Feedback wanted on pool and spa specs

kateonlineDecember 22, 2010

I'm looking for feedback on the following pool proposal specs. We're getting close to signing off, but I want to make sure we are making good choices!

We are in the Midwest and expect to have a May to September swim season.

Overall Info:

Pool size approx. 14' x 25' freeform

Spa size approx. 8' oval

River Flow swim current

Heat Pump for heat

Overall Info (Pool and Spa):

Steel reinforced shell, #3 and #4 rods at 12" on center

3/8" steel, 4 bar box beam

Transition bars in pool floor

6,500 psi gunite shell, 9" minimum walls and floor, 12" x 12" bond beam

Decorative frost proof tile at waterline

Diamond Brite finish

All plumbing to/from pool and spa, PVC schedule 40

Hydrostatic relief valves in pool and spa

Jandy Neverlube valves

1 1/2" plumbing on returns

2" plumbing on single suction lines

All plumbing valved separately for flow control

Poured in place coping with SuperTex

Pool Details:

Raised pool wall / bond beam

3 feet deep in shallow areas, 6 feet in deep end

In-wall automatic surface skimmer (one), plumbed and valved separately

Two Anti-vortex main drains in the deeper end, plumbed and valved separately

Three return lines to pool for water circulation

Jandy LED Pool light

Walk-in steps

Swim-out in deeper end

Mesh Winter cover with deck anchors

Spa Details:

Walk-in steps with bench seating

Two Anti-vortex main drains, plumbed and valved separately

Eight hydrotherapy jets

Jandy LED Spa Light

Spillover into pool

Spa shares filtration with pool

Technical Items:

Pentair VS-3050 - variable speed recirculating pump with strainer basket

Pentair Clean & Clear Plus CC-240 filter (commercial grade)

Rheem R6250ti-E Electric Heat Pump, 115,000 BTU

Pentair Intellibrite LED lights (one each) for pool and spa

River Flow Elite System (swim current generator)

Jandy Aqualink (RS8) Automation System (or should we go with Intellitouch to match our Pentair equipment?)

Other Info:

We don't plan to use the pool and spa in the winter (both will be winterized together).

We realize that the heat pump will be slower to heat the pool and/or hot tub but like it for the lower ongoing operational costs. Our plan is to maintain heat most of the time and cover the pool and spa as needed since our kids love pools and will be in the pool very often.

We'd especially appreciate feedback from other folks who have used a heat pump to heat a pool and/or spa. Also, any feedback on the specs and other decisions we are making would be much appreciated!

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The drains can't be valved separately. That would be against the VGB Act to prevent single sources of submerged suction.

Easy Touch instead of the Jandy controller.

You mentioned both Jandy and Pentair lighting. Pentair.

Missing the spa side control. IS-10 or the new Spa Command.

6500 PSI gunite is a bit much.

How high with the beam be raised?

Make sure the contract says hard pipe, not flex. Flex PVC may be permitted in the spa loops but not the suction line.

Suction should be 2-1/2" pipe and the return 2" except for the stubs. The spa should be 2-1/2" suction and 2" for the water loop. The air may be 1-1/2", depending on the jet bodies used.

No spa blower?

Put a step on the deep end swim out. You can put an automatic step pump there when winterizing. The step is typically an inch or two lower than the tile line. Shallow end steps usually are at the tile line.

Waiting 35 to 60 minutes to heat the spa is going to be a bummer. The range is due to differences in ambient temp and humidity levels, especially in May and September.

Go bigger on the filter. You'll get longer maintenance intervals.

How will you be sanitizing? I don't see a salt cell or chlorinator.

Some locations require an approved SVRS. If this is the case where you live, then the VS-SVRS is the right pump.


    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 1:42PM
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I agree with poolguynj on almost everything he mentioned. The only thing I would do differently is run 3" hard pipe on the suction side of the plumbing. Pentair recommends it to maximize the efficiency of the VS3050 pump. You say you are in the Midwest. I am curious...what does a pool like you described cost in your area?

    Bookmark   December 31, 2010 at 4:24PM
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It looks like you will have a great set-up. I am familiar with all of this equipment and all comes with exceptional proven performance. If budget allows, I would prefer the intellitouch control system over the Aqualink based on options, interfaces and add-on capabilities. However, Aqualink is a great product as well. Enjoy your new pool.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 3:45PM
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At long last, we are almost done with our pool build. We ended up going with Pentair lights and an EasyTouch automation system. We also added a 10 function spa-side remote and a spa blower as well as a chlorinator and did some pipe upgrades. We have a step on the swimout in the deep end and also upsized the filter. I guess we pretty much followed everybody's advice -- thank you!!

We ended up doing travertine coping and decking. We direct-ordered the pallets of travertine from a travertine dealer in Florida.

The bond beam ended up being about three feet high and around 20 feet long due to the elevation change in our yard. It's a lot of bond beam!

I'll plan to post pictures to this thread as things wrap up in the next week. I'll also plan to post feedback next summer on how the Riverflow system works for us and how the travertine does in the winters here in the Midwest.

We're expecting to open the pool this coming week and then will need to shut it down for the winter shortly afterwards. Most people in this area already closed their pools back in early September!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2011 at 4:12PM
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At long last, I have some pictures. The weather here has not been great and we've already been getting lots of leaves and cold rain, so getting better pictures will have to wait until spring.

I will open a separate thread about pool covers (since we now need to get this covered for the winter!)

View of overall area:
~26 ft x 13 ft pool (smaller pool)
~9 ft x 6 ft spa (nice size spa)
Longer raised bond beam with granite accents
Cool blue Diamondbrite coating
Medium River travertine paver deck

Two waterfalls:

View of spa with granite spillover and tiled bond beam:

Our pool builder and landscapers are still finishing up some items, but things are slowly moving towards completion. (YEAH!) We broke ground on this project back in early June.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 3:26PM
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Hi Katie,

Hoping you still get notifications via email on this site. We are about to start building our pool in New England and I was wondering how its worked out for you having the Heat Pump heat the spa. Is it really annoying having to wait for the spa to heat up to temp? We don't want to spend money and outdoor real estate on both a heat pump and a propane heater, and love the idea of keeping the pool a constant temp for a much lower cost (we have a propane heater in our current home and hardly turn it on because of the exorbitant cost).

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 5:55PM
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