New Pool in Houston, TX

travelfeedsthesoul

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Jan 21, 2021
61
Sugar Land, TX
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Hey @HermanTX @Dirk @Turbo1Ton and anyone else that may know:

I have a whole home water softener that has a bypass valve. Only my sprinkler system has a separate line attached to where it's not softened, but all other water, including the spigots on my house exterior has soft water.

So, a couple of questions:

1) When first filling up my pool, should I just bypass the water softener and use the exterior spigots, so I have calcium in the initial fill?

2) After the pool and spa are filled, I would have to undo the bypass, but then my auto-fill would most likely be using softened water. Is there a way to plumb the auto-fill to one of the sprinkler lines? If not, what specific actions do I need to take if the auto-fill is attached to the softened water; put calcium from time to time, and how often would it be required in the Houston area?

Lastly, on a slightly separate note, what is the process of filling up a pool. I know I read someone's (Dirk?) instructions on getting a meter reading before and after to figure out the # of gallons in the pool, but is there an order in how someone would fill the pool and spa? Fill up the pool first and figure out the # of gallons. Then fill the spa separate and figure out the # of gallons?

Thanks!
 
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HermanTX

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May 20, 2020
1,596
Katy TX
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I have a whole home water softener that has a bypass valve. Only my sprinkler system has a separate line attached to where it's not softened, but all other water, including the spigots on my house exterior has soft water.

So, a couple of questions:

1) When first filling up my pool, should I just bypass the water softener and use the exterior spigots, so I have calcium in the initial fill?

2) After the pool and spa are filled, I would have to undo the bypass, but then my auto-fill would most likely be using softened water. Is there a way to plumb the auto-fill to one of the sprinkler lines? If not, what specific actions do I need to take if the auto-fill is attached to the softened water; put calcium from time to time, and how often would it be required in the Houston area?
It is great that you have a water softener (WS) and even better that you asked about it before filling your pool. :)
In additional to the bypass you mentioned. Does your inlet to the water softener have a spigot on it (i.e. before the bypass)? Mine does, but every hookup seems to be different. Your WS regenerates after so many gallons (mine is set around 3500 gals) so as you indicated, this will not suffice to fill the pool. Also, it may be better to fill your pool with non-softened water so you get the calcium but there is really no issue in topping up your pool with softened water. Mine is pretty much set up similar to yours. I have had to add calcium occasionally but it is not an issue and so much better than the opposite which is having a pool with high calcium.
The first thing to do is to test the non-softened water to determine the level of calcium. Mine is about 100-125ppm so not terrible.
If yours is similar, I would put it on bypass, fill the pool then use the softened water for top up due to evaporation and splash out. Test your CH occasionally and you may need to add some calcium to stay at 350 target. In 2020 I added 30 lbs of calcium chloride. I buy at HD at about $12 for 4lbs.
Since I have a spigot on my inlet to the WS, I have on occasion hooked up my hose to it and used that to do a top up but that is not my normal process but available if I need to.
Hope this helps.
 
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HermanTX

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May 20, 2020
1,596
Katy TX
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Lastly, on a slightly separate note, what is the process of filling up a pool. I know I read someone's (Dirk?) instructions on getting a meter reading before and after to figure out the # of gallons in the pool, but is there an order in how someone would fill the pool and spa? Fill up the pool first and figure out the # of gallons. Then fill the spa separate and figure out the # of gallons?
There is no need to know the individual volume of your pool and spa and it most likely will fill together (based on how your plumbing is set up). Also, it is much easier to calculate the volume of the spa so you can get it that way. Since you base all your chemical additions on total volume then have the most accurate volume of pool & spa together would be best.
These are the key items I would do regarding the first fill
  1. Take note of your water meter reading before you start and after you finish filling the pool and spa. Deduct about 80gals per person (per day) for use of shower, dishwasher, washer, etc.
  2. Put your hose in the deep end of the pool and wrap a rag around it so it does not damage the plaster
  3. Once you start to fill, do not stop until the water level is in middle of tiles/center of skimmer opening
  4. Your PB should handle the initial chemical needs - verify this with the PB now to ensure who is doing what and they the PB is supplying all the chemicals. - You may tell him about your test of your fill water so he is aware of what will be the initial readings.
  5. Ensure your equipment pad is hooked up so you can circulate water once your pool fill is complete
  6. You will need to brush your walls several times a day to circulate the plaster dust to your filter
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
16,075
Evans, Georgia
I'm chiming in here because just *reading about your PB makes me see RED!!
I read a TON of posts here on TFP as a moderator. PBs are notorious for being somewhat clueless about pool chemistry.

