My Caribbean Pool Build

DR Robert

Member
Jan 19, 2014
23
Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic
Pool Size
10000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool Core-35
First of all, I'm, not a regular poster but have greatly benefitted from the group knowledge here. Now I want to give back.

I live in a rented house in the town of Jarabacoa, 1800' ASL in the tropical central mountains of the Dominican Republic. We are routinely 7°F cooler than most of the island.

I have lived in a rental house for my motorcycle tour company with a larger--for here--and poorly constructed and engineered pool. It's a free-form shape, about 20,000g, with all pool equipment in a room (get this) below the water level. I have a 24" square hatch to go down to work with the valves, etc. It sucks. Additionally, our water is supplied directly from a river unfiltered, so if the river is muddy, the water coming into the cistern is also muddy...and eventually ends up in the pool. I posted my filtration woes before, and if it weren't for 1µ filter bags, the pool would never clear up. The bags, modified and attached to the returns with 1/2" SS hose clamps work perfectly, and I thank TFP for the suggestions. I also put water into the pool through a filter bag in a skimmer. The pool leaks, but I'm not going to bust up the slab here to fix it, so I disconnected two returns on a separate line.

We can only use our current pool from mid-April to late September because the pool water drops below 78°F and gets as low as 74°F mid-winter.

Now we have pulled the trigger and are building a new house. Groundbreaking was a month ago, and my "job" now is going to the site and watching the house being built---the Dominican way, which is nothing like in the first world. I am documenting the progress on a youtube channel for those interested.

The house is a unique C-shaped design based on modern Mediterranean hacienda design, with the focus on an enclosed courtyard with 12'x24', 10,000g pool. Thanks to what I've learned here, I've helped the architect/builder (my "cuñado" or brother-in-law Francis Santillan, equally gifted as an engineer and artist) design the pool and systems. We intend to use the pool year-round.

I have spec'd the following:
-Depth from 3.5' to 5.5'
-One skimmer, one main drain, four returns.
-SmartFlo 1.5hp variable-speed pump
-TJ16 PreFilter
-CJ2750 cartridge filter
-Core 35 salt chlorinator
-5 panel, 4'x10' solar panels mounted on a WSW exposed roof area, with control valve
-Efficient solar blanket with Pool Boy battery-powered automatic reel
-Separate indoor "wet room" for pool plumbing, pumps, valves and indoor water pumps and pressure tanks (we don't have street water pressure.)

I have the equipment that came in the package from Circupool, and actually bypassed the current sand filter and installed the cartridge pre-filter here. And what a difference!

Last Monday Francis and the "maestro"---the title of the construction supervisor---laid out the markings for the foundation, and 8 Haitians are digging the foundation trenches. You can see the pool rectangle in this drone shot:

x5zMOA.jpg


Things are different here. Pools are rare as are pool builders. Technology is old school. And where technology is higher, the vendors really gouge you. For example, I had a respected solar pool heater company bid US$8000 for a 192sf system. I can import all the equipment and supplies I need and have the engineers install it for around US$3000.

I chose solar for mainly financial reasons. A 150k BTU propane heater (no natural gas here, just propane) costs US$2500 + $450 a month for six months in gas. A 125k BTU heat pump comes in at US$3500 and $200 a month in electricity (we pay around $0.195 per kwh from the first kwh when the house consumes above 700kwh/mo., so power gets really spendy really fast.) So besides being cleaner and environmentally friendly, it's also substantially less expensive.

I'll keep updates on construction progress for those interested in semi-Third World home building, and get more intense when the actual pool construction begins.

For a reference of the pool location & "wet room" (cuarto maquinas), here is the first floor plan. The back roof is where the solar panels will be installed, so there will be a 60'-80' underground plumbing run from panels to wet room:

hDROg6.jpg
 
Last edited:

sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
2,177
Chapel Hill, NC
Old school is not necessarily bad. In fact it may be a whole lot better than the current crop of "new schoolers"! A gunite/shotcrete/plaster pool is still the best long term proposition.

Have you considered a heatpump - mild climate is ideal for these, and it should come in at 1/2 the up-front cost of your solar installation.

Plans look wonderful!
 

DR Robert

Member
Jan 19, 2014
23
Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic
Pool Size
10000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool Core-35
Old school is not necessarily bad. In fact it may be a whole lot better than the current crop of "new schoolers"! A gunite/shotcrete/plaster pool is still the best long term proposition.

Have you considered a heatpump - mild climate is ideal for these, and it should come in at 1/2 the up-front cost of your solar installation.

Plans look wonderful!
Thanks. That is the main floor. There is a lower level in the back under the master bedroom and living room area that is a basement and media room. Kind of an afterthought, but the slope of the lot makes it an easy build.

Yes, it'll be fairly old school with some water color-altering quartz pixie dust. I found some info about sunken/deck flush solar pool blanket reels, and that may also be the ticket.

Yes, I have looked into heat pumps. Keep in mind that import duty and taxes run 56%. Heat pumps are just not used here because electricity is very, very expensive here, more that three time what I paid in FL per kwh. It would cost almost $200 a month to use a 125k BTU heat pump for the pool. That's $200 a month more than the sun. And acquisition cost of solar pool heating materials for a 200sf array is a little less than a heat pump. There are no taxes and duty on solar farkles, but are for a pool heat pump.
 
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jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
3,802
Morris Cnty NJ
Add as much solar as possible on that roof. Its worth it. I see about a 10degree average temp rise over no solar. You may wanna look into solar electric if kWh are that high there.
 

DR Robert

Member
Jan 19, 2014
23
Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic
Pool Size
10000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool Core-35
Add as much solar as possible on that roof. Its worth it. I see about a 10degree average temp rise over no solar. You may wanna look into solar electric if kWh are that high there.
What % of your total pool area do you have in solar panels. I plan on 200sf for a 288sf pool.
 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
3,802
Morris Cnty NJ
I have 60% coverage. I have full sun all day amd use a solar blanket all the time. My wife amd kids want 90 water temps. You should have good results with 80% coverage
 
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