Zero Energy, Zero chemicals - New Pool (Owner/Builder)

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
47,061
Tallahassee, FL
Let the MUB/dirt begin! Oh you just think it is all nice and neat :roll: LOL It WILL get worse!!!

Once they call it done run out there with a tape measure. Add about 8" for steel, shell, and plaster. Is it wide, long, deep, etc enough? NOW is the time to fix/tweak.

Kim:kim:
 

mad_diy

Gold Supporter
Jun 2, 2019
14
Dripping Springs, TX
Lots of things have been happening... Now that the season is slowing down, I am starting to get a hold of good subs. Its night and day difference hiring subs as OB during off season. When I tried to find them in June, I almost gave up on the whole pool build.

My excavator did an outstanding job, the pool dig was impressively clean on the edges. Every time he had finished a day, we would just chat for an hour, talking about his past life experience, he would give me tons of advice on pool construction. Him and his buddy took about a week to complete excavation and forming. We over-dug and laid a 6" gravel bed for extra cush.

The excavator referred me steel guys, they were done in 2 days, used 2.5 tons of steel.

Plumbing was taking kinda long - all because the sub was too slow (his name is mad diy - don't hire him lol). I decided to run individual lines for all suction and return lines instead of doing a looped return etc. I also ran a dedicated vacuum line, not sure if I need or not?! I hear people simply plug vacuum into a skimmer... But due to the lack of knowledge at the moment I just ran the line, doesn't cost much. Once I finished the plumbing and pressurized the pipes it was time to Gunite!

I called the Guniters, two guys came out the same day and I met them on my lunch break. Five minutes into conversation I could tell I want them working on my pool. Not wasting a minute they started walking around trying to figure out how to get concrete trucks closer to the site. Then we talked about re-configuring stairs, because the first step would interfere with tile, that was a great advice. I asked them how soon can you shoot? They said, can we do it tomorrow? I was like... wow red flag! Aren't good subs supposed to be busy with like at least a couple of weeks worth of work? So they told me they had a commercial pool scheduled to be shot tomorrow, but there was a storm and the excavation caved in due to storm water run off - so we are looking for a pool for tomorrow. I gave them the job on the spot, without even looking for another bid. About 8 guys showed up the next morning before sunrise and starting doing prep work, they wore headlamps and used flashlights. Amazing skill, the guys I talked to the day before were actually in my pool doing the work. By about 2pm the gunite was done, they told my wife to water it 3 times daily for 3 weeks with a water hose - I though immediately what a chore! A quick trip to the store and I came back with a few lawn sprinklers and a cheap hose-timer.

So here we are ...

Oh yea, I had started to think about the electrical. The pool's equipment is 280ft away from the house main electrical service. So it looks like I will be running about 300ft of 2 inch conduit with 2/0 feeder conductors for my 125amp sub panel at the pool. The Solar will hook into the same panel at the pool so that should be good.
 

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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
47,061
Tallahassee, FL
Plumbing was taking kinda long - all because the sub was too slow (his name is mad diy - don't hire him lol)
:laughblue:

Five minutes into conversation I could tell I want them working on my pool.
Funny how that works out! Your gut talked to you and it was a WIN!

It is now time for YOUR own set of links!!!

Print these out:
Pool School - Basic Pool Care Schedule

Pool School - Recommended Levels

Bookmark these:
Pool School - Recommended Pool Chemicals

Trouble Free Pool

Pool School - ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

Kim:kim:
 

mad_diy

Gold Supporter
Jun 2, 2019
14
Dripping Springs, TX
Sorry for the delay, it's been a busy winter, lots of family travel during the holidays. I took 2 weeks off during Christmas so I could work on the pool, and I am glad I did, my father in law helped a lot building the equipment shed.

