DIY Fiberglass Project. Soooo many questions.

Mar 31, 2017
27
Nc
#1
Hello all new to the forum and new to pools in general. After some extremely poor service from 2 local pool providers and some bloated quotes I have decided to attempt a DIY fiberglass pool project myself. Small backyard area. Now to be clear on the DIY I will still be using contractors for installation I will just be subbing out that work and purchasing the pool shell and all necessary equipment on my own and working with a traveling installer. Yes I am aware of the challenges of not having a local contact but I have screened this installer direct from the factory I am purchasing the shell from so I feel as good as I can.
I have about 30 days to purchase all the necessary items I will need to have on site for thus saving money from him playing middleman. I can read and read and read online but I still don't know what I don't know yet. So I just wanted to put out my initial thoughts on what I plan to purchase.

Please give your thoughts on the following.
1. Please help me fill in the blanks of what I am missing. When you buy this you then also need that, etc.
2. Am I looking at good quality equipment suitable to the size pool I am looking at.
3. Any other thoughts to keep down the budget and still have a quality long lasting setup.

So here is what I "think" I want to purchase so far.
$9250 Shipped. Caribbean Bay Pool Shell 12 x 25 "Calabash" Freeform
$650 Shipped. Pentair Variable Speed Pump Model 342001
$75 Shipped. Pentair in line chlorinator Model 320 series
$300 Shipped. Pentair Cartridge Filter 100 system Model 160316
$1400 Shipped. Hayward HP50A heat pump/cooler (13k gallon rating pool is approximately 6500 gallons)
$250 Shipped. Pentair LED Light 77360300
$250 Shipped. Solar cover and reel. Have not finalized brand of solar cover yet.
$100. Equipment Pad

I realize I still need assistance with concrete, gravel backfill, excavation, plumbing, electrical, and various misc fittings. So please help me poke holes in my initial thoughts so that I can get this figured out and order all the equipment in the next 30 days. Again I truly don't know what I don't know so I truly appreciate any input both good and bad. Pictures to come as the project develops. Thank you!!!
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
41,197
Tucson, AZ
#2
:wave: Welcome to TFP!!!

Your project makes me nervous based on some other fiberglass threads I have seen where even with "professionals" installing the pool, things went horribly wrong and needed to be redone ... to the point where personally I would be leery of getting a fiberglass pool.

It is extremely critical that the hole be properly prepped and leveled and the pool properly backfilled to avoid problems, so make sure whoever you have doing the work knows what they are doing.

Most here would not recommend a puck chlorinator like in your list due to the CYA build-up over time.
The filter seems small, the bigger a cartridge filter the better. Do you have the volume of your pool? Filter size is related to that.
 

gwegan

TFP Expert
Apr 19, 2013
2,769
Sacramento, CA
#3
I'm going to agree with what Jason said above. Preparation of the excavation is critical. A skilled installer with mucho experience is even better. Plumbing the pool after it's set as well as light instaltination are more interesting because of the unique configuration of these pools and the short time frame in which this work has to be done. Backfilling and controlling settling is very important.

You need to have the equipment pad pre plumed and rough electrical with pump and plumbing in place so when you fill the pool you don't end up with a swamp.

I also agree you filter sounds small. We recommend you get a filter at least 1 1/2 times the recommended size for your pool.

No to the pucks.
 
OP
OP
N
Mar 31, 2017
27
Nc
#4
Thank you for the fast reply! Ok going to show my newbie. Pucks? Thus far I have spent my debate time on salt generator vs chlorinator. I landed on chlorinator from the potential savings of salt generator being balanced out by replacing the "cell" every 3-7 years at a very high cost. I am not familiar with the different types of standard cholorinators but I will start researching them today to get a better understanding. My goal is to save on power everywhere I can. Any thoughts on the Pentair Bioshield ($590)? Honestly I don't know if this is still a "puck" system that's just more energy efficient or a different system all together. If you have any recommended models for this size pool please let me know.
https://www.poolsupplyunlimited.com/Pentair522945BioshieldUltraVioletSterilizer/160420p1?gclid=CPaZi523g9MCFcVMDQodXCsCJw.
 

duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
31,391
Sebring, Florida
#5
Any thoughts on the Pentair Bioshield ($590)?
Run away as fast as you can! That's UV and not adequate to sanitize your pool.

