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"Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"

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squidychoi (44 posts) Click to EMail squidychoi Click to send private message to squidychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Aug-15-02, 07:46 PM (EDT)
"Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
I just started on my pool project this week, being the GC myself, and will be documenting its construction progress on my website (http://bschoi.rois.net/)

I just finished layout, and am currently in the middle of excavation. I'm doing the website for my own benefit, but I think others may find it interesting to get a glimpse of what a GC has to go through (albeit a newbie GC). I will attempt to capture as much information and detail as I can as I go through process of each of the 20 or so subs so that it will be as informative as possible.

This posting is actually a continuation of another thread, which has since been locked down due to its length. For that go to:

http://www.poolforum.com/dcforum/DCForumID4/533.html

The 2nd to the last poster on that previous thread said something that got me thinking. He said if I kept the website up to date with detailed information, that any problems could probably be solved by someone here in short order.

I don't know if anyone is interested in helping a hard-headed, stubborn newbie who insists on GC'ing a pool himself, but I would really appreciate anyone who might be able to point out potential problems with anything I'm doing BEFORE I get to the next phase of construction. I'm sure many out there wish they did things differently and I'm guessing I would benefit from your experience in a major way. So don't be shy. I would forever be grateful. Maybe together we can collectively GC this baby - a worldwide GC Borg

I'll post updates the pool here in this forum as each phase completes - I'll try to be fairly up-to-the-minute, getting info up there within a day or so of phase completion.

As of right now, the excavators have left for the day. They originally estimated that the job would take 1-1/3 days, but its now looking like a full 2 days due to the distance they need to drive to dump the dirt.

BenC

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  Table of Contents

  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... drbob101 Aug-16-02 1
   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Aug-18-02 8
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... perryl Aug-16-02 2
   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... Poconos Aug-16-02 3
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... StevenHB Aug-16-02 4
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... raffuj Aug-16-02 5
   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidychoi Aug-16-02 6
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Aug-18-02 7
   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... Poconos Aug-18-02 9
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... Padudeman Aug-20-02 10
   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidychoi Aug-20-02 11
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidychoi Aug-20-02 12
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Sep-02-02 13
   Subs- a long post wirenut Sep-06-02 14
       RE: Subs- a long post JETTA Sep-06-02 15
       RE: Subs- a long post squidychoi Sep-07-02 16
       RE: Subs- a long post raffuj Sep-07-02 17
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Sep-08-02 18
   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... Padudeman Sep-09-02 19
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Sep-10-02 20
   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... Padudeman Sep-10-02 21
       RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidychoi Sep-10-02 22
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Sep-14-02 23
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Sep-15-02 24
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Sep-17-02 25
   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... Padudeman Sep-17-02 26
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Sep-22-02 27
   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... RegGuheert Sep-22-02 28
       RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Sep-23-02 29
           RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Sep-27-02 30
               RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... RegGuheert Oct-02-02 31
                   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Oct-03-02 32
                       RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... RegGuheert Oct-03-02 33
                           RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidychoi Oct-03-02 34
                               RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... RegGuheert Oct-03-02 35
                                   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... CarlD Oct-03-02 36
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Oct-04-02 37
   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... RegGuheert Oct-04-02 38
   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... CarlD Oct-04-02 39
   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidychoi Oct-04-02 40
       RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... RickyK48 Oct-05-02 41
           RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidychoi Oct-05-02 42
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Oct-07-02 43
   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... PatL34 Oct-08-02 44
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Oct-10-02 45
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Oct-21-02 46
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Oct-24-02 47
   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... BeanTown Nov-15-02 49
       RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Nov-15-02 50
           RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... mrmrsav Nov-15-02 51
           RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... BeanTown Nov-15-02 52
               RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidychoi Nov-15-02 53
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidychoi Nov-01-02 48
   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... utah Nov-19-02 58
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Nov-17-02 54
   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... RegGuheert Nov-17-02 55
       RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Nov-18-02 56
           RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... RegGuheert Nov-18-02 57
           RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... RegGuheert Nov-27-02 60
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Nov-25-02 59
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Dec-02-02 61
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Dec-13-02 62
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... meopm Dec-14-02 63
   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Dec-14-02 64
       RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... meopm Dec-14-02 65
           RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... floorguy Dec-17-02 66
               RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... meopm Dec-17-02 67
                   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Dec-18-02 68
                       RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... RegGuheert Dec-19-02 69
                           RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... meopm Dec-19-02 70
                       RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Dec-23-02 71
                           RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... RegGuheert Dec-23-02 72
                               RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... meopm Dec-23-02 73
                               RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Dec-23-02 74
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Jan-09-03 75
   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... mrmrsav Jan-10-03 76
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Feb-09-03 77
   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... jstacey818 Feb-17-03 78
   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... mrmrsav Feb-19-03 79
 RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... squidlychoi Feb-20-03 80
   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... MattK Feb-20-03 81
   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... maddogkf Feb-22-03 82
       RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... maddogkf Feb-23-03 83
   RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Pro... CarlD Feb-24-03 84

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Messages in this topic

drbob101 (56 posts) Click to EMail drbob101 Click to send private message to drbob101 Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Aug-16-02, 08:13 AM (EDT)
1. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Ben,

What an excellent documentation of your project. I will enjoy watching it progress as we start to set into winter up here in the cold north. I have family in AZ, love to see the completed project sometime.

You mentioned a couple times about the "bondbeam". I read through your website and couldn't find an explanation of it. Most recently you had an issue with it in relationship to the grade. Could you please explain that in a bit more detail.

Thanks and best wishes,
Bob

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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Aug-18-02, 01:51 AM (EDT)
8. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Bob,

The bond beam is the upper portion of the pool shell which forms the "lip" of it, if you will. I have all the gory details of what it is along with the relationship of the bond beam to the patio slab and the grading issue.

You can find it in the excavation link (which I just updated minutes ago) at http://bschoi.rois.net//

BenC

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perryl (4 posts) Click to EMail perryl Click to send private message to perryl Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Aug-16-02, 10:07 AM (EDT)
2. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Your website is wonderful, very detailed and I enjoyed 'looking-over-your-shoulder'. I will be one to review your progress all along the way. I am anxious to see the problems you encounter along the way, the resolution(s) and the final, completly built pool. I DO wish for you the BEST OF LUCK!!
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Poconos (358 posts) Click to EMail Poconos Click to send private message to Poconos Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Aug-16-02, 10:21 AM (EDT)
3. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Ben,
Great site. Spent an hour so far reading and will come back later to finish. Kudo's for the effort and info. Best of luck for the end result.
Al
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StevenHB (24 posts) Click to EMail StevenHB Click to send private message to StevenHB Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Aug-16-02, 11:05 AM (EDT)
4. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Keep up the good work! The website was an excellent way to mitigate the long-term vs. short-term concern I raised about your relationship with your subs. Think about that reference value that the subs (assuming that they do a good job) will get from your site.
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raffuj (12 posts) Click to EMail raffuj Click to send private message to raffuj Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Aug-16-02, 03:11 PM (EDT)
5. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
LAST EDITED ON Aug-16-02 AT 03:26 PM (EDT)

Well, you asked for suggestions/comments, here goes:

Disclaimer: I started construction of a pool in my backyard some months ago with a GC. We got as far as the gunite shell before he stopped showing up. I can only vouch on direct experience until that point, anything I claim to know outside of that is 'net knowledge'.

1. Is that a bedroom next to the pool equipment? If it is, you may want to reconsider placement. Behind the rocks looks like a nice spot. If relocation is a problem, think about putting a sound barrier (ie, wall) to hide it. I think you mentioned something about gas lines being a problem/expensive. I don't know what they're using in AZ these days, but when I got mine extended, they used a yellow plastic tube that went in rather quickly. The fittings for any 'outlets' are melted together. It seemed to me to be a lot less labor intensive than black pipe. The 18" ditch still had to be dug though!

2. Waterfall into the spa? Do you plan on cooling off IN there?

3. Are those waterfalls cascading, or sheer descents? Consider how much HP you'll need to run them. You may need an extra pump, especially if they're sheers.

4. Consider a bench under the falls and along the edge of the spa. Sitting under the falls may be rather cool. The water will also be warmer in the shallow end.

5. 3' in the shallow? Do you have kids? Do you plan on having the kids stay midgets all their life? Visit some friends/neighbors' pools and see if the depth is right. Remember, it's YOUR pool get what you want!

6. I had swim jets installed in the deep end. It only cost an extra $300 or so (commercial units retail for $5k!). SWMBO likes to swim, but ours is not long enough for laps, so she got 4 large jets to push water at her.

7. Do you like to walk around the long way to see your guests when you're cooking on the grill? Which way does the prevailing wind blow?

8. I think the potential punishment/reward of having subs mentioned on the net is going to have a minimal effect on the outcome of your job. Most of these guys (the workers) can barely read and write. The owners *may* have a computer, but it's either their kids or wife that use it. Potential customers of theirs might benefit, IF they're net-savvy. Are YOU checking up on your subs on Google? I think a LOT of people on this forum will definitely benefit, so keep it up.

9. Pan to plumb in everything you can think of. Solar heating, auto filler, manual fill line, in tub controller, suction for the automatic cleaner, etc... If you don't remember to tell the plumbers to do it, they won't. Also remember to let the plumbers in before the rebar guys show up. The'll lay the main drains, and bubblers in the spa (if you want them). They'll be happy campers if you do. The gunite guys will take care of the final height of the benches, steps, etc. My steps had no rebar, but they were small. I put in a jet blowing out onto the steps to keep them clean(er).


10. (EDIT) What are you going to use for your tile? National Pool Tile has a web site with all their tiles on it. I got samples of the better ones, and most of them look rather plain, generic, and/or, well, pool-looking. Since I was building *my* ideal pool (on my less-than-ideal lot), I decided to splurge on the tiles. You don't have to go for the everyday stuff. Do some digging, just about any quality porcelain tile will work in a pool. I ended up buying hand made malibu tile (http://www.malibutile.com/) to match a tile mural I also bought from them:
Definitely not cheap, but I love it!

You may have addressed some of these in the text on your plans, but it's too small for me to read!

whew. Next!

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squidychoi (44 posts) Click to EMail squidychoi Click to send private message to squidychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Aug-16-02, 04:36 PM (EDT)
6. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Jose,

Good points -

1. I was concerned about the noise too, but the plumber re-assured me that the noise would be at the same level as the neighbor's AC units (which were on at the time so I could hear it myself). Not a problem. I'll also build a little retaining wall around it all.

2. Its more for the aesthetics than anything else which will be 99% of the time anyways. I won't have the WF into the spa ON when the spa is in use. The WF into the spa should only be on when the spa is NOT in use.

3. The waterfalls are cascading and I have a separate 2HP booster pump just for the waterfall. I'll be posting a picture of my pump/valve setup when I get to the plumbing subs. And actually, maybe I'll post it first even _before_ the plumbers come in - to get some additional suggestions from you guys before they come in. Thanks for the thought.

4. Yes - I have a bench under there. It should be in the picture.

5. Actually, I made a change to go to 3'6" after the layout came through. He mentioned the same thing and I agreed. 3ft is way to shallow. I forgot to include that info in the website, but I have it in the updated version. I'll be updating all the HTML pages at once when the excavation pages go up.

6. Thats an interesting feature - I had not considered that.

7. I'm not sure what you're getting at here.

8. For the most part, your experience is what mine has been: most subs don't even know how to use a computer. Never have and never want to. On the other hand, there are a lot of subs who do and even have their own websites. As far as checking on the subs, the AZ Registrar of Contractors has a full database on each sub including their current license status, whether or not their license is current, if it has even been suspended, and a full history of complaints (how many are open, closed, dismissed, etc.) Its actually been one of the most useful tools I've found in selecting my subs.

9. Got it - thanks

10. That tile mural looks fantastic!! Tile is one thing I'm still waffling on. Maybe you and others have an opinion here. I'm using Pebble-Tec for my interior. Some folks say that tile and Pebble-Tec clash because they achieve two totally different looks. Others say that there is a way to make it work together. I'm not convinced either way yet. Are there folks out there that have done Tile with Pebble?

Thanks,
BenC

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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Aug-18-02, 01:49 AM (EDT)
7. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Like I promised, I've updated the website with the just completed (yesterday) Excavation phase.

