Stever's Pool Build

stever

LifeTime Supporter
Hi All,

First I'd like to thank all of you for all of your help over the last months. I have lurked around, asked a question or two and learned a lot.

We moved into our house 4 years ago and wanted a pool from the start... but it was not that easy. The house sits on .67 acre of land with a 1:10 slope over most of it. It is on septic that is pupmed to the top of the hill. Between the septic lines and the future 'reserve' lines we must keep free for future use, there was not much space left for a pool. A real shame. As you'll see in the pictures the pool is pusher right up against the house -- this was not by choice -- it was the only option.

I spend a few years researhing septic systems, hiring engineers, drilling test holes, etc. I tried to get a sepage pit permitted for the reserve. This takes less space than traditional leach lines, but is a lot more expensive. I figured in 40 years when the main field fails and the reserve needs to be installed I'll probably not be in the house to pay the $$$. But karma got me and it didn't quite make the limit for perk and that was off the table.

After that I gave up for a while and then re-visited the leach line solution. I pushed and pulled and squeezed and found a way to re-permit the reserve and leave a bit of room for the pool. So I drew up the plans, interviewed three companies, and we're off and running.

The pool is about 17 feet wide and about 36 feet long free-form in-ground gunite pool. It is placed high relative to the house behind a retaining wall. I don't like this much as we see a wall from the house and not the pool.... but it was that or nothing.

It has 40% of its deck 2 feet high to conform to the natural grades. It will have a 6' diving board and a 7'6" diameter spa. I'll upload a plan of the pool in a day or two.

equipment:
- One Pentair IntelliFlo VS-3050 pump for pool and spa
- Pentair 60 sf fiberglass D.E. filter (FNS Plus)
- Pentair Intellitouch i7+3 automation (for future low voltage lights and macros)
- Pentair Natural Gas Heater (minimax or mastertemp - I forgot) 400,000 BTU
- Pentair Intelichlor (IC40)
- Poolshark cleaner
- normal incadencent light

The spa will have a spill-over to the pool, 8 jets allthe way around (2 set of stacked and 6 singles).

I'm looking at an enlarged second step and a small third (deepest step) to maximize room and have a baja-like entry. More to come on this as it proceeds.

So here are a fre pictures:

first, the view from about 15 months ago. Nothing but drainage goin in here:


Then the pool was staked out:


Next the retaining wall had to go in. Hmmm a little closer to the house than anticipated....


A few picture of the finished retaining wall:









Now, last Monday(March 3rd), Tuesday, and a little into Wednesday the hole was dug.




Notice the vein of rock through the spa and deep end. Good thing I negotiated for unlimited digging time! It was fairly soft rock, as rock goes and no blasting was required : )


And here's the finished hole:


I had a few rocks moved from another area of my yard to the far side of the pool. Now I just need to figure out what to do with them. ( I hope they are movable! They are very heavy and a bobcat can't get to them where they are now.):


I plan to try to instsall a heater bypass to keep the pump as efficient as possible (mixed reactions on this previously in the forum).

In spa mode, the pump will fire into high gear and a valve will open to route some water through the heater and the rest through the jets. At high speed, the pump would blow up the heater without this dual-path flow. I'll have a manual valve to set how much water get diverted. My pool guy figured this out and spoke with Pentair -- they couldn't think of another way to do it with one pump.

I'll keep you all posted. I'd love your comments and ideas. Steel goes in Monday (3/10) and Tuesday and the pool gets shot on Friday or (more probably) Monday (3/17).

Steve
 

EskimoPie

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 27, 2007
278
Sahuarita, AZ
Very nice pictures, thanks for posting... I'm not sure what you mean by "at high speed, the pump would blow up the heater..." I can't imagine there being any risk of that. I have an Intelliflow pumpand run it at about maximum speed when in Spa mode and my heater hasn't exploded yet... but actually... now that I think about it, my PB did plumb some by-pass around the heater... it's just a jandy valve prior to the heater that joins up again immediately after, but I suppose it does split some of the flow around the heater.
 

stever

LifeTime Supporter
Yes, that valve will do it. I think the heater can take 50 psi or gpm or something max and that pump can create much more. We'll be doing just what you have done -- just bypass a bit of water.

I'm debating how big to make the entry steps -- large allows for more lounging on the steps, but it cuts into the useful area of the pool.... ideas?