TFP teaches is the type of chemistry that makes for clean, sparkling sanitary water....but it also protects your pool and its equipment for the longest lifespan possible. We didn't just make this stuff up....thousands and thousands of pools have confirmed it, chemists have tweaked our methods, some online forums copy them. Our chemistry plan WORKS!

Example- read the posts from people who rely on pool stores and now they've got chemical soup and their plaster is damaged from bad choice algaecides (copper, ick!) or they've got scale build up and the pool feels like sand paper. All from listening to the pool "experts". They come to us to figure out the problem and how to fix it.

No one has mentioned to you that having a lot of fancy water features in use will cause your pH to rise continuously. This requires frequent doses of Muriatic Acid to lower the pH and maintain your pools pH balance. You travel. If I came home i would not want to have to go check that out first thing.

You say your friend has a new pool and seems to like their IFCS. I imagine its all working well then, huh? THe problems arise when its *not* working well or there are areas that don't get cleaned. Its kinda expensive to fix and a bit of a nuisance from what I've read. Knowing you're trying to keep tabs on the budget that is the FIRST thing I'd ditch because I know my $700 robot works much better. Not only does it work better on the schmutz, but it brushes the walls for me!! :party: That's one less job I have to do myself. Gawd love the little troll!

You need some sort of water return back to your pool for use in particular if the IFCS is off line. A good return can be aimed upward to help encourage surface debris towards the skimmer. A 2nd skimmer is recommended as insurance, as long as its home run plumbed to the equipment pad. If a clog (toy, gumball from a tree, rock, etc) ever clogs your single skimmer line your pool is shut down.

A Salt water chlorine generator is the best thing you can do for your daughter's sensitive skin. In the old days we'd tell patients to go to the seashore and bathe in salt water.

My two cents.

Maddie 🖖
 

OrangeAndBlue

Silver Supporter
Aug 19, 2017
102
Houston, TX area
I have a whole home water softener that has a bypass valve. Only my sprinkler system has a separate line attached to where it's not softened, but all other water, including the spigots on my house exterior has soft water.

So, a couple of questions:

1) When first filling up my pool, should I just bypass the water softener and use the exterior spigots, so I have calcium in the initial fill?

2) After the pool and spa are filled, I would have to undo the bypass, but then my auto-fill would most likely be using softened water. Is there a way to plumb the auto-fill to one of the sprinkler lines? If not, what specific actions do I need to take if the auto-fill is attached to the softened water; put calcium from time to time, and how often would it be required in the Houston area?

Lastly, on a slightly separate note, what is the process of filling up a pool. I know I read someone's (Dirk?) instructions on getting a meter reading before and after to figure out the # of gallons in the pool, but is there an order in how someone would fill the pool and spa? Fill up the pool first and figure out the # of gallons. Then fill the spa separate and figure out the # of gallons?

Thanks!

I have the exact same setup at my house. The entire house including all of the spigots on the house exterior have soft water from the softener, and only the sprinkler system is regular hard water.
I had the pool builder plumb a couple of outdoor spigots next to the equipment pad off the sprinkler system. This way I now have both softened and regular water access and I can fill with whichever I need to maintain CH levels.
You will definitely want to fill non-softened water to get the calcium in the initial fill and to not overload the softener. For your auto-fill you could use either really, but it's probably easier to fill with soft water and add calcium from time to time than to fill with normal water and have to shut-off the autofill or partially drain when CH gets too high. Maybe your PB can also plumb a spigot or two from your sprinkler system and hook it up such that you can switch which water source feeds the auto-fill.
 

travelfeedsthesoul

Gold Supporter
Jan 21, 2021
61
Sugar Land, TX
Pool Size
17500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Excavation scheduled for 1 day sooner, so it's tomorrow morning.

