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  1. #1
    RTM
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    pool installation

    My wife and I decided our family would get a lot of use & joy out of a pool. after "interviewing" several pool-owning friends & family members we're ready to go. of course their experience is all they have to go by, so I was hoping to get some more input.

    I've done preliminary research on salt chlorination vs. chemical chlorination. I think I'll go with the salt system. but I'm interested in hearing experiences and suggestions on that, plus all else you may want to offer.

    what are the must-have vs. unnecessary accessories?
    any suggestions for things we should add during the construction phase to avoid "OH, I wish I had done that!" later on? for example, I may add a cabana w/shower, toilet, etc. in the future. figured I'll have the guys run conduit & plumbing and cap it off until I'm ready.
    Is there a message board or resource online that you'd recommend for unbiased research?

    I'm not even sure what questions to ask, so thanks in advance for any insight.

  2. #2
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    I have never owned a pool, but based on one friend's experience I can offer this:

    Make sure when you're getting quotes that both you and the installer understand every aspect of zoning, set-back rules and other legalities on where and how the pool can be put on your property. Our friend had a signed contract for a fixed price to have their pool installed in one part of their property, only to find out after the fact (but before digging started) that the setback laws wouldn't allow it. They ended up having the pool installed farther back on their land which cost over $10,000 more than the original contract.

  3. #3
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    Just my two cents...I have a chlorine pool but have friends with salt pools. Ask some pool supply shops how long the salt cell is expected to last and how much they are to replace. Also in AZ when it gets really hot a salt pool can turn really quickly if the salt system is not working properly. I just think that its one more thing to fail on a system, whereas chlorine is really simple. I buy one 35lb bucket/year on avg and it feeds my 10,500 gallon pool just fine.

    Oh, and inquire about a variable-speed pump for the filter system. They're about twice as expensive as a regular pump, but they will easily pay for themselves over time. Plus, they're quiet, really quiet.

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  4. #4
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    I have 35 years in water and wastewater treatment and I have my own consulting business. Depending on your location you might want to consider ozone treatment for your pool. When you get close to starting your project pm me and we can chat.

  5. #5
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    There's always coming out with new ways of building pools, we're talking in ground I'm assuming, so I don't really know enough about the different ways to comment. I will say that I added salt system a few years ago and couldn't be happier. So much better to swim in, much less $ to run, and no more testing the water every few days and adding chems. I rarely even check it anymore because when I do it's spot on, and stays clean. Make sure you get a big enough salt system to handle your pool, and I'd recommend an oversized pump/filter. Just makes maintenance much easier. Oh, and stay away from cartridge filters, they'll keep you running to the store for new ones, they just don't clean-up to well too often, cartridges that is.
    As far as outdoor plumbing, I'd recommend one way valves on both hot and cold, cheap enough and keeps the water going in the direction you want, out, and avoids mixing hot with cold to any other plumbing in your house. In some places that's code. Also have it designed so it fully drains for winter to avoid any cracking pipes.
    BTW, I'm on Long Island in case you don't remember so our climates and salt experience should be the same. Hope you have a whole house water filter in your neck of the woods. If not, definitely get your water checked pronto.
    Last edited by theMeat; 09-10-2012 at 05:48 PM.
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  6. #6
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    In a former life I was a "pool-guy". My knowledge is dated, but things that I'd consider:
    1) a pool design that helps the pool clean itself to minimize cleaning - it will be worth the effort. I worked on a couple that the filter return design was so good the pools almost never got dirty.
    2) Check you lanscaping - some plants make a mess of your pool
    3) sand filters are the way to go IMHO. DE will filter to a smaller particle size, but sand is fine. As mentioned earlier - cartrdge filters are the worst choice.
    4) Outdoor showers and deck drains are awesome.
    5) Consider adding a connected hot tub. Oversize the heater to make it heat fast. (Good for sore old muscles. My experience - yours may vary.)
    6) Lastly, the piece of knowledge I got from a pool company owner/boss: "A boat is a hole in the water you fill with money. A pool is a hole in the ground you fill with money."
    Last edited by debaucherous; 09-10-2012 at 03:12 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Make sure its gonna be skateable too, so when you decide its too much maintenance you can drain the water. Skate pool coping, steps, hips, and nice transtions should be considered when going this route. hehe.
    You're not entitled to anything until you work hard and earn it. CMQ

  8. #8
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    Salt won't work witht he water hardness where I live, but it's not like chlorine is that big of a deal. I'd give you my pool in a heartbeat if there was a way to move it.

  9. #9
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    I have had chlorine and salt pools. I prefer the ease of chlorine but I prefer to swim in salt. As stated above if things go bad with a salt pool the suck happens really quickly so you have to be a little more watchful.

    Pebbletech finish instead of plaster. There is no downside to this advice.

    Here in So Utah it gets hot. Before we had a pool my kids never went outside in the summer. Now they never come in. I would also prefer them and their friends to be here instead of at another house where the parenting could be sub par.

  10. #10
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    I have a salt pool and love it.

    It is true the salt cells are expensive and only last 2-3 years and are $350 to replace.

    If you are getting an inground pool be wary of the costs quoted for installation. When I had my pool installed they hit bedrock 4' down.

    It doubled the price of my pool

  11. #11
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    If you are thinking about a pool heater, I would suggest going solar you will save money in the long run. My sister has it and it is super cheap. The electric heater only turns on when they have 4 days of no sun. And the solar does heat up the water quickly.

  12. #12
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    Couple of things to consider, my location is OHIO
    Variable speed pump is a must depending on your price per KW.
    I prefer the liner due to the freeze thaw in OHIO.
    You need to clean your generator every year with a muratic acid.
    When you get a new air conditioner get a heat pump so you can
    utilize it as a pool heater.
    Make sure they put a suction line in the very bottom of the pool you
    get a more consistent temp by pulling the water from the bottom than
    just the skimmer. Just a couple of things to consider. Peace Good Luck

  13. #13
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    I have spent my entire working life building and servicing swimming pools, all in-ground.
    There has been some good advice given here. Do your homework so that you can ask intelligent questions. Research your builders and ask for several references from each. Ask the customers if they would choose to use the same builder again.
    We do a lot of salt water generation rather than chlorine feeding. It's got it's plusses and minuses. Salt (obviously) can induce more corrosion, not only on your pool itself, but on the things around it. (automatic cover, slides, anything metallic that the water comes in contact with)

    When all else fails, treat it as you would a bike...look at what components you really want, and what ones you can live without or can live with lesser ones. But two speed or multi-speed pumps are a no-brainer. Huge money savings and quick pay-off.

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  14. #14
    RTM
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    this is all great info guys. exactly the stuff I was hoping for. thanks all!

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  16. #16
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    Be prepared to toss a $20 in it every time you walk by. Nobody here was motivated to winter ours this year so it only got a lick and a promise. Honestly part of me hopes the thing is dead in the spring so I can just hire it filled up. Don't underestimate how much of your time the thing will consume. Ours is a 20x40 inground.
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