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Postby bymyhand » Fri 29 May, 2009 18:13

I just got a quote back for a pool and I was wondering if you guys could you please give me your feedback on any opinions you have on the setup?


Pool Specs:
Deep end width 16 ft
Shallow end width 20 ft
Length 34 ft
Shallow depth 3-5 ft
Deep end depth 8 ft
Perimeter 93 ft
Surface area 455
Gallonage 16210

Here are the options I am getting:

Cleaning system:
A&A in floor cleaning system with cam driven switchable pressure heads
Leaf Vac
1 venturi skimmer rated at 50-70 GPM
1 A&A AVSC Channel Drain

Auto water leveler


2 IntelliBrite LED pool lights

4p 4PSC IC40 Wireless operation
4 Aux Wireless controller
Intellitch Valve Actuator

Water feature:
50 sq ft Grotto Waterfall
2 jumping rocks on deep end

Exposed aggregate concrete
Acrylic Faux flagstone
(Haven’t decided which on I want to go for yet.)

Pool surface:
Black pearl pebble tec

Blue Dot 6x6 tile around the water line

The filter listed in the quote is:
Modular media 600 microban filter sta-rite

but I think It’s this product:
System:3 Modular Media Filters

VS 3050 Variable speed pump

A couple of questions I have are:

The skimmer is rated at 50-70 GPM, do I need more than one for this size pool?

They only put one drain on the quote as well, which is rated at 225 GPM, do I need more than one of these too?

The sales person wasn’t currently able to tell me the GPM requirement for the grotto but said that I wouldn’t be able to run the cleaning system and grotto on the same pump at the same time. Would there be any reason why I would want to do this?

I was wondering how often I need to keep the skimmer on? The sales guy said as long as I want it to be on but what do you guys recommend?

With the Intellitouch I should be able to automate everything separately correct? Can I change the pump speed with the different systems? Would there be anything I would need to do that this system wouldn’t support? They said they were going setup separate valves for the Skimmer, water feature, and cleaning system.

Because of the back and forth about the in floor cleaning system they are going to run a separate line for a vacuum cleaning system. I thought this would be a good way to protect myself in the future in case the in floor cleaning system doesn’t pan out. Should I wait until I have an issue to rewire the Intellitouch to work with the vacuum cleaning system or should I get the 8p 8PSC IC40 and have them set it up now?

Thanks in advance for all of your help on these questions!

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Postby Me... » Sat 30 May, 2009 09:43

I like to make the pool capable of a 4 hour turnover with a 2 speed pump but use low speed for regular use. This make the pool very capable and very efficient. That would be about 66 gallons per minute so needing something like a 3/4hp pump and 30" sand filter. I stay away from DE and cartridge as I think of them as a pain in the butt with excess maintenance and no extra benefit.

The pump they spec is good for up to about 150 gpm, so great! But make sure they use a filter capable of that, I would use a 36" sand filter. As a matter of fact there is no reason you couldn't use 2 x 30" filters although that is total overkill for this size pool. Just make sure the controller kicks the pump down to the proper backwash speed.

I would absolutely double on Main Drains, just read about the VGB act for entrapment safety. Skimmers are good for about 400 sq.ft. so 1 would be fine, 2 if it fit in nicely of course would be better. Circulation is the best thing you can do for your pool. I would scrap the infloor cleaning but use floor returns, maybe 6 or so.

No cleaning system? Now the grotto will work whenever you want, tons of water and in fact you don't need all that pump now but they are nice pumps to use. You can set it circ the water inside the pool with lots left to run the grotto. The beauty is that with that pump you can run it at a very low efficient speed that adequately circulates everything. And plenty of water for the backwash.

I also would scrap the salt system unless you live in the tropics and the pool will be getting lots of sun all the time. I much prefer using automated liquid chlorine and acid systems. Much more controllable, no sacrificial parts and well, I just prefer them. Also don't hear complaints about pool parts becoming part of the sacrificial ceremony either, ever.

