Mike the Poolman

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Swimming pool construction help – suggestions when building a pool

December 31, 2015

Building a swimming pool? I’ve been repairing swimming pools since 1992. I’ve seen a lot of great pools and a lot of messed up pools. These are my suggestions to get the most value for your backyard future (I will update this post as I think of more helpful information).

1. No redwood trees!
They look great when they are small but they grow huge and create root and debris issues. If you have the unfortunate circumstance of having a leak the roots will grow into cracks which will add to your problem. Roots grow into skimmers and auto fills.
They stain the pool. Yes, they are beautiful wonderful creatures but I wouldn’t put one anywhere near a pool.

2. If you are using fiber optic towers mount them on concrete.
pool-fiber-towerI learned this on my own pool. When I mounted my three towers in the dirt they were great for 7 years- until roots grew into them and created problems. A little 1’ x1’ pad for each would have been very inexpensive and saved me headache and money. The dirt also allowed easier access for rats to get in and chew my fiber optic cables :(. Now I stuff steel wool in any openings to keep the rats out. Also, make sure you stud up conduit before you pour the concrete so you can get electrical and fiber cables into the tower.

3. Pressure side cleaner, not a suction side. Pressure side cleaners are superior to suction side cleaners. Yes, they are more expensive but have MUCH greater value and performance.

4. Install an auto fill (MP Industries makes the best one).

5. Install an overflow (gravity) drain. It’s just a simple pipe installed into the top of the tile line that allows water to flow out of the pool when it rains.

6. DON’T build a fence too close to the equipment. I don’t know why people like to build fortresses around their equipment. The equipment will eventually need servicing and repair. When it does you want the service person to have plenty of room to access equipment. When I see fences too close to the equipment I charge more because it will take longer to complete the repair. Help us to help you.

7. Please, don’t get an in floor system. If you must, make sure you install a dedicated cleaner line. When you come to your senses in 5 years you’ll have a pipe to attach a traditional pool cleaner (pool sweep). A dedicated cleaner line is a 1.5” PVC pipe that is run from the equipment pad to the centermost point of the pool. I’ve written about this in another post.

8. Figure out which way the prevailing wind blows and mount your skimmer where the wind will blow debris into the skimmer. If you don’t direct the builder, they will mount it as close to the equipment as possible to save cost. If you can afford it install a skimmer on each end of the pool. Use a three-way valve to control flow from each skimmer. See #9 for where to mount the valve.

9. ALWAYS install all three-way valves at the equipment pad. It may cost a little extra in pipe but it is more convenient and functional. These include skimmer valves, pool/spa valves, water feature valves, pool cleaner valves, etc.

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