Just Bought a 26' Intex - Looking for suggestions on upgrades as I start the planning/build process

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
677
South-Central WI
too bad, I never thought of that. not much electric underground around here, too much rock, I guess.
Yeah could be. Could also be Arizona is more suited to above-ground utilities. Buried utilities have a much higher initial cost due to the work involved in burying them. They also have downsides such as people digging into them cause they didn't call to have the utilities marked and such. Plus more expensive to replace since they are buried.

It looks a lot nicer to not have utility poles and lines running everywhere though.

But the primary reason for burying, as I understand, is actually because the total lifetime cost can be less. With above ground utilities you have to trim trees on a regular basis. Storms can drop trees and branches on the lines, taking them out. And in colder places, ice storms are another one that takes lines out.

I know Arizona doesn't have ice storm problems, but I'm guessing they also don't have nearly the amount of severe thunderstorms we get here in the midwest either. "Damaging winds in excess of 60 MPH" is a common statement when listening to NOAA weather radio alerts around here in the spring/summer. It's a common sight to have large branches and even trees down after the big storms.

I love watching thunderstorms though. And I've always wanted to see a tornado with my own eyes. Maybe one of these days...
 

Pv2

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 14, 2013
740
south east Arizona
northern part of the state has real winters, LOL. there are some places doing underground electric - especially high end developments but certainly not rural areas. we do get downed lines from wind fairly often, but I imagine the costs are way too high in most of the rocky areas to do it as a normal practice. we have some fantastic thunderstorms out here, especially where I am. and with all the big granite outcrops it really rolls and echos. I love storms too, not sure about wanting to be close to a tornado, though. we get big dust devils that can pick up a shed or even rip a roof off and those are good enough for me.
 

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
677
South-Central WI
northern part of the state has real winters, LOL. there are some places doing underground electric - especially high end developments but certainly not rural areas. we do get downed lines from wind fairly often, but I imagine the costs are way too high in most of the rocky areas to do it as a normal practice.
Ah. To be clear, underground electric is not common in rural places. Those are almost exclusively served by above-ground power lines. Even in cities it's quite common to see above ground power lines, though it's typically limited to the more major roads, with the underground lines commonly reserved for subdivisions. For example, here's a pic I just took walking our dog along a collector road.


The lines on the left side of the street are what appear to be the main power lines providing power to the subdivisions in this area. While they do directly feed a few houses along this road, you can see the lines tapped and running underground with no transformers from time to time. On the right side of the road are transformers for underground lines (green boxes), most likely the ones pictured are stepping down voltage to feed the houses/duplexes on the right side of the picture.

There are similar green box transformers along the back property lines on our street, every 2-3 houses or so.

Now what I said also depends on the age of the neighborhood. Go back to neighborhoods built before the 60's or so in this city and they will all have above ground utilities feeding all the houses. I believe the 60's/70's was when they started switching from building above ground to buried utilities in new subdivisions.

we have some fantastic thunderstorms out here, especially where I am. and with all the big granite outcrops it really rolls and echos. I love storms too, not sure about wanting to be close to a tornado, though. we get big dust devils that can pick up a shed or even rip a roof off and those are good enough for me.
<pulls up topographical map of Arizona> Oh yeah, Arizona has mountains. For some reason I've always imagined Arizona as a flat desert. :unsure: I suppose the midwest is so flat it's just hard to imagine mountainous areas, though I have been out to Yosemite National Park once. Driving through the mountains out there was amazing!

I've been near (<30 miles) from at least a handful of tornadoes thoughout my life. Most tornadoes are weak and short lived though. Only a few become really big and powerful. For example, here are local midwest tornadoes from 2009 to 2017 (I was 18 in 2009):


But if you take out the EF0 and EF1 tornadoes, which as you can see also almost never have tracks (very brief touchdowns), there's a lot less of them. OTOH these are the tornadoes you really don't want to be around, especially those red ones.


I lived in or near Peoria most of my life, including for that red (EF4) tornado track you see. That was a tornado that touched down on the other side of the river from Peoria. It was part of the Tornado outbreak of November 17th, 2013. That tornado destroyed 20 houses, damaging over 75 more plus some businesses in East Peoria ($110 million worth of damage) before moving into Washington where it grew to EF4, approximately half a mile in diameter, and destroyed 663 homes, 7 businesses, and 5 apartment buildings, including 2,500 vehicles, and damaged many other structures, causing some $800 million worth of damage. Luckily though, while some 5000 people where in the path of the tornado, only three died, as nearly everybody was able to successfully take shelter. One that day, two later from injuries.

In 2004 (before the time I selected on these maps) there was another EF4 tornado in Roanoke, IL, about half an hour drive east of Peoria. This wiped out a manufacturing plant with 140 employees inside, but due to spotter training, employees acting as tornado spotters sounded an alarm and all employees took shelter in tornado shelters and nobody died (nearly all large commercial buildings here will have tornado shelters, which are reinforced areas. They are often reinforced bathrooms so you don't have a room taking up space unused, but are occasionally dedicated empty rooms). There's some really good pictures here, along with links to YouTube from footage of some armature tornado chasers.

What I've really wanted to do is tornado chasing, but unless you spend a lot of time and money or you happen to just be in the right place at the right time, that doesn't happen. Also according to that map there's less tornadoes up here in southern Wisconsin than there is in Illinois where I used to live.
 

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
677
South-Central WI
Okay, I heard back from the company. They said it's probably best if I hold off on the fence right now, but they are going to send out a foreman to check my property so they can give more detailed advise.
 

Brett S

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2019
449
Orlando
As you can see, nothing that involves digging on the right side of the yard. Which is unfortunate, as way back (maybe in my pool choosing thread) I mentioned that's the flattest part of the yard and ideally you have the pool up close to the patio and hot tub.

Based on previous messages, I expect the hot tub will have to slide to the right. We'll probably move it all the way to the other edge of the patio if that's the case. What I'm thinking looking at this picture is if the pool sits in the center where the putting green is that we'd have a path coming off the lower patio (covered by the hot tub currently). This would be pavers or something so you can walk from the pool to the house without going through the yard. That's the door we'd want to use for restroom breaks anyhow.
For what it’s worth, I would seriously reconsider putting the pool way back at the end of the yard like that. I just recently upgraded my pool and added a patio and deck, so now I can get into the pool from the house without walking across any grass and this is such a huge improvement. My old pool was only 6 or 8 feet out from the house and I had added some little paver stepping stones, but with those, walking to the pool people would wind up with dirt and grass clippings on their feet all the time. And that stuff would not only wind up in the pool, but also in the house as people were walking back in.

If you put in more of a full walkway, rather than just stepping stones like I had then you might have less of an issue, but frankly the cost, time, and effort of putting in a walkway is probably more than it would be to level the ground right next to the house to put the pool close to the house. You also need to consider the cost and effort involved in running power way out to the back of the yard where the pool would be.

It’s a little hard to see exactly how high your existing deck is, but if it works out and you can put the pool right next to the existing deck so you can just get in the pool right from your deck I think that would be perfect. Even if the deck isn’t quite the right height you could add an extension to the deck with a little step up or step down to match the pool height.

Unless you really want to use that open yard space for something and need to get the pool out of the way I think you would be way better off getting the pool close to the house.

Plus then you could keep your putting green... I mean I know that was a big draw when you bought the house. Maybe you can open your own country club and charge your neighbors a monthly fee so they can use the putting green too. It could help cover the costs of the pool;)
 

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
677
South-Central WI
So my wife took the puppy out and the neighbors, the younger friendlier ones to the east, where out. They asked what we were doing and my wife said pool and fence and they said "good for you!" So no issues with them, as I figured. They then told her about how our neighbors on the west had tried to tell them when they moved in that a cement truck that was involved with building the east neighbors house had turned around in the west neighbors driveway and cracked it. And the picture they showed as "proof" had weeds growing through this "new" crack! They said it was a great "welcome to the neighborhood". They also said the previous owners of our house would tell them that there was a bobcat that roamed the neighborhood so that their kids wouldn't be out playing in the neighbors yards in the dark.

What fun! Lots of stuck up old people in this neighborhood it seems. Glad we have some nice ones on one side of us anyway! We'll invite them and their kids to come have some drinks and swim in the pool (the latter one only for the kids!) and wave at the grumpy old people on the other side of us as we float, drink, and grill! :ROFLMAO:

What is their thinking on waiting?

Kim:kim:
While they didn't specify, my guess is for the same reason that I proposed a few posts up: Because while I can put a fence inside the utility easement along the back of my property, if the portion of the fence inside the utility easement is in their way as they replace the power lines it has to come down, one way or the other.

I believe that the thinking behind having a foreman come out is to see how the lines run so they can better tell us if a fence would or would not get in their way during this powerline replacement project.

