Pool in Campbell, Ca. Now under contract!

Nectarologist

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Apr 3, 2015
580
New York
Hi Brimorga. I know you said you def want solar but since you already have a NG heater I'd seriously reconsider the solar. There is a reason people say "we're cooking with gas." If it's an operating cost concern heating your pool likely isn't as much as people think. If it's monthly cost i can share my NG costs and monthly bills. I'm in southern NY and even in our beginning and ending months of the swim season it's not a lot of money. If it's just an environmental concern i totally understand. It's just that in the shoulder months people typically don't have as much/intense sun so you might rely on the NG heater more than you anticipate. Either way it will be great!
 
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brimorga

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-I don't have main drains, and I'm very happy with that decision. Again, it avoids complexity and one more thing to go wrong.
Good luck!

Hi @pjt, thanks for the link to your pool build! It looks amazing. I noticed you have no main drain but 8 returns. My builder only spec'd out 4 returns and a main drain. If I go with no main drain in the pool, do I need to add more returns to compensate? What about for the drain in the spa?
 

brimorga

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Hi Brimorga. I know you said you def want solar but since you already have a NG heater I'd seriously reconsider the solar. There is a reason people say "we're cooking with gas." If it's an operating cost concern heating your pool likely isn't as much as people think. If it's monthly cost i can share my NG costs and monthly bills. I'm in southern NY and even in our beginning and ending months of the swim season it's not a lot of money. If it's just an environmental concern i totally understand. It's just that in the shoulder months people typically don't have as much/intense sun so you might rely on the NG heater more than you anticipate. Either way it will be great!

Thanks Nectarologist! It is mainly to save money, we get lots of sun here most of the year, the weather really is amazing, so I'd like to take advantage of that. It does get colder at night so I figure I can use some solar to help bring the temp back up. I suspect you are right, I will use the gas heater a lot, but the cost of gas here is outrageous and only skyrocketing, so I'm willing to invest a little money upfront and not have to settle for warm water cause I didn't want to run the heater. My buddy has a larger uncovered pool and he runs his gas heater and solar heating just to get the temp up to something reasonable. I am rethinking how many I need though.
 
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setsailsoon

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Brim,

Looks like all your equipment and design questions have been addressed by several very knowledgeable TFP members. Only things I have to add:
  • I live in mostly hot area that's probably similar to you and maybe warmer in winter. We love the solar and it definitely helps lower cost. We use gas to "top off" for a couple months. Last I checked it was about a 5 year payout period for $5000 installation that covers almost all available space on the south to west parts of the roof.
  • Check your builder's contract. They are normally very one-way in favor of the builder. And often (usually?) the builder will change the terms to be fair. Don't overdo this and go for one-way in favor of you. Just fair to both parties. Construction Best Practices - Further Reading | Trouble Free Pool. So what are some of the key issues?
    • Warranty. What specifically does it mean? What's included and what's excluded?
    • How are underground obstacles dealt with?
    • Make sure builder is responsible for all permits except those only you can obtain (sometimes this is HOA permit)
    • Pay for work in place as much as possible, try to make sure you are not paying way ahead of builders costs.
    • Never pay 100% for the pool before a simple, defined performance test is complete.
    • Understand your obligations and PB obligations especially for start up and 1st month of operation.
    • If your builder uses subcontractors (most do) make sure you have a release of liens from subs before final payment.
    • Make sure there is a workmanship quality obligation by the builder.
    • Make sure you understand every word before you sign.
If you have anything that needs to be changed (most I've seen do) approach the builder in a courteous, respectful way. Most of the time they will be the same way back to you and they will appreciate your desire is to get fair terms not tightening the screws in your favor. Pool construction is complex and there are always at least a few minor issues that come up. The best resolution is where both of you work together for solutions. If things get crosswise and you have a very poor contract it can go very bad for you.

I hope this helps.

Chris
 
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pjt

Gold Supporter
Jan 7, 2012
261
The Woodlands, TX
Pool Size
21000
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Plaster
Chlorine
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SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Hi @pjt, thanks for the link to your pool build! It looks amazing. I noticed you have no main drain but 8 returns. My builder only spec'd out 4 returns and a main drain. If I go with no main drain in the pool, do I need to add more returns to compensate? What about for the drain in the spa?

Regardless if you have a main drain or not, I would add more returns for a pool your size. You'll want a drain in the spa since it requires much higher flow rates.
 