I'll pile on.........A traveling installer would scare me. Improper placement of the shell can be a deal breaker and he will be 800 miles down the road.
 
OP
OP
N
Mar 31, 2017
27
Nc
#6
So regarding the filter the pool dimensions are 12x25 freeform average depth 4.5 (scales from 3.5-5.5). So if I do the math for a rectangular pool of the same size that should give me a bit of extra. I'm reading the math is L x W x Avg. Depth x 7.5. So 10,125? So 2 questions there.
1. Do you agree a cartridge system makes good sense vs alternatives?
2. If so what size/model would you recommend?

Concerning the excavation/site prep and installer worries we are definitely on the same page. I have been debating this for months and feel I have finally screened down to some quality installers. 1 worked directly for the factory as their installer for over a decade and now sells the pools direct on his own and does traveling jobs (even called and spoke to the owner of the fiberglass pool company as a reference for him and he gave a glowing review). And the excavator is a long story but basically was the excavator for the largest pool supplier in my city and recently he decided to go out on his own and do more projects other than just pools(he has a background of 30 years in excavating and owns all his own equipment of various size). So if I find a good electrician and concrete team I feel about as good as I can for the DIY scenario.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
36,690
Tallahassee, FL
#7
Pucks=tablets=solid chlorine that go inside a tube and water runs over them to add the chlorine to the pool BUT they also add other stuff to the pool such as CYA (stabilizer) or calcium. Both of which cannot be removed from the water. The only way to lower these two is to remove and replace water.

Kim:kim:
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
41,197
Tucson, AZ
#8
All filter types have pluses and minuses. If you want a cartridge, go with at least 150 sqft.

Pucks are Trichlor tablets which constantly add stabilizer, CYA, with the chlorine that builds up until you need to drain the pool, which is dangerous with a fiberglass pool.
 
OP
OP
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Mar 31, 2017
27
Nc
#9
Great thanks! Reading on the Pentair 160353 model now (200 sqft). Sound reasonable? Not a huge stepup in price lists for $450 online.

- - - Updated - - -

Makes sense kimkats thanks. Could you point me in the right direction on what I am looking for? Any model/type in mind that I can take a look at?
 
OP
OP
N
Mar 31, 2017
27
Nc
#11
Ok thanks for the article. I read through some ideas. So if I understand this stay away from the pucks because of calcium buildup issues among others which hurt fiberglass particularly, Infared is the new kid on the block so stay away for now, and salt generators work the best and save the most on chemicals but keep a tight eye to avoid corrosion issues. And you basically know you will need to replace the cell once or twice a decade. Pentair IC 15 (520888) is rated for twice the gallons I will have and can be bought for around $440 and "seems" to be a good fit. Am I missing anything there?
 

gwegan

TFP Expert
Apr 19, 2013
2,769
Sacramento, CA
#12
Generally you have that right. With SWCG you want double your pool size. Generally the same with filters. You want a cartridge filter large enough so you only clean it twice a year.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
41,197
Tucson, AZ
#13
That filter will be much less hassle.

The pucks add CYA not calcium.

Corrosion is generally not a worry with the SWGs.
 
OP
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Mar 31, 2017
27
Nc
#14
Will a Pentair IC 15 520888 work for a small inground pool(less than 6500 gallons). It says its for above ground pools but I don't understand why based on it's gallon rating. I read a few reviews of people using it for in ground and they say it's fine but are they going to have issues later?
 
OP
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Mar 31, 2017
27
Nc
#17
Ok next question. Looking to add a 5-6 person hot tub to the setup. Power in my area costs about 8.5 cents per kWh. Trying to get an idea for power consumption for an average user.
Thanks!
 

Analogbytes

Bronze Supporter
Dec 22, 2016
291
Arlington, Texas
#18
Hmm. I bet someone can give you a really good number, but here is my take. I have a tub in my signature that stays heated to 100 degrees and we get in and turn the jets on from time to time(heating will be more expensive by far I believe). Roughly the same 7.9 cents here. Last month bill was 180 for house, pool, and tub.
 

Analogbytes

Bronze Supporter
Dec 22, 2016
291
Arlington, Texas
#20
I would be absolutely shocked if my tub was 20% of my bill. My house is all electric and we were even running the AC some last month. Sorry I can't be more helpful, but I don't have any numbers on this house without the tub and pool running.