Renovation baby steps: Local vendor vs online
Hi everyone! We are working towards getting our new-to-us pool opened and balanced and in working order. We just purchased this house/pool in December, and were clueless on what to do, so after a few weeks of manually starting and stopping the pump, skimming/leaf eating in the cold wind, and topping the water off every week or so, we elected to have a company come out and close the pool.
It is getting to be warm now and the pool is a giant pit of despair (or froggie breeding Xanadu, whichever you prefer) so we are having the company come back and tackle the opening, balancing and initial vacuuming.
We have decided to live with and swim with the pool for this first summer before deciding on any major changes or renovations. Having never had a pool except for in an apartment, we don't have a good idea of how we will use it or what our needs will be, so rather than rushing in with the jackhammer, we are going to live with it for a while.
That said, there are a few more immediate concerns we'd like to take care of this summer. First is update the electrical panel - it is outdated, doesn't have a cover, and is operational but not up to today's standards - we will have our electrician do this.
Next is a pump timer. Our electric bill was running about three times our normal usage to run the pool pump, and even at lower winter electricity prices, it was a lot. We have what is called "smart hours" utility pricing, so electricity is priced higher from 2p-7pm all summer long. We'd like to get the timer going to keep the pump on only as much as needed, and hopefully not at all during the peak pricing hours of 2-7. We actually have two/three pumps: one is for the pool, one is for the spa, and one is for the jets on the spa. I guess we'd need the timer for two of those and leave the jets off the timer as we operate it as needed with a switch?
We'd also like to get a robot or something to vacuum the pool for us, as we both work long hours during the week and do not have a lot of time to devote to the maintenance and since we plan to balance the chemicals ourselves, that limited time may be spent on that task. A lot of the horror stories we've heard from others revolve around the theme of "my friend hated having a pool, it was so much work!" We're trying to get out in front of that complaint.
Lastly, more for aesthetics than need, we'd like to get our two pool lights functional. Since we both work long hours, it's likely we may only be swimming past dark many times, and a big dark pool kind of freaks me out (see froggie Xanadu comment above!)
OK, sorry this is so long. To get to the point, the company that closed the pool has quoted some equipment to take care of those needs, but being a newbie, I take to the internet to comparison shop and it seems like the prices I was quoted were quite a bit higher than Amazon for instance. I know there are a lot of intangibles you get from a local company that you cannot get from an online retailer, but the price difference seems very steep even so.
Here's the quote:
Polaris Robotic cleaner model # 9300 is 1299.00 and has a $100.00 mail in rabate to the consumer your cost = $1299.99 + tax - $100 rebate. I see these for about $900 online.
A timer for each pump: FREEZE GUARD TIMER COMBO on the main pool pump $359.00 + tax. Timer only $169.00 plus tax.
Lights: $450.00 plus tax and 12volt transformers $160.00 (for each light).
Timer and lights would need to be installed by our electrician, so that is an additional expense.
We do have a pool warranty that we purchased with our home warranty, but it does not cover upgrades like timers and such, only breakdowns and repairs. Any thoughts that could help us out?
Here is a link that might be useful: Our Pool