More tonight.

Steve
 

stever

LifeTime Supporter
Ok,

The last few days have been busy. Monday the steel was places and today the plumbing is about half done.

Here's some of the latest pics:

Overall pool pic with steel:


Spa reinforcing:


Deep end - I paid a bit more for a 'structural' wall up against the retaining wall (+$600) just as added insurance:


Skimmer and auto-fill:


Lines going to Spa (3" diameter):


Spa jets with 8 jets (4 singles and 2 doubles):



They are trying to finish plumbing tomorrow (Wednesday) and get inspection Thursday for Shotcrete on Friday. So far things have gone on schedule, so I'm hopeful -- as there is rain expected this weekend.

Steve
 

stever

LifeTime Supporter
Schematic

I went over the schematic of the equipment and piping with the plumber. Below is what we came up with. This is mostly his ideas (as it is what he does for a living) with a few different things.

- The heater is bypassed with a manual valve allowing a small amount through at all times.

- The spa jets are routed similarly with most going to the spa jets when in spa mode (and the pump fires all the way up) with a reasonable amount (20 to 25%) going through a manual valve bypass. Can this be done by setting th cams on the automatic valve?

(I may be off on a few of the diameters, but it's close) (I thing the drains from the spa are 3" rather than the 2.5 noted)



Steve
 

stever

LifeTime Supporter
Question:

How wide should the spillover be from the spa? Here's my thoughts:

- I wanted it wide enough to jump into the pool without climbing up on the coping.
- I wanted it wide enough to sit at water-level and look out/down over/into the pool

- I want the water to drop into the pool rather than dribble down the side of the spa. I am concerned with deposits, especially with a saly system, crudding up the spa wall.
- I realize that a better 'water effect' and less 'dribble' can be achieved with a smaller spill.

The pool was originally designed for 24" spill and I just (on paper only) increased it to 48". Is there anybody out there with a similar sized spill? How does it work for you?

Thanks!

Steve
 

stever

LifeTime Supporter
Hi all,

I've been posting pics of my build for the last week. Do you like these posts -- is it what you want to see?

Is there another way to show you what's going on that is better?

I'd love some interaction on it, as it's my first pool and I am new at all of this.

Thanks!
 

Butterfly

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 30, 2007
10,045
South Carolina
Hi Steve,

Thanks for sharing your pool build with us. Things seem to be moving fast! Sure would love to have your retainer wall. More folks will be able to chime in on your thread over the weekend. :)


Joyce
 

Casey

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 16, 2007
10,931
SW PA
Hi stever...

Don't know much about gunnite pools but do know that I WANT ONE!!!

AWESOME pool so far! You and your pb have done a great job! I can't wait to see it done! Any idea when that will be? Hopefully sooner than later! Keep posting pics and updates and let us know when it's done... I'll pack my swim suit, catch a flight and be right over. :lol: 8)
 

stever

LifeTime Supporter
The pool company has been really good. It also helps that (at least in the San Diego area) that everybody is desperately trying to keep their house -- and not even thinking about building a pool. Each sub-contractor is hungry for work and shoots right out as soon as they are needed. In years past I have heard stories of a week or two between subs because they were so busy.

The shotcrete (not gunite in this case) is going in on Monday morning. I'll post more pics then. I have to go out and see how much water is i n the bottom now. It rained and hailed a bit last night.

What will hold things up is me finishing picking the fencing and decking contractors. I also have a big decision on the coping -- I don't want the flagstone bid -- I hear it's pretty rough when getting in and out. I like the look of the precast concrete, but fear it's too expensive -- suggestions?

I also need to finalize the size/shape of the steps into the pool and the width of the spillover from the spa (see above).
 

Hotrod30

Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Dec 22, 2007
504
Central New York
I enjoy looking at pictures of a pool build. I built my pool 25 years ago; there are so many things I wished I had done different. This was in the day of just a rectangular pool with a walkway around it.

One little question I had but wasn't going to ask was; in the picture of the skimmer and auto-fill, there is a hat; next to the hat, what is that open PVC pipe for? I can't see it going anywhere. Just wondering.


