Pool Frequent Asked Questions:
How long does it take to build a pool?
Once all the planning and preparations are made, the actual building process only takes a few days. Generally, we can go from bare ground to having water in the pool within three days. The electrical hook-up, gas line installation, concrete apron and fencing should take one to two weeks depending on weather, inspections and scheduling.
How do I choose a pool builder?
Be sure to get referrals and visit your neighborhood pool store. Talk to neighbors about their experience before, during and after the pool was installed. Choose a reliable, local company, that been building and servicing pools for a long time. Be sure the contractor has had a chance to see and walk your property so they are familiar with the yard before giving an estimate. Are they a member of APSP?
For most builders, the majority of the materials or supplies needed for your pool will come from one or two distributors. The way a builder uses these products and the way they are installed will make the biggest difference in the project. Obviously, “you get what you pay for” will have an affect on performance as well, lower prices usually means less quality.
Owning a pool is a lot like having child, you don’t remember the pain of child birth as much as you remember the life of the child. Hopefully, you will get many years of enjoyment out of your pool and for this to happen, you will need to rely on the experts to make sure that your water chemistry and pool equipment are performing at their best.
What type of pool do I choose?
Choosing a pool will depend on the space you have available, the look you want and how you intend on using it. Your choice should fit your budget, meets your current needs (kids) plus the needs of the future (grandkids). Entertaining, volleyball, basketball, swimming laps, diving, or just floating on a mat can be done with a properly built pool. Also, you want a pool that looks good and compliments your yard. This is a big investment, and if you ever plan to sell your home, you'll have to consider what potential homebuyers will think too.
How much time does it take to maintain a pool?
The amout of use, location, chemical application, weather, automatic cleaner and type of pool cover will determine how much time is spent maintaining a pool. If your pool has an automatic cover, the elements have less of an affect on the water, water chemistry and heat loss.
As a rule, the water should be tested twice a week and then adjusting the chemical levels accordingly. Check the filter pressure and clean if necessary. It will help to brush of the pool walls and bottom when or vacuum when needed. This can take 20 – 30 minutes each time depending on your pool environment.
How long should I run my pump?
For residential pools, it’s recommended that the pool pump runs long enough each day to filter all of the water in the pool at least once. Pool, pump, and pipe size will determine the actual gallons per minute your pool system is capable of.
Calculate the number of gallons of water in your pool. Determine the flow rate of your pump/system in gallons per minute (using a flow meter is the only good way to determine for sure what the flow rate is) then divide the gallons by the flow rate to get the number of minutes you need to run the pump to turn or filter all of the water once.
For example, if you have a 20000 gal pool and a flow rate of 25 gallons per minute, it will take 800 minutes (or about 13 hrs and 20 min) to filter all of the water once.
Investigating multi-speed energy efficient pumps, like the Pentair IntelliFlo models could be a benefit to you.
What is the correct balance for my pool water?
Free Chlorine: 1.0 – 3.0 ppm
Bromine: 2.0 – 4.0 ppm
Baquacil Biguanide: 30 – 50 ppm
Total Alkalinity: 80 – 150 ppm
pH: 7.4 – 7.6
Calcium Hardness: 200 – 400 ppm (levels for vinyl pools should be lower than in
TDS (total dissolved solids): 450 ppm
What chemicals do I need?
Proper water chemistry is essential to maintaining a safe and consistent swimming pool environment.
Sanitizers: The disinfectants that destroy harmful or otherwise objectionable organisms.
Alkalinity and pH: Maintain an acid-base relationship and acid buffering capacity.
Chlorine Stabilizer: Helps prevent unnecessary loss of chlorine due to the sun.
Algaecide: Kills and prevents algae growth.
Salt: Used in pools that have a salt to chlorine generator.
Filter Aids/Clarifiers: Helps your filter remove foreign material.
Do pools have a warranty?
Fort Wayne Pool’s Sterling Pool line offers a lifetime one-time transferable warranty on their pools. Equipment manufactures for, pumps, filters heaters etc. will vary depending on the product and manufacturer.
What are heat pumps?
A heat pump is a machine or device that diverts heat from one location at a lower temperature to another location at a higher temperature using a high-temperature heat source. A heat pump can be used to provide heating or cooling. Even though the heat pump can heat, it still uses the same basic refrigeration cycle to do this. In other words a heat pump can change which coil is the condenser and which the evaporator. This is normally achieved by a reversing valve. In cooler climates it is common to have heat pumps that are designed only to provide heating.
What are these energy efficient pumps?
Generally speaking, energy efficient pumps are usually two-speed or multi-speed pumps. Multi-speed pumps like the Pentair IntelliFlo work in the same way as two speed pumps, but can be run at many RPM’s. This means they can be run at even lower speeds than 2 speed pumps. (A two speed pump runs at about 1725 RPM's at low speed) Multi speed pumps have several advantages over two speed pumps, and there are several companies that make or are in the process of releasing multi speed pumps.