It went pretty smooth, but I had a couple of mini-crisis' over the two days. It didn't shake my faith in being a GC, but it teach me that I need to be a little more proactive. Read all the gory details in the link to the excavation phase at

http://bschoi.rois.net//

I tried to capture as much information as I could get talking with the subs and Mike Bolding. Again, please don't take all the information as gospel (as most of it prob won't even apply in your case). Feel free to make corrections and suggestions.

The plumber is next. I'm trying to figure out if I want him to come as early as next Tues (8/20) or wait a few days to get my act together. I want to get a few more bids for the tail end of the work. Incidentally, while I haven't formally published the plumbing page, I have the start of it somewhere on the server. For those who want to take a sneak peek, go to:

http://bschoi.rois.net/plumbing.htm (its not totally done yet)

I at least have any idea of what the valve scheme should look like and have some drawings on the page. Feel free to comment on the design, equipment, etc. Maybe I'll wait a few days to see if anyone has any problems with the scheme I'm using before scheduling the plumber. That way, I can make some corrections before going ahead with it.

Thanks,
BenC

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Poconos (358 posts) Click to EMail Poconos Click to send private message to Poconos Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Aug-18-02, 09:33 AM (EDT)
9. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Ben,
Probably trivial points since you seem to have thought out things in great detail but I'd suggest a bypass path for the heater. In Arizona I can't imagine the heater will be used that much, except for the spa, and they do present some flow resistance. 400,000 BTU seems like a hell of a heater for 11500 gal of water but I can understand wanting to quickly warm the spa. May also consider adding a small pickoff right after the sand filter for a garden hose or bigger for washing down decks etc. Considering the size of the pumps, availability of a body of water (pool), and your level of paranoia, how about a 1" firehose long enough to reach through the house? Great site...on my list of things to check daily.
Al
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Padudeman (202 posts) Click to EMail Padudeman Click to send private message to Padudeman Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Aug-20-02, 11:05 AM (EDT)
10. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
You are not the General Contractor unless you have a license, you are the Owner/Builder.
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squidychoi (44 posts) Click to EMail squidychoi Click to send private message to squidychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Aug-20-02, 11:23 AM (EDT)
11. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
hehe - sorry, I apologize

I don't know the definition of all these fancy words that get thrown around in this forum. I just pick up a lot of it listening to you guys talk.

I'm just a poser.

BenC

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squidychoi (44 posts) Click to EMail squidychoi Click to send private message to squidychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Aug-20-02, 11:40 AM (EDT)
12. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Just a quick update - I was going to have the plumber in today and the gas guy tomorrow, but I just found out that my work load is going to be intense for the rest of this week and I won't be able to work from home.

I want to be there as much as I can to see what these guys do and to take pictures, so I'll just hold off until I'm ready. My wife is home and could have recevied them, but that wouldn't have been any fun at all.

Tentatively, I scheduled everything to pick up early next week sometime. There won't be any updates until mid next week.

Thats one nice thing about being the OWNER/BUILDER - I can call the shots on my timetable. I'm in no rush. So far all the subs have come in when they said they would and done things within a 1/2 day of when they said it would get done. Imagine that - subs that know a thing or two about what they do. I'm glad I don't have to

BenC

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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Sep-02-02, 09:37 AM (EDT)
13. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Hi everyone -

I've been swamped, but I've finally updated the site with the first day of the plumbing work. Last week was a zoo at the house. I had steel and electrical subs in doing their work, and rockwork (waterfall) and shotcrete reps in doing pre-site work before their respective work can be done. Its been very rewarding, though, as I'm getting an intimate glimpse at how each sub performs their trade. I've learned a ton of stuff, and so far and I'm having a blast. Its kinda cool being able to coordinate all this stuff.

I've updated, add, and modified a ton of stuff on the website ( http://bschoi.rois.net// ). I added new sections where people have made comments to me and included information that I had just forgotten about.

I apologize that the plumbing page is a real pig though, and may take some time to download if you are using 56K. I didn't edit the photos as tight as I should have, so go get a cup of coffee while you're waiting.

The plumbers actually spread their work out over two days (I'm trying to finish up the 2nd day page now), and will be back on Tuesday to finish up work in the spa dam wall area. They said they needed the steel/rebar to be in first so that they can run their pipes through it. They also missed a few things, so its some clean up work as well.

BenC

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wirenut (3 posts) Click to EMail wirenut Click to send private message to wirenut Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Sep-06-02, 10:11 AM (EDT)
14. "Subs- a long post"
BenC,
Your web site is looking good and I have enjoyed keeping up with the progress of your pool. Of course, I am really looking forward to the electrical page(s). Since it's my day off, I was skimming back through previous sections and ended up on "The Process" page. Now, you have stated that you are telling your subs that this is all being posted on the web and believe it or not, most of us do know how to use computers and navigate the internet. "Flaky", as you put it, is not a compliment to anyone, especially your well trained subs who have gone to school, had to go through on the job training and pass difficult examinations to do the job you are hiring them for. All of your tradesmen have worked hard to know what they are doing and the people running the businesses they work for have many obstacles to face including deadlines and code requirements. I have tried hard not to take some of the comments about subs in this forum personally since I know that the homeowners don't see the whole picture or the behind the scenes work that goes into their job. You need to ask yourself this though, why would someone go out of their way to explain their entire job to you or go an extra mile on your job when you think so little of them to begin with? The men that are working on your job site are not usually the ones who set the schedule but they will take it personally when you make comments on the whole company. The schedule is set by the information we receive from the general contractor and homeowners. That can change due to the weather, materials that didn't come in on time, delays caused by others (other subs, the homeowner, inspections, the GC, etc), getting to a job and finding that changes have been made or need to be made and emergency calls that come in. You are dealing with one job, but your subs are dealing with several at the same time. Our company books our schedule about 1 to 2 weeks in advance. We warn our customers of this before the job ever starts and ask them to call for appointments early. We also expain to them that one change can effect everyone else in our schedule and that they need to keep us informed, yet we still have people call in hoping to set for next day appointments or forget to call that there were delays until we show up to a job that's not ready for us. This can happen with homeowners and general contractors alike. We become accustomed to this and know that this is bound to happen when you have busy people with busy lives who don't see the importance of keeping our schedule tight. We don't call them flaky or think less of them. You might think of giving these subs the benefit of realizing why delays happen and refer to them as pressed for time instead of flaky. Calling them flaky is implying that they are blowing your job or you off and don't care. That's just not the case. How you deal with your subs is an important part of building a pool, as you've stated before. That is the case whether you are heading the job up your self or not. It's a good idea not to insult their inteligence along the way. The most important thing to keep in mind is that not all subs are alike. Just because your last electrician decided not to show up or even call, doesn't mean that the whole electrical trade is made up of a bunch of losers. We deal with people everyday that have burned by other electrical contractors and decide that we need to be babysat. We feel for them and know what they have probably faced. At the end of the job, they are the ones that give us the most praise for our workmanship, customer relations and business skills. It looks as though you have checked out your subs thoroughly, now trust them to do the best they can with what they have to deal with. Don't peg them until they deserve it. Just for the record, you can fire a sub that doesn't live up to your expectations. Not long ago, a homeowner called and said she didn't want us back on her property. After talking with her for a bit, she explained that our technician had arrived 15 minutes late and we were fired. Now, 15 minutes doesn't seem like a lot, but it got my attention and I looked over that technician's work more carefully for the next month. He was dismissed because it had become a habit and was leaving our customers feeling raked over the coals. That same homeowner now says she wouldn't deal with anybody else but us, because we have done more jobs for her and our work is impecable and becuase we saw a problem and fixed it. If she hadn't complained and taken drastic measures, I would have never known that our reputation was being tarnished. There is always a way out in a contract for both parties. You will have to pay for the work they has already done, but in the end it may be worth it to get someone who cares about your job. Just be sure to line up the next sub to take their place before you let the old one go. Subs do not take on work in progress without some thought and a site inspection to see that they can continue without complications. I hope this helps you.
Wirenut
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JETTA (98 posts) Click to EMail JETTA Click to send private message to JETTA Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Sep-06-02, 11:15 AM (EDT)
15. "RE: Subs- a long post"
As a newer homeowner I have had my share of home improvements, such as new roof, central air and new pool install. The a/c install was the only project that involved subbing out the work (electrical & sheetmetal). I never once had an issue. My a/c system, complete, was installed in about 7 hours back in July/98 during a heatwave. I was impressed. The A/C company handled everyting timely. Each "team" showed up one after the other so each could complete the install of the system. It was amazing seeing the different contractors show up, work and leave all within the 7 hrs.
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squidychoi (44 posts) Click to EMail squidychoi Click to send private message to squidychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Sep-07-02, 00:35 AM (EDT)
16. "RE: Subs- a long post"
Wirenut,

Your point is well taken, and I apologize if I've offended or insulted anyone.

I didn't mean to put all subcontractors into the same bucket. I was merely trying to inform folks that if they think that acting as a GC is all fun and games and everything it going to go exactly as you expect, they've got another thing coming. Since such of big part of being a GC means interfacing with subs, I felt I needed to set the expectation level so that people don't get surprised when subs don't show up. If you expect things will not be perfect upfront, and it goes bad, you will most likely not be as frustrated as you would have been had you expected things to be a cakewalk. Thats all I was trying to get across.

I can't change what people have told me and what I myself have experienced. Possibly what is happening here in Arizona in particular is that we are experiencing such explosive growth that its difficult for subcontractors to keep up with the demands on their time and schedules. I fully understand that. However, I have to speak from the homeowners perspective. Thats all I can do. We want a job done, and pay subs good money to show up and do their job. Its unfortunate that my limited experience with subcontractors prior to this pool building experience has been mostly negative. I can only go by what I have gone through and what others have told me themselves. Perception is reality and up until the pool building project, my reality with subs has not been that good.

That said, I want to say that ALL of the subs I've dealt with for the pool so far have been UTTERLY SUPERB. They have been total professionals, they've bent over backwards to help me and explain things to me. They've been totally accomodating to my every whim and fancy. For example, the steel guys had to make a pretty significant change to how the spa wall was rebar'ed. I made the change at the last minute when I decided I didn't like the look of it. They stayed an extra 3 hours to do it, put up a lot of extra steel above and beyond what was called for in the original bid, and only charged me $60 for it. Also, at the last minute, just before shotcrete, I wanted a change to how the skimmer was tied to the main drains (I decided to make separate runs for each). The plumbing sub told me no problem. Those kinds of things are changing the way I feel about subs in general.

If you read my pages, I think that you'll get an overwhelming sense that all my subs have been great. I have heaped nothing but gushing praise for all of them so far. I think part of the reason I have had a lot of success with my subs is that I purposely waited until the end of the pool building season here in AZ to start my job. I knew that as jobs tail off, the subs will be able to respond and service me better. So in agreement with what you've said, I can appreciate what you subcontractors in the industry have to go through, and I've tried to align my project to when you guys aren't facing the kinds of pressures that you mention in your post.

Stacy, I gotta believe that no sub wakes up in the morning and decides they are going to take the homeowner out for a ride. Most likely, they've got a hundred other things they have to juggle and every once in a while, things fall through the cracks. I can understand that, but at the same time, its not a pleasant experience when you are the one that falls through the crack. Homeowners are human too and they get upset when this sort of thing happens.

Still, I think your post is a great opposing viewpoint which shows the other side of the story.

BenC

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raffuj (12 posts) Click to EMail raffuj Click to send private message to raffuj Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Sep-07-02, 02:35 AM (EDT)
17. "RE: Subs- a long post"
Where has Ben dissed any of his subs? I've also been following this, and I think he's stated just the opposite at every opportunity.
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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Sep-08-02, 02:47 AM (EDT)
18. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
I have another update to the site - I have the first day of steel/rebar up there now.

I'm way behind though. I've already finished shotcrete so I've got to update steel day two, electrical, plumbing day three, city inspection #1, and shotcrete.

Thats Ok, as long as I finish the pool in 41 days I'll be happy. Here's lookin' atcha - Padudeman - and I ain't spottin' ya nothin'

BenC

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Padudeman (202 posts) Click to EMail Padudeman Click to send private message to Padudeman Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Sep-09-02, 02:19 PM (EDT)
19. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
That shouldn't be a problem during the slooowwww season. Lets see, shotcrete @ 21 days + 14 day cure, thats 35 days,1 day pebbletec?, 1 day fill . . . it's completely possible BUT!!! will it happen? tick tock tick tock
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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Sep-10-02, 05:03 AM (EDT)
20. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Ok -

I finished the Steel day #2 page and the Plumbing day #3 page (which couldn't be done until the steel guys created the dam wall first). Its all up there on the website.