Well, about a month ago I had it plastered and it was time to fill up. The 40k gal of water came from our well, but first it went through HERO (high efficiency reverse osmosis). Since RO water is highly aggressive towards fresh(or old) plaster, I had already been thinking about the best way to load it with calcium before it eats my new plaster for dinner. So I found online a brilliant way to start up a pool. No plaster dust, no clogged filters, minimum brushing (although I still brushed for a week, but i'm not sure if it was necessary). Basically a bit of math tells you exactly how much calcium you will need to add to the entire pool to reach LSI of just a bit over zero. I pre-diluted calcium in a 30 gal bucket, and let it drip into the pool as the pool was filling up with RO water. Four days later, the pool was full... all equipment started without issues (i'm honestly shocked how well it went). Over the following week I was closely monitoring calcium/alkalinity/ph.

For the lights I tried a few different multicolor LED bulbs with remotes but didn't like any of them, eventually I realized I don't want any colors, just nice cool white bright lights. So I went with two 65W white LEDs, wired through 12V isolating transformer - piece of mind there is no line voltage wires submerged in the pool.

Did I mention there is no chlorine and no cya in it? That's by design, 4-stage 200W UV sterilizer is doing a good job keeping the water safe. I might shock/slam after a pool party if any of my bacteria tests come back positive... will see, I will keep you posted.

Spent couple of days writing software to help me manage the pool, hooked up a bunch of sensors and controls.... coming along nicely. I am still waiting for a few things from China... and hmmmm... should I open them right away or wait a few weeks for the possible virus inside to die?!?! lol

Next up is solar pergola.... stay tuned. The plan is 18ft wide, 60ft long cedar timber pergola covered with solar panels. Depending on which panels I get, should be around 20kw, thats enough to heat the pool year round...
 

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Flying Tivo

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2017
1,895
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
Very nice! Did you test for Iron on the well water? The no chlorine is going to come back to bite you, but we will still be here to help in case you need it. How are you going to test for Bacteria? Remember to include testing for Viruses and parasites. That kind of testing is going to get expensive very fast and i know, I'm a MD.

Congratulations on your Build!
 

mad_diy

Gold Supporter
Jun 2, 2019
14
Dripping Springs, TX
More construction pics
 

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l1ltaral1l

Bronze Supporter
Jul 16, 2019
593
Walnutport, PA
I am curious about the camera you are using, is this a security camera, does it record 24/7 or just with motion? I am looking to make a record of my pool build. Thanks for sharing.
We purchased the Arlo system specifically for our build. LOL! But we love them now. Wireless, easy to hang, easy to swap out to charge and long battery life. It records motion and audio when motion is detected. Those recordings are saved for 5 days for no charge. You can download them to your device directly, or pay for an additional storage plan. But you can also 'live stream' with audio (which is what I did all day at work when our pool was being installed). Now that it's done, we use them all over (interior to watch the dogs and exterior).

This is an example of the video portion:

And an example of a screen shot of the one of our cameras view:

91919.jpg
 
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PoolBrews

Well-known member
Oct 16, 2019
246
The Villages, Florida
The process is looking great! Your subs appear to know what they are doing, and are moving at a good rate!

I have to comment on the "Zero cost to operate - this mainly means the majority cost of running pumps and heating, since solar array offsets the costs."

I keep seeing folks stating that they are getting zero cost through the use of solar or wind technology. You need to factor in the up front cost of the panels or turbines and the equipment required to harness their energy and direct it to your equipment. These costs are significant, and the on-going maintenance has to be added in. This does not end up being zero cost... in fact, based on the calculations I did for my own situation, it would cost me slightly more over a 10 year period to use solar panels (comparing total cost of system vs cost of local electricity). At 10 years, you will most likely have to begin replacing items in this system, so that cost needs to added in as well.

Unless your state has fantastic rebate programs, or your utility company has a deal where they put solar in for free, I don't see this as a viable money saving option.

I would love to hear from someone who has had this installed for a minimum of 5 years as to their cost savings - figuring in all of the above.
 

