First timer advice/thoughts for AGP

raysaint

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2022
61
Ontario Canada
Wife wants an AGP, been reading a lot on forums/websites, research galore.
The link is what we settled on. 15' x 30' oval. I've only put a deposit so far.
I'm going to change or swap out a couple things (filter from sand to cartridge, etc.) and the retailer offers a promo package: purifier, auto chlorinator, winter cover, cleaner, ladder) and I'm adding foam cove and a liner pad.
Here in Ontario, just east of Toronto, gets pretty cold.
Installer quoted about 10K for a good install.
So overall, I'd love to hear any comments/thoughts, suggestions, concerns, experience.
Or ask me any questions.
Things like this make me anxious.
Thanks.
 

phonedave

Well-known member
May 30, 2012
1,311
Montville NJ
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
If the auto-chlorinator is an inline puck or stick dispenser, don't bother. Read the TFP method and understand what using sold chlorinating pucks does to your CYA and how it is a vicious cycle.

What is a "purifier"? Likely it is something you don't need (or want)

Foam cove is nice - I have it. I regret not adding a liner pad when I changed my liner. I don't think wall foam is worth the effort or cost.

In a cooler area, a solar cover works wonders. If I am diligent about replacing mine in the evening, it extends my swim season by at least two weeks in the fall. It really helps to keep heat from leaving the pool at night.

Your mileage my vary, but I have never found a good winter cover - one that lasts more than 2 seasons. I would buy the super deluxe, elephant tough, mega strength, 10 year warranty covers, and they would last 2 seasons before they started to leak, tops. Now I buy cheap covers, and they last 2 seasons as well.

Not sure what the law is in Canada, but the US is moving to two speed or variable speed pumps. Get the VS.

Be aware that your pool is resin with an aluminum wall. Not a bad thing, but it is not 100% resin. There are only a handful of 100% resin pools out there where everything on the pool is resin. Just something to be aware of.

Nothing to be anxious about - you have a lot of people here who have been through lots of ABG things. We are all here to help.
 
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raysaint

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2022
61
Ontario Canada
Thanks for the feedback. I don't recognize the acronyms in your first paragraph; TFP method, and, CYA.
The Nature 2 mineral purifier is just that. Works like a water softener I think, gets rid of minerals, and I read that a mineral purifier lets you use about 50% less chlorine. And it makes the water smell and feel more like a saltwater system.
On Hayward's website they didn't show a VS pump for above ground.
Solar blanket comes with the promo pack.
I realize the walls are aluminum, that's kinda what I wanted, as I read that aluminum holds up better in ice cold temps. Will it deform, who knows.
 

magiteck

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
850
Neenah, Wisconsin
Pool Size
13600
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Solaxx (Saltron) Reliant / Purechlor R5
Thanks for the feedback. I don't recognize the acronyms in your first paragraph; TFP method, and, CYA.
The Nature 2 mineral purifier is just that. Works like a water softener I think, gets rid of minerals, and I read that a mineral purifier lets you use about 50% less chlorine. And it makes the water smell and feel more like a saltwater system.
On Hayward's website they didn't show a VS pump for above ground.
Solar blanket comes with the promo pack.
I realize the walls are aluminum, that's kinda what I wanted, as I read that aluminum holds up better in ice cold temps. Will it deform, who knows.
TFP = Trouble Free Pool. The Trouble Free Pool Care method is a science-based approach to pool care based on testing your own water, understanding what is in it and what you’re adding to it, and maintaining your pool using simple, every day products as opposed to “pool store potions”. Learn more about us here:

CYA stands for Cyanuric Acid, also know as pool stabilizer or conditioner. Learn more about it and the relationship to chlorine here:
ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry
And here:


The “mineral system” doesn’t get rid of minerals, it adds them. And they don’t go away without draining, so you keep adding more over time. After they accumulate, they can cause staining, make blonde hair turn green, etc. It’s also a bit of a myth that they allow you to maintain a lower level of chlorine. The minerals may make it take longer for algae to appear in a low chlorine environment, but you still need an adequate chlorine residual to kill other pathogens which may or may not be visible in the water.

If you’re going for improved water “feel”, look into salt or borates. But I think you’ll find a properly maintained TFP pool feels great as it is. :)

If you choose to maintain your pool “our way” you’ll find that you have an army of volunteers, with no profit motive, ready to help you every step of the way. And you can have a pool that is truly “trouble free” to maintain.