The electrical rough work, although what the subs did was just the bare minimum to get through inspection, is going to take some extra time because I want to throw up my total plan, which includes an Aqualink RS8 system, low voltage lighting, extra GFCI outlets, and overhead dual floodlights. I may not get it all in there, but I'll probably have a start by this weekend.

BenC

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Padudeman (202 posts) Click to EMail Padudeman Click to send private message to Padudeman Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Sep-10-02, 05:05 PM (EDT)
21. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
How does this effect your schedule?
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squidychoi (44 posts) Click to EMail squidychoi Click to send private message to squidychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Sep-10-02, 05:15 PM (EDT)
22. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
It looks like I'm on track to finish in 41.99997 days. And I'm giving all my subs days off (no, minutes off) to insure the .99997 part
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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Sep-14-02, 06:30 AM (EDT)
23. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
I've finally gotten around to updating the website with the electrical subs.

For the first day, the electricians only did the minimal electrical rough work needed to pass the pre-gunnite inspection. I was still waiting for all my Aqualink equipment to arrive, so they really couldn't do much more anyways. The foreman said that my job was going to take at least 2 days, so he could split the work up nice and even: first day - rough, second day - everything else.

This had an extra advantage of giving me more time to figure out how I really wanted the main run to be done (feeder or branch circuits). Also I'm thinking of having them move the sub-panel out near the equipment where it will give me more flexibility. The electricians will probably be back early next week sometime for the 2nd day. I've got all my Aqualink stuff in now.

The City Inspection pages should be quick to finish. Hopefully, I'll finish that plus the shotcrete pages this weekend. Then I'll only be one sub behind ...

BenC

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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Sep-15-02, 01:26 AM (EDT)
24. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Ok -

I have the City (Pre-Gunnite) Inspection #1 page updated.

This was a critical milestone for me. This was where I was expecting to find out how royally I screwed things up and wished I had never been born.

The actual inspections were rather short and so the page should have been the same, but there was a lot of stuff going through my mind at the time, and I wanted to capture all my thoughts and feelings.

I want to be able to look back at my site in a few years and laugh at all this stuff and say - man what a dork.

Anyways, its all there. If I can crank out the shotcrete page this weekend, I feel I'll have caught up.

BenC

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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Sep-17-02, 01:52 PM (EDT)
25. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
I finally finished the shotcrete page last night. Whew - its a long one. I can't believe its starting to look like a REAL pool now.


I was able to figure out how to use the video mode on my digital camera and so I included some video footage to show the guys shooting the shotcrete. You need QuickTime to view it though. I tried using Windows Media Player, but it only plays the sound. I have a link on the page that takes you to Apple's site to download the player (its free). Let me know if there are any problems with this. I didn't have a chance to test everything out thoroughly.

I think I broke every rule of good page design with the shotcrete page.

Just a friendly warning: with 56K dialup, my HTML editor said that this page takes over 4.5 minutes to download. Again, I apologize. I tried to see what I could remove, but each picture shows either a different phase of the shotcrete or a different angle. I wanted to preserve all that for my benefit.

So go make some omelets while you load this one. Better yet, go raise the chickens first.

Part of the problem is that I have broadband, so it loads in a few seconds for me.

BenC

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Padudeman (202 posts) Click to EMail Padudeman Click to send private message to Padudeman Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Sep-17-02, 02:27 PM (EDT)
26. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
I need your boss's phone number. You've got waaaaaaaayyy too much time on your hands.
Ed
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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Sep-22-02, 02:21 AM (EDT)
27. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
The rockwork page has been updated.

They brought in so much extra rock that the side of my yard in the front is a mess right now. I think there's enough rock there for a few more waterfalls. I'm beginning to wonder if my homeowners association is going to knock on my door soon.

I've been thinking about those signs that pool builders usually put up in your front of your house when they are building your pool - I've always thought that its just a way for them to get some advertising in while the pool is going up. It probably serves another purpose too - to inform neighbors to please-excuse-the-mess-and-noise-for-the-next-month-or-so-because-a-pool-is-being-built. Anyone know for sure?

Anyways, I was thinking about putting up a similar courtesy sign that says "Pool by Homeowner" or something simple like that. Might be a little late for that, but I'm hitting a busy time at work now and I may have to delay the next few subs for a couple of weeks. It may also be a while before I can call the clean-up crew to get rid of all the junk in my front yard that has piled up over the last few weeks.

BenC

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RegGuheert (514 posts) Click to EMail RegGuheert Click to send private message to RegGuheert Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Sep-22-02, 12:12 PM (EDT)
28. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Hi Ben,

You said: "Might be a little late for that, but I'm hitting a busy time at work now and I may have to delay the next few subs for a couple of weeks. It may also be a while before I can call the clean-up crew to get rid of all the junk in my front yard that has piled up over the last few weeks."

I don't see any mention of these issues on your website. To be fair to your readers that are considering doing what you are doing, you might consider adding a discussion of these issues. The demands of "real work" clearly are an issue when considering an undertaking of this magnitude.

Obviously JMO, since it's your website.

George

P.S. Your pool looks great, so far!

P.P.S. There appears to be a link broken on the Rockwork page - "rock-mix.JPG".

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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Sep-23-02, 01:04 AM (EDT)
29. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
George -

I'm not sure what issues you are referring to:

1) If its the clean-up crew and the junk in my yard - thats a part of just about every pool that gets done here in AZ. No getting around that. Thats a normal part of building a pool regardless of whether you GC yourself or hire a pool builder. Clean-up is just another phase of building a pool, just as much as shotcrete and steel. You do it prior to the interior. I had that listed in my website's TOC from day one.

2) If its the issue of having to delay the subs, thats solely my a choice, not a necessity. Because I'm doing the website (optional thing), I want to take a lot of pictures and take a lot of notes. If I wasn't doing the site and going for speed, I probably would have been doing Interior/Pebble-Tec this week. Thats why I've insisted that not more than one sub be present at once. I can't take pictures of everything and ask about what they're doing and track it all If I wasn't doing the site, I could have had, for example, the electrical rough, steel for spa waterfall pad, and plumbing rough in dam wall work all on the same day. Instead, I staggered it somewhat. I don't absolutely need to be home to babysit the subs. As long as I clearly communicate what needs to be done before leaving for work, I can come home to inspect the work.

Still your point is well made. I'll probably update the "The Process" section with all these types of issues (e.g time involvement, being at home/work issues, planning, mental/physical taxation, etc.) when time permits. As you say, I think it would be helpful information.

BenC

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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Sep-27-02, 07:01 AM (EDT)
30. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
This week has been rough time-wise for me. I finally got the 2nd day of electrical work done and updated on the site. Thanks George for all the input you've provided and for everyone else who has chimed in!

BenC

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RegGuheert (514 posts) Click to EMail RegGuheert Click to send private message to RegGuheert Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-02-02, 01:34 AM (EDT)
31. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Hi Ben,

You're welcome! I'm glad I was able to help!

I finally got around to reading your new electrical pages. It all looks very nice! You did well to go with the cheaper electrical contractor. It seems they are working out fine.

I must say that you have thought this all through quite thoroughly. Your head must be spinning! Nice job of tracking all of that on your website.

I would like to suggest one very simple change to the electrical work that you have made: If (AND ONLY IF!) *all* of the wiring connected to the 15 A single-pole breakers is done with 12 AWG wire, then I recommend that you replace one or both of those breakers with 20 A units. The reason is that you have 8 A of lights on the one circuit together with an outlet. Murphy's law says that one day, probably when you are having a big pool party, you will be running all of your lights and someone will plug in a large stereo or heater or *something* into that outlet and draw more than the 7 A that are remaining and trip that breaker, leaving you and all of your guests in the dark. A 20 A breaker will provide 5 A more headroom to help preclude that. Unfortunately, it appears from your pictures (but I can't tell for sure) that your electricians have used 14 AWG wire for some of these runs, meaning you won't be able to make this change. (My pool builder could not understand why I pulled 12 AWG wire everywhere. "14 AWG would be much easier to pull!" This is the reason. It allows me to use 20 A breakers if desired and add more stuff to that circuit if needed.)

I noticed one other thing that looks wrong: I believe (but I am not 100% sure) that code requires the breakers for the pool lights and the pool pumps must be GFCI units. Your sub-panel only has standard breakers in it. If it is code, your inspector will fail you on electrical and the electrician will be forced to replace the breakers. If not, I would recommend that you replace these anyway. Safety first! Unfortunately, we are talking about roughly US$350 *more* cost for breakers versus what you have now, not counting labor to swap them out.

Thanks for sharing your experiences on your website. It's made for interesting reading. I've certainly learned quite a few things!

Regards,

George

P.S. If you're like me, you'll have lots of pool water chemistry questions once you get that thing filled. I'm sure you've noticed that this is the place to come for answers to those questions. Ben Powell and many of the other posters have helped me get from zero knowledge in this area to feeling rather confident about taking charge of my pool water. (I hope saying that doesn't jinx me into having an immediate algae bloom! )

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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-03-02, 01:08 AM (EDT)
32. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
George,

Thanks for the comments and the encouraging notes. Its so nice to be able to get such valuable input and thousands of other eyes to inspect the work thats going on with my pool. Its helping me to double-check all my calculations/decisions against facts and other people's experience.

Ben Powell - I tip my hat to you for such a great forum and for allowing me to link my website (http://bschoi.rois.net/) to these pages.

Regarding your two points:

1) Unfortunately all the 15A wiring used 14 AWG. I'm actually Ok with this and the fact that a 15A breaker is used there. I think 7A headroom for an appliance is sufficient for what I plan to use it for. I may use that outlet like once a year, and when I do, I may plug in a radio or something like that. BTW, the 12 AWG wire you see in the pictures is used only for all the stuff on the 20A breakers (pumps, blower, ...). Thanks for jogging my mind. I'll mention that when I update the pages.

Oh well, for sure I won't be able to plug in my 10,000W Flux Capacitor during pool parties now Thats Ok - I'm not planning any time travel any time soon.

2) Actually, code doesn't require that the light *breakers* to be GFCI, only that the lights be protected by GFCI. The way that a lot of electricians do that nowadays is to install a 15A outlet GFCI receptacle that is tied to the hot wire. And actually, this GFCI convenience receptacle is now required by code. It has to be 10ft away from water's edge but within 20 ft.

I know its not clear from the picture or my feeble drawings, but that GFCI outlet in the picture at the very bottom of the Electrical Day #3 page *is* the GFCI protection for the lights (marked "Hot! GFI"). Thats why its tied directly to the hot wire. If any of the lights get moisture in them, the GFCI will trip in that outlet. The reason they do that is not really cost (thats what my electrician tells me anyways ), but that code also requires that GFCI-protected conductors can't share a conduit/raceway with any other conductors that are not GFCI protected. If non-protected conductors ran with the protected conductors, and the insulation broke down, the GFCI would not actually protect the light. Doing the receptacle is one way to avoid that situation.

Speaking of that, though, I failed to mention a lot of the code stuff in my electrical pages (e.g. min/max distances from water's edge in regards to light fixtures, outlets, light switches, what needs to be bonded, the reason for bonding, etc...). I'll probably find a day sometime next week and update all the electrical pages with all this stuff.

Kind of funny story - I happened to be talking to Mike, the electrical sub owner today and he mentioned reading through my website. For some reason, most of the subs haven't seemed particularly interested in the fact I was doing a website about their work so I've taken a few more liberties lately. As soon as he mentioned it, I braced myself for a tongue lashing. It never came. He certainly didn't seem to mind my little tantrum on the day #3 electrical page. At least he didn't say anything about it. He mentioned a few corrections to the info I had there and did seem a little concerned that one of his guys told me I could remove the bonding wire from the window after inspection. Hehe. I don't know if he was apologizing for that or trying to get me to remove it from my page in a subtle way. Anyways - Mike - if you happened to wander into this forum, I want to say that you guys have performed superbly. I wouldn't hesitate to call you again for another job.

I don't mean to go off-topic, but the incident with Mike reminded me of the story thats spreading like wildfire through the Internet about a Ford dealer service technician who took a female customer's car out for a 140mph joyride then bragged about it in a car forum (even posts her plate number):

http://65.31.67.109/showthread.php?threadid=29134

Incredibly she wanders onto the forum, reads the post, discovers that its her car that he's talking about, prints it out, gets the guy fired, and is now hiring an attorney to sue the dealership. Unbelievable. Her story is here:

http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=19809

Anyways, I guess the moral of the story is to think before you write. You never know who might be reading your postings ...

