New Build Proposal Critique

scottrc

Member
May 18, 2018
20
Houston
An "inline chlorinator" is just a tank you fill with pucks that contain both chlorine and (usually) stablizer.
I have been reading about people using liquid chlorine. Do you add that here as well? tablets or liquid better?
And does it really need to be replenished/added daily as I have been reading in some threads?
 

spd500

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2020
564
Houston, TX
is there such a thing as a "pure" saltwater pool that makes no use of chlorine
All pools need chlorine. Our builder didn't want us to go with the SWCG system either, but did install it when we insisted on it. Having to go buy the liquid chlorine and constantly add chlorine during the startup of our pool has convinced me that we definitely made the right choice.
 
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spd500

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2020
564
Houston, TX
I have been reading about people using liquid chlorine. Do you add that here as well? tablets or liquid better?
And does it really need to be replenished/added daily as I have been reading in some threads?
You add the liquid directly into the pool. I have been adding every day for three weeks now, but this is a new pool. Once it is balanced you might be able to only add every few days, but it is still a hassle that I don't want to deal with.
 

scottrc

Member
May 18, 2018
20
Houston
SPD500
Thanks. So you expect after a period of time, not to have to add liquid chlorine everyday after it stabilizes?
Can I ask who your PB was and what part of Houston you are in?
 

spd500

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2020
564
Houston, TX
We were told not to add the salt for the SWCG system for the first 28 days, so in about one more week I will be able to switch over and not use the liquid chlorine. I think I have read that the chlorine demand in Houston is pretty much always high because it gets so hot.

We are in Summerwood overby Lake Houston. I will send you a PM with my builder information, we don't talk alot about that stuff in the open forums.
 

MiguelACA

Silver Supporter
May 12, 2020
121
Houston
We were told not to add the salt for the SWCG system for the first 28 days, so in about one more week I will be able to switch over and not use the liquid chlorine. I think I have read that the chlorine demand in Houston is pretty much always high because it gets so hot.

We are in Summerwood overby Lake Houston. I will send you a PM with my builder information, we don't talk alot about that stuff in the open forums.
Hey neighbor! We're in the same area!
 
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MiguelACA

Silver Supporter
May 12, 2020
121
Houston
@scottrc

I see you mentioned its a small, boutique pool. I had a small "social"/"cocktail" pool built recently. Mine is just over 5k gallons, probably closer to 5200 gallons. While it's not the biggest, it's definitely fun! I have it from 4'3'' shallow to 5.8' deep end. I would have liked it a bit deeper, but my son is still very young and he'll grow into it. With that being said, he will grow and I should've gone deeper. Not a HUGE deal, but hindsight. I realized I wanted it deeper after going to the neighborhood pool and realizing how shallow it would be. Luckily the excavation crew dug 3 inches deeper than intended and I was able to get a bit more depth.

We considered salt water, but the builder advised against it since the pool was so close to the house. I just switched over to liquid chlorine from the pucks. It's a little rough initially getting into doing it yourself, but after about a week, with the help of the forum and the pool math app, ive got it pretty squared away.

I see you decided to skip the heater, I would highly recommend it! You get to use your pool WAY more time out of the year. I was hesitant, but the wife convinced me, so we went with it. Swimming in 90+ water while its 60- out feels great! We went with a heat pump that cools/heats the pool. During the summer, your small pool WILL get toasty. The cooling feature was great over the summer! The heat pump cools and heats the pool pretty quickly and doesn't use a ton of energy either. I'll post some pictures of my setup and help answer any questions I can.
 

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scottrc

Member
May 18, 2018
20
Houston
MiguelACA
Thanks for that... your pics look great. And my backyard looks similar to yours in that a have a boxed in patio (no roof )and the pool is just beyond that.
I think the PB said our pool will be 8700 gallons. (see pics)
(so the blue tape is where the pool will take 12 inches of my flagstone patio, the rest was outline with stakes and string which i took down to mow the grass, but the pool will basically
follow the line of the landscape edging near the trees and then 3 feet from the house on the other side.)

I heard several times that I would miss not having a heater. .. So, a heat pump is electrical is it not which is different than a gas heater?
You are able to heat your pool up to 90+ degrees with that? so presumably you are able to swim on days like we are having right now?

I had heard from people in my neighborhood that it takes forever to heat up, never gets to a high enough of a temperature for casual swimming and cost a fortune to do so.

When you say it doesn't take a ton of energy, roughly what have you noticed in your energy costs to do so?
 