ModernCha

Well-known member
May 29, 2019
80
Charlotte, NC
Very nice. For the solar I recommend Solaredge inverters if you really want 30+ panels as that is over 10kwh and it scales more cost effectively. Below 10kwh I would suggest Enphase inverters. If you go Solaredge for the inverter I suggest getting the one with the built in EV charger as a future proofing item and it can be used with batteries in the future as well. My personal experience with a 7.6 kwh system and a HERS 13 home I still don't net zero in electricity, I would need 10 more panels at least.
 

CaptainCannonball

Silver Supporter
May 18, 2016
295
Woodland, Ca
I would love to hear from someone who has had this installed for a minimum of 5 years as to their cost savings - figuring in all of the above.
At the risk of hijacking this thread, I’ll chime in :)
We bought a small solar system consisting of 14 panels with Enphase inverters in 2013 for $12k installed. This offset our highest tier three usage (at the time $0.39kwh) we then had our installers put up an additional 4 panels ($2400) to offset the new pool we were installing. Recently we added a solar pergola in anticipation of upgrading our HVAC to a heat pump system. We added 8 inexpensive 300w black back sheet panels with Enphase inverters. This was DIY with help from our installers ($1800)

flash forward to today, 6.5 years from the beginning and our system has produced 47,700kwh for $16,200. Federal tax credit brought the total cost of our system to $11,300. Even though our solar pergola is only about a year old, our total cost for electricity over that 6.5 year time period is about $0.23 per kWh. Our new current high tier electricity is $0.52 per kWh. The panels are 25% through the warranty period and our micro inverters are halfway through their warranty so I anticipate cost for solar electricity to drop below $0.10 kWh in the next 8-9 years. If we haven’t upgraded or replaced our system in its projected life span, costs could reach $0.05 per kWh. I have 4 spare inverters that I bought during the pergola project, but haven’t needed to replace any in the last 7 years.
If your electricity is cheap, solar probably won’t pay, but for our situation it has been a great investment. But you are right, it isn’t zero cost, it is just upfront cost.
 

PoolBrews

Well-known member
Oct 16, 2019
246
The Villages, Florida
In your situation, this makes sense! I appreciate the detail!

Here in FL, my kWh rate for the first 1,000 kWh is .1106, and after that it goes to .1306 - that is the highest rate here. I don't see this paying off in my case. My overall rate each month averages .1193/kWh.
 

bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
6,515
Central MD
Pool looks great! Really beautiful. I did want to comment on something I don't think has been addressed yet. If you use no chlorine, there is no residual sanitizer in the water. Think of this as chlorine ready to attack bacteria the moment it enters the water. So if (when) fecal bacteria is introduced by each swimmer (natural occurrence), or other bacteria, there is nothing ready in the water to kill it. Only when the water makes its way through the UV system does is get killed. If you use chlorine, but add no CYA, the sunshine burns off the chlorine alarmingly quickly. This is a health hazard to be concerned about.

UV systems are common in commercial settings with high bather load, to provide additional bacteria killing ability to the existing chlorine's ever-present activity, due to the high level of bacterial additions to the pool. UV is not needed in residential outdoor pools. You have it, it isn't hurting anything, but not using chlorine also will hurt something/someone eventually.

See this for article for additional information:

Alternative sanitizers and "chemical free" pools--The Truth!
 
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ModernCha

Well-known member
May 29, 2019
80
Charlotte, NC
I will address solar costs as well. Our house was designed with solar in mind so before the pool was installed my electricity was the minimum fee charged to be connected to the grid of $15. So total cost each year was $180. Panels were 20k with 1/3rd back in a federal credit and 1/3 back from Duke energy. So the true cost was 6,750 which was part of my mortgage as I built the house. So I was saving from day 1 of moving in. Most homes average 100-300 a month in electricity here far outweighing the tiny amount of my mortgage payment covering the $6,750. So my advice is if your lot meets the requirements and you can wrap it in a low rate mortgage you can save day 1. If you can't the picture can change drastically.