Keep the pictures coming and ask anything you want. There are some smart people on this forum.
 

stever

LifeTime Supporter
The line in the front of the picture is the overflow line (just above the fill pipe). The pipe behind the auto-fill is the pipe to fill the pool -- goes into pool below the water line. The 2" diameter open pipe ner the hat is just a spare elbow that's laying there :lol:

They were pretty good at minimizing 90 degree elbows in favor of dual 45s, but I wish they had done that here near the skimmer.... not worth having them re-do and re-pressure test. Unless I am there all the time I must understand that things get done the easy way. And if I am there the whole time there's a good change I'd be shot into the gunnite.

One must pick one's battles.
 

salinda

LifeTime Supporter
Feb 25, 2008
130
Los Gatos, CA
Where is the bypass for spillover water for the spa? Are you going to try doing it with the cams in the automated valve that switches between pool and spa return? Also--how will the spa be sanitized? Just wondering because I notice the spa return valve is before the SWG.

I'm no expert, but I have had a much easier time adjusting the spa spillover with a simple line that "bleeds" off the pool return line into the spa return line with a manual valve on it. It also allows chlorinated water into the spa so that the combination acts as one body of water in pool mode, which is the filter mode 99% of the time. Check with your plumber on this.

I am remembering on my pool retrofit project with PoolPower that one of their MANY mistakes was not installing the spa spillover valve that I had before. They had to add that to their reinstall.

Anyone else have input?
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,879
Silver Spring, MD
It is common to have the SWG not feed into the spa, ie split the spa return off before the SWG. If the SWG does feed into the spa you run a risk of seriously over chlorinating the spa if it is left in spa mode for very long at all. The pool water going into the spa should have chlorine and that is normally plenty for an hour or two of spa usage.

There is no requirement for a manual valve on the spa return routed around the automatic valve since that can be done with a stop on the automatic valve. However, given that manual bypasses occur in every other place in the plumbing that you might want one it does seen curious that there isn't one on the spa return. And either way there should probably be a check valve on the spa return.
 

salinda

LifeTime Supporter
Feb 25, 2008
130
Los Gatos, CA
Thanks for the "reality check" on what I was attempting to say. My swg comes before both the spa and pool returns, which might not be ideal, but we don't run our system in spa mode very long or for very often.

It looks from his plumbing schematic that the water would be stagnant in the spa. I like the manual valve so that I can adjust the overflow volume as I see fit. Also, it makes it easier to turn off the overflow when I want to do an occasional "spa drain" into the pool for cleaning. Can you manually override the "stop" when you need to? If you can, then no need for the manually valved bypass.

The absence of the check valve on the spa return puzzles me too. Without it, doesn't the spa water drain back through the spa return and out through the pool return until the levels are equalized? That is usually not the desired effect.
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,879
Silver Spring, MD
I suspect that the check valve after the SWG on the pool return line was meant to be on the spa return line. There isn't much point in having it on the pool return.

Yes, you can manually override a stop on an automatic valve, but not nearly as easily as you can adjust a manual valve.
 

stever

LifeTime Supporter
Responses to the last 2 posts:

Yes, the Salt Chlorinator is not routed directly to the spa for those reasons -- not to overchlorinate the spa -- it's set to chlorinate the pool with much more water.

The check valve I put on the schematic for when the seperation tank is pushing back into the pool so it does not back-flow through the SWG, etc. I will need an additional check valve at the spa so it does not empty w/o the pump running.

The water is not stagnant in the spa. To regulate the flow to the spa I have two choices:

1) a single automatic valve with the stops set to it never completely cuts off the spa. You are correct it is not easy to adjust but it's cheaper and easier.

2) a single automatic valve with a manual valve in a piped bypass. In this case the automatic valve would be completely in spa mode or be completely in pool mode. When completely in pool mode, the manual valve would allow some water to bypass the automatic valve and make its way to the spa -- the manual valve is easy to asjust for the spillover. When completely in spa mode, both valves (full open auto-valve and partial open manual valve) point water to the spa, but the pool is completely cut off. (this method is what the schematic has on it) (I also use this method to split a bit of water to the bypassed heater)

This is the only way I can see that this will work.... I am planning on using method 2. Do you think it'll work?

Also, another question:
- I am putting in an intel-7 automation system. How many automatic valves will this controll?

Thanks,
 

stever

LifeTime Supporter
oops -- I just looked at the schematic and you are right, I do not have the auto/manual bypass loop at the pool/spa return -- my error. With an automation system a single manual valve won't do it, but the double valve system is planned.

Steve