New build in Highland Village HELP

mike97979

Member
Aug 19, 2017
11
Highland Village, Texas
The family has wanted a pool for years and i finally caved.
Have many many questions as were just getting started. We've had 2 builders out so far, waiting on the third.
I have read and researched until my eyes hurt. once i think i know what i want i find a new con that makes me question what i was thinking.

Planning on a tropical lagoon, and recommended builders?

Salt vs Chlorine. My understanding is salt is easier to maintain as I'm a newbie to all this, so i need simple.
I had my mind made up and now understanding that the salt may eat the rock, decking and coping. the i hear that maybe Oklahoma stone may be adequate? its more dense?

Looking for a fully automated setup to run from my iPad or iPhone. would like it to be very intelligent, maybe even test water self automate?
I travel quite a bit and don't want to leave the wife to try and figure it out

From what I've read pentair is the way to go for pump(inteliflow), Cartridge filtration, heater etc.

when i talk to the builders i get completely different opinions, the only think they agree on is Pentair

All the help is greatly appreciated.
 

shingles

Bronze Supporter
Jun 12, 2017
270
Houston, TX
There's not that much salt in a salt water pool. If it's a concern, seal the rocks.

I am not sure what you mean "test water self automate", but if you mean automate the testing, that doesn't exist. You will have to test. If you travel a lot, then salt water pool is going to be a much better option for you.
 

mike97979

Member
Aug 19, 2017
11
Highland Village, Texas
shingles, yes thats what i was wondering.
Still trying to understand all the options that are out there. i like lots of bells and whistles.

I have read into the sealers, my understanding is to stay away from acrylic sealers and get a penetrating sealer.
I really wants the coping to be rock and no water line tile, one builder says no problem the other says it will have a ring and need to be acts washed often?
any experience ?
 

shingles

Bronze Supporter
Jun 12, 2017
270
Houston, TX
No experience, but my PB did say part of the waterline tiles job is to help with the water line "ring"... since you can scrab the tiles easier than you could scrub plaster finish.
Bells and whistles - I am getting Pentair Intellitouch 8 with ScreenLogic 2 and the wireless kit. 3 Pentair LED lights, 2 Pentair bubbler with LED, and a Polaris cleaning robot. I think that should be pretty fun.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,812
Bedford, TX
Mike,

Welcome to TFP... A Great resource for all your new pool building questions... :snorkle:

In my opinion a saltwater pool is the only way to go!!! To hear pool builders tell it, saltwater is what caused the Titanic to sink... The ship was floating in saltwater, so logic says that it has to be the cause... Saltwater always gets the blame, but in reality it is almost never the problem.

We recommend getting a Salt system that is at least 2 x the volume of your pool. The reason for this is that cells are rated when running at 100% output, 24/7. For a 20K pool a 40K cell is as small as you want and a 60K cell would be better.

I am a highly biased Pentair guy, so you won't get any argument about selecting Pentair equipment.

Make sure you get the IntelliFlo Variable Speed pump, not the SuperFlo VS as it is not designed to be controlled by the automation system.

I would suggest you get the EasyTouch 8 with built-in SWCG power supply.

ScreenLogic is must have if you want PC, tablet, or phone control.

And finally.. Do not get suckered in buying any "Magic"... Things like UV, Ozone, or Mineral Systems are all sold as alternatives to the dreaded "chlorine" but none of them work as advertised. They are all Magic, but none of the Rabbit...

Thanks for posting and good luck with your pool builder hunt...

Jim R.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
47,360
Tallahassee, FL
Hi! I have helped build a *couple* of pools here on TFP LOL. I have also taught many a person how to do the oh so easy tests to get and keep the water balanced. I have some ideas for you.

SWG=Salt Water Generator=must have if you travel and want as easy as possible. Here is a link about them:

Pool School - Salt Water Chlorine Generators

You do want water line tile. If you don't want them to "stand out" then you can get them pretty close to your plaster color or go with a color close to your coping. They are MUSH easier to clean than plaster WHEN needed. Notice I did not say if.

The others have you covered for the equipment.

:hug: we are here to help and answer any and all questions you might have!

