Swimming Pool Building Options
When you shop for a new car, experts suggest you make a list of the accessories you really want and are willing to pay for and shop price on that basis alone. It's good advice too, when you're building a pool. Let me toss out a few accessories the salesman might fail to mention :
A Lap Pool: Solves the problem of what to do after you jump into the water. Most pools are simply too small for swimming, not enough room in the shallow end for team games.
A Diving Board: If you're considering one, don't. Kids can jump off the side of the pool and for what you'll save on insurance and emergency room charges, you can send 'em to college.
Prevailing winds: Wind typically blows surface scum to the Eastern end of the pool. Have the skimmer mounted here to remove it.
D.E. Filter (left): Most pool contractors use the cartridge filter for two good reasons; they're cheaper and easier to install. For the tri- yearly trips for powder, you'll have much purer water, faster recovery after a pool party, fewer algae and dirt problems with 'D.E.'.
A Nite Light: Pool equipment is typically placed on the loneliest side of the house. Put a motion sensor floodlight over the equipment and you won't need a third hand for a flashlight.
Plumbing Straps (right): Virtually all underground broken pipes are caused by backfill settlement. Strapping supports the plumbing, preventing leak headaches later.
A Pool Vac: All cleaner systems have advantages, this one has the fewest disadvantages.
A Spa: Adults typically spend more time in the spa. It's a high- profit item, cheaper to add now than later. Concrete spas are more durable but you're sitting in a church pew. Acrylic spas are less abrasive and more fun to slide around in.
A Handrail: Considered 'outdated' because it gets in the way of horseplay on the deck. Handy around a spa where just a moments imbalence can result in a bad fall.
Extra Tile: All tile is subject to breakage and limited production runs. Have the contractor leave a dozen of each kinds of tile (waterline, step etc.) used on the pool to assure a color match.
A pool light? Excellent idea ! Just be sure they install it in the wall closest to the house or main seating area. This way, you get the light without looking directly into the glare of a 400 watt bulb.
Extra Deck Stain: You'll spill things on the deck. Have the contractor leave a sealed gallon of your deck stain with color formula to assure a proper color and product match.
DPD ( Taylor ) Test Kit: Tests pink for free chlorine. OTO kits (tests yellow) are for people clueless as to why they're even testing the water. If you're going to test pool water, get results you can use.
Minimum 2 " Suction-side Plumbing: You'll eliminate the headaches of a clogged line and be able to add any other accessory (like solar heat or a larger pump) without expensive repiping.
1 hp Pool Pump: 3/4 hp is adequate, this pump moves more water. All the pumps are good, Sta- Rite still makes the best. The features of easy strainer basket,impeller access and simple ' O ' ring replacement are poorly copied by the competition.
Stand- Alone Chlorinator: The in- line model works by choking your filtered water flow. I use liquid chlorine as a general sanitizer, but tablets come in handy on vacation.
Non swimmers or weak swimmers are alerted to an 8' deep end with a decorative tile line. Installing a $10 set of in-wall rope anchors now lets you drop in a temporary float line any time you need a little extra peace of mind.
Pole Hooks: A small item, hooks keep the pool poles organized and off the deck. Have them mounted within reach, out of sight, on the screen supports, if practicable.
Jandy Valves (w/ grease nibs): The more expensive model will give you decades of service. The best built valve for pools, availability of parts makes this the only acceptable manual valve.
Diamond Brite: Or equal, assuming you're having a concrete pool built. Some 'equals' aren't. Marquis' receipe offers more expensive white cement for an even smoother finish.
Heat Pumps: More consistent, more reliable, less maintenance, fewer problems. Solar does a fine job on consistently clear, hot summer days but when, exactly, did you say you wanted warmer water and what are those solar panels doing to your roof structure?
Chlorine Salt Systems: Generate Free Chlorine Forever !!! Every pool contractor sells one and four years from now, they'll be pushing another brand. That's the typical life span of not only the generator, but many manufacturers. It's the pool industries version of a hydrogen car that runs on water. Some big names like Diamond Shamrock, Kreepy Krawley and Porpoise have tried and failed to get this 'great on paper/ illusion in the real world' idea to work. Electronics just can't survive a lonely, wet environment and the cells will either clog or burn out, but that doesn't keep people from trying... or buying. And for every pool owner willing to hand over $600 to $800, there is always someone happy to take it.
An Equipment Cover: Your pump, filter and heater will last three times as long with a simple rain cover and the PVC piping won't get quickly brittle from sun exposure.
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