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spd500

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2020
564
Houston, TX
I'll post some pictures of my setup and help answer any questions I can.
Very nice setup! I miss having grass in the backyard, lol. We also added several umbrella holders to offer some shade since the HOA will not allow Sun Sails. I was going to run for the board this past go around since we lost Kevin and Tracy, but ended up being way too busy to commit the time. I may still try to get them to repeal the ban on the sun sails though.
are you over by the east pool? I feel like quite a bit of homes there had pools put it recently!
No, we are on the other end of the neighborhood from the East Pool. We are closer to West Lake Houston and Hunters Lake. We have been seeing alot of new pools going in over here too. I think every neighbor for 1/2 mile has stopped in to see what we have been doing.
 

spd500

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2020
564
Houston, TX
You are able to heat your pool up to 90+ degrees with that? so presumably you are able to swim on days like we are having right now?
We went with a large gas heater, so I don't know about the heat pump. This past weekend was the first time we have heated the pool and it heated about 3 degrees per hour. I turned on the heater on Friday afternoon and kept the pool and spa heated to 94 degrees all weekend. While we were in the pool the heater only turned on about every 90 minutes
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
21,199
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
An "inline chlorinator" is just a tank you fill with pucks that contain both chlorine and (usually) stablizer.
... and acid.

It is better if you are able to control each of those three chemicals independently then relying on the tablet 3 in 1 shortcut.
 

MiguelACA

Silver Supporter
May 12, 2020
121
Houston
@scottrc

The heat pump is electric, yes. We decided to test out the heating during the cold front we had about 2 weeks ago. It was 50 degrees out, pool temp was 70 when we started, got it up to 80 in around 7 hours. Averaged 1.5 degree increase an hour. That cost us I believe $5-$6 in energy. For the halloween weekend we started on 10/30 at noon with pool temp at 67 degrees, took about a day and a half to heat it up to 96 degrees. Turned off the heater 10/31 just before midnight. Then back on the next day to warm it up a bit but not to the 90's again. The heat pump did run overnight on the 30th. Heat loss is pretty significant overnight. We wanted to minimize downtime and see how much energy it would use. I believe that torture test cost about $30 for the weekend. I don't find that to be TERRIBLY expensive since its not something we'll put the pool through too often. 96 was pretty dang warm lol, I think we could comfortably swim in 90, plus I have the fire pit and heater going around us. We do have a solar cover we need to cut to size to minimize heat loss. I've read those really help to heat the pool some with the sun and keep the heat in. A gas heater will definitely heat it faster, but getting the heat/cool heat pump was a better option for us.
 

MiguelACA

Silver Supporter
May 12, 2020
121
Houston
Very nice setup! I miss having grass in the backyard, lol. We also added several umbrella holders to offer some shade since the HOA will not allow Sun Sails. I was going to run for the board this past go around since we lost Kevin and Tracy, but ended up being way too busy to commit the time. I may still try to get them to repeal the ban on the sun sails though.


No, we are on the other end of the neighborhood from the East Pool. We are closer to West Lake Houston and Hunters Lake. We have been seeing alot of new pools going in over here too. I think every neighbor for 1/2 mile has stopped in to see what we have been doing.

I hate that little bit of grass lol, it's such a pain to mow! My mower is too big for that area, so I got a old school reel mower and it does great! I didn't realize the sails were banned! They look nice!
 

MiguelACA

Silver Supporter
May 12, 2020
121
Houston
@scottrc

I noticed no water features, I have two bubblers in mine. Aside from looking nice and enjoying the sound, they have been great for aerating the pool to bring up the pH without having to add chemicals. Maybe look into that?

Also, would you mind sharing who your pool builder is? Just curious
 

scottrc

Member
May 18, 2018
20
Houston
@scottrc

I noticed no water features, I have two bubblers in mine. Aside from looking nice and enjoying the sound, they have been great for aerating the pool to bring up the pH without having to add chemicals. Maybe look into that?

Also, would you mind sharing who your pool builder is? Just curious
MiguelACA
yes, that was oversight in the specs that I copied into the post.
There are supposed to be 3 bubblers on the sun deck. I want to recreate the sound of the water that I have now with concrete fountain that sits at the edge of my patio you would see in my pics. I am deciding between bubblers and deck jets , not sure what is better.


he is a small PB.. name is Luis at luna poola and spas Luna Pool and Spas
 

scottrc

Member
May 18, 2018
20
Houston
@scottrc

The heat pump is electric, yes. We decided to test out the heating during the cold front we had about 2 weeks ago. It was 50 degrees out, pool temp was 70 when we started, got it up to 80 in around 7 hours. Averaged 1.5 degree increase an hour. That cost us I believe $5-$6 in energy. For the halloween weekend we started on 10/30 at noon with pool temp at 67 degrees, took about a day and a half to heat it up to 96 degrees. Turned off the heater 10/31 just before midnight. Then back on the next day to warm it up a bit but not to the 90's again. The heat pump did run overnight on the 30th. Heat loss is pretty significant overnight. We wanted to minimize downtime and see how much energy it would use. I believe that torture test cost about $30 for the weekend. I don't find that to be TERRIBLY expensive since its not something we'll put the pool through too often. 96 was pretty dang warm lol, I think we could comfortably swim in 90, plus I have the fire pit and heater going around us. We do have a solar cover we need to cut to size to minimize heat loss. I've read those really help to heat the pool some with the sun and keep the heat in. A gas heater will definitely heat it faster, but getting the heat/cool heat pump was a better option for us.
MiguelACA

Thanks for that! sounds like your pool size is going to be roughly what I am getting I am seriously going to look into an electric heat pump, those costs are totally ok

Do you like the umbrella socket (or whatever you call them ) in the pool deck?
 

