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Building a New Pool or Refinishing an Existing Pool
Tips from a pool cleaner

* Avoid a salt chlorine generating system - They are expensive to install and expensive to repair when they break down. You can buy about 10 years worth of chlorine for the cost to install the system. They do have some benefits, but the pH and total alkalinity are constantly out of balance, they require quantities of muriatic acid, and often salt and stabilizer; salt pools are more susceptible to staining from high pH and alkalinity. The disadvantages typically outweigh the advantages. You will NOT save money with a salt pool, regardless of what your builder tells you. He will make more money by installing a salt system. Salt pools are trendy. If you want to get one because they are trendy, you should. But you will not save money and you will have more problems because salt pools are more complicated.
*Avoid pop-up or floor sweep valves in the floor of the pool. They are designed to move debris towards the drain, but more typically move the debris to dead spots on the floor of the pool. They are expensive to install and repair. They do not allow for an automatic cleaner. They interfere with vacuuming through the skimmer. They are toe stubbers in the shallow end of the pool and tend to break when hit during brushing. If they get stuck in one position, they can cause staining. They are effective in some screened in pools.
* Most of the time an automatic cleaner in the pool is a good idea. It needs its own dedicated plumbing line. I like the Hayward Navigator and the Polaris 280 or 360, although there are other good models on the market.
* Install more than one skimmer, each with a dedicated line to the pump and a valve at the pump. Install a valve for the main drain at the inlet side of the pump also. All valves should be swimming pool quality of the highest grade. They will be there a long time. Do not use metal valves as they can cause staining. Install one skimmer at the leeward end of an outdoor pool. Let the wind help you.
* Remove as much vegetation as possible near the pool. An ounce of prevention.
* Screened in enclosures make sense for some pools. You have to keep the screen clean though. Algae collects on the screen and washes in with rain. They are quite expensive to install and repair. Pool water is usually a little cooler than an open pool in the same space.
* Install the pump and timer as close to the pool as practical. Someone will be walking back and forth from the pump and the pool multiple times during cleaning.
* A simple Intermatic electro-mechanical timer is the most practical way to run the pump. Unless you have a genuine need for a computerized control inside the house, avoid them. They are complicated, expensive to install and expensive to repair.
* A simple cartridge filter system is the most practical type for most pools. Sand and DE filters have their advantages.
* A spill over spa is a cost effective way to add a spa. to your pool. Valves allow you to heat either the spa or the pool or both. Also consider a free standing, self contained fiberglass spa. The price of a fiberglass spa may be competitive with a spill over spa and heater, especially if you are not going to heat the pool.
* Heat pump heaters and fuel type heaters both have their advantages. Ask your builder or supplier what the differences are.
* It costs @ $1500 a year in the Jacksonville, Florida area to maintain a 20,000 gallon pool yourself and more than double that if you pay a service. Expenses are chemicals, water, electricity, repairs, and labor.
* Use a good quality in line chlorinator or an inexpensive floating dispenser.
* Use an established builder/refinisher with a good reputation. They will stick with you if problems arise. Price alone is not a good criteria for choosing a contractor.
* Build or refinish in the Spring or Fall when the weather is the nicest. All things being equal, comfortable workers do a better job.
* If the water table in your area is high, or the pool is adjacent to a pond, lagoon, lake, or river, especially if there is a tide change, install a plug instead of a hydro static valve in the main drain cavity. Hydro static valves are subject to unintentional opening and sticking open due to high surrounding water levels and tide changes.
* Use 45 degree fittings instead of 90's for all turns in the plumbing.
* There are several choices for a finish for your pool. Typically the more expensive ones will last longer and look better if kept up.
* Initial care after pool is finished is critical. Follow the finishers instructions faithfully. Keep the water balanced (especially the pH and total alkalinity) and brush the entire pool daily for 4 weeks (It's your pool). Use a metal and stain control product, such as Natural Chemistry's ScaleFree or Metal Free (no phosphates), upon startup. This is often overlooked. Document all chemicals added and work done to the pool after start up. Pool finishes take up to a year to cure completely.
* Pay a pool service technician to give you an instruction on pool care. They are available through the larger pool care companies or use an independent state licensed service contractor. Your finisher or builder may provide this for you.