Since I'm working from home, I can sort of overlook the pool building process. Any tips or advice for during and after excavation?

It's a free form shape and I plan on measuring main length, a few widths and depths once the hole is dug. I assume the measurements will be larger than the pool to account for the gunite. Since we're looking to have 6' of water depth in the deep end, what's a good rule of thumb for how deep the hole should be to the top?

If you have time, please blurt out anything and everything you can think of. I appreciate it!

Neil
 

ajw22

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TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
24,960
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Have you read...


First of all make sure they are digging within the right location and not going too close to setbacks or fence lines.

You should review the buildup and elevations with the builder as to how he will get you your 6' water depth. It not only depends on how deep the hole is but where he locates the skimmer(s).
 
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travelfeedsthesoul

Gold Supporter
Jan 21, 2021
61
Sugar Land, TX
Pool Size
17500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Got a call at 650am this morning and dig started promptly after... exciting times...a bit nervous though. 😬

The 2nd pic is a bit deceiving, the pool isn't close to the bay window...it just looks that way.
 

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travelfeedsthesoul

Gold Supporter
Jan 21, 2021
61
Sugar Land, TX
Pool Size
17500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Dig done... measurements of lengths, widths and depths look good.

Only one issue that came up at the end...in their attempts to move some of the track dirt around and flatten it, they tore my internet/cable wire. Called my service provider and won't have someone out here to try fixing it until Wednesday. No TV or Internet for next 1.5 days. How did our great grandparents ever survive?
 

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travelfeedsthesoul

Gold Supporter
Jan 21, 2021
61
Sugar Land, TX
Pool Size
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@HermanTX or anyone who may know:

When my gunite is complete (hasn't begun yet, just being proactive) when I'm watering it daily with a hose, do I need to bypass my water softener for that week, or can I use the softened water from my outside spigots?

Also, what's the purpose of the watering of the gunite?

Thanks in advance!
 

ajw22

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Jul 21, 2013
24,960
Northern NJ
Pool Size
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SWG Type
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JMSMommy

Bronze Supporter
Sep 26, 2020
112
Houston, TX
Excavation looks good! I was so nervous on excavation day. I was equally nervous on Gunite day as well, and then on tile day and on decking day...hahaha, nervous all the time, really, but in a good way!

You water the gunite so it can cure properly. I watched a few YouTube videos and asked my PM to show me exactly how to do it.
 
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travelfeedsthesoul

Gold Supporter
Jan 21, 2021
61
Sugar Land, TX
Pool Size
17500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
@Jimrahbe I noticed you mentioned "lite" salad dressing type of pool/spa system a PB is offering one of the threads so wanted to know if you have any thoughts on this Jandy automation my PB will be providing me:

I-Q904 Pool Spa I-Aqualink

I have the following water equipment/features that may help in providing any insight:

2.7 VSP pump
2.7 VSP booster pump
-Spa spillway (4 ft)
- 1 sheer descent (3 ft wide)
- 5 weeping walls (natural rock with water coming down)
- 3 bubblers/gushers in sunshelf

Thanks for any insight from anyone!

Neil
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
21,276
Bedford, TX
Neil,

I don't have any firsthand experience with Jandy automation.. I can say the one you listed is a 4 relay full-up system and is not what would be considered a "lite" or cheap version..

Many of our members have that system and love it.

Let's see if @PoolGate has any inputs..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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PoolGate

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Jun 7, 2017
5,594
Damascus, MD
Pool Size
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SWG Type
Jandy Aquapure 1400
This is the selection guide -> https://www.jandy.com/-/media/zodiac/global/downloads/sa/sa6465.pdf?force=1

Just make sure you get a system with enough capacity for everything you want to do. Just looking at your list you should get an RS-PS8 at least. That allows max 4 JVAs (Each JVA automates a valve. Everything you want to turn on/off individually needs its own JVA, including your spa switchover), which may not be enough so you may need to move up to a RS-PS12 which allows up to 8 JVAs. Also make sure you do not get a PDA based system. You want the full RS system the PDA is useless once you go to the full RS. Before agreeing to anything post here what it is.
 
