First Pool, Help a Noobie with Equipment

Apr 6, 2021
5
Midlothian, VA
Great forum and glad to have discovered recently. A bit overwhelmed with the choices of equipment but instead of going easiest route hoped to save some money by purchasing some equipment ourselves and have installed. Pool will be in eastern North Carolina, 38 x 18' with 3 to 8' depth. Still learning about the different options and information from the builder a bit sparse on details, so any advice is much appreciated as I continue to search the "Under Construction" thread.

Heater- electric vs. gas, Hayward brand is offered at 250,000 BTU. Seems that the gas line to the equipment isn't cheap but always heard from others that gas is the way to go for efficiency. Builder said with the retractable cover, electric is fine too.

Salt Water Generator- Options are Hayward Omnilogic, Aqua Rite, Aqua Rite Pro and Pro Logic Station. They also list the Sense and Dispense system as an add on. Looking to learn enough to manage the pool maintenance ourselves so prefer reliable/manageable system if any advice.

Fountains- Overall the pool is a simple in ground rectangle shape with steps and a swimout, nothing fancy. Love the sound of a water feature but not doing spa or waterfall, but saw deck jets and pump as an option. Have read can have issues with debris in the lines so not sure if worth installing.

The cost by the builder already includes Hayward 30" high rate sand filter with multi port 1.5hp pump. Not sure I totally understand this part of the quote and will research more about filters in this area.

Any recommendations on where to purchase (online? local pool store? use the builder with what looks like high markup) also much appreciated.

Cheers,
Dave
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
24,658
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Welcome to TFP.


Be aware of the warranty you get depending where you buy the equipment and if you DIY the install. The big three pool equipment manufactueres all have pulled some or all of their equipment off of the Internet. Some retailers only sell certain equipment by telephone orders to get around that. Good places to buy equipment are:



Pentair is the best for DIY. Hayward is OK. Skip Jandy.

If you don't have a spa then a heat pump can work ok for you.

SWG get one that is at least 2X your pool volume. Skip the automatic chemical systems. They a e more trouble then they are worth.

I suggest you go with a large cartridge filter.

My shopping list would be all Pentair:
  • Pump - IntelliFlo VSF 011056
  • Filter - CCP520 cartridge
  • Heater - Ultratemp 140 HP
  • Automation & SWG - IntelliCenter bundle with InetlliChlor IC40 SWG
If you get a bundle of Pentair products and have it professionally installed you can get a 3 year warranty on all the products. Pentair defines professional installation pretty broadly.


"Select Bundled Products: applies to purchases and qualified installation of a minimum of a pump and filter, and one or more of the following: heaters, heat pumps, control systems, automatic cleaners, lighting, salt chlorine generators or UV sterilizer** "

**Note: Bundled products - must be purchased on the same invoice and installed at the same time. If any product within a bundle is ineligible for the bundled warranty coverage then all products within the same bundle will be disqualified from receiving the three (3) year extended warranty coverage for bundled products.

*Note: Qualified Installer - Defined as a licensed professional who charges a fee for his services, and possesses a business license, contractor's license and/or resale permit. Common examples of a "qualified installer" include: Swimming Pool, Home Repair or Landscape Professional; Plumber or Electrician; General Contractor; Heating and Air Conditioning Specialist.
 
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kevinskii

Gold Supporter
Aug 6, 2019
170
Los Angeles, CA
Pool Size
1
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
As another plug for Pentair, a lot of the experts on this site (of which I'm not one) seem to recommend it. I happen to have an all-Pentair setup based on my builder's recommendation, and for the past 2 years it has worked perfectly. The owner's manuals also provide sufficient detail to completely disassemble and re-assemble everything should you ever need to, and you'll be able to find lots of support around here if you need it.

Maybe skip the deck jets. Some of our friends have them and they always seem to run them for 15 minutes to impress guests and then turn them off because the sound and splashing get annoying. We also have a simple rectangular pool, but with a raised spa and waterfall. It's probably the only thing I would change if I could do it all over again. We almost never run the waterfall fast enough to be noticeable due to the high pump speeds required. I like the sound of water too, but just being near it is pretty relaxing.

I don't have any experience with the "sense and dispense" system, but I've noticed quite a few complaints about the reliability of similar systems on here. I probably wouldn't trust one myself, and a decent automation setup makes it extremely quick and easy to adjust the SWG output.

For reference, we have a 400k BTU gas heater and our pool is quite a bit smaller than yours. The heater can raise the spa temperature 1-2 degrees a minute but it requires a 40gpm minimum flow rate. It can probably heat the pool about 1-2 degrees an hour. We only use it at the very beginning and end of the season because we have solar, and also for occasional nighttime swims when we have guests.

It sounds like you're well on your way to having a great build.
 
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Apr 6, 2021
5
Midlothian, VA
Thanks to you both for the great information (and appreciate the links to the other info as well).

