Pool Newbie about to make major purchase -- need advice

JasonPayne

Member
Jan 12, 2013
23
Northeast Arkansas
Hello everybody. :wave: My wife and I bought our first house last May. Sometime near the end of last summer, I swam in a relatives ABG Pool and had a blast (I never knew they could be so much fun -- I always thought they were vastly inferior to in-ground pools.) That day the pool bug bit me BAD, and I decided I had to have one; but, I didn't know anything about pools. I set about researching and found this site late last summer. Since then, everything I know about pools has come from TFP. Now, as spring approaches, I decided it was time to register on this site and start making some final decisions.

To that end, I would like some advice on what I should get with the pool. After reading and researching, I feel very confident that the 24' Sharkline Matrix is the right pool for me; however, when it comes to pumps, SWG's, even pool liners, I'm much less sure, and I don't want to make a mistake. Here is what I am looking at so far.

- 24' Sharkline Matrix - $1,501 :whoot:
- Pentair Clean & Clear 150 Sq' Cartridge Filter 1-1/2HP Dual Speed OptiFlo - $565
- Unibead Liner - $290
- Confer Plastics 7100B Evolution A-Frame Ladder - $141
- Aquabot Pool Rover Jr. Robotic Above Ground Pool Cleaner - $282
- Blue Solar Cover - $87
- Winter Pool Cover - $43
- Pentair Intelliclor IC15 - $435

As you can see, after I purchase various items to get the pool installed, I'm going to have invested at least $3,500 in this, so as the time gets close I'm getting a little gun-shy. I included the prices (all from Pool Supply World) because I want to know if I've 1) made the best choices for that pool and 2) am getting the most bang for my buck. If I could find a way to save some money somewhere I would gladly do it. In addition to hoping TFP members could review my shopping list, I have another list of questions I'm not sure about.

- The pump/filter combo. I'm VERY uneasy about this purchase. Something I read in pool school made me think that cartridge filters were the way to go, but I'm not sure. In addition, I wonder if the Sq. ft. are big enough for that pool...

- Do I want a Unibead liner? I know I don't want overlap. Weren't sure if there were other kinds. Is $290 a good price?

- Any other (cheaper) suggestions for a ladder? Will build a deck eventually, but not until next year.

- The pool cleaner. Will I hate life if I don't buy one of these? If I have to have one, is the Rover Jr. the way to go for the price? Seems EXPENSIVE. :shock:

- Good price on the solar cover and winter cover? (Not sure where else to check besides PoolSupplyWorld.)

- Any other suggestions for a SWG? I'd be excited to find one cheaper than $435 that would work for this pool. I know of lot of people use the Intex ones, but there are so many threads on TFP about people having trouble with them, I think I'd rather make the step up.

- Do I need to buy coving or a liner pad, or will sand do just fine? If I do a liner pad, do I have still have to put sand under the pool? Does anybody actually buy wall foam or is it a waste of money?

Thanks in advance for any help I get. It will not go unappreciated. I love this site. Going to become a TFP lifetime member the day I pull the trigger on buying the pool :party:
 

duraleigh

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Hi, Jason,

It might be tough to get someone to volunteer ALL the answers to ALL those questions ALL at once :mrgreen:

I would suggest splitting it up a bit and get a long thread going that will get you answers to everything eventually. How many gallons is that Sharkline?
 

JasonPayne

Member
Jan 12, 2013
23
Northeast Arkansas
It's approximately 15,000 gallons. The volume of the pool is 15,200, but it won't be filled all the way to the top, plus there's the coving, so I figure somewhere under 15,000 gallons.
 

linen

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Jul 30, 2010
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Twin Cities, MN
Welcome to tfp, JasonPayne :wave:
JasonPayne said:
It's approximately 15,000 gallons. The volume of the pool is 15,200, but it won't be filled all the way to the top, plus there's the coving, so I figure somewhere under 15,000 gallons.
A 24' pool that has as 54" wall will only be filled to ~48" and therefore have 13,500 gallons.
JasonPayne said:
Pentair Clean & Clear 150 Sq' Cartridge Filter 1-1/2HP Dual Speed OptiFlo - $565
For your 13500 gallon pool we would recommend at least a ~ 200 sq. ft cartridge filter ( or a 2.5 sq. ft sand filer or ~19 sq. ft. DE filter). You could probably get by with the 150 sq. ft. cart, but it would require more frequent cleaning.

JasonPayne said:
- The pump/filter combo. I'm VERY uneasy about this purchase. Something I read in pool school made me think that cartridge filters were the way to go, but I'm not sure.
This is a hotly debated topic. From hydraulics 101-have you lost your head :
Which filter is best for you depends on your situation:

Cartridge Filters: Most energy efficient and don't require back-washing. Best suited for areas with water restriction, high electrical rates and/or pools that use a SWG.