Kim:kim:
 

mike97979

Member
Aug 19, 2017
11
Highland Village, Texas
haha i love the titanic theory thats awesome.
ok so definitely need waterline tiles. is there anything to worry about on coping or decking?
With all the reading I've done it seems like one of those commercials for medication with the 700 side effects...
One i read was if you have dogs don't get salt water as the dogs will dehydrate and die, seems a bit drastic....
I have been going through the pentair site and they have an acid dispensing system? checks water and adds as needed? any experiences? they also have a commercial version that looks like it will dispense additional chemicals?
good info on the generator and inteliflow i didn't know either, thanks
Ill look into the easy touch system, assume its pentair, thinking that with an entire pentair system the automation should work better
Thanks Kim i have read through all the school stuff, good info in there
pentair has 2 SWG any experiences with them or recommendations? intelichlor and ichlor
Also pebble tech vs plaster, done a ton of reading everything says pebble tech as it lasts years longer

i apologize for all the questions, other than all the research I've done I'm as green as green gets with all this..
 

txnole

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 18, 2014
544
Amelia Island, FL
Highland Village? Nice. We used to live in the Mound. We have Pentair, automation, and saltwater. I wouldn't have it any other way. Our deck & coping is travertine. I know it is common to use Oklahoma Flagstone and other similar rocks in TX. once you start side cutting stones, some of them are going to be less dense and flake - saltwater, liquid chlorine or just putting them as stepping stones in your yard. It's what happens to cut stone. Generally the flaking will be very mild and then resolve itself (magic!) when denser rock is exposed under - we're talking millimeters here, not centimeters.

All the advise by others is great. Here's mine: get what you love. If you don't, you won't love what you get. Research, ask questions and find the best builder you can. A good builder will pay off in spades. Sometimes the good ones are the more expensive, sometimes they're not. Just get a ton of references from 3 years ago.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
47,360
Tallahassee, FL
Your coping and dogs will be okay with the salt water. The ppm (Parts per million) is VERY small so it is safe. We have several people who built their pools FOR their dogs (SO cute and sweet). If you would like I can PM them and have them "talk" to you about it.

Kim:kim:
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,812
Bedford, TX
I have been going through the pentair site and they have an acid dispensing system? checks water and adds as needed? any experiences? they also have a commercial version that looks like it will dispense additional chemicals?

Ill look into the easy touch system, assume its pentair, thinking that with an entire pentair system the automation should work better

Also pebble tech vs plaster, done a ton of reading everything says pebble tech as it lasts years longer
Pentair make the IntelliPH, which adds Muriatic Acid to control your pH level. It is an open loop system just like the SWCG.. You still need to test and from time to time adjust the systems outputs. This works well..

Pentair also makes the IntelliChem, which is not recommend by most of the members here. It is an "automatic" chemical injection system that measure the pool chemicals and then adds what is needed. Sounds great in theory, but is more trouble than it is worth in actually day to day operation. Needs constant calibration and probe cleaning/replacements.

Whatever you do... if you go with automation, make sure the VS pump, SWCG, and Automation system are all the same brand. You need to do this so that these three units can "talk" with one another.

Here is quick rundown on why you might want automation...

Many people have pools without automation and they work just fine. I do, however, think it is important to know the advantages and the disadvantages of having an automation system.

1. Automation will help you with pool maintenance, but it will not replace the need for you to test your water, understand what you are looking at, and then making sure your water is balanced. (Another reason you need the accuracy of the TF100 test kit.)

2. The main downside to automation is cost. So before going too far down this path, you might ask your PB what it's going to cost. That said, the best time to install automation is when the pool is being built, because all the connections to the system can be made without having to figure out how you are to get power across 50' of new deck. Also, the additional cost, when compared to the cost of the pool, will be miniscule.

3. Automation systems work best when the same brand is used because then the pieces can "talk" to together. So, in your case I would recommend the EasyTouch 4 (or 8) that has a built in power supply for the SWG and generally comes with the SWG and two valves. ScreenLogic2 is an absolute requirement if you want to be able to control things from your PC or Phone.

Here is a list of what I think the advantages are:

1. Appearance. Instead of having a bunch of different boxes hanging on your wall you have one, professional looking enclosure.

2. Circuit Breaker Panel. The bottom half of the enclosure is a circuit-breaker panel where the breakers for your pool equipment (Pumps, Heater, etc.) are located. This panel is also an excellent place to add surge protector, which is an absolute must if you have the Intelliflo pump. Even if you do not get the automation, make sure your PB includes a surge protector for the pump.

3. SWG Control. Without automation, your SWG will have to have a timer, synced to the pump timer so that it does not run when the pump is off. This function is built into the EasyTouch.

4. Spa mode and SWG output. Normally all the water flows through the SWG, so when in the Spa mode, the EasyTouch reduces the amount of chlorine the SWG produces, so that the Spa users are not subjected to high levels of chlorine.

5. Pool Lighting. The EasyTouch allows you to control your pool lighting from your PC and/or from a schedule. This is another reason to add the EasyTouch now. Once your pool light is wired to switches inside your house, it might be very difficult to get the wiring to any automation system.