BenC

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RegGuheert (514 posts) Click to EMail RegGuheert Click to send private message to RegGuheert Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-03-02, 08:19 AM (EDT)
33. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Hi Ben,

O.K., the lights are protected by the GFCI outlets.

What about the pumps? They are required to be placed on GFCI breakers. I don't have the new code book, but my 1999 code book contains the following paragraph:

"680-6 (d) Motors in Other than Dwelling Units. Wiring supplying pool pump motors rated 15 or 20 amps, 125 or 240 volt, single phase, whether by receptacle or direct connection, shall be provided with ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel."

I don't imagine this requirement was removed in the newer code books.

Regards,

George

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squidychoi (44 posts) Click to EMail squidychoi Click to send private message to squidychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-03-02, 12:57 PM (EDT)
34. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
No, the pumps don't need to be GFCI protected. I talked to two electrical subs to verify that. Only the lights need to be.

The pumps _are_ required to be bonded though. Mine are attached to the brass conduit used to run the lights. Ultimately, they find their way to the pool steel/rebar and are tied to that.

The section you are reading out of the code book is indeed current, but when they refer to "dwelling units" they are referring to residential homes. The "other than" is referring to semi-commercial dwelling units like apartment complexes, motels, and the like.

When I read that same section last night, it was a confusing section, I agree. Who writes "Motors in Other than Dwelling Units" in a technical specification anymore? Yeesh.

BenC

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RegGuheert (514 posts) Click to EMail RegGuheert Click to send private message to RegGuheert Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-03-02, 01:36 PM (EDT)
35. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Hi Ben,

I accept your interpretation of the code. Dwelling unit is defined as you say:

"Dwelling Unit. One or more rooms for the use of one or more persons as a housekeeping unit with space for eating, living, and sleeping, and permanent provisions for cooking and sanitation."

More important for you is the fact that if the contractors say it's not required, then that means the local inspector interprets it that way. (It's certainly a fact that different code inspectors have different interpretations for code.)

The question I ask you is why would this be a good idea for commercial pools, but not a good idea for home pools? Whether code requires this or not, I think the answer is that it's a good idea for both. Any possibility of AC getting to the water in the pool is somewhat scary to me. Additionally, I will likely be removing my pump in the wintertime (I know, you don't have wintertime), meaning that these wires will be handled on a twice-a-year basis. That adds risk both in handling or the possibility of improper wiring or damage.

I realize that we are talking about $300 extra for your application, but it's something I encourage you to consider carefully.

Regards,

George

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CarlD (269 posts) Click to EMail CarlD Click to send private message to CarlD Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-03-02, 03:45 PM (EDT)
36. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
LAST EDITED ON Oct-03-02 AT 03:46 PM (EDT)

BenC:
It's cheap insurance to GFI your pump. Yes, I know 230v ground faults are expensive, but dirt cheap next to a law suit--and you will regret if forever if someone is killed. My town requires it and I'm doing it without a fuss for my pool. I KNOW electricity is dangerous--esp 230vAC. Most towns now require ANY outdoor or water-possible outlet (Kitchens, baths, basements, decks) to be ground-faulted. It just makes sense to to do the same for the pool. I know you want to avoid extra expenses, but please don't do it here.

Remember: Ben always says by FAR the most deadly chemical in your pool is the water.
CarlD.

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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-04-02, 02:26 AM (EDT)
37. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
George/Carl,

Excellent points you bring up. This made me dig around a little more because I wanted to find out for myself.

I was told today that the code that specifies GFCI-protected motors for commercial swimming pools has been backed out and will be deleted from the 2002 NEC code book when it comes out (they can make changes at anytime, but they only publish the new code book every 3 years). Since I couldn't reach Mike today, I spoke instead with an electrician from Springs & Sons Electric, which is the biggest swimming pool electric company in all of Arizona. He told me that his boss sits on the NEC decision-making committee and told me that most electricians believe that the residential GFCI-protection of moters was an unnecessary rule and so they wanted it gone from EVERY situation - commercial and all.

What about the safety issues?

He said keep in mind that the real issue is when you have electricity in direct contact with a _large_body_of_water (i.e. inside the pool) when human bodies are IN the water. The only device that would fall into this category are the pool lights. And hence the pool lights are GFCI-protected. Since they discovered that pool motors don't normally jump off of the equipment pad and into the pool, the likelihood for a life threatening situation with a pump is miniscule. They want to do what makes sense. They thought the "lets-GFCI-everything" mentality was a knee-jerk reaction to a fear that was totally unfounded.

You mentioned that "Any possibility of AC getting to the water in the pool is somewhat scary to me," but keep in mind that pump-wise, there is no electrical connectivity from the pump to the pool water. Its just a bunch of plastic PVC in between. And I thought I read somewhere that there is a minimum distance that the equipment had to be away from the water's edge anyways. I think that min distance rule is what makes the GFCI-protection rule unnecessary. We laugh at the thought of the pool pump jumping off the pad and into the water, but thats what would have to happen for AC from the pump to come in contact with water.

He said that putting pumps on GFCI is *not* a good idea for other reasons - mainly due to how easily it can trip. Hosing off your pumps, rain, moisture from excessive dew, ..., anything can trip it, since we're only talking about milliamps of current here. He asked me what would happen if you were going on vacation for a couple of weeks, and you had your pumps set to work the entire time, then some light rain tripped it off the day after you left? Well, you'd have a mess on your hands when you returned. And you would be constantly having to reset the circuit all year round if _anything_ caused it to trip. If you didn't notice it trip for weeks on end, man that would be a bad weekend for you.

Incidentally, he said that it was the Board of Health that actually stepped in, years ago, when a situation came up with a commercial pool pump accidentally tripping on GFCI and the pool pumps were off for days, raising health concerns for all the guests. That was one of the driving forces behind the decision to reverse the code. They were more concerned about having pool pumps in commercial pools run uninterrupted 24hrs a day (thereby reducing health issues) than they were about the likelihood of a pump flying into the pool water.

Anyways, this was the mentality behind getting rid of the GFCI rule for pool pumps as it was communicated to me today by a professional electrician.

This is not my doing - I'm just the messenger ... Don't shoot me

BenC

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RegGuheert (514 posts) Click to EMail RegGuheert Click to send private message to RegGuheert Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-04-02, 09:54 AM (EDT)
38. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
LAST EDITED ON Oct-04-02 AT 10:48 AM (EDT)

Hi Ben,

Thanks for looking into this further.

I think the issue of health hazards related to nuisance tripping is a reasonable argument against GFCI use. I think the other arguments the electricians put forth are off-base.

Here are a few thoughts about those arguments:

"...there is no electrical connectivity from the pump to the pool water. Its just a bunch of plastic PVC in between."

Frankly, the use of PVC for the pipes is what makes the pump potentially dangerous. If the pipes were metal, any shorts in the water would be directed to ground quickly. With the pipes being insulators, it is clear that the only electrical path to ground is through the water in the pipes, through the water (and people) in the pool and to any bonded metal surface.

"We laugh at the thought of the pool pump jumping off the pad and into the water, but thats what would have to happen for AC from the pump to come in contact with water."

Really?? Analysis of how potential electrical faults will occur is a very difficult and complex subject. Making a blanket statement that "it can only happen this way" is both naive and dangerous, IMO. (I spent years designing and analyzing spacecraft power equipment, where there is a requirement that faults do not propogate from one piece of equipment to another. Most faults that we looked for were anything but obvious, but rather had been discovered by the spacecraft industry through real failures.) Let me offer one possibility: Here is a link to a photograph of my pump plumbing:

http://www.poolforum.com/dcforum/DCForumID21/114.html#42

Note that there are pipes all around the pump including the filter valve, which is *directly* above the electrical parts of the pump. When the pump is running, it can move as much as about 130 GPM of water. A break or a major leak in these pipes could result in a continuous path of water from the electrical part of the pump to the pool water. I can assure you that PVC pipes do sometimes fail and filter valves do sometimes spring major leaks.

Thinking about the possiblity of faults leads me to the consideration of a fault that, IMO, is much more likely than a pump fault, and that exists in both of our pools. We both wired our chlorinators to the same circuit breaker as the main pool pump. The output of the clorinator is an electrical conductor that is inserted *directly* into the water. Any fault that created a short between the AC in that box and the DC going out to the cell would create a current flow from the cell to the bonded portions of the pool, such as your pool lights. Inside my chlorinator, the AC lines going out to the pump are within an inch or so of the lines going out to the cell, perhaps closer. In my pool, such a short would be detected and interrupted by the GFCI. (Perhaps the chlorinator guys here can share some information on how they protect against this type of fault.)

I'm also not a fan of using GFCI breakers everywhere, not only because of their high cost, but because of the power that they waste. I've measured the 120 VAC GFCI outlets to have a continous draw of about 0.7 W. I had about seven of these units in my house before I built the pool, now I have 8 and one single-pole GFCI breaker and one double-pole GFCI breaker. That's a continuous draw of about 7.7 W or 184 Wh/day. Where I live, it takes about $500 worth of solar panels *just to power the GFCI's in my house*. Another way to look at it is to figure that in the U.S. these little devices draw about 350 megawatts (rough estimate) 24 hours per day. (Just wait until the requirements for arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) become prevalent. They will probably drive this number way up.)

But GFCIs do serve an important function. I'm hopeful that the NEC authors have valid statistical data which tells them the relative risks associated with either having, or not having, GFCIs on pool pumps. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that the statistics support their conclusions.

I will say that my pump has been running on a GFCI since July 3 without a single nuisance trip. It has been exposed to very hard rain for extended periods during that time. If it does start to experience this kind of tripping, I would not simply replace my breaker with a non-GFCI variety. Instead, I would try to find and fix the ground fault.

For my application, there is little chance that I would not notice a tripped breaker except in the case you mentioned: vacation. In that case, I don't think there is really a health risk, since if that happened, no one would be allowed to use the pool until the chemistry was corrected.

Electrical codes will always change with time. Hopefully they eventually converge on a reasonable compromise between cost and safety.

Best regards,

George

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CarlD (269 posts) Click to EMail CarlD Click to send private message to CarlD Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-04-02, 10:02 AM (EDT)
39. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
LAST EDITED ON Oct-04-02 AT 10:05 AM (EDT)

Ok Ben, no shooting.
I think you gotta do what you think best, but I must, by code in my town, use the GFCI. I came home from 3 weeks on vacation, I had carefully covered my little Intex EasySet 15' inflatable, had chlorine levels high but acceptable (the cover really keeps it from breaking down) and the pump on a timer--with a GFCI. I came back to a half-full pool-but with plenty of chlorine. Why? My guy doing the mowing had man-handled one of the lines to my solar panel and it had a little leak, but a visible one. Nothing to do with the pump or GFCI. Why am I bringing this up? Because if you don't have someone checking on things while you are away, ANYTHING can go wrong and you won't know it--and the ground-fault tripping is only just one of them. A pool needs to be monitored, no matter how automated it is. It's true that the plastic pipe is insulated, but the water inside it can be a conductor, especially if you are into adding salt so it feels soft. Besides, if you come in contact with the pump--and you will, and there's a current leakage, that is when you can get hurt as well.

Still, lots of people have run pools for years without GFCI without problems. I, however, happen to think ground-faulting is one of the great advances in electrical safety and won't run a power tool without it. ANY leakage (i.e., imbalanced voltage between the poles) can cause it to pop--that's the idea. If it's popping, you have a voltage leak.

No shooting, just discussing.
Carl

PS: The EasySet has served me very well for 3 years and is retiring to make room for a 40' Fanta-Sea. I've heard people crack on them but my only problems were the original hoses cracked after a year--a $20 replacement that was easy, and I struggled with the chem balance the first year. Then I discovered this site and had two years of perfect, perfect water. C

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squidychoi (44 posts) Click to EMail squidychoi Click to send private message to squidychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-04-02, 06:29 PM (EDT)
40. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Wow - you guys are a lot more passionate about this subject than I gave you credit for - you guys bring up some points that are actually very reasonable.

George, you should figure out a way to get yourself on the NEC decision-making body that drives the standards - you definitely are much more passionate about this subject than I ever want to be - maybe even more so than some of the board members.

Whats interesting in your case Carl, is that you say its code in your town while the NEC makes no such requirement nationally. I guess local regions can do whatever they want as long as it doesn't conflict with national codes?