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gingrbredman

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Jun 10, 2020
256
Chicagoland
Pool Size
11200
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
So, one question about not needing an automated overflow drain, you just put the cover pump on the pool when it rains to deal with overflow? What if you are out of town?
Anytime I close the cover on the pool, I drop the pump on top. Its like a sump pump, when it thinks there is water there, it turns on and pumps it away until it thinks there is no more water. The only issue would be if you lost power, but then you'd have a whole other set of issues.

I have a FG pool, so I have a sump pit as well for ground water. This pit also has a pump in it, and discharges though another PCV line that goes to the drain tiles and out of the yard. For my cover pump, after I put it on the cover, I put the discharge hose into the sump pit discharge line. Any ground water entering the pit, or water on top of the cover, all pump out towards the curb. Not that we would get a tom of rain like some climates, but with the cover, I would never have a need for an overflow.

Doubtful. The cover control switch must be within line of sight to the pool. A remote app doesn't meet that requirement and I don't think I'd trust a pool cam. I'd hate to be in the pool when a family member decided to remotely close the cover.
Agreed! Yep, all the automatic pool covers open or close off some kind of switch that is hard wired in (Keyed, pin-pad, switch) and local codes almost always require they are in line of sight of the cover. Even my "Wifi enabled" keypad will not control the cover by wifi, only notifies me what is happening at the switch. And even when my cover will be tied into my automation, the only way to open or close it would be from the on site switch.
 
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brimorga

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I'm now in contract! Thanks so much for the help so far. Going with 18x37 in ground pool. 3.5' to 7.5' deep. Integrated 7x8 spa.

I do have a few more questions.

@Dirk said I should run extra conduit and get a hose bib installed at the back end of the pool. These are awesome ideas I'm going to implement but I'm a little unsure about extra conduit for water. I get it for electrical, internet and a hose bib but not sure about water in general, from where to where and for what? I do have irrigation lines running already behind where the pool will be on the back of my property, but I wasn't sure if I needed more lines for the pool itself.

I've read that you want 2x SWG capacity. It's estimated this pool is 24k gallons. Pool designer is a Hayward guy but most residential salt water systems I see there are 40k gallon capacity. Is this enough? I looked through the webpage but it was overwhelming with all the choices, not much beyond 40k gallons. Pool designer is mainly a UV+chlorine guy, so I'd like to have an idea of what is optimal. I am getting the Hayward OmniLogic.

I'm investing in solar heat to extend the swimming season at minimal operational gas heater expense. Hopefully to get extra days in March and Oct. With the autocover, I won't need solar heating for the pool in summer. Is there a way to just focus the solar heating on the integrated spa in summer so I don't have to fire up the gas heater as much? Given my roof, it'll probably be 70% east and 30% north facing solar yet we'll probably use the spa more in the evening. Basically I'm trying to figure out if I need to do anything at install to account for this, like separate valves for north vs east, or if I just go with it and make the best of it. I plan to have solar PV, so the solar pool heating expense will be basically nothing but the gas costs here are outrageous. Ideally I want to make the most of the solar heating investment if possible and minimize gas usage.

Attached is the proposed light plan. I'm getting the spa and pool on different relays, but how does the layout look? The pool builder thought I should have another light in the deep end but that roughly points back towards the house. He says they are not that bright, Hayward color logic 320, but I want to make sure to have good coverage.

Tile! Holy cow glass tile with bling is expensive. With the autocover and integrated spa we're taking about a lot of tile and it really adds up if you want some bling! Is there a recommended bling per buck tile out there? We're going with the blue pool look and most likely silver travertine to match our grayish concrete pavers in the rest of the yard.

Sadly we're not scheduled to be done with build until the end of Sept!
 

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Dirk

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@Dirk said I should run extra conduit and get a hose bib installed at the back end of the pool. These are awesome ideas I'm going to implement but I'm a little unsure about extra conduit for water. I get it for electrical, internet and a hose bib but not sure about water in general, from where to where and for what? I do have irrigation lines running already behind where the pool will be on the back of my property, but I wasn't sure if I needed more lines for the pool itself.
No, not for the pool. I meant a few runs of 1/2" or 3/4" PVC for irrigation or other uses. One for a hose bib somewhere near your pool, on the side of the pool opposite of the house, like in a planting bed or landscape area outside of the deck. Something to water plants or hose off the deck.

Additional lines (separate from the hose bib line) might be used for drip irrigation, or to fill a garden fountain, or for a sprinkler system. You might run a line from where your irrigation valves are to where your hose bib line comes up. Then just cap off each end. There if/when you need it. You probably don't need more than one line for a hose bib and one extra. You can throw some drip line into the trench, but that's a bit more susceptible to gnawing animals than schedule 40 (or 80) PVC.