For what it’s worth, I would seriously reconsider putting the pool way back at the end of the yard like that. I just recently upgraded my pool and added a patio and deck, so now I can get into the pool from the house without walking across any grass and this is such a huge improvement. My old pool was only 6 or 8 feet out from the house and I had added some little paver stepping stones, but with those, walking to the pool people would wind up with dirt and grass clippings on their feet all the time. And that stuff would not only wind up in the pool, but also in the house as people were walking back in.

If you put in more of a full walkway, rather than just stepping stones like I had then you might have less of an issue, but frankly the cost, time, and effort of putting in a walkway is probably more than it would be to level the ground right next to the house to put the pool close to the house. You also need to consider the cost and effort involved in running power way out to the back of the yard where the pool would be.
I was thinking I'd put in a walkway, and not just stones, but we shall see. I knew that with grass that would get tracked into the pool and house, especially if the yard had just been mowed.

Actually, that was my thinking, before we actually bought the house and I got a good look at the hill. I haven't measured it yet, but my assumption is if we want to put the pool on the left side of the yard, next to the deck (which is where it's the most sloped out of any of our yard), we'd be looking at at least two feet of dirt moved. So not only do we have to pay someone to move a lot more dirt, but we'd have to put up a retaining wall too, which is either a lot more work or even more money.

It’s a little hard to see exactly how high your existing deck is, but if it works out and you can put the pool right next to the existing deck so you can just get in the pool right from your deck I think that would be perfect. Even if the deck isn’t quite the right height you could add an extension to the deck with a little step up or step down to match the pool height.

Unless you really want to use that open yard space for something and need to get the pool out of the way I think you would be way better off getting the pool close to the house.
Yeah, that would be convenient. On the flipside I've read the codes and any deck extensions would need to have 4' deep frost footings, while a detached deck might be able to get away as a "floating" deck on those concrete blocks that sit on the ground. Like your deck, if I am thinking of the right thread. I still need to call the building department about that though to see if that's allowed.

Now, all that said, by moving the pool there we should be able to have the pool pump reach the house outlets and skip adding electric. Hmm, maybe I should have a landscaping company come give a quote on leveling the ground and adding a retaining wall...

Plus then you could keep your putting green... I mean I know that was a big draw when you bought the house. Maybe you can open your own country club and charge your neighbors a monthly fee so they can use the putting green too. It could help cover the costs of the pool;)
Why didn't I think of that!? :ROFLMAO:
 
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jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
677
South-Central WI
A guy from the company doing the electric replacement dropped by just now. He looked at it and said if we put a fence on the rear property line that wouldn't get in their way. They'd just go around or under the fence footings. As I suspected, he said they do all horizontal drilling. They leave the original electric lines in place and use the horizontal drilling machine to add new lines 3' away from the old lines. The electric company then comes and hooks up the new lines then switches over each house from the old lines to the new lines. He said for us all they need is to dig a small hole near the equipment out back to run the new wires to our electric connection. The houses with transformers have a lot more digging as they get all new transformers and there's more wires to connect.

So in other words I'm free to put the fence up. Now I just have to decide where to put the pool.

Oh, another interesting idea that guy brought up was if the lines in my yard feeding my house were in the way, I could pay someone to move them. That would probably be expensive, but it would open up more options. Probably more than I'd want to pay though.
 

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
677
South-Central WI
cheap intex pools sure can end up costing a lot of money LOL
You're 100% correct. BACK TO THE PUTTING GREEN LOCATION!

I think overall that will be easiest. Electric shouldn't cost very much, especially if I dig the trench and put the post in and all he has to do is do the actual electric stuff. Certainly it will be cheaper than moving a ton of dirt and adding a retaining wall. I can't see electric running more than $400 or so for what we'd need if I'm doing the non-electric labor. You certainly can't buy stuff to make a retaining wall for that price, let alone the cost to level ground.

And the best part? The Intex pool is made to be taken down. So if in a year or two I decide I want it right up next to my deck? Well then I can have the ground leveled and move the pool over there in a year or two. No big deal. But in the mean time we'll have a cheap pool, even if it might have a little bit of grass in it.
 
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jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
677
South-Central WI
Okay, so two and a half weeks later and still haven't drawn up those site plans. :oops:

I just got off the phone with the building department though. While their counter is closed, I can do permit applications via mail. She recommended that for the pool she email me the application forms, an aerial photo of our lot, and copy the inspector on it. That way I can outline my plan and the inspector can make sure the plan looks good before I mail in the application fee.