Some advantages of multi-speed pumps:
1) Can save more electricity than 2 speed pumps (depending on speed selected and 2 speed pump's HP). With multi speed pumps you get a lower low setting and a higher high setting. A two speed pump has a set horsepower at high speed and low speed is half the RPM's. With a multi speed pump you can use less electricity than a two speed pump on day to day filtering, but get higher flow than a two speed pump for something like a pool cleaner, waterfall or spa jets.
2) Have built in software that shuts the pump off if it runs dry saving costly repairs or shuts off if there is an obstruction in the plumbing.
3) Built with permanent magnet motors that produce less heat than regular induction motors and also 30% more efficient (even at high speed)
4) Has software that automatically finds the most efficient speed to run (RPM's)
How long should a solar blanket last?
Most solar blankets come with a three or five year warranty. The warranty usually only covers manufacturer’s defects like a seam separation or the delamination. Your solar blanket should last beyond the warranty period if, when you remove the blanket from the pool, you store it or protect it from direct sunlight.
What are the different sizes and shapes of in-ground pools?
Pools are like snowflakes, no two will be exactly the same. Whatever your imagination or whatever your budget, a pool can be built to suit your needs. You’re specific purpose for the pool should dictate what size or shape is built. If diving is something that is important there are certain size and depth minimums that must be met.
What are the different sizes and shapes of aboveground pools?
Rounds and ovals are the most popular shapes for above-ground pools, some manufactures us a wall system that allows for some other options because of how the walls are braced or placed in a footing. Rounds can be as small as 10’ across and as big as 33’. Ovals can be from 12’ x 24’ to 16’ x 32’.
What is a salt generator?
A chlorine generator like the Pentair IntelliChlor converts salt (sodium chloride) electrolytically to pure chlorine. In order to utilize a chlorine generator, the pool water must be converted from a freshwater pool to what is called a "saltwater pool". This is accomplished by adding approximately 20 lbs of salt per 1000 gallons of fresh water.
The chlorine generator is installed in the pool's existing pump and filter system. In most applications, the unit is installed in the plumbing system after the filter or heater if applicable. The unit will generate pure chlorine by passing the pool water (saltwater solution) between titanium plates that are electrically charged. When the saltwater passes through this electrical field, a chemical reaction produces pure chlorine and some hydrogen gas. This treated (chlorinated) water enters the pool almost immediately and will start to kill any biological or bacterial growth. The remaining chlorine decomposes and breaks down with exposure to sunlight. The dead biological or organic material is removed from the pool by the filter system.
The system self regenerates making the purchase of chlorine unnecessary. The salt used by the process to generate chlorine is returned to the pool as salt when the chlorine breaks-down. Therefore salt is not consumed and does not need to be added, it continually recalculates through the process. The final concentration of the saltwater in a saltwater pool isn’t very high. It is about one-tenth the salinity of sea water, or roughly the same salinity as tears. The amount of salinity in the pool is much easier on your eyes, skin and hair than a freshwater pool with chlorine added.
What is an automatic cleaner?
There are three basic types of automatic pool cleaners:
Automatic Pressure-Side Cleaners
These cleaners work off of filtered water coming from a pump. The pump is either the main circulation pump, or it can be from a dedicated booster pump. A pressure-side pool cleaner is driven by water pressure from the pump that will drive the cleaner around the pool and is also what forces the debris into a filter bag on the cleaner. The most beneficial thing about a pressure-side pool cleaner is that it doesn't deposit the debris into your pool filter or pump basket.
Automatic Suction-Side Cleaners
These cleaners rely on suction to make them move and vacuum the debris off of the pool floor. There are several advantages to this. First, they act like a moving main drain or skimmer. When the cleaner is underwater, sucking debris into it, it is also sucking water through your filtration system. For years, the most reliable and popular suction cleaner has been the Pentair Kreepy Krauly.
Some suction side cleaners have the ability to scrub your pool walls. By agitating itself or its brushes as it moves around the pool, it also scrubs the walls. Since it sucks stuff right into your filter, it can remove much finer particles than a pool cleaner with a bag. Because there isn’t a need to install any additional plumbing or pumps, a suction-side pool cleaner is usually costs less to install. Pools with large or large amount of debris may not be a good candidate for this type of cleaner.
Robotic Automatic Pool Cleaners
A robotic pool cleaner uses a computer that memorize the shape and dimensions of your pool so it can clean the entire pool automatically. Some actually come with a remote control that you can use to drive it to where you want it go. Another advantage for one of these cleaners is that they come with a self-contained filter or filter bag. These filter(s) can be cleaned easily and some are even disposable. The fact that a lot of debris is being collected in these filters will allow for longer filter runs reducing the need for backwashing or cleaning your pool filter as much. Robotic pool cleaners are one of the best when it comes to small debris and sand or silt in the pool. Some cleaners will even climb the walls of your pool on their own eliminating the need for brushing.
Robotic cleaners are driven by electric motors inside the unit. The electricity that powers the cleaner comes through a cable that is plugged into an outdoor GFCI outlet. The current is converted from AC to low voltage DC power. Some cleaners like the Maytronics dx models will operate for as little as $.15/cleaning.