Know, though, that the pool stores have their own way, which relies on you coming back to them again and again to have them test your water and tell you what “potions” to buy and add, that may or may not keep your water in good shape — until the next time you come back to buy more potions. I bought $120 in basic chemicals last year for my pool; we hear stories of people spending hundreds at the pool store.

Whichever method you choose to maintain your pool, know they’re not really compatible with one another - meaning you’ll get conflicting “advice” from the pool store versus from us, and you can’t really mix and match.

Hope you love your new pool as much as I love mine! :)
 

phonedave

Well-known member
May 30, 2012
1,311
Montville NJ
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
If you’re going for improved water “feel”, look into salt or borates. But I think you’ll find a properly maintained TFP pool feels great as it is. :)



Know, though, that the pool stores have their own way, which relies on you coming back to them again and again to have them test your water and tell you what “potions” to buy and add, that may or may not keep your water in good shape — until the next time you come back to buy more potions. I bought $120 in basic chemicals last year for my pool; we hear stories of people spending hundreds at the pool store.

Salt does make the water feel different, but borates really make a difference in how it looks. It is hard to describe, but it sparkles more, if that makes sense.

I never did the math, but I think I spend more on test kits than I do on chemicals for my pool.

I run a SWCG on my pool, so technically I use some electricity to make chlorine, so that is a cost. But I buy maybe $30 of salt at the start of each season, $25 of bleach for shocking, and a $10 bag of CYA lasts me at least 2 seasons, a gallon of acid lasts me forever in my pool. I buy test reagents, including ones for salt and strips for borates - so that adds up, likely to more than the $50 or so of chemicals use.

My hot tub does run through acid after a water change for about 2 weeks (2 oz. a day or so) and takes bleach, but not a whole lot. I still have a container of dichlor from almost a year ago that I use after a water change to bring the CYA up.
 
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raysaint

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2022
61
Ontario Canada
A lot to learn. Your TFPC method is probably what I'll follow. But with so much to read in the school, I'm meeting with the pool supplier/store soon to finalize the pool purchase, and want to be sure of what to say no to, and what to add or swap out.
Attached is the package they offer. Could you look at it and recommend any changes/additions/deletions, based on using your care method, your experience, etc. The changes/additions I already indicated above is: foam cove, liner pad, cartridge filter (instead of sand). I probably won't consider SW.

The store is an hour away so I won't be using them for chemicals, so I have time to buy my first whack of various chemicals later (install date is maybe late June.)
One step at a time, I want to buy the right equipment/accessories first, then worry about care, decking, etc.
I'm looking forward to all your support and what I can learn, so i don't fret. Thanks so much.
 

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magiteck

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
850
Neenah, Wisconsin
Pool Size
13600
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Solaxx (Saltron) Reliant / Purechlor R5
A lot to learn. Your TFPC method is probably what I'll follow. But with so much to read in the school, I'm meeting with the pool supplier/store soon to finalize the pool purchase, and want to be sure of what to say no to, and what to add or swap out.
Attached is the package they offer. Could you look at it and recommend any changes/additions/deletions, based on using your care method, your experience, etc. The changes/additions I already indicated above is: foam cove, liner pad, cartridge filter (instead of sand). I probably won't consider SW.

The store is an hour away so I won't be using them for chemicals, so I have time to buy my first whack of various chemicals later (install date is maybe late June.)
One step at a time, I want to buy the right equipment/accessories first, then worry about care, decking, etc.
I'm looking forward to all your support and what I can learn, so i don't fret. Thanks so much.
The package looks fine overall. Some notes:
  • The 'Test Kit' they provide is likely not a very good one. If possible I'd find out what they're providing. If you can advise what kit they're providing you, we can let you know what's missing and/or what additional tests you'll need. Or, if you want to be well-prepared, just grab one of our recommended test kits, the Taylor K-2006C or the TFTestKits TF-100 (Test Kits Compared). I understand that good test kits can be a little more challenging to get in Canada. Check out Pool Test Kits - Further Reading (Obtaining Test Kits Outside of the US) for some tips.
  • Under the promo package:
    • A solar blank can be a pain to use, but in northern climates it makes a huge difference in avoiding night-time heat loss. I'd recommend it.
    • Most people cover their pools in the winter, so the winter cover is a nice add-on.
    • If you don't have a deck, you'll need an a-frame ladder, so that's good.
    • You do not want a 'Nature II Purifier' or an 'Automatic Chlorinator (Pucks)'.
    • The 'Kontiki Automatic Pool Cleaner' I don't have experience with, I'd take it or leave it.
If you can get them to skip the Nature II and the Chlorinator (and possibly the Kontiki, then you can pick your own cleaner) and give you some money off, I'd do that. They might come back and say "it's a package deal", and you'd probably pay $400 just for the covers and the ladder, so if that's the case I'd probably just take the package but request your installer not install the Nature II or the Chlorinator, and then just sell or give those away.

If you're planning to follow the TFP method, you'll want to identify a decent source of liquid chlorine (also called liquid 'pool shock', can also use plain bleach as long as it's not scented, no additives, no 'chloromax technology', etc.). For more details: Recommended Pool Chemicals

Download the PoolMath app. It will let you calculate chemical additions (free) and track test results and chemical additions over time (inexpensive yearly subscription).

Let us know what questions you have along the way!
 

raysaint

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2022
61
Ontario Canada
Chlorine and chemicals shouldn't be a problem. Your other suggestions I will take. The Kontiki cleaner is a suction type, link is here.
Is there a better type? I'm trying to make overall pool maintenance as easy and fool-proof as possible. Knowing me, I'll be anal and obsessed with testing, checking, cleaning, etc, and never get anything else done around the house. I'm like that until I get into it and probably realize it isn't as bad as I imagine now.
 

magiteck

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
850
Neenah, Wisconsin
Pool Size
13600
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Solaxx (Saltron) Reliant / Purechlor R5
Chlorine and chemicals shouldn't be a problem. Your other suggestions I will take. The Kontiki cleaner is a suction type, link is here.
Is there a better type? I'm trying to make overall pool maintenance as easy and fool-proof as possible. Knowing me, I'll be anal and obsessed with testing, checking, cleaning, etc, and never get anything else done around the house. I'm like that until I get into it and probably realize it isn't as bad as I imagine now.
Here's some information on cleaners-

A robot is the best, but they are expensive. An automatic suction side cleaner like this can work, but keep in mind that in an AGP your skimmer is your only suction source, so if you have the vac hooked up to that then you are not skimming whenever you have the vacuum hooked up. You can only do one at a time.

For me, I just use a combination of a manual vac (hooked up to the skimmer/suction like the automatic one is), and a cordless vac (the 'Pool Blaster Max HD'). I'd love a robot, I just can't justify the cost with how short our swim season is. I probably vacuum maybe 10 times over the summer.

One other note I missed on my last comment, RE the pump. A 1hp pump is quite powerful, uses a fair amount of electricity, and is quite loud. Aside from when vacuuming, it's a lot more power than needed for a typical AGP. If you have the option for a 2-speed or a variable-speed pump, I'd recommend it. My pool came with a single speed pump, and after the first summer I sold it and bought a 2-speed. I run it on low 99% of the time, and it's virtually silent. A VSP would be even better, but again with my short season, I couldn't justify the price premium over a 2-speed.
 

phonedave

Well-known member
May 30, 2012
1,311
Montville NJ
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
Chlorine and chemicals shouldn't be a problem. Your other suggestions I will take. The Kontiki cleaner is a suction type, link is here.
Is there a better type? I'm trying to make overall pool maintenance as easy and fool-proof as possible. Knowing me, I'll be anal and obsessed with testing, checking, cleaning, etc, and never get anything else done around the house. I'm like that until I get into it and probably realize it isn't as bad as I imagine now.

I have had a variety of suction side cleaners - Zodiac models, as well as a number of Waterbugs. Not worth the effort in my opinion. I found them to be extremely finicky. The suction had to be just right or else they stopped moving or climbed the walls. With a suction side cleaner it was take the thing out, set it up, mess around with it for 20 minutes, get it working, come back 2 hours later to find it somehow tied itself into a knot or decided to stop moving, take an other 20 min to fix it, come back 2 more hours later to find it done, but it still missed in the corners around my stairs. OR hook up the manual vacuum and take 30 min to vacuum my pool. (I still have a Zodiac Wahoo and 2 Aquabugs in the shed, I have not had the urge to use them for 2 seasons now - I'm not a masochist)
 

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raysaint

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2022
61
Ontario Canada
So for a 2 speed pump, if Hayward doesn't have them, what are other good brands of pumps?
Update, just checked a pool supply website, all 2 speed pumps are 1.5 hp.
Is that too much hp., or will both speeds serve a purpose?
 
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raysaint

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2022
61
Ontario Canada
Just made the purchase. Final package, main points: cartridge filter & 2 speed pump (instead of what they offered.) Scrapped the mineral purifier, auto chlorinator, Kontiki cleaner. Going to see how basic vacuum works for now.
Hopefully I can order the Taylor 2006 test kit. Pool store said it was overkill, but I can't take my water to them for testing. Is the 2006 same as 2006C, just fewer tests? I'll need to figure out what individual test chemicals/reagants I'll need to add to have enough tests.
Guess it's time for pool school.
 

magiteck

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
850
Neenah, Wisconsin
Pool Size
13600
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Solaxx (Saltron) Reliant / Purechlor R5
Just made the purchase. Final package, main points: cartridge filter & 2 speed pump (instead of what they offered.) Scrapped the mineral purifier, auto chlorinator, Kontiki cleaner. Going to see how basic vacuum works for now.
Hopefully I can order the Taylor 2006 test kit. Pool store said it was overkill, but I can't take my water to them for testing. Is the 2006 same as 2006C, just fewer tests? I'll need to figure out what individual test chemicals/reagants I'll need to add to have enough tests.
Guess it's time for pool school.
The 2006 is just fewer tests, but you’ll find yourself needing to replace some sooner than is ideal especially for the cost.

Check out this thread where someone used a forwarding service to get a TF100 kit. Much better value and likely cheaper even with the forwarded shipping!

Post in thread 'Help with Tf-100 / tftestkits.net for Canadians'
Help with Tf-100 / tftestkits.net for Canadians
 
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Mdragger88

Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 1, 2018
6,524
Hernando, Ms
Pool Size
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Congrats on the pool purchase 🥳
Great choice on ditching the mineral system.
You can always add a salt water chlorine generator once you get the hang of maintaining manually.
Here’s some evening reading to get u started 👇
 

raysaint

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2022
61
Ontario Canada
I have the Taylor catalogue (attached) from the Regional distributor. It shows a residential kit (strips + test result website), and then farther down the pro kits, which includes the K-2006 and 2006C.
What does the 2006 kits allow you to do that the residential one doesn't?
 

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magiteck

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
850
Neenah, Wisconsin
Pool Size
13600
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Solaxx (Saltron) Reliant / Purechlor R5
I have the Taylor catalogue (attached) from the Regional distributor. It shows a residential kit (strips + test result website), and then farther down the pro kits, which includes the K-2006 and 2006C.
What does the 2006 kits allow you to do that the residential one doesn't?
The strips, which we refer to as “guess strips”, tend to be wildly inaccurate. We do not recommend their use at all.

None of the residential kits listed include the FAS-DPD chlorine test, which allows you to test FC levels above 5ppm and at a resolution of 0.2 or 0.5ppm. Most do not include the CYA test either. (The “9 way” gets the closest - it has everything but the all-important FAS-DPD).

The important tests are:
pH
FAS-DPD Chlorine
Total Alkalinity
Cyanuric Acid
Calcium Hardness (*somewhat less important in a vinyl lined pool)
 
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raysaint

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2022
61
Ontario Canada
My first thread I guess is inactive, it was mainly about purchasing the right components of the above ground pool package. Not sure if you can refer to it. I opted out of a few things based on your suggestions, so it's mainly a 2 speed hayward pump and a cartridge filter (opted out of the chlorinator and purifier.)
Anway, install is next week, so I need advice on my first chemical purchase; and enough for 2 months left in the swim season here in Ontario.
And I'm checking into the K-2006C kit, if the distributor will sell me one (might have to buy a case of 8.)
I'll be printing off your Pool Care Basics, and all the individual water articles; and I'll download the math app. Any other things I should do before the water goes in?
Oh, and I'll be reading many of your articles on chemicals, which may answer many questions, but your experience can augment what I read.
Thanks.
 
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Texas Splash

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Your other thread is still here.

 

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