Our first pool build - Central Texas - Now with water!

kellyj

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 24, 2010
49
Austin, TX
OK, so I've read extensively and followed posts since we have gotten hot and heavy into pool build planning (2-3 months.) I'm even annoying DW and the PB salesman with my use of acronyms, etc.

We have started the planning process, gotten some bids, but have not signed any contracts. We started with 4 bids, well known in the Austin area, and we are only seriously considering one at this point. This one has shown the most interest and knowledge in Austin's building codes, yet is still very experienced in design. I've not yet checked any references, but at least the check out on Angie's List and the local BBB.

I'll scan pictures, but basically we have a new construction house (2009) in the city with minimal backyard, and the city limits how close we can get to the large Oak on one side of our backyard and how much impervious cover we can have (so no large decking/patio). My wife wants a cooling off, entertaining, cottagey, natural pool place; and I just want the most bang for the buck. But our lack of access to the back yard and hard central Texas ground add to the price.

This PB uses Pentair, so I'm already looking to upgrade to the variable Intilliflo, and they already plan on 2" PVC. The rest is listed on the diagram. We took out the paramount in-floor cleaner to save 5K - seems like a large commitment that may not work as advertised.

We debated SWG vs. Chlorine and ozonator, but after reading extensively, living in central Texas and wanting a lot of natural stone we are going to ditch the corrosive salt and go with chlorine +/- the ozonator. The PB said I could pay their contractor to plumb for a Rola-Chem peristaltic chlorine pump and then I'll buy the tank online (I want to be able to leave for a week plus)

Any thoughts and suggestions are appreciated!
 

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G

Guest

Re: Our first pool build

Congrats on deciding to make the plunge, so to speak!

Here's a quick glance at what I don't like:

The pump is too big for the pool. It will work great for the spa (which will it be used more for though, the pool (daily) or the spa (occasionally)?). I would have him do a 2 speed pump at minimum, and a multi speed pump second. If it were mine, I would use a 3/4 HP circulation pump and a 1 1/2 HP dedicated jet pump. Others may disagree, but I hate having a pump do "double duty".

The filter is too small! I like cartridge filters (again, some will disagree :lol: ), and I like the Pentair Clean & Clear Plus 420 SF. Seems like an easy change since he has all Pentair in there already!

Ditch the T320 erosion feeder from the get-go, and save your money by forgoing the ozonator as well!

The rest looks great, and the design is beautiful! Nice!!
 

kellyj

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 24, 2010
49
Austin, TX
Re: Our first pool build

simicrintz said:
Ditch the T320 erosion feeder from the get-go, and save your money by forgoing the ozonator as well!

The rest looks great, and the design is beautiful! Nice!!

Thanks!

Yes, I was going to ditch the 320 as well, since I was adding the chlorine pump, but then he said they would probably throw it in free - I'm thinking it would be nice to have a back-up option if the first option is on the fritz.

This PB wasn't big on the ozonator either, and I'll probably scrap it too - I just want it to work as well as it is advertised - but that isn't the vibe I'm getting from y'all... :?:

Kelly
 

257WbyMag

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Feb 23, 2008
5,061
Denton, TX
Re: Our first pool build - Central Texas

Welcome to TFP! Congrats on the pool build.

Simicrintz has some good advice there. If there is one thing that we try to impart on folks who are planning a build is that you don't need a jet engine to pump your water. So many PBs go high on HP and then only offer a single speed. Two speeds and variable speed pumps save you $$$ and perform just as well. There are a great many people here who run 3/4 HP pumps on pools larger than 20K gallons. Also, the bigger your filter is, the more efficient it will be. You want efficiency!

No need to have an ozonator at all. The sun does all you want for free.

I would also avoid the inline chlorinator. You can buy a $6 floater and pitch it in when needed. Sooner or later, your tablet feeder will leak (like mine) and you will have a plumbing repair to complete. The fewer extras that you have plumbed inline, the fewer problems to deal with later.
 

kellyj

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 24, 2010
49
Austin, TX
Re: Our first pool build - Central Texas

They started digging today! but ran into power cables!! Austin Energy came out and said it was theirs, but it is dead, they don't know why its there and don't have it on any of their plans. They told us to keep digging! hopefully mostly done by tomorrow.
 

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G

Guest

Re: Our first pool build - Central Texas

Dug a pool in the desert one time. Hit electrical, gas, cable, sewer and phone in the hole! Dig Alert had no record of any of it being there! All of it was live :shock:

Stuff like that makes you suck up a good portion of the tractor seat when you see it :-D
 

learthur

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Sep 9, 2008
243
The Woodlands, Texas, USA
Re: Our first pool build - Central Texas

I agree.
Ditch the chlorinator and put in a saltwater generator.
Ditch the ozone....don't need it with a SWG.
Ozone works, but you need a lot of it and a contact tank (which is not in your plans) to do it right.

For a pool this size in Austin, you will kick yourself for not putting in a heat pump instead of the gas heater. I have the gas heater in Houston and my buddy has the heat pump. His heating cost is 1/4 of mine....really. Natural gas pool heating is VERY expensive. Buy the largest heat pump you can find and you will be very happy.