To GFCI or not to GFCI - that is still the question. I'll let it roll around in my mind a little more before I decide. It is interesting to note that you guys haven't had any accidental trippings yet. Thats very good data. Here in AZ where we don't get much rain, I'm guessing the potential for tripping may be even less.

I guess it would be simple to just pop in 20A GFCI breakers for all the pumps, but one thing that both electricians told me was that if I do, I run the risk of having protected and non-protected wires running together in the same conduit - which is against code. I'll have to look at my run to see if that situation would be happening in my case. I don't want to break code in one area by changing another area that wasn't required by code to be changed (if it aint broke - don't fix it).

I'll probably have to consult Mike when he gets back - however, my gut is telling me to just leave things alone for now.

Well, I think we've beat this thing to death. Shall we go on to bigger and better things? I still have this thing called a swimming pool to finish

BenC

P.S. nice picture of your equipment - do you have other pictures of your pool you can put up?

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RickyK48 (22 posts) Click to EMail RickyK48 Click to send private message to RickyK48 Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-05-02, 06:41 AM (EDT)
41. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Ricky Kelley
Stallings Pool Service Your site has been moved and I can't find it.
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squidychoi (44 posts) Click to EMail squidychoi Click to send private message to squidychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-05-02, 12:30 PM (EDT)
42. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Oops - the server went down yesterday.

A friend of mine is graciously giving me some space on his server for free, and he said his hard drive went out last night. He said he's putting in a beefed up server so things should be much more stable after this.

He didn't give me an exact ETA, but it should be up later today or tomorrow at the latest.

BenC

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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-07-02, 05:20 AM (EDT)
43. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Ok - looks like the server is back on-line. For some reason, the pages that were restored on Sunday were an older version. It took me awhile to get everything back to normal, but I think I got it all squared away (I hope). Please let me know if there are missing images, broken links, etc. I didn't have time to test out all the pages.

Anyways, I've also updated the site with the first day of gas work. Take a peek.

BenC

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PatL34 (184 posts) Click to EMail PatL34 Click to send private message to PatL34 Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-08-02, 11:36 PM (EDT)
44. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Ben,

Have been reading this thread with great interest, and with all the comments from Reguheart and CarlD, it makes me wonder if I too have to put a GFCI on my Autopilot, but will have to look into that.

I would make a very, very small suggestion, and that is to have a UV or haze filter on your camera. After doing a rafting trip down the Grand Canyon back in 93, I accept that Arizona can have some very very blue sky.

Pat

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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-10-02, 05:39 AM (EDT)
45. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Gas Day #2 is up. I'm tired ...

BenC

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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-21-02, 05:02 AM (EDT)
46. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Hey everyone,

Just a note to say that I moved the website off of my friends server and onto a professional web hosting service. Its now at:

http://www.bschoi.com//

I made the mistake of posting my site to a few other forums last week and his server got slammed so hard - it almost got shut down due to the traffic on his poor little DSL line. I have a re-direct page on the original site, so it should take you to the new site regardless.

To give an update, I'm starting on the BBQ island tomorrow and it will take about a week to finish. The decking guy said that I should finish all that kind of stuff up before the deck gets poured. Hopefully, the deck starts the following week or so.

I created a pre-decking page to unload all the information I got from a bunch of different people concerning decking issues (e.g. drainage, expansive soil, ...) so I skipped a section. But ... this will save some time when I have to update the site with the real decking work.

BenC

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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-24-02, 04:57 AM (EDT)
47. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Another small update - I put up the the pre-BBQ page. I really went around and around on this based on feedback that I got from a bunch of BBQ subs. It took forever to finally decide on something. Theres a lot of stuff that I had to take into account so it warranted its own page even before the work started. Read all the gory details in the pre-BBQ section.

A couple of other small things:
1) I finally reversed the order of the list in the "New Updates" section. It now reads most recent first instead of last. Thanks Greg -
2) Also, I finally did something that I said from the beginning of the project that I was never going to do (its in the BBQ section) ...

BenC

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BeanTown (13 posts) Click to EMail BeanTown Click to send private message to BeanTown Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Nov-15-02, 02:55 AM (EDT)
49. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Hopefully you just stopped posting here and on your website.
Otherwise....maybe being your own GC is not a good idea.
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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Nov-15-02, 04:09 AM (EDT)
50. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
hehe - Man, I'm gone for a couple of weeks and people think I've died or something. Either that, or they're waiting for me to fail. But thats Ok, it seems like a lot of folks are.

The sinister side of human nature would rather hear me say that I discovered a structural problem with the shotcrete and I've taken two weeks off to determine how I'm going to tear it all down and re-shoot it rather than to say that I just took two weeks off. hehe.

Actually I'm ready for Final Inspection and Interior/Pebble-Tec. The deck turned out superb. I can't wait to get those pages up. The decking phase was a lot bigger than I thought. It was a three day process. The first day worth of work (webpage-wise) is already bigger than the shotcrete page (which was da pig) by almost 40%. Work has been so busy that I just haven't had time to do much web work lately. I was actually in the middle of writing decking day one details as I speak so I'm still waaaay behind. Its actually going to be at least a few more days if not a week before I get the next update to the website out, so heres a current picture of where I'm at currently:

I think the underlying assumption from your post is that a couple of weeks of non-activity is something to be concerned about. I guess if you got a pool builder and they bailed for two weeks, that could be quite a frustrating situation.

Thats the nice thing about being in control of the project and starting in late fall, I'm in no hurry and have no pressure to finish the pool (got till next summer). Schedule is effectively meaningless in my situation. I was actually debating with my wife if we could do everything up until interior now, then wait till spring to do the interior. I thought about it because of the potential savings on needless extra electricity bills of running a pool for the next six months or so while the pool is unusable.

The only downsides that I see are that:

1) I might potentially have to cleanup the pool again if a lot of dirt and debris fly into the pool between now and spring.

2) I have a 2 year warranty on all the work that each of the subs have performed. If I wait that long to finish the pool, it will be that much more time shaved off the warranty before I can see if everything is in working order and less time to put things through the paces.

I called the City of Chandler to see if my permit would expire soon, but they said that I have an extra six months from the time of your last inspection. Since my last inspection was in September, that gives me until March to finish it up.

Still, I think I've stared at a empty hole for too long already. I may as well just finish it up and call it a day. Well, that and I want to use the spa.

And so that you don't think I'm flaking out, I've got huge deadlines to meet from now until early December, so most likely, the earliest I'm doing interior is after December 4. Even if I can't convince my wife to finish the pool in the spring, I can at least wait till December. And also, we're going back to Hawaii to visit folks for two weeks in January and I may be able to convince her that I want to be home to monitor the water chemistry in case something goes wrong so we can't finish the pool until AFTER we come back. I wouldn't want to come home to an algae bloom because my pump timer wasn't set right.

After all, even after doing all this work, I still really don't know a thing about pools! I leave that to the professionals.

BenC

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mrmrsav (166 posts) Click to EMail mrmrsav Click to send private message to mrmrsav Click to view user profile Click to send message via ICQ Click to check IP address of the poster
Nov-15-02, 07:54 AM (EDT)
51. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
LAST EDITED ON Nov-15-02 AT 07:55 AM (EDT)

>hehe - Man, I'm gone for
>a couple of weeks and
>people think I've died or
>something. Either that, or
>they're waiting for me to
>fail. But thats Ok,
>it seems like a lot
>of folks are.

Actually I find it inspiring. I think your doing a wonderful job so far and after watching my pool get built and all the crews coming in I thought about the same thing...why not DIY it. Not sure I ever would only beause of fear that if I was to mess up it could be a very costly mistake so I guess I would let fear drive my decision and that is not necessaraly a good thing. You didn't let it get to you and I admire that.

>The sinister side of human nature
>would rather hear me say
>that I discovered a structural
>problem with the shotcrete and
>I've taken two weeks off
>to determine how I'm going
>to tear it all down
>and re-shoot it rather than
>to say that I just
>took two weeks off.
>hehe.

Actually I disagree to a point. I for one am excited to see you succeed at this. I myself am a big fan of DIY, not sure why, maybe it was the household I grew up in. My 2 brothers are extreamly handy and mechanically inclined. My brother was driving my Mom nuts at the age of 3 taking her clocks apart to see how they worked. I myself became a self taught field technician so when something goes wrong here in my house my first thought is how do I fix this? Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't but there are more successes than failures so I think I am ahead. Not sure my husband would agree!

>Actually I'm ready for Final Inspection
>and Interior/Pebble-Tec. The deck
>turned out superb.

I agree, the deck looks beautiful!

>After all, even after doing all
>this work, I still really
>don't know a thing about
>pools! I leave that
>to the professionals.

Ok, don't tell me after all this work you are going to let someone else care for the pool!?! I think you would be able to manage that too...

I look forward to seeing the done pictures...

-Gina

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BeanTown (13 posts) Click to EMail BeanTown Click to send private message to BeanTown Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Nov-15-02, 08:05 PM (EDT)
52. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
BenC,

I was hoping to pull a response out of ya.

How dare you get your deck finished without giving us all a prompt update.

I think we're all rooootn' for ya, just don't leave us hanging for weeks. Your website was hosed for a few days too. Started to get concerned.

Keep up the good work!
Documentation is superb so far.

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squidychoi (44 posts) Click to EMail squidychoi Click to send private message to squidychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Nov-15-02, 08:30 PM (EDT)
53. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
You dog - trying to rile me up eh?

I'm a sucker for troll bait. I'm ignorin' ya next time.

Seriously, though - it looks like this thread is getting to a point again where Ben is going to lock it down soon. Its getting to that length where it was last time. I'm not sure if its really worthwhile to start another. I may just start updating the website from here on out. Hopefully he'll let it run since I'm almost finished.

BenC

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squidychoi (44 posts) Click to EMail squidychoi Click to send private message to squidychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Nov-01-02, 07:54 PM (EDT)
48. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
I have an update to the website today. There's been a lot of extra info provided by Jose and Kevin about decking. I took a lot of their information and added it to the pre-decking page. I also have some corrected information about the decking pier system. The 1st day of BBQ island building is also up there for anyone who is interested. http://www.bschoi.com/

BenC

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utah (33 posts) Click to EMail utah Click to send private message to utah Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Nov-19-02, 02:24 PM (EDT)
58. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Ben,

I just wanted to let you know that your websit is amazing! You should put a webcam on the project so people can tune in at anytime. If it's exciting enough people may even pay for this reality show and help you pay for the pool

John

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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Nov-17-02, 02:11 AM (EDT)
54. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Finally got the first day of decking work up along with some miscellaneous landscaping utility work in. Also, some misc gas work got in there as well.

BenC

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RegGuheert (514 posts) Click to EMail RegGuheert Click to send private message to RegGuheert Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Nov-17-02, 12:58 PM (EDT)
55. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Hi Ben,

As usual, very nice work! Your pool looks very nice!

Thanks for introducing me to the acrylic decking material. When I had our pool built, I asked my builder about materials that were available to make the deck very light in color in order to keep the temperature lower. I didn't like any of the options he suggested, partially because of cost, so I went with a standard concrete deck. There are three main drawbacks to this choice: 1) It gets hot 2) It stains easily, particularly from the red clay that constantly gets on it and 3) It's not overly attractive. I'm thinking that if the acrylic is thin enough, it might be an option for me to add to my decking. I guess I'll have to wait for your page on that to learn more about it.

A couple of thoughts about your pool:

1) I suspect you haven't started reading the pool chemistry discussions here, so I will bring one to your attention:

http://www.poolforum.com/dcforum/DCForumID23/97.html#

Basically, the posters with gunite pools living in hot, dry climates that have high calcium content in their water are really struggling with scaling. The problem is that there is calcium being added to the water by the plaster and by the source water. Also, the dry climate causes more water to be added due to evaporation. Unfortunately, the evaporation leaves the calcium. I'm wondering if your water in Chandler has calcium in it. If so, you will be constantly adding calcium to your water with no easy way to remove it. You may wish to have a look at that thread. If your fill water has calcium in it, you may want to think about strategies for removing the calcium before it gets to your pool.

I guess my point is that you should learn something about pool chemistry *before* you fill. I'm not referring so much to chlorine, but to calcium, alkalinity and pH. If you have any questions, you can get answers here on the forum.

2) Where does your backwash water go? Is it plumbed into the storm drains?

