re packing that part of the wall.

I think next steps are likely to include core sampling of the gunite from an engineering firm to show how it conforms to the requirements (it won't, but I need proof)

The pool bottom doesn't conform to the intended plan. As someone said yesterday it's like the PB dug an adult volleyball pool. The shallow end is 4ft, down to 7 in the middle and back to 5..... no real shallow end for my twin 8 year olds. The plan shows 3.5 ft sloping to 7, and I was out of the country on business when it was dug.
The sun shelf is exactly 1ft longer than plan and when combined with the pool bottom being wrong my steps into 5 feet of water.

I only have 2 steps at 12" and 24", so the last step is a cliff into 5 ft of water. They offered to add another step post gunite for $2500. LOL at this point.

I know of one other person in a similar situation with this PB though their contract was signed 3 months after mine. Same line of excuses.
1 other person actively in a lawsuit for warranty issues (basically anyway)
1 dealing with warranty like issues but I think has not engaged an attorney
1 who had to hire a lawyer last year to finish her pool.. Ironically, the timeline of her completion seems to align with the first check I wrote (and we then waited 3 months for any activity)

Suffice to say we have a real challenge. I have days where I let it roll and can sit back and wait for my latest contact to return from vacation. We spoke verbally after a referral and he thinks can help with every single aspect I have described... including complete removal and restart if the gunite is really that bad.

Then there are days when I see a picture of my neighbor (who recommended the PB and now works for them) and the PB on the lake drinking beers while his kids are at my house playing with my kids. <- Yep, trying to allow this guys kids in my house because they play together takes a bit of self talk. Thanks for reading.
Curious why they would do gunite over two days? Or is that a moot point now?
 

PoolGate

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TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
6,145
Damascus, MD
Pool Size
29000
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Plaster
Chlorine
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SWG Type
Jandy Aquapure 1400
And here is a VERY PERTINENT piece of information that would have been nice to know in Post #2 or so …. there is a personal relationship with this PB that involves your kids. Do you see what kind of person this PB is? He’s con-man and he’s using his kids to keep stringing you along. I would say this PB would make for a very interesting client in my friends psychiatry practice …

You need to cut off ALL relationships with this guy, including your kids. I’m sorry, I know that’s easier said than done abad it will involve a very hard conversation with your children who may not fully understand everything but it is necessary. This PB has shown himself to be a very, very untrustworthy individual with an alleged criminal history. Is this the type of person you wish your children to be around? I wouldn’t allow it.

You see, this guy gets to act like a crook, take people’s money and not honor his obligations. Then he gets to be allowed to live a normal life (beers on the lake, kids over your house, etc) without any repercussions. Sorry, that’s not right. If he’s going to be a crook then you don’t need to be enabling his bad behavior by allowing him to live a normalized life at your expense. It’s time to treat him as the criminal he is and hopefully he’ll learn a lesson. It’s well past time to cut him lose, drop the hammer of legal action on him and cut him off from civil society until he’s learned that you can’t screw people over and get away with it. And, within reasonable and legal limits that protects your claims against him, EVERYONE in the neighborhood needs to know your story and see him for the crook that he is.

Good luck to you, I hope you find a reputable builder to help you out of this mess.

I think he was saying that the person that referred him to the builder has kids that play with his kids. Not the actual builder. And that he now works for the builder (implying that he didn't when he referred him). But yeah, I think I might cut ties as well.
 
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JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
18,177
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
16000
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Plaster
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Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
I think he was saying that the person that referred him to the builder has kids that play with his kids. Not the actual builder. And that he now works for the builder (implying that he didn't when he referred him). But yeah, I think I might cut ties as well.

Apologies if I read that wrong but the entire situation stinks. Especially the part where the neighbor tells the OP that he didn’t force him to hire the PB. I still would not associate with them. Sorry, perhaps that’s taking it out on the wrong person but if that neighbor who does the excavating can’t see what a crook the PB is and is willing to associate with a person line that, then that doesn’t say much about their character either. People like the PB that act like crooks are allowed far too much leniency in modern society. We don’t speak out against bad apples like this because we fear being labeled as unkind or not politically correct or too moralistic (“who are you to judge?” responses). But that’s the wrong take and it blame-shifts the responsibility to the victim. Calling out bad behavior and making it plainly obvious that it will not be tolerated protects the larger society from crooks like this. The PB needs to be taken down in court and never allowed to operate a business again if his predatory nature can be shown for what it is.
 

carx7

Active member
Apr 29, 2021
32
Austin Texas
Hi all,

The multi day pour was a result of my pool size I'm told. They did work until sundown on day 1 and then into the night on day 2. I can't say what should have been done differently and though it seemed a bit odd, I was assured this is normal.

It is in fact the neighbor's who referred the PB not the PB himself who's kids are at my house. I actually had a discussion with the neighbor's wife yesterday and let her know their kids were not welcome in our home anymore.

Not surprisingly, she told me I was throwing a fit because now the PB wants to charge me $3500 for the plaster finish requested and "we have expensive tastes" My side of that discussion shows we picked out the color in writing before signing the contract. The contract says "Pebble Sheen included" and we have 2-3 emails from her saying roughly, "oh sure, yeah all things Pebble Sheen are included don't even worry about that in the pricing." In the last month the tune has changed to roughly "the contract just says Pebble Sheen but does not specify a color. Ocean Blue is a level 2 and therefore we have to charge you. How was I supposed to know and it's not my faults it's an upgraded color and I can't control the pricing". Sheesh.

The neighbor's wife doesn't even know a fraction of the issues and she doesn't want to listen to them because "she doesn't do drama". OK

It is clear as day to me that this outfit is a problem. I have learned more about pool building in the last months than I ever cared to know. I've also learned a lot about the law, deceptive trade practices (civil and criminal), Texas Construction Trust Act, etc, etc. It is my plan to push for the maximum I can. Cash is an interesting challenge in these situations as it is a substantial outlay up front and potentially for years to get through the courts. Granted a victory in the end would repay those (some) costs. In my reading there is lots of commentary that most people let this go at a civil level once costs are recouped. While I have learned to never say never, I do not foresee dropping this one at that stage. That's just another factor I am evaluating in the grand scheme of getting this pool finished and working to ensure nobody has to go through this again.
 
Last edited:

PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
6,145
Damascus, MD
Pool Size
29000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Jandy Aquapure 1400
Realistically your builder has made more on your build then any other build that he finishes. You've paid almost all moneys due but he's not delivered some of the most expensive parts like plaster and decking. So he's not going to care at all if you don't finish with him. Very sad he's the type of builder that gives the others a bad name. Find a good, aggressive lawyer.
 

jonnyd91

Well-known member
Jul 21, 2020
170
NJ
Pool Size
24000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite Pro (T-15)
I don’t know how close you were with the neighbors but what sucks more is that relationship has been crushed by this whole thing, and you still have to live there after this is all said and done.
 

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