If you've got irrigation covered, then you're good there. Though I added a few extra lines of irrigation in my yard so that I could separate out plant types. Some plans use zones. That's pretty easy. I went another way: one drip circuit for plants and shrubs in the ground, one for trees, one for all my potted plants, one for ground cover, one for just redwood trees. The thinking is that different types of plants need different watering schedules. You can achieve that with one line and different drip emitters, but I went the other way. Potted plants need more water more often than, say, shrubs in the ground. If my redwood trees look droopy, I can water them extra without overwatering my other plants. Like that. It's a bit overkill, but drip tubing is cheap. My landscaping runs all the way around the pool, all connected. So adding extra drip lines is relatively easy. The idea to add more PVC lines in the trenches really only applies if you have a landscaping area that is going to be orphaned from others once the deck goes in. That's the one that might need the extra buried lines.

Is there a way to just focus the solar heating on the integrated spa in summer so I don't have to fire up the gas heater as much?
I can't speak to Hayward gear. My Pentair controller can control both a gas heater (or heat pump) and a solar heater. I can set either pool or spa to use either heater exclusively, or both. My choices are "Heater", "Solar Pref" and "Solar Only." When in "Solar Pref" mode, the controller determines if solar can do the job, and then selects the appropriate source. So it would select solar on a warm, sunny day, and then switch to gas when the sun went down, whether that heat was intended for pool or spa. And all that can be scheduled. So I could have the solar heater pumping into the spa all afternoon, maintaining 85°, and then 1/2 hour before I got home from work, have the gas heater come on to 100°.

You might find out which Hayward controller is planned, then look up its owner manual online and see how Hayward handles this. I imagine it'll be similar, but now you know what to look for. I should mention that I don't have a spa, and I've never turned on my gas heater, so I don't have any real-world experience in how well that all works, I'm just sharing what I know about the capabilities of my controller.

Attached is the proposed light plan. I'm getting the spa and pool on different relays, but how does the layout look? The pool builder thought I should have another light in the deep end but that roughly points back towards the house. He says they are not that bright, Hayward color logic 320, but I want to make sure to have good coverage.
If coverage is an issue, I would put bigger lights where you have them plotted now, rather than point any back to the house or where you will likely be sitting out by the pool at night. Even if they are small lights. The rule-o-thumb is to just use your line of sight. Stand inside a window, or sit by the pool. If you can see the fixture (or where it's gong to be), you won't like looking into the light it'll emit at night.
 
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setsailsoon

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Solar and gas are in the same circuit so when in spa mode valves in the pump suction and return are set to go to and from the spa only. I've done this on hot sunny days then switch to gas to heat the spa when we're in because it's late in afternoon or evening. This does reduce gas cost quite a bit. I've now got Pentair Intellicenter like Dirk so I can use the "solar preferred" setting also. Works great! Previously, I had a Jandy RS and this function was not available. Not sure about Hayward.

I hope this helps.

Chris

PS If you have swg, it's a good idea to make sure it's turned off in spa mode. The volume of the spa is so small compared to the pool that FC levels can get pretty high. For my spa the FC level can increase 28 ppm in 6 hrs at 50% power.
 
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pjt

Gold Supporter
Jan 7, 2012
261
The Woodlands, TX
Pool Size
21000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
I wouldn't have both skimmers on the same wall next to each other. Space them out on different walls at opposite parts of the pool.
 
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brimorga

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I wouldn't have both skimmers on the same wall next to each other. Space them out on different walls at opposite parts of the pool.

thanks PJT! The wind here tends to blow from North to South and from West to East. Right now both skimmers are on the south wall.
Ideally I wanted the other skimmer where the pool cover will be as that is east but I guess that is a no go.

Pool guy recommended I put both on 1 wall and focus the 4 returns to push everything towards the south wall, along with the wind. I had mentioned that people here recommend you get your pool in more of a whirlpool setup, he didn't think that was required.

So do you think I should put the other skimmer on the north wall between the stairs and bench? My only concern is if I'll be able to get a good whirlpool with only 4 returns given I have the kind of awkward space, I guess it's a swim lane, next to the spa. Seems like that space will really kill my circulation.
 

ajw22

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Jul 21, 2013
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I think your two skimmers on the south wall are fine.

With your autocover on the pool most of the time you will get little debris on the water surface to be skimmed off. Skimming and the way the water circulates is not that important with the cover on.
 