Go with a VS or 2 speed pump or 2 pumps.
 

kellyj

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 24, 2010
49
Austin, TX
Re: Our first pool build - Central Texas

Thanks for the comments and suggestions.

learthur, I've decided that with all the natural stone around the pool I don't want to deal with any possible salt corrosion, so I'm going to go the good 'ol chlorine method, but since we are occasional gone and because I'm too lazy to pour bleach every night,I wanted something automated but cheap - so I'll do a $250 pump with a $100 chlorine tank. Then, I'm going to do a Tom Sawyer and make my kids think it is fun to test the water and balance chemicals for the perfect pool - all with minimal effort from me! (anyone with experience making that work?)

The heat pump really sounded interesting to me, but none of the PB's really knew much about them, and we are only using if for an occasional spa warm-up I figured it wouldn't be a big deal, but maybe it is?

The dig is almost complete, should be finished tomorrow. Fun, but nerve-racking to have all that heavy equipment cruising by the house...
 

kellyj

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 24, 2010
49
Austin, TX
Re: Our first pool build - Central Texas

Moving along, seems slow, but still right on schedule. They had to jackhammer a bunch of rock, my family said the whole house shook - fun stuff. :punkrock:

Next week - gunite.
 

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Ashbourne

LifeTime Supporter
May 13, 2010
109
Western Piedmont, NC
Re: Our first pool build - Central Texas

How exciting! Thanks for sharing the pictures. It's going to be beautiful...can't wait to see the progress next week.

No advice on the "getting kids to do the testing" because my boys are only 3 and 5, but if you figure out something that works let me know, I'm planning for the future :lol:
 

kellyj

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 24, 2010
49
Austin, TX
Re: Our first pool build - Central Texas

Another day - more picutres - just cuz

Ashbourne, I'll let you know if I successfully get the kids to test!

crabboy - thanks for the input. The PB thinks 30-40 minutes for spa heating.

The plumber is torching the PVC so that he can bend and shape according to the spa wall and rebar. The PB said mostly 2" PVC which looks like the case, except the booster pump cleaning line is 1 1/2", and the return line splits from 2" to 1 1/2" for the multiple returns. But the cool part is the spa drain is 3" and the spa return is 2 1/2 to feed all those jets - all off the VF main pump. Can't wait to test that out.

City inspection tomorrow. :|
 

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G

Guest

Re: Our first pool build - Central Texas

Ask the plumber if he knows what a 45 and a 90 are :evil:

Torching PVC and flex pipe are my two biggest gripes about plumbers! They take a piece of rigid PVC and put heat to it, not knowing if they created a bubble or weak spot, and then they stick it in your pool, only to be covered up by concrete! Somewhere down the road you get a leak and someone gets to come tear your spa apart looking for it, and hands you a bill and tells you to call the plaster company to come back and re-plaster the spa, all on your dime! GRRRRRR; I hate seeing this stuff.

Tell him the least he can do is take the three inch suction and return it with 3 inch also (and that really is about the least he can do. If I saw the plumber heating the PVC on my job he'd be tearing it out and starting over!).
 

kellyj

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 24, 2010
49
Austin, TX
Re: Our first pool build - Central Texas

simicrintz said:
Ask the plumber if he knows what a 45 and a 90 are :evil:

Torching PVC and flex pipe are my two biggest gripes about plumbers! They take a piece if rigid PVC and put heat to it, not knowing if they created a bubble or weak spot, and then they stick it in your pool, only to be covered up by concrete! Somewhere down the road you get a leak and someone gets to come tear your spa apart looking for it, and hands you a bill and tells you to call the plaster company to come back and re-plaster the spa, all on your dime! GRRRRRR; I hate seeing this stuff.!
I'll have to bring that up to the PB, maybe he'll extend the warranty...??
 
G

Guest

Re: Our first pool build - Central Texas

He'll probably tell you there is no code against it (which is true, but does that make it right?!) and it is just fine.

It is just a gripe of mine. They make fittings for a reason, and unless you are trying to rush (by heating the pipe and not using fittings), what other reason is there to heat pipe? Like my Dad always used to say "is that the best job you can do? If it is, I'm okay with it, but if it isn't, go back and do it right". Dad's been dead for more than 15 years now, and I still hear him ask me that every day! I miss him, and he is what pushes me on stuff like this. That plumber, and your builder, are not doing the best job they can. Sad.
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
23,052
SouthWest Alabama
Re: Our first pool build - Central Texas

Can I X2 for not torching?

They make flex pipe if you just have to bend it. Bummer that you're finding this out now. There's way to much uncertainty in trying to use a torch to make PVC flexible.

They actually make a tool for heating and bending PVC but no normal plumber is going to have one and most have never even heard of one.
 

kellyj

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 24, 2010
49
Austin, TX
Re: Our first pool build - Central Texas

Gunite today, last night I snuck in some conduit for future landscape lights after the city inspector left, PB knows of course :-D

Man, those trucks are loud. Wife says it still does not compare to the jackhoe :shaking:

Love seeing it all come together.
 

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