Trying to Decide to Automate and Install SWG before or After Replaster

Hi guys,

First off, thank you all for making this a great way to help me save some money on my pool. The overall, advice here has been great and I can totally balance my pool no problem.

Secondly, I recently moved and my current house has an older pool with brick all around it and i'm going to need to get it re plastered I'm just trying to prioritize the budget.

So my water company just installed a free Hayward Ecostar Pool Pump and I would like to upgrade to automate or maybe a SWG like I had in my previous pool.

Question I have, should I spend the money to get the Hayward AquaPlus with AquaConnect for automation and SWG?

Or should I wait to do all of that at once when I get the money together for the re-plastering and fixing the brick around the pool?

I really only want the capability to turn on the heater remotely (I have an older heater so this will probably not be automatic), have my valves be automated and be able to program the VSP pump.

Thanks again guys for the advice.


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
Grand Rapids, MI
Generally, TFP advice would be to pair-brand dvice-to-automation where possible, meaning it makes sense to stick to Pentair, Hayward, etc.

However, I've been able to incrementally replace or add different elements/equipment and achieve automation more cheaply via the following, and since its really just the heater you want to control, this is worth consideration:

I purchased a Intermatic PE653 with remote control, which plays nice with most heaters (mine is Raypak) via wiring it into the board. However, i believe from the instructions that even an "old" heater without remote on the board can "sorta" be automated with a "deadman switch" configuration (off/on) and the addition of a temp sensor (easy install) whereby you can then use the PE to "set" run time according to temperature.

I also use the PE to turn my swg (hayward aquarite t15) off and on for a specific duration des not read the FC, but by testing every few days and experimenting with output, I can dial in my production pretty accurately.

The PE653 will also support. Pentair variable speed pump, as well as regular single or dual speed pumps, with space left over to control a pool light or a valve if you add an actuator. I don't know if it now supports Hayward VS or not, so that would be an aspect to would the cost of additional actuator expansion for the waterfall.

So the upside of my operation method was that I got it from Smart Home for approx $330 - waaaay cheaper than the more elaborate automation system cost.

The downside is that this model is not quite ready for prime time communication via mobile phone, etc. whereas other system can be integrated more readily...for a price ;) With that said, some have hacked the z-wave programming to work with Vera home automation, and ergo Alexa etc. in my case, my heat needs are predictable to schedule and I don't need to access information offsite.

So...if you want to incrementally upgrade as financially viable, and if you want to be brand agnostic, this way is serving my simple purposes quite nicely. Maybe it would serve yours, at least in the interim. Hope that helps.
This is awesome. Thank you for the great run through. Yeah the price is an option but I really want it so my wife can use it when I'm traveling and I think she might want something a little more user friendly.

What about the question in regards to adding equipment vs. getting the place re plastered?

Should I spend the money in getting the plaster done and then go the automation and SWG route? Or should I do the opposite?


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
Grand Rapids, MI
Hi there. I guess that depends on how badly it need re plastering ;)
In your shoes I guess I'd prioritize convenience (swg and automation) over form/aesthetics...but that's me and that's assuming you can get by a few years with the existing finish.

The only thing you're out by doing function first is the cost of startup salt...not a huge cost compared with getting an extra season or two out of the existing finish ;)

PS - in terms of simplicity for when you travel, if you already have everything scheduled, the Intermatic and its remote are dead simple to operate. Eg. Want it warmer, press button 5 etc.