Initial stages of planning, to see if a pool is the right way to go

detlion1643

Member
May 14, 2020
21
Erie, PA
So, the wife mentioned she wanted to get a pool for this summer, and gave the go ahead on purchasing. I have done weeks of research on above ground pools (not getting an in-ground) and spent lots of time in the yard to determine locations. However, I do my full diligence before getting into a project. I don't want to give up any space in the backyard, as it's very very hilly, and the area up top of the hills are the only place for the kids to run around. So, the only other option is our side yard, which is basically on the side of the house behind our garage. I checked our local restrictions and only saw something about being 7' away from property lines, nothing about structures.

So, I went ahead and marked out farthest locations of an 18' and 21' size. I had to be careful to stay away from an a/c unit. At this current time, the outside of the blocks are measured 3' away from the a/c unit and 1 1/2' away from the gutter on the garage. We also have to contend with having a french drain pipe system, in which you can see where the stones are that cover this.

Am I trying to fit something into a space that shouldn't be? The 18' would "fit" just slightly better, but I don't want to regret not getting a 21' if it can work...

If this can work, I have pieced together from various places: a 21' x 52" pool, a j-hook liner, a de filter+pump, skimmer/return kit, and a ladder - total of about $1700. I hope it's standard for the pool to have a skimmer cutout (the photos were like stock photos), but I am not sure if it's square or wide...

My opinion is the 21' would be a very tight fit, while giving us 3' between the outside and a/c unit and 1 1/2' between the outside and the garage. I am mostly worried about the french drain and what impact this would have if we dig down right at the outside of the stones...

My photos were apparently too large to attach as files, so I hope this works:
 

detlion1643

Member
May 14, 2020
21
Erie, PA
I've been contemplating this a lot since the post, and have been doing lots of reading here on the site. Liner leaks worry me, and reading about posts, I'm inclined to wonder between liner styles and thickness.

Would a lesser thick j-hook or more thick overlap be better? I think the thicker would be better to put up with abuse from stairs and kids, but I keep reading that j-hooks are the way to go!

I'm also wondering if I should look for something with bigger verticals and top rails? The one I priced out has 6" verticals and top rails. Would the thicker/bigger be that much sturdy?
 

detlion1643

Member
May 14, 2020
21
Erie, PA
So an additional question is about leveling. If I level the high spots down to the low, there is the option of sand vs foam. I've read a a lot about it and am wondering if the pink insulation boards are the ones used? I've seen xfs foam mentioned a lot and it always shows me these insulation barrier boards...


Also, do we level pavers to ground or the top of the barriers then? If the barriers only go in after the walls are up, how do you level to the barriers then?


I moved about 6 inches of stone away to see the depth, and only continue to see more stones. I think the 21' would fit right in since it seems like the majority of backfill should be stones for drainage reasons. We would be about a foot or so down between the low and high of our yard. The stones would flow right into the stones already laid for the drain.


My wife is excited to know this will all work, so when I mentioned how much labor it'll be for us, she mentioned I don't have to do it, but the thought of a pool was a nice idea for the kids... Ugh, it was her idea, but I'm still not totally against it lol...
 

johnm160

Well-known member
Jan 19, 2020
143
Orlando
Code in my area is anything electric has to be a minimum of 5’ away from the pool edge. Also I had to be a minimum of 5’ away from the house or any structure you could jump off of into the pool. So you might want to check if you have any similar codes in your area to deal with.
 

detlion1643

Member
May 14, 2020
21
Erie, PA
Thanks for the replies. I looked at a PDF of our township and the only restriction I saw was to be 7' away from property lines. I talked to our insurance agent as well and they said nothing about restrictions, regarding coverage not placement. Maybe I should call our township instead?
 

johnm160

Well-known member
Jan 19, 2020
143
Orlando
I would call since they are giving you zoning requirements. The electrical requirement is going to be part of the NEC so I doubt you will be able to be within 5’ of the AC unit. This is something you want to speak to an inspector about before you get too far down the road.
 

Wobblerlorri

Bronze Supporter
Zero firsthand for you, but I did some searching on one thread I remember so let's try calling her over @Wobblerlorri
You rang?

My little pool is 7' from the wall of the house and about 5' from the AC unit, measured diagonally since its a foot or so further back along the wall than the pool is. When I called the county for code restrictions, turns out there really aren't any to speak of, which surprised me, so I just did what the folks in here said to do.

There 's not even a requirement to have a fence around the pool!
 

detlion1643

Member
May 14, 2020
21
Erie, PA
Good information! I looked more into the NEC, and from my understanding there is a requirement of 5' from any electrical outlet (which must be gfci). Well, apparently, even though the a/c has a shutoff box they don't use real outlets to plug into. Plus, the fact that a/c units can withstand weather like rain, heavy rain, etc, there apparently are no real codes for a/c units.

There are apparently code requirements from the NEC for location of pumps and outlets for them. I will be having a certified electrician run a new circuit just for the pool and install a waterproof gfci outlet box outside, which will be 6'+ from the pool. So, in that regards I think I will be good.

As far as that roof on the garage, I'd have done that as a kid :). As for fencing, our township has stated as long as the walls are 48"+ that can be the "barrier" for protection. Since our property is not fenced in (yet), we will absolutely fence the pool!

I've read some stuff about bonding when a pool is close to electrical? Would that be something to look into?

Thanks for all the information, it's greatly appreciated. I think I am going to continue moving forward and start the leveling process. That's going to take a while!
 

johnm160

Well-known member
Jan 19, 2020
143
Orlando
Equipotential bonding is required for safety no mater where the pool is located. NEC 680.26.

Essentially for an above ground pool you need a bare solid 8ga wire connected to 4 points equally spaced round the pool that also connects to your pumps bonding lug. I am not sure if an above ground needs the wire run around the perimeter of the pool 18”-24” away from the pool wall to bond the ground like I had to do for my inground.
 

detlion1643

Member
May 14, 2020
21
Erie, PA
Have taken every consideration in thought, talked and read about code requirements, and feel well enough to continue forward. We will absolutely do the bonding scenario for safety reasons.

With that said, I have started ordering parts:
- 21'x52'' steel wall pool
- 2 speed (1.5hp on high) pump
- 120 sq ft cartridge filter
- 20ms gauge j-hook liner (or could change to a 30ms overlap???)
- ladder, skimmer, hoses, etc

Total of about $1800. Spending a few hundred more than a "kit", but getting so much better value out of better parts!

Is anything vital missing? Would a thicker overlap liner be better than a thinner j-hook liner?
 

bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
6,154
Central MD
I'm glad you were able to get the parts needed. I've seen/heard that many places are out of stock on any type of AGP's.
 

mbuice

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 1, 2014
118
Denton, TX
Hey there!
Glad you'll be able to go with the bigger pool.
As far as liner choice, I've been very happy with my overlap liner. I've never had a J-hook liner for comparison, but I did recently change from a 20 mil to a 30 mil. There is a noticeable difference (at least to me) in the thickness between the two.

I hope you'll keep us updated, and good luck!