3) There have been a few posts by Cliff Soderback discussing the damage to his pool which possibly was caused by the salt for the chlorinator. Here are his posts on that subject:

http://www.poolforum.com/dcforum/DCForumID21/94.html#25

http://www.poolforum.com/dcforum/DCForumID21/94.html#31

http://www.poolforum.com/dcforum/DCForumID21/137.html#19

http://www.poolforum.com/dcforum/DCForumID21/137.html#21

I thought you might want to have a look at these. Personally, I think your use of Acrylic decking may greatly alleviate the chance of having this problem. It's one of the reasons I was so interested in reading about the acrylic.

4) Will there be any handrails for steps or ladders in your pool? I have twelve holes in my deck for such things. These seem to be the major source for water to get under the decking and possibly saturate the soil. Two of them don't seem to have drains, and thus hold water, but the rest drain right under the deck.

BTW, I really got a lot out of your expansive soil discussion. I, too, have red clay soil, so I think the issue applies to my pool as well. I thought your engineer friend's idea of wetting the soil was a good one. I'm surprised your deck builder only wet a small portion of the soil under the deck rather than the whole area. It seems that this serves two purposes: compressing the soil and expanding the clay. With a vinyl pool like mine, the packing stage is much more important, because they must excavate another three feet back from the pool to pour the footers and build the structure for the pool walls. Another difference is that the decking is tied into the coping directly, but the coping can slide up and down on the wall of the pool. It appears it could move up about 1 inch before the coping would separate from the pool wall. On the other hand, this is not true where there are fiberglass features like steps, seats, in-wall ladder, etc., since movement of the coping next to the fiberglass would not be very attractive.

5) I notice that there is not gravel under your concrete. With my deck, the builder poured three for four inches of gravel before pouring four to five inches of concrete. I'm curious why that is done differently in Arizona than in Virginia. Anyone know?

Thanks again for publishing the details of your pool design and construction. This is very useful information for anyone considering installing a pool, regardless of whether they will will build it themselves or not. Great work!

Regards,

George

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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Nov-18-02, 02:37 AM (EDT)
56. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
George,

Long time no hear!

1) Thanks for the info on pool chemistry. I made a mental note to myself recently to start reading some of the other forums dealing with water issues before I get close to filling up the pool. I've been reading bits and pieces here and there, but at times it has kind of overwhelmed me. What I need is a high-level roadmap, so your posting couldn't have come at a better time. I do know that everyone is raving about Ben's testkits. I'm going to pick up the PS232 soon. I have no idea how to use it, but I'm gonna get busy reading a lot more threads from the water chemistry forums soon. The city of Chandler and AZ in general is notorious for hard water. The scaling issue is one that I've agonized over for the last few weeks, particularly in regards to whether to tile or not tile a pool (around waterline). After viewing a number of pools (at varying ages) that have a pebble interior and without tiling (including my next door neighbor whose pool is 2 years old now, I came to the conclusion that I could do without it.

Through a mistake that the homebuilder made, the hose bib next to the pool has soft water coming out of it. I was actually tempted to use that to fill the pool, but my plumber and a bunch of other people said not to even consider it because the chemical breakdown of softwater will wreak havoc on maintaining a healthy pool. I have no idea what that means. Anyone who could shed light on that subject would be appreciated greatly. I just figured, hey, if I can keep scale off my faucets with the stuff, why not a pool? From your first thread link concerning scaling, it appears that some folks were considering it except for the practical limitations of having a large enough softener unit. My plumber seemed to indicate that there are more serious issues than that, but I don't know specifics.

2) Backwash water plumbed to go to the storm drains? There's an idea. I didn't think they even allowed that sort of thing. Maybe its a geographical thing. My backwash water strategy was a lot more feeble and mundane. Because my HOA does not allow us backwash out into the street, we have to build some kind of retention area in our yards. I had my excavator dig me a 4 x 10 pit thats about 6" - 10" deep. It should hold a few hundred gallons. My friends have told me that they typically backwash twice a month (sand filters) so that should leave enough time in between cycles to let the water absorb/evaporate.

3) Thanks for the references for the salt water chlorinator. Thats another thing I need to get up to speed on. I'll check out those links when I have a spare moment.

4) I don't have any holes for rails or ladders. There are a couple of volleyball sleeves and umbrella sleeves in various places in the deck, but they are not straight-throughs. They are basically cups installed into the concrete when they did the pour. My biggest concern is the deck/bond beam gap. It seems like that would be the biggest opportunity for water to get under the deck. We'll see how well the interior guy seals that gap for me.

Yeah, I was hoping that my decking sub would have saturated the ground more as well, but all the other decking subs I spoke to didn't seem to want to bother with it either. I think it was a time/effort issue. I probably should have done it myself prior to the concrete getting poured, but if everything shifted as a result, I don't think I would be in a position to "fix" things prior to pour. And I wouldn't know how happy the deck guys would be coming in on the morning of the pour to see all the grading out of whack. I didn't think to ask.

5) Actually, I'm curious to find out what purpose the gravel serves in your situation. Is it to achieve a flat grade and provide a level bed to pour the concrete on? It seems compacted dirt would equally suffice.

BenC

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RegGuheert (514 posts) Click to EMail RegGuheert Click to send private message to RegGuheert Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Nov-18-02, 10:35 AM (EDT)
57. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Hi Ben,

Please see my furher thoughts on filling with softened water in the "Dealing with Alkalinity and Calcium" forum:

http://www.poolforum.com/dcforum/DCForumID23/100.html#

I decided not to add them here since this thread is so long and this seems to be a fairly frequent discussion topic which deserves its own thread.

Regards,

George

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RegGuheert (514 posts) Click to EMail RegGuheert Click to send private message to RegGuheert Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Nov-27-02, 08:37 AM (EDT)
60. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Hi Ben,

Today my builder was here to close the pool and I learned why there is gravel under my decking. In the wintertime when the pool is closed water accumulates to the point where it overflows the liner. The gravel gives the water a place to go. It can flow from the pool all the way out from under the deck. I guess this also explains where the water goes that flows through the holes for the handrails.

Your pool wouldn't have any of the above issues, since it is gunite, you don't have excess water going into your pool, and you don't close in wintertime, meaning you can easily pump water out if needed.

Mystery solved,

George

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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Nov-25-02, 00:17 AM (EDT)
59. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
The 2nd day of decking (concrete pour) work is up.

BenC

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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Dec-02-02, 01:16 AM (EDT)
61. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
I got the Aqualink Controller installation pages up now - under Electrical. That officially completes the Electrical work.

It was an event-filled weekend. My DSL provider had a network outage and they gave me a temp dial-up line for the weekend. It was certainly interesting trying to upload 40MB of images through a 26kbps dial-up service that seemed to work at only half that speed. I haven't tested if all the images are there - just a heads up.

BenC

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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Dec-13-02, 11:41 PM (EDT)
62. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Man - everyone is doing their own pool now. I don't feel so special anymore

Just wanted to give a heads up I have the tile page up now. I actually decided not to do tile, but I have a page up explaining why.

BenC

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meopm (9 posts) Click to EMail meopm Click to send private message to meopm Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Dec-14-02, 03:13 AM (EDT)
63. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
I am interested in a couple of things on your pool. The first being how you decided what type and horsepower your pumps were going to be? The second being what size plumbing (pipe Diameter) you used? and the third does it sound like the AC unit next door?
I am the owner of a pool / spa service company, I spend a lot of time corecting what many builders have done to people. Infact I also have another company set up to educate homeowners on how to purchase the pool they want and get the most for their money.
From what I have looked at so far you have done very well. I am just curious if your equipment was sized by caculating the total resistance in the system or did the plumber say we need to move a lot of water so we need a lot of pump.
In many cases due to the limits created by the pipe diameter a smaller pump will move more water than the larger choise using less power and run much quieter. If your pool is much louder tahn you expted when it is finished get back to me and with a little more info I will E-mail you the part numbers for the peices you can change in the pumps to make it all work properly. Im not interested in selling any parts, and would be glad to pass along some free info to make your pool more enjoyable.
Hope it all works out!
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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Dec-14-02, 05:18 AM (EDT)
64. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Mark,

Thats great information! I took the pump sizes on the recommendation of my plumber. I didn't do any of the calculations you mentioned mainly because I didn't know how to. Whether he did or not - I don't know.

Over the past few months, I've slowly settled into the realization that my filtration pump is probably bigger than it needs to be. I have a 1.5HP pump, but I'm wondering now if a 1HP pump would have done just as well, while saving me on monthly $$$.

The pipes for suction from main drains/skimmer all the way back to pump is 2" SCH40. The pipes for the returns are 1-1/2" which eventually transition to 2" by the time it hits the pump return.

I'm not done with the pool yet so I have no idea how loud its going to be. Pump noise is a concern of mine since the equipment pad is located just outside of the master bedroom wall. Any ideas and/or suggestions you might have is completely welcomed.

I would be interested in hearing what parts you could change out in a pump that would make it run more quiet.

BenC

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meopm (9 posts) Click to EMail meopm Click to send private message to meopm Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Dec-14-02, 12:58 PM (EDT)
65. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Ben
One of the most common mastakes made in the pool industry by builders, plumbers and the homeowners is taey are all interested in Horse Power and think bigger is better. Here is a little info that will help you out.
Once you go over 7 feet per second in PVC pipe you build so much resistance it begins to cost you flow. here is an example to put it into prespective.
it takes 2.4 psi to put 30 GPM's through 100 feet of 1.5" PVC Pipe.
It takes 8.6 psi to put 60 GPS through the same 100 foot length of 1.5" PVC Pipe.
Notice by doubeling the flow the resistance increased by almost 3.5 times.
It is criticale to keep your flow rates below 7 feet per second to get the maxium flow and eff. out of your pumps. Bigger is never better.
You can change the peice in your pump that moves the water called the impeller very easily. Depending on what HP you change them to you may have to replace the diffuser as well the cost is about $16 to $25 for each peice. I would also recomend a new seal anytime thease parts are changed. You can get all of thease from any pool store around.
The intersting thing with changing the impeller in a high HP pump to a smaller one is this.
Your pump will run quieter and coller when it is at its most eff. the big on is when you change a 2hp impeller to a 1hp impeller you still have a 2hp motor. However your pump will only use 1hp worth of energy to move the water. You cut the cost of operating the pump in half and now you have a motor that will last forever becouse it only has half the load it is able to handle.
The down side of the Hayward Super II is that it is desinged only as a high head or high pressure pump. this is good for your filter system as it is able to continue pumping high volumes as the resistance changes from your filter becoming dirty.
Several other pump manuf. have pumps available that can be set up as a high head or a high flow depending on the impeller and diffuser used.
For instance a Pac-Fab 1hp high head Chalanger will pump 65 gpm at 60 feet of head. A Pac-Fab 1hp high flow Chalanger will pump over 90gpm at 40 feet of head. Typicaly the filter system will have the most resistance, the water falls and spa jets have resistance but it never changes unlike the filter system. The best way to set up a system is to properly size the filter pump with a high head pump and size the water falls and spa jets with a high flow pump.
Keep in mind that anything over 42 GPM in 1.5" pipe will be over 7 FPS. the same is true for anything over 72 GPM in 2" pipe.
If you are interested in figuring out the exact resistance in your system and sizing the pumps properly let me now. It is very detailed and I would need a lot of info from you. I can give you an E-mail to use as it is a little big for this forum. Let me now, I will be glad to help you out. The more happy pool owners we have the better it is for the entire industry.
Mark O.
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floorguy (17 posts) Click to EMail floorguy Click to send private message to floorguy Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Dec-17-02, 01:06 AM (EDT)
66. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Mark,
Saw your post to Ben regarding friction loss or resistance in piping.
Is there a formula that you can share that would allow a novice to calculate the resistance.
I just sent my first post to the site as I begin to restore an old poured conrete pool from 1925. Operative word here is restore. I had a number of estimates from contractors before I decided to do it myself. Everyone wanted to turn my great old arts&crafts pool into a new plaster and tile playground. Actual work I need to do does not appear to be rocket science however I am discovering more and more that there is a certain amount of pool science involved. Pool is 25 x 40 with an integral gutter the gutter has 6 suction openings and 2 return lines (1,1/4-1,1/2")with no modern type skimmer basket assembly. My idea is to re-use the old gutter suction scheme as opposed to installing a newer skimmer basket setup.
Thanks
Bob
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meopm (9 posts) Click to EMail meopm Click to send private message to meopm Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Dec-17-02, 01:10 PM (EDT)
67. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Mark Owens
Pool/Spa Maintenance & Service Tech
New Pool Consulting

Bob,

There are two ways to caculate resistance in a system.
The first is as I described before with the PSI & Vac gauges. The down side to this one is your system must be working and no suction leaks or cavation at the pump.
The second is more accurate but involves a little mor work.
Here is how it works.
First you need to layout an accurate plumbing diagram. Note Pipe size and length, quanity and type of fittings. It is easyest if you break it down into sections like Suction line and return line. If you have several lines leading back and fourth from the pool to the equipment breac each one down seperatly. The more accurate this is the closer you will be to figuring out the exact resistance.
Every foot of pipe has a given amount of resistance.
Every pipe fitting made has a equlivent length of pipe. For instance a 1.5" PVC 90 is equal to 4' of 1.5" PVC Pipe. A 2" PVC 45 is equal to 2.6' of 2" PVC pipe. This is why it is critical to be as accurate as possable.
Once you have the total length of pipe in each line you add it all togather and there is a chart you can use to figure your resistance, volicity and PSI drop for whatever GPM you want your system to run at. Once you have the resistance and GPM your system will run at then you size your filter and pump to work with it.
If you would like E-mail me and I will be glad to send you the charts to do all of this with.