The intellitouch are great systems but make sure it is a model that allows you to add in the future if you have concerns, some are limited. As for vacuuming, just use a simple vac that plugs in the skimmer like a Navigator. No extra pump or line needed and they do a fantastic job of vacuuming. There is no cleaner that will adequately scrub the walls as well as you (or the neighbors kid) can with a brush.

Your pool sounds like it will be very nice just they way they have laid it out. The above is just how I would do it. If you want all the automation go for it. Otherwise a 36" sand filter and a good 1.5hp 2-speed pump will run it too. Well, depending on the grotto requirement. And for a lot of fun, there are remote control cleaners you can drive around your pool like a car. I think those should be mandatory.

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Postby Guest » Sat 30 May, 2009 10:35

First of all thanks for your feedback!

What issues do you have with the DE and cartridge filters? The sales person was trying to sell me on the fact that it will only have to be maintained twice a year by cleaning it? but with the sand i will have to backwash it about every week. What is your take on this?

The drain they quoted me was this one:

Just from the size of it made me think that it wouldn't be a problem.

I live in AZ which gets way to much sun. Also I was reading a post about what you can and can't live without and almost everyone said they couldn't live without their salt system. They say the pool stays a lot more stable with less maintenance.

How many GPM do remote control cleaners use? If i plunged them into the skimmer i hear the skimmer doesn't work. Is this the case with what your talking about.

As you can probably tell I am looking for the least maintenance i can find. It may not be perfect i know but other wise I will have to pay someone to come out every two weeks. (I just know I will not do it :)


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Postby Guest » Sat 30 May, 2009 10:52

Sorry i didn't read your post correctly. You said automated liquid chlorine and acid systems. I have never heard of these. Do they test the water and add more chemicals, or just add them as you instruct them? Is there a specific manufacture that you can recommend?

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Postby Me... » Sun 31 May, 2009 09:36

There is no disposal issue with sand as there is with DE. You also never have to wash anything as you do with DE and Cartridge. Sand won't plug up so fast and bad as DE or Cartridge when Vacuuming. And with a nice size sand filter your filters runs can easily be a month. If they say you can get a year from a cartidge in your pool then backwashing would be a 2 minute job every couple of months .... maybe. But I would do a quick one every week or 2 just to keep the sand bed nice. Sand is just simple and easy and you can't really tell what filter is in use just by looking at the water. There are too many other variables.

If your pool and all equipment are built properly to take the salt water pool environment and you get a proper controller that actually turns the SWG on and off with no issues and you keep the other chemicals balanced then Salt may work fine for you. In a perfect world and on paper they look incredibly hard to beat but real world experiences have left many many people against them. Probably for many reasons but in any event the liquid feed systems always seem to work. Both systems can use the same controller and both chlorine systems will benefit from also having the acid feed system.

A remote cleaner uses electricity supplied by a cord or possibly cordless so GPM doesnt matter. Skimmer cleaners can work nicely with only 20-30 gpm and there are fittings that allow the cleaner and the skimmer to both work.

Main Drain looks good and its an approved one. It also looks like it protrudes some which can cause issues. I still prefer 2 frame & grate style main drains as they are flat, have huge area and so can take a lot of flow.

And no matter what you have a pool. You can't really automate brushing and vacuuming. You can cut it down a certain amount with different equipment. And you still need to maintain a few chemical levels although chlorine and pH are the biggies. If they are done properly the others fall into place pretty nice. Buy a good test kit and learn how to use it and learn WHY you use the different chemicals.
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Postby mr_clean » Sun 31 May, 2009 13:18

just my 2-cents,
The Sta-Rite System 3 Modular Media Filters are very good filters & need to be cleaned once a year.
There in my opinion the best cartridge filter as they use both the outside and inside of the element/cartridges as the suction holes insert into the body of the cartridge.
Even the different cartridge filters that have four inside & only use the outside of the element/cartridge are still good filters.
It's the cartridge filters with only 1 cartridge that need to be cleaned monthly as they are normally to small.

DE filters are also very good filters & considered the best. Yes you do need to clean once a year & backwash when gauge shows arise in pressure like a sand filter.