They do have magnet detectors for locating the property line pins and said I can still loan those, I just have to arrange a time and she will meet me at the door to the building for a pick-up.

I also finally picked up our pool from our friend's garage, where it's sat for way longer than I anticipated. I plan to open that up tonight and check for missing parts.

Anyway, I feel like I finally have the wheel turning, slow as it may be...

Also, I just realized that I could probably avoid the electric installation fee, at least for now (given that an electrician couldn't come do the install until the end of May anyway) by putting the pump near the house, and just extending the plumbing between the pump and the pool. I would probably want dedicated electric installed on a post in the yard at some point, but that would at least get me up and running. This at least unless the inspector nixes that idea.
 
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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
44,832
Tallahassee, FL
Sounds like you have a solid plan now! So nice of that lady to tell you about what to do before sending in the money! SWEET!

Your pool is at your house now??? SWEET!!!

Kim:kim:
 

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
677
South-Central WI
The plan is SENT! Not attached here as it includes all sorts of information that easily lets people know where I live.

Along with the plan, I sent as many details as I thought relevant and a few questions. I will update when I hear back with a go/no-go. (hopefully a go!)
 
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jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
677
South-Central WI
As a non-pool related aside, I also finally got in there and looked at the leak on the pump drain plug. Turns out it was cracked, as it broke off completely while trying to take the drain hose off to get a better look at it.

When I ordered a new drain plug and hose from SpaDepot I threw in a Saltron Mini SWCG as well. So once I fix the tub and get it running again I'll have a SWCG for it finally! I'll probably start a separate thread for that in the spa forum for anyone with spas who's interested in more details on that device.

Kinda funny really. I basically went to my wife and said "I'm ordering $15 of parts to fix the hot tub leak. Can I throw in a $230 SWCG in as well?" :LOL:
 

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
677
South-Central WI
I heard back, my plan is good, I can send a check for $122 which covers the cost of fence and pool permits. She didn't have the answers to all my questions so she will reply about those tomorrow.

I expect I'll have permits early next week. Work will start when I have permits and get the utilities re-marked!
 
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jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
677
South-Central WI
ALL IN THE SAME DAY???? WOWZER!!!! Sweet!!!
I know, right?

I decided after looking at wood fences in our neighborhood I like the shadowbox style best out of the "easy to build" styles (which, @kimkats, also happens to be what you suggested...). But I got to thinking that the support beams are exposed every other picket so it may be considered climbable. Anyway, that leads to one of my questions, so I wanted to put that up first.

She responded to my questions, which are summarized below, with summarized responses in italics:
  • Does a shadowbox fence meet the non-climbable requirement? This style is acceptable.
  • Must the gates be self closing and/or self locking? No, this is optional.
  • Does this style of pool (metal support posts with plastic connectors and soft non-metallic wall) need to be bonded? Yes.
  • Is is acceptable to put the pump near the house and extend the plumbing. Not sure, recommended to have electric installed near the pool.
I followed up asking on details on the actual bonding requirements. Since all the metal pieces are powder coated and connected via plastic joints, if they say all metal must be bonded it's going to take forever to drill holes, taking off powder coating and bolting a bonding connector to each piece...of which there are a measly 52 pieces...

So I'm really, really hoping bonding will be limited to the buried wire connected to the pool and maybe a water bonding electrode, cause bonding each and every metal piece will suck...

Right as I was posting I see she directed my bonding questions to their electrical inspector and suggested that he call me.
 

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
677
South-Central WI
Update: The electrical inspector said if the pool is a storable pool, usually indicated by the pump stating it is for a storable pool and containing a long cord with GFCI protection built-in (the Intex pump checks this all off) that the pool is exempt from bonding requirements.

However, that also implies that if I should do what many here have done and upgrade with a non-Intex pump or SWCG, that I would have to consider the pool to be permanently installed from an electrical perspective and would likely have to add bonding. I did a quick search and sure enough, a Circupool pump says it is only to be used with permanently installed pools and not to connect it to a storable pool. I'm pretty sure this is going to be the same for 99% of non-Intex pool pumps...

The Circupool SWCG (which I was planning on getting) doesn't say anything about permanent or storable pools but does list bonding. Kinda hard to bond if you don't have a bond, which ties into the above.

In any case, none of this prevents me from putting up the pool and fence. I can operate it with the Intex, it may just not filter as well as I would like, and I can operate it without a SWCG. The important thing is that there there will shortly be work starting and with any luck, a full pool by, say, the end of May?