Good Luck
Mark O.

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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Dec-18-02, 11:00 PM (EDT)
68. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Mark,

I must admit that most of what you were talking about was a little hard for me to follow. This link made everything crystal clear:

http://www.coloradokoi.com/pump_head.htm

Although its a little late to select my piping size, it was a good exercise to see how close the plumber got to the ideal specifications given using mostly 2" PVC. The calculation of flow and maximum flow-rate velocity was easy enough based on making some high-level assumptions (e.g 20K gallons, wanting turnover of once every 6 hours). The theoretical Total Dynamic Head (TDH) calculation was a shot in the dark due to not knowing exactly how many tee's, elbows, valves, check valves, gate valves, "U" turns, internal heater and filter plumbing sizes, internal friction, etc. along the entire circuit. It may be much easier to just measure it empirically using the PSI and Vac gauges like you mention, but then I would have to wait till the pool is operational.

Interestingly enough, given my flow of 20,000 / (6 * 60) = 55.5 GPM and pipe diameter of 2", it turned out that my fps is about 5.6, which appears to be fine.

Without the TDH calculation, its hard to say if my 1.5HP pump to too powerful. However, from the graph, it appears using a flow of 55.5 GPM, I can have a pump head to around 67' given a 1.5HP pump.

I hope all my assumptions and math are correct. Maybe you can check it for me.

Thanks for the fun little exercise. I hope to get some gauges after the pool is done to see how "off" I am. I suspect from what I've learned, that a pump in between 1HP to 1.5HP would be ideal for me.

BenC

P.S. The TDH "theoretical" calculation seems pretty useless. There are so many conditions and assumptions that the average joe has to take a shot-in-the-dark to guess at that it almost becomes a futile excercise. If thats the case, and using gauges is the only way to accurately measure TDH, it almost defeats the purpose since you have to have a working system in order to measure it. Once you have a working system, its too late to select pipe and pump size.

P.P.S - I'm guessing that experienced plumbers can calculate rough order of magnitude on-the-fly using some short cuts and some high-level assumptions. Using the time honored "80-20 Rule," I'm guessing that rough order of magnitude will get you 80% accuracy with minimal time spent, while the remaining 20% takes more time than its worth while yielding little additional value.

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RegGuheert (514 posts) Click to EMail RegGuheert Click to send private message to RegGuheert Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Dec-19-02, 09:51 AM (EDT)
69. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Hi Ben,

You are right that you cannot *exactly* calculate head using the theoretical values, but you can certainly estimate them, as you say in your P.P.S. I will point out that the pipes are often the minor contributor to head, particularly if they are 2" in diameter. Remember that even if you measure this information, the flow rate will still move around as the filter gets dirtier.

When my pool was built, I specified the pump, filter and plumbing. The estimates I made were quite close to the actual head and flow I've measured. Here are my notes:

Pool Total Head Calculation:

Skimmers, drain covers, return outlets ~5 ft
Filter @ 133 GPM ~20 ft
Static Head ~5 ft (I think this is estimate is a little high)
Pipe Head (~150 feet @ 25 GPM) ~3 ft (75 feet one way, with five parallel paths on both the suction and pressure sides)

Total ~33 ft (clean filter)
Estimated flow rate ~125 GPM

Measured head >35 ft (That's only on the pressure side, since I haven't measured suction.)
Measured flow ~123 GPM

As you can see, even though the estimate was simplistic and had some errors, the answer was pretty close. Unfortunately, even though I nailed the flow rate for which I was shooting, giving me one pool of turnover in 9 hours, the filter valve is quite noisy at this flow rate (my first post on pool forum was about this). I have decided to reduce from the 1.0 HP (really 1.85 HP) NorthStar to the 0.75 HP NorthStar by replacing the impeller as suggested by Mark O. (for about ~$22) I am going to try to keep my runtime at nine hours when I make this change. (Does anyone have any good or bad experiences they can share about circulating less than one pool's worth of water each day?)

On top of all of that, I never conceived of a case where I would operate the pool in "Recirculate" mode for several days like I did last month. Interestingly, the filter valve was quieter in that position, but the flow rate was 155 GPM! I turned on the pool cleaner to be lower the flow to about 125 GPM.

As indicated in a previous discussion on this topic, I cannot check your numbers since Hayward does not provide any flow information on the Super II on their website. I will say that I doubt you will have 67 feet of head at a flow rate of 55 GPM.

On the other hand, if you do the math on your waterfall, I think you will find that your flow rate will be well over 100 GPM. On top of that, I'd be willing to bet that the Super II will cavitate at the low heads that it will likely see (perhaps only 15 feet).

Your spa will likely be fine since the jets produce significant head and the spa (with it's blower) will make a lot of noise anyway.

In any case, Mark has provided an easy way to reduce your noise and/or electricity useage if they become a problem.

One final point: As Ben Powell taught me in my first thread here, the sand filter will do a better job at *lower* flow rates. In addition, your salt-water chlorinator will be able to produce more chlorine if you have a longer pump runtime available to it each day. As a result of these two considerations as well as noise issues, you may find that operating longer at lower flows and electricity levels will suit you much better.

Hope this helps,

George

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meopm (9 posts) Click to EMail meopm Click to send private message to meopm Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Dec-19-02, 12:29 PM (EDT)
70. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Mark Owens
Pool/Spa Maintenance & Service Tech
New Pool Consulting

George

Good choice on changing the Northstar to a 3/4 hp. You will likly see your system preform much better.
As for the Super II on the water fall there are two way to quiet it down.
The most popular is to put a valve on the pump discharge enabeling you to restrict the pump output. By putting back pressure on the pump discharge the cavation will stop and the amount of amperage the pump draws will drop slightly as well.
The second option would be the smart one, size the pump properyl! dont be afraid ti lower the inpeller size on this one as well.
On the hayward pumps keep one thing in mind when changing impellers also. The Super II is available in Uprate and Full rate. The best way to seperate the two is this. The full rate is the honest pump, the uprate is the fake.
A 3/4 hp full rate Super II and a 1 hp uprate Super II are the same pump!! The uprate just has a differant tag on the motor. Every other part in that pump is the same including the motor.
Be sure you are buying the proper impeller!

PS
As Ben pointed out the theoretical calcuiation for figuering out TDH is going to be a lot of guessing if the pool is alredy built. It is desinged as a tool to be used when laying out the plumbing and equipment on a pool being constructed. It is by no means usless. If you are building your own pool or having one built you as the homeowner can layout your plumbing and equipment set and force the builder or plumber to stick to it.
Once the pool is finished the gauge system is the only way to figure it out. However the system has to be close before you can get an accurate reading. With a litle thought and some very inexpensive parts you can generaly get your system close enough to figuer it out.
It is to bad people do not take the TDH of a system as seriously as they should, it WILL make or break your pool. When designing a pool the proper way you should first figure out the size and how many gallons, then the turnover gate in GPM that you want. At this point lay out your plumbing on paper and figuer out the TDH, size the pump and pipe to give you the flow the system requiers and then size the filter to accomadate the flow rate.
In the area I am in this does not happin. The pool salesman is selling horsepower becouse they are to uneducated to sell and explain what works. The plumbers install whatever equipment and pipe size the uneducated salesman dictates on the plane and you are stuck with it!!
In over 20 years in the pool industry I have never seen a pool plan that included a detailed plumbing plan yet this is the on thing that will make or break your pool.
I don't mean to bash the plumbers, they are only doing what they are told.
If the home Owner does not force this it will not happin and if you are building your own pool you better do it becouse no one else is going to do it for you.

Later
Mark O.

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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Dec-23-02, 04:41 AM (EDT)
71. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Mark/George,

Great information - I do wish I had known about all this when I first decided to do the pool. I dug a bit deeper after your postings and was amazed at the amount of information out there. Had I known then what I know now, I would have done the math to validate the plumber's recommendations (and maybe changed some things).

George, I'm still a little ignorant about a lot of this stuff and had some questions about your numbers:

1) In your "Pool Total Head Calculation" I assume that this is equivalent to Total Dynamic Head (TDH). If so, I thought that TDH is calculated from both suction and discharge? And if this is true - isn't your measured head only half of the equation (you mentioned only measuring the pressure side but not the suction side)?

2) I remember reading in another post that your pool is 46k gallons. At a flow of ~125GPM, wouldn't that give you a complete turnover in 46k / (125 GPM * 60 Min/Hr) = ~ 6.1hrs ? I'm probably not thinking about this correctly. How do you get 9 hrs?

3) Don't you need to include friction due to pipe fittings in TDH calculations? I didn't see that in your list. Are they in the noise? BTW, where did you get the "rough estimate" values for the "Skimmers, drain covers, return outlets" of ~ 5ft?

Mark - I was curious about the up-rate and full-rate pump issue you brought up. You said that "The full rate is the honest pump, the uprate is the fake."

I'm using standard Hayward SuperII pumps (I'll check tomorrow morning which I have, but I suspect they are the uprate ones). My understanding is that the difference between up-rate and full-rate is essentially the service factor (SF) rating, which then dictates the size of the motor used. I'm told that SF can basically be defined as "power to spare" meaning a higher SF will make the pump less likely to overload and overheat and will also generally mean that the pump has more power as compared to the same pump with a lower SF. An example I've seen is with a 2HP pump with a 1.25 SF that has a 2.5HP motor on it. In contrast, a 2HP pump with a 1.0 SF has a 2.0HP motor on it. To me it seems like a 2.0HP rated pump should have a 2.0HP motor in it and not a bigger one. If I based my energy calculations off a 2HP motor, but its really got a 2.5HP motor, isn't that going to cost more $$$ per month to run than a 2.0HP pump with unity SF? In that sense, wouldn't it be worse to get a bigger motor than what you think you're getting?

But regardless, I gotta believe that the pump's SF is already factored into the pump's performance chart. By making your pump selection from the performance curves, wouldn't that make the whole up-rate / full-rate question kind of a moot point?

Finally, I suspect that the reason that in your 20 yrs in the pool industry why you have never seen a detailed plumbing plan in the overall pool plan is because the typical homeowner doesn't demand it and quite frankly probably doesn't even care. He just wants a swimming pool to jump into and the the water to be safe and clean. Give him that and he'll be happy. If there's no demand for it, the plumber/pool builder is probably not going to be motivated to do one.

I'm hoping that plumbers are still doing the math but just not publishing it. Either that or like you seem to be implying, there are a lot of plumbers winging it today because they can get away with it. I suspect the former, but fear the latter.

BenC

-----

P.S. Thanks for enlightening me on this stuff. I'll probably end up putting in a whole section on this on the website eventually when I get a full grip on the rest of the details. I think every person considering GC'ing their own pool should definitely know this and that people going with a pool builder should at least be familiar with it.

P.P.S - the Decking Acrylic page is now up on the website.

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RegGuheert (514 posts) Click to EMail RegGuheert Click to send private message to RegGuheert Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Dec-23-02, 11:01 AM (EDT)
72. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Hi Ben,

In answer to your three questions:

1) Yes, I calculated total head but have only measured the head on the pressure side. That's why I wrote "Measured head >35 ft (That's only on the pressure side, since I haven't measured suction.)"

2) Oops. You are correct. I've had nine hours banging around my head for some months. Wonder where that came from? In any case, it looks like I'll still circulate at least a pool's worth after I change my impeller. Sorry for the confusion.

3) I added some footage to account for the fittings. As you said, these calculations are only estimates. As far as the skimmers, drain covers and returns equalling 5 feet of head, this is an estimate I read somewhere on the net. Sorry, I don't remember the URL.