MiguelACA

Silver Supporter
May 12, 2020
121
Houston
MiguelACA

Thanks for that! sounds like your pool size is going to be roughly what I am getting I am seriously going to look into an electric heat pump, those costs are totally ok

Do you like the umbrella socket (or whatever you call them ) in the pool deck?
Yea, cost isn't too bad, I don't know what it would cost with a gas heater. We would've gone with gas for the speed in heating, but having the cooling function was not something I was going to give up. Having a separate chiller and heater was going to be too expensive. Heatpump was the right choice for us.

Yes, its great having the umbrella hole in there. They come with caps you can cover them with if you take out the umbrella, that way your not losing a toe in the hole lol. I took the tanning ledge umbrella out so the patio heater wouldn't melt it lol
 

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
1,258
Corona de Tucson, AZ
Hi Scott. Are you limited by space? The pool will be pretty small unless you only have a couple of people using it. I'm a family of 5 and my 16 x 32 is as small as I'd go for 5 at a time. Put Pentair or Jandy valves in the contract for sure. Some builders use simple ball valves that don't last over the long-haul (these are the shut off valves at the equipment pad just before the equipment). If you are staying at 4.5' I personally would go with an above ground pool. You could get the pool at 54" and a small deck for it for a fraction of the cost. I wouldn't go 3.5'. If you don't want it deeper than 4.5' I'd make the entire pool that depth of 4.5'. Get a salt water chlorine generator too. I'd skip the color lights and go old school and get a white light. They are more reliable and much cheaper (the halogen bulbs). My Jandy led lights failed after 4 seasons. Also the 420 filter is way, way overkill for a <9k gallon pool. My pool is about 20-21k and it's way more than enough. My .02 is to let the builders quote the very large filter and then negotiate down. These are personal decisions so do what your gut tells you to do. Either way you'll love it!
-Chris
I almost posted exactly all of this. I went 6' deep and probably wouldn't use the pool without it being that deep. 4.5' isn't adequate for adults. I agree with the light. I regret doing the fancy expensive light as cool as it is because even though we swim mostly at night, it's not on enough to ever make up the cost in electricity. You can get LED bulbs to replace the halogen ones in the fixture but if you buy a expensive light, you can only replace it with an expensive light later on (or a same brand Halogen fixture which is what I will do. I will go farther and say that when I replace it I'll also convert it to 12V for extra safety).

My pool if 14Kgal m/l... if it were any smaller I don't think it would have worked. It's big for 2 people, but right on the edge for all 6 of us. I think I picked a good size.

My filter is way oversized for my pool as well. If it's a cartridge filter that is a good thing because you can clean it less frequently. If it's sand or DE it probably doesn't matter, so the smaller sized one would be better. Our HOA required the cartridge type...

I agree with Jandy valves. My builder is a Hayward shop... except for the valves... So I give them credit for that. Dump the inline chlorinator and either pay up front for the matching SWCG or install one yourself at the end of the first year if you don't care about automation. I am HAPPY I didn't get automation. More expensive stuff to break. I have my light on an Alexa switch and that's good enough. PB's love inline chlorinators. You can buy one for about $30 and install them in 10 minutes, or you can pay $500 for them to do it for you. And they add CYA like crazy...

I'd spend my money in a bigger pool and less toys like automation. You can always add toys later yourself if you are handy.

There is no such thing as a pure saltwater pool The salt is the source of chlorine that is released by electrolysis. Otherwise the oceans would be sterile at the ten times higher salt concentration then a typical SWCG uses. Obviously that is not the case. Some people add salt without a SWCG because frankly the water is more buffered like human tears and other fluids and it just feels better. But if they do that they are still adding chlorine.

As for your space restrictions. You might be able to get waivers for some of that stuff with an engineer's stamp. Can you pay the utilities to bury the lines? Is that an option? Yeah that's a couple of grand but it's a good idea too. (And you probably could then do an above ground if you wanted.) Having water near the foundation of a house can be mitigated with more money... I am assuming you are on a slab in Houston as it's a "Wet" area prone to flooding IIRC. You can have something engineered for that too. It's all money. The other option would be to consider to move and start over in a new house. That's always valid. Not building the pool at this time is always and option too.

Good luck. Go as big and deep as you can, especially if you don't have small children.