Sand Filters: Easiest for algae clean up. Best suited for areas where the pool is closed for the winter and/or high algae potential.

DE Filters: Best filtration. Best suited for owners that really want their water to be as clean as possible.
JasonPayne said:
Any other suggestions for a SWG?
If I were you, I would try one season (or at least start) without the swg then see if you still want it.
 

Bama Rambler

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Linen gave you some good advice so I'll just add a little to it.

I'd change a couple of things.
1. That 1.5 hp pump is an uprated model so it's actually a 1 hp unit and it's fine. But I'd upgrade the filter to a 200 sqft unit.

2. I'd change the ladder for a set of steps with an outside ladder. Once you build the deck you'll appreciate having a good set of steps.

I have a beaded liner and either it or the Unibead would be my choice.
I use a manual vacuum and it works great for me, so you don't have to have a robot or auto vacuum. It's a personal choice.
The covers seem about the right price.
I have an injection pump so I can't comment on the swg but Linen has a good point.
 

JasonPayne

Member
Jan 12, 2013
23
Northeast Arkansas
Thank you all so much for you help so far. Linen says you would recommend at least a 200 sq. ft. cartridge filter for that size pool. Looks to me like the largest PoolSupplyWorld sells for above ground pools is 150 sq. ft. Linen also suggest a 2.5 sq. ft. sand filter. How about a 2.3 sq. ft. sand filter (the largest PoolSupplyWorld sells)?

They have a Pentair SD60 Sand Filter with a 1.5 hp 2-speed pump for $470 (almost $100 cheaper than the cartridge filter!). Let me know if you think that would be a better choice than the cartridge filter I'm looking at. If these won't work, where can I find an above ground pool filter big enough for the pool, and why wouldn't PoolSupplyWorld sell them? Or, can in-ground pool filters be used with above ground pools? ( don't know what the difference is, I suspect it's a gravity thing.)

Also, hypothetically if I did want to go with a SWCG, any other suggestions? I see linen has the Intex SWCG. Would you recommend it to others?

Also, for Bama Rambler, I'm curious about the vacuum cleaner. Are they easy to use? Would it be worth the extra $$ to purchase the robotic cleaner. PoolSupplyWorld has battery operated pool cleaners for $80-$190.

Thanks again so much!
 

UnderWaterVanya

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Jun 14, 2012
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Mint Hill, NC
Try craigslist for some of the extra bits... You might find a cheap cleaner for example. I found an unused polaris 380 for $50.

Sent via Tapatalk...
 

CB

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Oct 21, 2012
180
Central Ohio
I second the uni-bead liner.I paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $250-$300.When I installed mine it took me and 3 other people less than an hour from the time we dropped it in until I was filling the pool with water.I couldn't believe how good it looked and how fast it went in.A couple days earlier I helped a friend put an overlap liner in.He paid less than $200 for it but I bet we spent over 2 hrs getting it adjusted ,let a little in here,take a little out there.For the extra money it's worth the savings in time and the overall good looks to go with a uni-bead liner.

Get aQuality test kit,(Makes life alot easier) good pump,big filter,Quality pool installed correctly(Matrix is a good one)and a quality liner,everything else is optional and can be purchased later.IMO
DON"T skimp on the install take your time it will be well worth the extra effort.

I use my manual vacuum alot more than my suction side cleaner.It takes me about 15-20 min.to vacuum.
 

CB

LifeTime Supporter
Oct 21, 2012
180
Central Ohio
I actually have a 2.3 sq.ft. sand filter and 1.5 hp pump.the combonation work well together.I actually only back washed the filter 3 times during the swim season.Once when I installed the sand,once during the season and once when I closed the pool.A 2.3 is close enough,remember the 2.5 is a general guide line.
 

JasonPayne

Member
Jan 12, 2013
23
Northeast Arkansas
Awesome. Thank you Rob. I was going to ask that exact question after reading your signature, but your second post answered my question before I even asked it! Sounds like that 2.3 might be the way to go.
 

Bama Rambler

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I'm probably the wrong person to ask about vacuums. I actually enjoy vacuuming the pool. It's kinda zen being in the pool easing around guiding the vacuum around the pool. They're extremely easy to use.
 

UnderWaterVanya

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Jun 14, 2012
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Mint Hill, NC
I have a 2.2 sq ft sand filter that works well in my 13500 gallon in ground. I rarely need to backwash. I have no idea how a larger filter might improve things but I assume there is value to the recommendation of a recommended size.

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Bama Rambler

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I'm not Rob, but some places around the country have restrictions on water use. And a lot of those places won't let you use water for refilling a pool (i.e. after backwashing for example), watering the lawn, washing the car, etc.. Since you don't know what water restrictions are, we'll assume you dont' have any in your area. :)
 

cramar

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Nov 10, 2010
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Sault Ontario
Personally, if your looking to save a few bucks, I'd drop the pool cleaner and the chlorinator.