6. Control of Spill-over and bubblers. Right now I'm sure you are thinking I want that spillover running 24-hours a day because it is so beautiful.. Well, after a few weeks of having your pH go through the roof, you'll appreciate the ability to only turn it on, when you want it on. The same with the bubblers. With the Easytouch, you can program them to run on a schedule for a few minutes a day to keep the everything properly chlorinated or when you want to "show off" to your guests..

7. Relay Control. The EasyTouch 4 has four (really three) relays that can be used to control other things, such as landscape lights. (The EasyTouch has 8 (really 7) relays.

8. Built in Valve controls. The EasyTouch has the ability to control 4 valves. Two work for switching between the Pool and Spa modes, while two others can be programmed to do whatever you might want, like bubbler control. I would note that a lot of bubblers are controlled by manual valves that cannot be automated. You need to be sure to tell your PB that you want Jandy style valves for your bubbler control.

9. Heater Control. The EasyTouch can control your heater.. So, you can be inside and tell your PC what temperature you want the Spa to be and it will tell you when it is ready.

10. Can control landscape lighting around the pool or elsewhere.

11.. ScreenLogic. ScreenLogic allows you to program the EasyTouch with various schedules. It lets you see most all of the inputs and output to the EasyTouch and lets you decide what you want on/off and in the case of your SWG, lets you adjust the % of output on the fly.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

mike97979

Member
Aug 19, 2017
11
Highland Village, Texas
jim
a lot of great info thanks.
Ive spent most of the day on pentair website and dowloaded their catalog.
On amazon pricing I'm already at 10k in parts not including what i don't know i need yet.
Im with you seems like a must there seems to be so many more pros then cons. biggest con is cost
Looks like the automation if i include the acid dispenser its about 3k which seems worth it to me.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,812
Bedford, TX
jim
a lot of great info thanks.
Ive spent most of the day on pentair website and dowloaded their catalog.
On amazon pricing I'm already at 10k in parts not including what i don't know i need yet.
Im with you seems like a must there seems to be so many more pros then cons. biggest con is cost
Looks like the automation if i include the acid dispenser its about 3k which seems worth it to me.
Mike,

Not sure what you are looking at, but an EasyTouch 8, IC60 SWCG, two valve drivers, ScreenLogic, IntellipH, and a 3 HP IntelliFlo pump is less than $4K on the internet. Obviously more from your pool builder.

When you look at the big picture, the additional cost for building a pool with automation is not that much of an increase in the overall pool cost.

Here is where I like to shop.....

Pentair Easy Touch Control System 521150. EasyTouch 8SC-IC60 Control System. Pentair 521150.

Pentair ScreenLogic Interface and Wireless Connection Kit 522104 | Pentair 522104

Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pump 011018 | Pentair 011018

Pentair IntellipH pH Controller 521377 | Pentair 521377

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

mike97979

Member
Aug 19, 2017
11
Highland Village, Texas
wow thanks Jim, that knocked 1500 off with 4 items
I looked up some of the other parts, heater filter etc and they were higher, funny how that works. Im sure if i call them and do a package deal they would jump
How much push back do you get from the PB if you want to supply the equipment
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,812
Bedford, TX
wow thanks Jim, that knocked 1500 off with 4 items
I looked up some of the other parts, heater filter etc and they were higher, funny how that works. Im sure if i call them and do a package deal they would jump
How much push back do you get from the PB if you want to supply the equipment
Mike,

I have not tried, but I would assume a lot... this is just one of the ways they make their money...

And... they are being paid to install it and maintain the warranty.. Not sure what it is today, but when I built my pool the warranty was three years if you bought three items and had them installed by a "professional"...

Not sure why you are asking about price if you live in "Highland Park"... :p :poke:

Oh... I do not have a heater, but most people here like the RayPak units, not the Pentair units. Heaters can be controlled by almost all automation systems so brand is not critical...


Thanks,

Jim R.
 

PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
5,074
Damascus, MD
Pool Size
29000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Jandy Aquapure 1400
Make sure you get everything your PB is to do in the contract along with all the equipment exact model numbers. I did not and regretted it later. If you can buy this yourself, now is the time to do it. In most cases I think you will save money buying your own equipment. Once you sign, everything later becomes a change order to the tune of many times what it will cost to add now. Bravo doing your own research into equipment! My PB did not know ANYTHING about equipment and I wrongly assumed he did.

Check BBB for comments on your builder. The BBB is almost totally worthless for anything accept these comments to read and understand every single comment left for your PB.

See if you can find some of the PBs work to go look at and talk with the owners about the process. Of course they will only give you the successes but it helps. Most PBs use subs for each individual job. Not much you can do about this but at least look at the PBs work.

What kind of heater are you going with? Gas or Electric?