I think it comes down to personal choice but in So Cal no one uses sand filters.

As for salt water pools, Know you need to clean the salt cells just like a filter but using a water/acid mix and are very expensive to replace. Find out what the warranty is from your PB for the salt system as replacement cells come with 1yr warranties.
Also salt does not mix well with all stone around pool and can cause problems with you having to put sealer on the stone yearly. The chemical balance in salt pools are also more important & need to be checked more than with basic pool using chlorine.

A&A in floor cleaning system with cam driven switchable pressure heads, call company & see what they tell you about warranty if you have salt pool. They are not cheap to fix...Suction cleaners work good and do plug into the skimmer but come with regulators which allow you to still skim the pool. Your PB can also add a suction pipe on the wall by skimmer that allows you to plug it in there & still skim with basket in skimmer if you perfer that. The cleaner I perfer is Poolvergnuegen 2-wheel model which you can find www.thepoolcleaner.com
I perfer this over the others as it can not get stuck in corners, steps/stairs like others as the suction is not against the ground (2" away with wheels) and goes in reverse and different direction after so many revolutions automatically.

dealing With the water fall you should also know the calcium buildup which will look white scum, will build up on tile/stone from water splashing & will be a pain to clean.

wireless controlls, there ok but more expensive to fix, your equipment is only in the backyard and walking over to a manual valve or switch & turning it on is not hard to do & cheaper to repair in long run. again personal choice.

Black pearl pebble tec, personal choice just make sure you take off your shoes/socks and feel it. some people think its ruff on the feet.
the PH in pebble tech pools need 7.2 - 7.6 reading or will sometimes get metal staining & if having a salt pool which has a higher PH could be an issue.

two main drains in some areas are now mandatory so for any reason something or more important someone's hair where to get sucked in this main drain will automatically shut of and switch to the other one.

hope this helps as most things come down to personal choice & money in the long run.

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Postby Guest » Sun 31 May, 2009 16:48

I really appreciate all the advice you guys have given!

I am kinda curious as to when you turn on the drain, skimmer, cleaning system, and grotto? From what i am reading you need to recycle the water once a day and that would entail sucking the water from the drain through the pump, filter, SWG and back to the returns (pool). while that is going the skimmer should be on. Also the recommended time to cycle the water is about 8 hours. Now, do i run the skimmer alone at any other time during a normal day? I would then need to use the cleaning system once a week to clean the pool. Again the skimmer, drain, and cleaning system will be going. Finally when i want to use the grotto i will need the drain, (to get the water from somewhere), the grotto, and the skimmer. So it seems like I will be pushing a lot of water through the system during the cleaning system and while the grotto in on. At all other times the GPM should be pretty low. Does this sound right to you guys?

There seems to be a lot of things in pools that are a love/hate thing. Some people love them and some people hate them and it has to do with just about everything from filters, to cleaning systems, to SWGs. I chose the SWG because so many people came back and said they loved theirs and couldn't live without them. Also I am in AZ and from what I am reading they work better out here or other options don't work as well. I am really looking for a well balanced pool with the least amount of maintenance. So are you saying I will need to do less testing, adding, modifying, and green pool possibility with an automated chlorine system than a salt system?

For the calcium build up won't the salt help with that because of the softened water? We have very hard water down here and its always an issue.

I want to put my pool equipment further away then my PB initially suggested. What are the issues with the pool equipment's distance from the pool. Is a more powerful pump needed. Is there a calculation that you use for distance?

Will the extra drain work better with my infloor cleaning system?

I am going to have a secondary cleaning system option ran while its being built but i am reading that the best are the robots, second is pressure, and third is suction. So i was thinking of running a dummy pressure line instead of a suction one. Or should i just not run any and just get a robot if the infloor doesn't work good enough. Price is not really that big of an issue. I am looking for ease of operation, little work on my part, and something that does a good job cleaning.

Thanks for the info on the filters! :) and yea we have already checked out if we liked how rough the pebble tec was. We both didn't have a problem with it.

thanks again guys!!

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