One point I forgot to make regarding your waterfall pump is that my pump cavitates terribly if I only have one 2" pipe feeding it on the suction side. I have a total of five individually-valved pipes (three skimmers and two drains) in parallel on the suction side of the pump. Two or more pipes open on the suction side works fine. My concern is that your pump may cavitate badly if you don't somehow restrict the flow on the pressure side.

Mark's point with the full-rate versus up-rate motors is that they sell the *exact* same pump with the *exact* same motor, but with a different label on the motor. In my case, the "1 HP" motor has a SF of 1.85, meaning it is really a 1.85 HP motor. They also sell a "1.5 HP" version with a SF of 1.23, hence 1.85 HP. As you say, if you simply use the curves for your pump, you will be fine. The question is this: What do the pool companies accomplish by this game? I suppose, like chemicals, they want to make pumps as mysterious to their customers as possible.

Based on my experience with my pool builder, who does his own plumbing, I have a slightly different take on how plumbers approach pools. One benefit they have over us is experience. They've seen it all. I suspect they did the math once or twice when they first got started and then "went with what works" ever since. The drawback to this approach is that it takes them a long time to adopt new pumps like the NorthStar. Both your plumber and my builder install SuperPumps by default, if for no other reason than that is what they know. If I hadn't specified the NorthStar, I would have gotten a pump which costs more to buy and more to run. Don't get me wrong, my builder has quite an open mind. Now that he has a customer who is *so far* happy with the NorthStar, he may install one or two next year. If he has good luck, he may switch.

Thanks for the info on the Acrylic deck coating. I'll have a close look!

Best regards,

George

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meopm (9 posts) Click to EMail meopm Click to send private message to meopm Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Dec-23-02, 12:09 PM (EDT)
73. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Mark Owens
Pool/Spa Maintenance & Service Tech
New Pool Consulting

Ben & George

The point I was trying to make on the pump HP is this.
The HP of the motor is not what dictates the amount of power being consumed and or paid for. This is dictated by the impeller in the pump. Every pump manuf. around desings a set of impellers for their pumps, each of thease impellers is going to put a specific load on an electric motor. Ware it gets interesting is this, if you take a 1hp motor and put a 1hp impeller on it that motor will consume 1hp worth of power. Now if you take a 2hp motor and put a 1hp impeller on it that that motor will also consume 1hp worth of power. (in all honestly the larger motor will consume aprox. 0.5% to 1.5% more power, not a big enough diff. to bother with).
The benifit you receive in doing this is you get a motor that is not being pushed to its limits and will runn cooler, quieter and last much longer.
One of the best things that has happined to this industry in resent years is the introduction of more eff. pumps. The problem is the manuf. of the pumps are installing motors on them that are being pushed to their limits. This shortens the motor life drasticly. Why do they do this? COST if they mount a motor on that pump with a higher service factor than is needed to turn the impeller it is going to cost more!
The industry belives that a home owner would not be willing to pay more for a longer lasting pump, only a higher hp pump. Hence the introduction of UP RATE PUMPS. You take a 3/4 hp pump, manipulate the hp and sf on the data plate and call it a 1hp pump. The average home owner is happy, they just got a 1hp pump on their pool for the same price everyone else was charging for a 3/4 hp. What a deal they just got (some things in this industry sure will make you sick).
What it comes down to is this, USE THE PUMP CURVE TO PICK YOUR PUMP! But if you want a motor that will last a lot longer and not cost you anymore to run it pick the next larger pump and drop the impeller on size.
I just finished a Job Friday, that had two pumps. The first was a Pac-Fab High Head Challanger 2hp for the circulation system and spa jets (The Spa is the reason the builder chose the 2hp). It has a 150 cartridge filter and a 400 heater. The second is a waterfall with a 20 ft run of 2" pipe both ways with a 2hp Medium Head Pac-Fab Challanger. Both of these pumps are far to big and the folks next door are about to sue the owners over the noise.
Now the pumps are both 3/4 hp, a High head on the circulation system and spa jets (6 jets with a Pool Valet Floor Clean system also by the way) and a Med Head on the water fall. When the pumps are on you can hear the waterfall now and the folks next door could not be happier. The home owner called over the weekend to let me know the spa jets and the waterfall have never worked better and they can not get over how quiet is is. What they will see in the upcoming electric bill is that the cost of operating their system just droped by over 60% or 2.5hp. They do still have the two 2hp motors turning the 3/4hp impellers. It is also likly they will never have to replace a motor again. I forgot to mention the pool is 8 years old and has had the motors replaced twice on each pump prior to the changes I made.
Hope this clears it up.
MO

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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Dec-23-02, 12:51 PM (EDT)
74. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
George,

The plumber put in a bleed valve for the waterfall which kind of acts like a "volume control" for the waterfall (controls how much water comes out of the waterfall). Its a 1-1/2" pipe (the waterfall return line is 2"). The more water I divert to this bleed valve, the less flow goes to the waterfall.

There will be an eye-ball fitting over the bleed return line that can be used to create back-pressure if there is a possibility of cavitation. Between the bleed line being 1-1/2" PVC, and the eye-ball fitting, he said that it should be more than enough to create the necessary back-pressure to combat cavitation.

The plumber told me that in his experience after having done thousands of waterfalls like mine, that the eye-ball fitting will never be used, but its nice to have just in case.

I was wondering what the cost differential is for the uprate and fullrate pumps you mentioned? It would shock me if it was substantial.

BenC

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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Jan-09-03, 10:54 PM (EDT)
75. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
I've been having a blast over the last couple of weeks visiting friends and family back home over the new years break. Its given me time off from the pool project, but also a chance to catch up with the website.

We're staying with the in-laws and fortunately (or maybe unfortunately), they have broadband access to the Net. I brought along my laptop and was able to catch up on the website. I've completed the barrier code, cleanup, and some miscellaneous BBQ work pages. I just have the final inspection page to complete to be caught up and I'll be doing that on the plane ride back to AZ.

http://www.bschoi.com/

On another note, I've been scouring the "Testing and Pool Water Chemistry" forum over the last month to get up to speed on water chemisty and I've noticed that there is not a single place where you can find information about the results you get back from the test kits that Ben sells. The information is more or less there, but its scattered all over the place. What I was hoping to find was just a quick high-level description of each of the indicators, what they stand for, what they are, what their significance to pool chemistry is, ball-park optimal ranges, how to increase it (and why), how to decrease it (and why), and their side-effects to the other indicators.

I've been consolidating whatever information I could find into a file and its gotten quite big at this point, but I'd like to find some URL/link that would point me to a single page where the info is there all in one place. Is there anyone who could point me to that place?

Thanks,

BenC

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mrmrsav (166 posts) Click to EMail mrmrsav Click to send private message to mrmrsav Click to view user profile Click to send message via ICQ Click to check IP address of the poster
Jan-10-03, 09:23 PM (EDT)
76. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
There is a webpage Ben will send you too once you get the kit that has the testing procedures and ranges and other information.

I have a excel spreadsheet with information on it I use for myself. Not sure if it would be of any help. As Ben would probably say...Each pool is different, get to know yours.

-Gina

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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Feb-09-03, 02:55 AM (EDT)
77. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Hey everyone -

I'm back from a rather extended vacation from the pool. It was nice taking some time off. I decided to get myself back in high gear and finally wrap up the pool. I have the Pebble-Tec Interior pages up now.

http://www.bschoi.com//

BenC

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jstacey818 (14 posts) Click to EMail jstacey818 Click to send private message to jstacey818 Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Feb-17-03, 11:39 PM (EDT)
78. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Ben:

Great site! Not only did it teach me alot, it was also really interesting to watch the whole thing develop. Just wanted to tell you I appreciate all the work you put into documenting your saga. Looks like a really beautiful setup and a really beautiful pool.

Your site also gave me the heads up to take pictures of my much smaller refurbishing project. Glad I did. They are cool to have and show.

FYI I did my interior in Stone-Rite, a Pebble Tec competitor. Now I'm sure each company has it's own plaster component, but my CA levels stopped inching up after about a week.

One question...How do you like the Hayward Super II pump(s)? I am looking to replace my current old bronze rattler and that is one of the finalists.

Contrats again on a fantastic pool and thanks for all of your hard work on the website.

Jeff

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mrmrsav (166 posts) Click to EMail mrmrsav Click to send private message to mrmrsav Click to view user profile Click to send message via ICQ Click to check IP address of the poster
Feb-19-03, 00:02 AM (EDT)
79. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Looks beautiful! Was worth the work, now its time to enjoy it.

-Gina

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squidlychoi (96 posts) Click to EMail squidlychoi Click to send private message to squidlychoi Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Feb-20-03, 02:24 AM (EDT)
80. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
FINALLY its done!! This baby is in the books -

I just wanted to thank everyone who's been along for the ride and has provided timely input, comments, suggestions, and support throughout the duration of this pool project. You've been an incredible help - George, Ed, Jose, Carl, Stacy, et al. You guys know who you are. I couldn't have done it without you.

And thanks to Ben Powell for the Best Pool Site on the Internet! I've picked up so much knowledge from your pool forum its not even funny. Hopefully, I'll be able to give something back someday.

Its been an incredible journey and experience for me these past months. I'll have to admit though, that I'm glad its finally over. Now I can focus on getting my water balanced in time for summer and really start to enjoy the pool.

BenC
http://www.bschoi.com/

P.S. Jeff - about the SuperII pumps - they're not bad pumps - they actually run pretty quiet. However, I didn't do as much research on the equipment like I should have. Knowing now what I know, I probably would have gone with the Hayward Northstars because of what I've heard about them. Still, I'm pretty happy with the SuperII pumps. They seem to be doing a fine job.

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MattK (40 posts) Click to EMail MattK Click to send private message to MattK Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Feb-20-03, 12:58 PM (EDT)
81. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Way to go Ben!

The pool looks great!

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maddogkf (11 posts) Click to EMail maddogkf Click to send private message to maddogkf Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Feb-22-03, 02:47 PM (EDT)
82. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
LAST EDITED ON Feb-22-03 AT 03:03 PM (EDT)

It looks great!!! Your hard work has definitely paid off for you!!!!


Your website link does not work. Is it down just temporarily?

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maddogkf (11 posts) Click to EMail maddogkf Click to send private message to maddogkf Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Feb-23-03, 12:34 PM (EDT)
83. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
It's back up. I had only read up to Electrical Day #2 & I was bummed that I didn't get to finish the great recap of the masterpiece!!!
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CarlD (269 posts) Click to EMail CarlD Click to send private message to CarlD Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Feb-24-03, 04:47 PM (EDT)
84. "RE: Building My Own Pool - (In Progress on Website ...)"
Ben,
I looked at your web site and your pool is BEAUTIFUL! Good Job!

I am, however, concerned with one thing about your chemistry.

I would not, repeat NOT increase CYA above 45. I'm of the opinion that anything above 30 is too high. The guy who said it should be 80-100 is either out of his mind or confusing it with TA. At 80-100 your chlorine will be nearly ineffective unless you keep it between 6&10ppm. Ben Powell has some excellent articles on this site about CYA. Seems at levels of 10ppm it's almost as effective at protecting the chlorine as at 30. But at 30, the effectiveness of the chlorine at sanitizing your pool is far, far below that at 10. I would strongly suggest that you rely solely on liquid chlorine (sodium hypochlorate) for chlorination and NOT use the tri-chlor pucks unless you need them for auto-chlorination while you are away.

I hope you realize that the reason you are having trouble with the pH rising to 8.ppm is due mainly to having a concrete pool, and there is calcium leeching going on that increases the pH. This is normal from what I understand. Your TA at 120 is good--the leeching may increase that as well (I'm guessing on this one), and a pH of 8 is fine--as long as you don't go to 8.1, but it will if you don't bring it down (from the leeching). I don't know about the calcium levels. They seem high, but I don't know if it's a problem. As a vinyl liner kind of guy, I ignore calcium.

Anyway, the pool is just gorgeous. I don't think mine will be quite so eye-catching when it's done, but I was going for lap-length. As an AG (Fanta-Sea) random shapes aren't an option, but at least it's a pure rectangle, not an oval, which I prefer, and has a deep end. I'm doing lots and lots of wood work--cedar fencing and decking that's occupying my winter, and doing it all myself--I was a carpenter in an earlier life. Hopefully, by the beginning of May, I'll be posting my finished pics--if only I can figure out how!

CarlD

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