Pentair sounds like a winner, and I am planning to have my builder install the equipment not DIY so will make sure his install will work for the warranty, but sounds like it will.

As for the deck jets, yes we will research and see if worth the effort.

Heater-need to figure out the correct size...we will likely only use to extend season before/after, and didn't know solar was an option. Will research.

Thanks so much for the quick help, am really excited to get this rolling!
 
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kevinskii

Gold Supporter
Aug 6, 2019
170
Los Angeles, CA
Pool Size
1
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
In case it helps, we have a solar system. It cost a few thousand dollars but it's probably the best pool investment we've made. We have been comfortably swimming for 2 weeks now. Most of our neighbors probably won't start for another month. It of course depends a lot on whether you have a sufficiently large south-facing area with no shade obstructions nearby the pool. A rough rule of thumb is to have roughly the same solar square footage as the surface of your pool.

I did quite a bit of research before buying ours. The main companies seem to be Fafco, Uma, and its sister company SunStar. My unscientific evaluation included searching for the phrase "solar leaks" on this site and on Google. I found lots of complaints about Fafco and practically none on Uma or SunStar, so we went with SunStar. I realize that negative reviews are often a direct byproduct of sales volume (Pentair being a perfect example), so please take this with a grain of salt.
 
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Apr 6, 2021
5
Midlothian, VA
As another plug for Pentair, a lot of the experts on this site (of which I'm not one) seem to recommend it. I happen to have an all-Pentair setup based on my builder's recommendation, and for the past 2 years it has worked perfectly. The owner's manuals also provide sufficient detail to completely disassemble and re-assemble everything should you ever need to, and you'll be able to find lots of support around here if you need it.

Maybe skip the deck jets. Some of our friends have them and they always seem to run them for 15 minutes to impress guests and then turn them off because the sound and splashing get annoying. We also have a simple rectangular pool, but with a raised spa and waterfall. It's probably the only thing I would change if I could do it all over again. We almost never run the waterfall fast enough to be noticeable due to the high pump speeds required. I like the sound of water too, but just being near it is pretty relaxing.

I don't have any experience with the "sense and dispense" system, but I've noticed quite a few complaints about the reliability of similar systems on here. I probably wouldn't trust one myself, and a decent automation setup makes it extremely quick and easy to adjust the SWG output.

For reference, we have a 400k BTU gas heater and our pool is quite a bit smaller than yours. The heater can raise the spa temperature 1-2 degrees a minute but it requires a 40gpm minimum flow rate. It can probably heat the pool about 1-2 degrees an hour. We only use it at the very beginning and end of the season because we have solar, and also for occasional nighttime swims when we have guests.

It sounds like you're well on your way to having a great build.

Quick questions about the heater...your gas heater is 400k BTU but the first post recommended a heat pump at 143k BTU. Have read some about each and the gas v. electric heater but confused about the big BTU difference. Just don't want to "undersize" the heater. Though the Ultratemp 140 is seemingly out of stock everywhere at the moment. Thanks for any thoughts-
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
24,658
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Quick questions about the heater...your gas heater is 400k BTU but the first post recommended a heat pump at 143k BTU. Have read some about each and the gas v. electric heater but confused about the big BTU difference. Just don't want to "undersize" the heater. Though the Ultratemp 140 is seemingly out of stock everywhere at the moment. Thanks for any thoughts-

140K BTUs is the maximum heat pump box for residential pools. It is limited by how much can be generated with 50 amps of electrical power.

400K BTUs is the maximum a gas residential pool heater. There are larger commercial units. It is limited by the size of most residential gas service.

You can get more heating if your house can provide more electrical or gas energy.
 
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GaryParr

Well-known member
Aug 21, 2020
65
Rhode Island
Just to throw my two cents into this...

I'm new to this game as well, having had my pool installed last year. I found myself fixating on equipment (which was good) but I completely overlooked some of the basic hydraulic concerns (which was bad). My builder was... eh, not very helpful. It was a "here is our standard package" without much in the way of options, and absolutley zero discussion about plumbing. When the pool was being put in they brought out nothing but 1.5" flex pipe and tried to lay the bare minimum required to actually connect the pool to the pump. If your area of the country is anything like mine, pools are a hot commodity right now so there is a chance you are in the same boat.

I'd suggest doing a little planning on your own for what you want for pipe sizing, pipe layout, valves, valve location, etc. There are some great threads on this forum that go into details... so much detail at times it can lead to some very deep rabbit holes. Some rough sketches of layout posted here will also generate some great feedback and tips.
 