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Dirk

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PS If you have swg, it's a good idea to make sure it's turned off in spa mode. The volume of the spa is so small compared to the pool that FC levels can get pretty high. For my spa the FC level can increase 28 ppm in 6 hrs at 50% power.
That's another nicety of the Pentair controllers. You can set the SWG output separately for pool or spa, not just on and off. Some PBs handle this by routing the plumbing such that only the pool receives "SWG water." But with a Pentair controller you can plumb the SWG to both the pool and spa, and let the controller (and you) decide which body gets chlorine, and how much (so, say 50% SWG output for pool, but only 10% SWG output for spa).

I mentioned I don't have a spa, but I do use my controller's spa mode. My solar heater is scheduled to go off at 4pm. So my SWG output is set to make all the chlorine my pool needs by 4pm. But if I want my solar heater to heat longer, I turn on spa mode. The controller doesn't know I don't have a spa, it just pumps water to/from the pool as it does in pool mode. But remember, I can control the thermostat and SWG output independently, so for this "extra solar mode," the controller cranks the solar heat from 85° to 95°, and sets the SWG output to 0%, because the pool has already gotten all the chlorine it needs that day, I just want more heat. One button push does all that. Then the solar heater shuts off when the sun goes down.

The point of that story is to check if your Hayward controller can do things like that. Here's a scenario you might use. If your PB plumbs your SWG for pool only, then every day you're going to have to dump all your spa heat into the pool because everyday your spa needs to be circulated to get its share of the SWG's chlorine. But if your SWG can go to either body, then theoretically you could leave your nice warm water in the spa for more days in a row, and just chlorinate the spa and pool separately, just enough for each body.
 
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brimorga

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The point of that story is to check if your Hayward controller can do things like that. Here's a scenario you might use. If your PB plumbs your SWG for pool only, then every day you're going to have to dump all your spa heat into the pool because everyday your spa needs to be circulated to get its share of the SWG's chlorine. But if your SWG can go to either body, then theoretically you could leave your nice warm water in the spa for more days in a row, and just chlorinate the spa and pool separately, just enough for each body.

Will do Dirk! Exactly what you said is what I want to do, operate both independently if I want to. But my pool builder said I basically run it in either spa mode or pool+spa mode and if I want to clean the spa I need to dump the warm spa water back into the pool. If I can do what you are saying and deliver the SWG just to the spa, then I can have the option to manage them independently and keep the spa hot. So, if Hayward has that capability, then I need to make sure they run pipes independently.
 

Dirk

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Sorry, I should have pre-qualified some of my post. Not having a spa myself, I don't actually know that you can run an in-pool spa that way. Let's double check.

Chris (@setsailsoon), can you run an in-pool spa independently from the pool for some number of days, or longer, to save the heat, if the SWG can provide chlorine to it? Or do you have to dump the spa into the pool everyday for some other reason?

If you don't ever do that, or don't know, who here would?
 

ajw22

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Sorry, I should have pre-qualified some of my post. Not having a spa myself, I don't actually know that you can run an in-pool spa that way. Let's double check.

Chris (@setsailsoon), can you run an in-pool spa independently from the pool for some number of days, or longer, to save the heat, if the SWG can provide chlorine to it? Or do you have to dump the spa into the pool everyday for some other reason?

Nope. What you are describing is maintaining two bodies of water simultaneously.

Basically valves switch the pump, filter, heater and SWG between the pool and spa. One body of water is mainland the other is dormant.

To do what you describe requires a second pump, filter, heater and SWG.
 

Dirk

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I'm thinking it can be done. Each day you run pool mode long enough to sanitize with the SWG. Then you separately run spa mode long enough to sanitize it. Those could be done in the middle of the night if need be. The water to each would be running through the same pump, filter, heater and SWG. In pool mode you could choose to use the heater or not. In spa mode, perhaps a "sub schedule" named "spa standby mode," the heater could be turned down a bit to keep the spa at X degrees, while the SWG is doing its thing, then in "spa mode" the SWG goes off and the heater cranks up to Y degrees.

As long as you never used spillover mode, you'd be maintaining two bodies with one set of equipment. And as long as you had a way to cover the spa, you could maintain some of the heat overnight.

You could use spillover mode periodically, perhaps, say once a week or so, to mix the two bodies and keep all the other chemical levels in range.

So I agree you couldn't run two bodies simultaneously, but I don't see why you couldn't run them consecutively. You'd just need to be creative about scheduling the necessary filtering and SWG runtimes. I know my controller could do that (well, not my ET Lite, with only four allowed schedules, but an ET8 or IntelliCenter could do that, I think).
 
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