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travelfeedsthesoul

Gold Supporter
Jan 21, 2021
61
Sugar Land, TX
Pool Size
17500
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Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
PB said this just now:

Correct on water features. You have a 6 function currently and it's maxed out. I can get you price on 8 or 12. I know we had two of them looped though. I'm in car and can see which ones were when in front of computer.

Will the 8 be enough for me? I have the following water features:

1) 3 bubblers which I'd turn on together
2) 1 spillway
3) 5 weeping walls
4) 1 sheer descent
5) 1 in-floor cleaning system

I don't know what the 6th would be. I'm waiting for him to reply back.

@PoolGate
Why would I need anything more than 8?

Thanks
 

PoolGate

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TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
5,594
Damascus, MD
Pool Size
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There is not a "6". It goes from 4 (RS4/6/8) to 8 (RS12). He is talking about functions, or "aux" ports. You can look at that link I sent for how many you get with each system. But you need 5 JVAs for what you show now which puts you at an RS12 system if you want all 5 of those automatically activated. What about lights? Lights take an aux port too. You can also control things outside of the pool like landscaping lights if you have extra capacity (extra aux ports). Take a look below at my measly 4 aux ports. I am totally maxed out I wish I had more. My system is a PS-4.

You might want more if you wanted to control each bubbler or weeping wall independent of the rest, for instance. Solar also requires one if you ever go that route.

1619713882682.png
 
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travelfeedsthesoul

Gold Supporter
Jan 21, 2021
61
Sugar Land, TX
Pool Size
17500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
That explains it really well. Thanks PoolGate!

Yes I do have Pool and Spa lights that I'd like to control. So he's most likely has set me up like this:

1) 3 Bubblers/Gushers
2) Sheer descent + Weeping walls
3) Spa Spillway
4) Lights

Would Infloor cleaning system be somewhere else? He said that's also "controllable" and I can schedule it.

Here's what I'd like to turn ON/OFF independently:

1) Bubblers
2) Sheer Descent waterfall
3) Weeping Walls
4) Spa Spillway
5) Spa light
6) Pool light
7) Infloor cleaning system
8) Landscape lighting (can this be added to the system later by my independent Landscape company?)

Also, can the Automation system not be upgraded afterwards from 4 to 8?

Thanks
Neil
 

PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
5,594
Damascus, MD
Pool Size
29000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Jandy Aquapure 1400
That explains it really well. Thanks PoolGate!

Yes I do have Pool and Spa lights that I'd like to control. So he's most likely has set me up like this:

1) 3 Bubblers/Gushers
2) Sheer descent + Weeping walls
3) Spa Spillway
4) Lights

Would Infloor cleaning system be somewhere else? He said that's also "controllable" and I can schedule it.

Here's what I'd like to turn ON/OFF independently:

1) Bubblers
2) Sheer Descent waterfall
3) Weeping Walls
4) Spa Spillway
5) Spa light
6) Pool light
7) Infloor cleaning system
8) Landscape lighting (can this be added to the system later by my independent Landscape company?)

Also, can the Automation system not be upgraded afterwards from 4 to 8?

Thanks
Neil

1,2,3,4,7 need a JVA (5)
1-8 need an aux (8)
So I think a PS-12 to get all of that functionality.

The landscape lighting is actually easy. You simply set up an outlet that is connected to the Aqualink load center and controlled by a relay. Then just label this like I did above. That also would need its own aux port (I used the "extra" aux for this which is for the solar which I am not using). I did that myself. But this needs to be wired when the pool is put in. Jandy has a sprinkler/irrigation system controller I believe as well that can be added.

You can upgrade but it requires replacement of the processor board. That usually runs around $1000. They are easy to replace though I did mine myself.
 
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