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kevinskii

Gold Supporter
Aug 6, 2019
170
Los Angeles, CA
Pool Size
1
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Quick questions about the heater...your gas heater is 400k BTU but the first post recommended a heat pump at 143k BTU. Have read some about each and the gas v. electric heater but confused about the big BTU difference. Just don't want to "undersize" the heater. Though the Ultratemp 140 is seemingly out of stock everywhere at the moment. Thanks for any thoughts-
My solar is for temperature maintenance, and it provides 99% of the heat the pool gets. The gas heater is for the spa, for times when the solar won't work (cloudy days, evening swim parties, etc.), and for very rare times when we just need to heat the pool quickly, like if we have a string of cold and cloudy days at the beginning of the season and don't want to wait a week to get the pool back up to temperature afterwards. Solar works well with the endless sunny days we get in southern CA, but might not be ideal for VA.

Since you don't appear to include a spa in your build plans, maybe just a heat pump is sufficient. While trying to come up with a BTU estimate for my solar (it appears to be a lot less than the heat pump), I found this handy article that explains details about heater choice and sizing much more clearly than I could:
Aqua Magazine: How to Size a Pool Heater
 
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kevinskii

Gold Supporter
Aug 6, 2019
170
Los Angeles, CA
Pool Size
1
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I'd suggest doing a little planning on your own for what you want for pipe sizing, pipe layout, valves, valve location, etc. There are some great threads on this forum that go into details... so much detail at times it can lead to some very deep rabbit holes.
I looked into this a bit when we were considering going the owner-builder route, and these rabbit holes are very deep indeed. Unless you notice that your builder seems to be cutting corners, you really shouldn't have to concern yourself with pipe sizing and layout. It also doesn't matter much in any consideration of heat pumps versus gas or Pentair versus whatever.
 
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GaryParr

Well-known member
Aug 21, 2020
65
Rhode Island
I looked into this a bit when we were considering going the owner-builder route, and these rabbit holes are very deep indeed. Unless you notice that your builder seems to be cutting corners, you really shouldn't have to concern yourself with pipe sizing and layout.

Eh, in the long long ago times before the great Covid induced pool install madness I'd be more inclined to agree with you. The massively high demand right now (in my area at least) is causing builders to jettison quaint notions like attention to detail and "doing it right" in favor of the immediately more lucrative over committing.

@kevinskii may be correct and you have nothing to worry about unless you see your builder cutting corners. I would suggest that at the very least you familiarize yourself with what those corners are or you will not know they are being cut. Also, post lots and post often during the planning/building phases. People on this forum are great at finding things you need to put another eyeball on.
 
Apr 6, 2021
5
Midlothian, VA
So quick followup...and thanks to everyone who has helped so far, much appreciated.

PB says that in this area of NC, Hayward has service reps and typically quicker/cheaper for any repair issues (and said they have 3 year warranty also). Said Pentair is more $$ and harder to service here, but would get pricing.

Cannot seem to find the Pentair heat pump online anywhere...
 

kevinskii

Gold Supporter
Aug 6, 2019
170
Los Angeles, CA
Pool Size
1
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Thanks for the followup. If I were you I'd probably go with the Hayward system. I'm sure you'll be very pleased with it for years to come. Please let us know which setup you choose.
 
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GaryParr

Well-known member
Aug 21, 2020
65
Rhode Island
If you go Hayward and want a VS pump with automation, see if your guy can get a deal on a Tristar/Omni Hub combo. I've got Hayward and, as of last year at least, this was the cheapest way to get into a full blown automation system. Things may have changed, but thought I'd throw it out there.
 
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Apr 6, 2021
5
Midlothian, VA
If you go Hayward and want a VS pump with automation, see if your guy can get a deal on a Tristar/Omni Hub combo. I've got Hayward and, as of last year at least, this was the cheapest way to get into a full blown automation system. Things may have changed, but thought I'd throw it out there.
Thanks so much, I was going to post asking for guidance on what Hayward products to purchase (Omnihub v Aqua Rite or Plus). Will check on that combo. Any specific Hayward filter or heater recs for a pool 38 x 18?
Also, was thinking of purchasing equipment myself and having PB install to save on the markup, any reason not to do that?
Thanks for any guidance.
 

GaryParr

Well-known member
Aug 21, 2020
65
Rhode Island
If your PB is fine with it, go for it. I did that myself for a few items.

With the automation, I picked up an AquaPlus until my PB found me a deal on the OmniHub/VS combo at which point the AquaPlus was returned still in the box. The Omni platform is newer and, to the best of my understanding, a little more flexible. Honestly though, the right choice is probably going to depend on what your complete feature set ends up being. The older platform is tried and true and, if it does everything you need it to, no reason not to use it.

As for heater... I'm in Rhode Island so I went with gas. Everything I read about heaters was basically that a heat pump will be more efficient over time as long as you don't mind a slow ramp-up to your desired temp and then maintain that temp. Gas will probably cost more but gives you the option to randomly crank the pool up to 80 on that last chilly night before you close down for the winter.

I have a DE filter myself, but my understanding is that any of the filter systems are fine as long as you maintain them.

If you want to take a look at what I've got going in as a point of comparison, my under construction post is here -> Gratuitous Pool Construction Pics
 
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