The cleaner likely won't get all the edges so it's probably not going to completely free you of manual cleaning. And the chlorinator, I personally don't think you need it, you should develop the knowledge required to compeltely maintain your pool, I realize they are convenient but from people I know, they can also be a crutch, I know people that don't know how to properly maintain the water and just rely on turning the chlorinator "up".
Just my 2 cent's, it may also be something you simply put off for a couple of years.

Also, don't fall for marketing BS about the benefits of salt, there's nothing wrong with them but just remember that there's is alot of marketing hype and it's not providing something you can't get anyways, those units produce chlorine to sanitize, so you can accomplish the same manually, and if you go away for a few days all you need to do is increase levels to shock level and let it naturally drop while your gone.
As for the "feel" of salt, you can get cheap salt strips and put a couple of bags of salt into the water to soften it, lots of info on there here.

I don't know about pump/filter prices but if there is a difference in price then there's nothing wrong with a sand filter, neither one is better, they both simply work.

Another option is complete self installation or contract out part of it (site prep). You can save alot of money and it's not that hard if your somewhat handy. There are PLENTY of videos showing how to install a round AGP, I did mine all by myself.

Did I miss a quality testing kit in your list? If that's not on there that is probably the SINGLE most important thing, factor in 50-80 bucks or so, you need a top test kit and the knowledge to go with it - NOT TEST STRIPS!!

Did you factor in a dedicated electric circuit? Don't assume you can just plug into any old outlet (or via an extenstion cord like someone I know), you need a dedicated line and that can be expensive.
 

JasonPayne

Member
Jan 12, 2013
23
Northeast Arkansas
You didn't miss the testing kit on my list. I forgot to put it on there. I have read and re-read pool school over and over, and I am excited to put all this knowledge to use. I am planning on using the BBB method with the SWCG and eventually adding borates.

I'm pretty sold on the idea of salt-water, but the price has me rethinking things. (Especially after some other decisions I've made since my original post.) A buddy of mine lives in an apartment complex with a salt water pool and I've enjoyed swimming in it so much that I would like to go that route. But that $400 + price tag might make me go chlorine for a couple of years. I really hate the idea of having to fool with adding chlorine manually every day, but that price is a lot to pay for up-front convince.

If I don't get the robotic pool cleaner, what should I get in its place? Just a leaf skimmer and some kind of brush? Not sure how to actually 'clean' a dirty pool.

Re: the dedicated circuit. As I've mentioned, I'm hoping to get the pool in this spring and put in a deck next spring. My original idea was to run the pump/chlorinator off of an extension cord this year and then dig the electrical line and attach it to the deck next year (pool has to be away from the house, electrical outlet going to be about 50-60 ft. from the house. ) Am I an idiot for thinking I can get away with this. I've seen some threads on here talking about doing this, but not a lot of detail. I know I have to use a certain gauge cord and a gfci outlet, but that's about all I know.

And lastly cramar, your pool build thread is one of the ones I spent countless hours pouring over last fall when I got the pool bug. I see from your thread you used the foam cove and the gorilla pad. Are you happy with it? Been contemplating the last few days going with liner pad, foam cove, and wall pad. Is it work the extra cost?
 

Bama Rambler

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With a 1½ hp 120 volt pump and having to run it 60', the extension cord you'll need will be so large that by the time you buy one, you can install a couple of branch circuits. I highly discourage using an extension cord for running a pool pump that large and that far.
 

JasonPayne

Member
Jan 12, 2013
23
Northeast Arkansas
Hold the phone! I'm more confused/frustrated than ever.

I've done some more research. Been shopping for pool/liner combinations other than the Sharkline Matrix and PoolSupplyWorld just to see what's out there. I keep coming back to PoolSupplyWorld as the best deal for the pool/liner combo (though I've found better prices for pumps and things other places.)

I don't mind spending more, if I get what value for what I pay for. Here's what I"m looking at now:

Cheapest: $1,276.98
24' Sharkline Heritage w/ liner. Wall 52" high. All steel. 7" rim at the top.

Middle of the road: $1,416.98
24' Sharkline Heritage w/ liner. Wall 54" high. All steel. 7" rim at the top. Paying $140 over cheapest to get extra 2" of height.

Most expensive (original plan): $1,792.82
24' Sharkline Matrix w/ liner. Wall 54" high. All steel/resin hybrid. 8" rim at the top. Paying $516 over cheapest to get extra 2" of height, extra 1" of rim, and some resin parts. Plus better warranty and with the resin I'd have the ability to run the SWCG care free if I still wanted to.

So, two (more) questions. Is it worth the $140 for the extra 2" of height? And, is it worth the extra $500+ for an extra 2" of height, 1" wider rail, and some resin parts.

Starting to feel like I may be in over my head. The Intex 26'x52" ultra frame for a grand is starting to look appealing at this point. Please help! :shock: