Houston area members

Poolmichael

Active member
Jul 20, 2021
42
Houston
We met with our third PB salesman yesterday evening. It was an amazingly positive experience. They designed exactly what we didn't know we wanted and after seeing his creation were blown away with the shape size and depth as well as all the drains to the street etc. Other builders left out.
He tried very hard to talk us out of saltwater pool. He claimed it was equipment replacement cost and just the salt residue left on everything around the pool causing rust etc.
He mentioned something about online reviews only being left by people who were unhappy with their pools and the ones who loved them never posted.
So naturally the first thing I did was look up these reviews.
Some loved their pools. The troubling thing is I couldn't find many reviews for many years after installation. One went back to 2016 and that particular reviewers pool was basically cracking and sinking everywhere.
The even more troubling things was... This is a local Spring, TX storefront of a huge national PB and there is no bbb accreditations at all.
Should I run away from this builder?
Are we allowed to share pool builders names on this forum because it looks like there are a lot of Houston area members and I would love some recommendations.
 
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Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2014
33,605
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
Pool Size
17888
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
Builders seem to shy away from salt for some reason with no real evidence other than they "think" those pools are more corrosive. Funny thing is that not only is the salt level extremely low, non-salt pools still have salt as well just from the by-products of pool products. Overall water chemistry is usually the reason for most pool problems and not the salt itself. But if you find yourself in a pickle and the builder still doesn't want to install the SWG, at least ensure there is enough room in the plumbing return line going back to the pool so you can install one yourself later.

Some builder names and info is shared on the forum, but we are careful to ensure things don't get too negative. But if someone has experience with a company and you elect to PM them, that's certainly fine.
 
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Poolmichael

Active member
Jul 20, 2021
42
Houston
Builders seem to shy away from salt for some reason with no real evidence other than they "think" those pools are more corrosive. Funny thing is that not only is the salt level extremely low, non-salt pools still have salt as well just from the by-products of pool products. Overall water chemistry is usually the reason for most pool problems and not the salt itself. But if you find yourself in a pickle and the builder still doesn't want to install the SWG, at least ensure there is enough room in the plumbing return line going back to the pool so you can install one yourself later.

Some builder names and info is shared on the forum, but we are careful to ensure things don't get too negative. But if someone has experience with a company and you elect to PM them, that's certainly fine.
Ok thank you. He did say retrofitting to a swg would be easy down the road.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2014
33,605
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
Pool Size
17888
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
Try to post back here with the build list you receive. We can look over the equipment and stuff to see if there are any items you should discuss with the builder.
 

JJ_Tex

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
2,536
Prosper, TX (DFW)
Pool Size
13000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
And the general rule of thumb here is to get 3-5 bids from companies. That way you can make sure you are getting the true market price.

Also, each builder has their own positives and negatives, and they all have a unique twist that they bring to the table. Hopefully you learn from each one and incorporate all of the various aspects you like from the other builders and incorporate that into your final build.
 

Poolmichael

Active member
Jul 20, 2021
42
Houston
Try to post back here with the build list you receive. We can look over the equipment and stuff to see if there are any items you should discuss with the builder.
Ok I'll try to go through and post the build list. Thab
And the general rule of thumb here is to get 3-5 bids from companies. That way you can make sure you are getting the true market price.

Also, each builder has their own positives and negatives, and they all have a unique twist that they bring to the table. Hopefully you learn from each one and incorporate all of the various aspects you like from the other builders and incorporate that into your final build
 

texasAUtiger

Well-known member
Jul 10, 2021
81
Waco, TX
Pool Size
15600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
My builder was the same way. Basically said he doesn't do salt due to corrosivity. Then I come here and find lots of SWCG folks.

I am going liquid chlorine for now, will see how it goes, and reserve the option to put in a SWCG later if I want.
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
14,043
Houston, Texas
If you look through the threads in Under Construction many of them name their location. Look for Houston area builds, read their threads and contact the members by PM to ask questions about their builder if want more information. You may want to go deep into that forum to find builds that are a few years old to see how they have held up. If you hover over a member's avitar it will show the last date they visited TFP. You will be more likely to get responses from members who are still active on the site.
 
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Annoulini

Member
Jun 22, 2021
21
Tomball, TX
Pool Size
13000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
@Poolmichael we are going through the process now ourselves in the Spring/Tomball, TX area and were able to find PBs that were good with adding a SWCG. We also had talked to a few that wouldn't design a SWCG for different reasons and we didn't consider them further. Feel free to PM me.
 
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Poolmichael

Active member
Jul 20, 2021
42
Houston
And the general rule of thumb here is to get 3-5 bids from companies. That way you can make sure you are getting the true market price.

Also, each builder has their own positives and negatives, and they all have a unique twist that they bring to the table. Hopefully you learn from each one and incorporate all of the various aspects you like from the other builders and incorporate that into your final build.
The problem we are having, is we were all ready to pull the trigger on a fiberglass pool we had 3 estimates, picked our builder, then after considering all the compromises we had to keep making and the lack of any extras beside just the basic pool shell and equipment, we decided a custom fit our yard and needs better.
My builder was the same way. Basically said he doesn't do salt due to corrosivity. Then I come here and find lots of SWCG folks.

I am going liquid chlorine for now, will see how it goes, and reserve the option to put in a SWCG later if I want.
I am still considering doing the same. Going liquid chlorine for now, but it doesn't seem right that I should have to install one system knowing that I almost certainly will change it at additional cost.
 

Poolmichael

Active member
Jul 20, 2021
42
Houston
To me it makes more sense to use a saltwater system. The PB sales lady we met with last night said it was super complex chemistry wise to care for saltwater pools. And she wouldn't recommend it unless we were engineers or excelled at chemistry in college. Then she recommended a chlorine system with sanitizer and ozone. She said that system would be about the same price as saltwater, and require less chemicals.
That all sounds way more complex to me.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2014
33,605
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
Pool Size
17888
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
The PB sales lady we met with last night said it was super complex chemistry wise to care for saltwater pools. And she wouldn't recommend it unless we were engineers or excelled at chemistry in college. Then she recommended a chlorine system with sanitizer and ozone.
That right there. That is exactly why pool owners find themselves so misguided and confused. She is wrong on so many levels. SWGs make chlorination so easy it's ridiculous - set it and forget it (just about). Ozone? Why, the TX sun provides all the free ozone and UV we would ever need. Difficult chemistry? Ummmm, we just add a little more salt and test the FC the same way. Chlorine is chlorine. How do you want it added? Either liquid (manually each day) or gas automatically (SWG). It's the same thing. Amazing.
 

JJ_Tex

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
2,536
Prosper, TX (DFW)
Pool Size
13000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
To me it makes more sense to use a saltwater system. The PB sales lady we met with last night said it was super complex chemistry wise to care for saltwater pools. And she wouldn't recommend it unless we were engineers or excelled at chemistry in college. Then she recommended a chlorine system with sanitizer and ozone. She said that system would be about the same price as saltwater, and require less chemicals.
That all sounds way more complex to me.
I'm sure that has nothing to do with the sales incentives and the fact that she could get a free vacation if she sells enough ozone systems.

If you sell enough bags of salt, you get a coupon for buy 1 get 1 fries at the Tomball Whataburger. :)
 

Poolmichael

Active member
Jul 20, 2021
42
Houston
That right there. That is exactly why pool owners find themselves so misguided and confused. She is wrong on so many levels. SWGs make chlorination so easy it's ridiculous - set it and forget it (just about). Ozone? Why, the TX sun provides all the free ozone and UV we would ever need. Difficult chemistry? Ummmm, we just add a little more salt and test the FC the same way. Chlorine is chlorine. How do you want it added? Either liquid (manually each day) or gas automatically (SWG). It's the same thing. Amazing.
It was amazing.
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
14,043
Houston, Texas
I'm sure that has nothing to do with the sales incentives and the fact that she could get a free vacation if she sells enough ozone systems.

If you sell enough bags of salt, you get a coupon for buy 1 get 1 fries at the Tomball Whataburger. :)
I'd go for that. I love Whataburger!
 
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superuser

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2020
204
Spring, TX
Yep, completely backwards sales pitch. I bought my house with this pool. Previous owners left what they had since they were moving to a place without a pool. So, I had a tablet chlorinator at the equipment pad, a floater with tablets in the pool, another floater with tablets in the spa, an ozone generator plumbed into the pump, a full box of 1lb. bags of shock, two jugs of Alk-Up, and a long expired test kit that looked like it was never used. You know what else I had (and some of which I am still working on)? Problems. Only some of the stains remain, but I'm working through those too.

So the water chemistry was fine by pool store testing, but then why was there visible black algae growing in my spa? Why were there large dark grey stain patches on the pool bottom? Why were my pool walls reddish brown? Because the water chemistry was anything but "fine." CYA was off the charts, so all that chlorine was ineffective and not able to work on sanitizing the pool. That ozone generator? Full of water and completely inoperable. Why was there a lot of calcium scaling at the water line?

Once I got my water balanced to TFP numbers, my pool care started taking less and less time. The biggest thing I've done yet to save me time and energy though, is switch to salt. I keep a couple jugs of liquid chlorine "just in case" but I haven't touched them. Prior to the SWG I had to manage chlorine levels every day or two. My pool care now is literally 5-10 minutes every whenever I feel like it, usually every few days, and it consists of nothing more than emptying skimmer baskets and checking the water balance. I brush once every couple weeks or so, the robot does the rest. The chlorine stays put at 5.0 to 5.5 ppm thanks to the SWG. I have a spa spillover that runs most of the day, which the aeration raises pH . Once every week or so I add 8-12 oz. of muriatic acid to bring it down from 7.8 to 7.5. Once I change how that valve operates I'll be doing even LESS maintenance.

The net result of making the change to salt is I am now completely confident my pool is always swim ready without having to spend any time confirming it. With salt it's a much more consistent pool, and nearly maintenance free.
 
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