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Frequently Asked Questions
WHICH CONSTRUCTION TYPE OF INGROUND POOL IS BEST?
ARE CONCRETE POOLS THE SAME AS "SHOTCRETE" OR "GUNITE" POOLS?
WHAT IS A SALTWATER POOL?
WHICH IS BETTER TO CLEAN & SANITIZE MY POOL - SALT OR CHLORINE?
WHAT TYPE OF FILTRATION SYSTEM IS BEST?
ARE TWO SPEED OR VARIABLE SPEED PUMPS REQUIRED TODAY?
DOES IT REALLY MATTER WHO BUILDS MY POOL?
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO BUILD MY POOL?
HOW MUCH DOES A POOL COST?
Q1: WHICH CONSTRUCTION TYPE OF INGROUND POOL IS BEST?
A: There are generally three types of pool shells or construction types. They are Fiberglass, Vinyl-lined and Concrete.
Fiberglass swimming pools are made from fiberglass-reinforced plastic, which have been molded into specific pool shapes at a factory. These shapes and sizes are limited by Dept. of Transportation rules for delivery over public roads. Unfortunately, nothing during the installation phase can alter the shape or dimensions of these pools, so design options are very limited.
Although Vinyl-lined pools have advanced recently and may offer some advantages in colder climates with freeze-thaw cycles, they still lack the design options that concrete pool shells offer.
Concrete swimming pools can be fashioned into virtually any shape and size, which makes them the most popular choice for homeowners searching for a custom, high-end look or a unique solution to an atypical backyard. Regardless of the size or details of your home site, an experienced concrete swimming pool builder can create a size and shape that complements your home's architecture and surrounding landscape.
Because of the custom nature of concrete pools, it is easy to design them with special amenities, such as negative edges, elaborate water features, underwater benches, grottos and more. The only limitations are your imagination and budget.
Q2: ARE CONCRETE POOLS THE SAME AS "SHOTCRETE" OR "GUNITE" POOLS?
A: .In a word, Yes! Shotcrete is an all-inclusive term to describe the spraying of concrete or mortar that may be accomplished through either a dry- or wet-mix process. As a wet-mix process, Shotcrete involves the pumping of a previously prepared mixture, typically ready mixed concrete, to a spray nozzle. Compressed air is introduced at the nozzle to propel the mixture onto the receiving surface.
Gunite however, refers only to the dry-mix process in which the dry cementitious mixture is blown through a hose to a spray nozzle, where the water is injected immediately prior to application. Although compressed air is also used to propel the dry-mix gunite, complete mixing of the water and dry ingredients is not possible in the nozzle. Mixing is completed as the material impinges on the receiving surface and through manipulation of the nozzle.
So in summary, it's a bit like all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. All Gunite can be called Shotcrete, but not all Shotcrete is in fact Gunite.
Q3: WHAT IS A SALTWATER POOL?
A: Pools that utilize a system of dissolved salt through electrolysis instead of chlorine tablets or granules to cleanse and sanitize pool water are often referred to as "Saltwater" pools and do in fact produce chlorine. These pools sanitize the pool water via a saltwater chlorinator (chlorine generator) that produces chlorine as salt passes over an electrolytic cell. Since salt is a natural conditioner, saltwater pools leave your skin feeling smoother and does not irritate swimmers' eyes. As a "Green" benefit or eco-friendly aspect of saltwater pools, you don't have to handle or store potentially hazardous chlorine; it's produced automatically by the chlorine generator.
Saltwater chlorinators also include an electronic control panel so you can more easily monitor the salt level which should be kept between 2700 - 3400 parts per million (ppm). Just so you know - the ocean contains about 35,000 ppm of salt, so a saltwater pool will not leave you feeling as though you just got out of the ocean, and the water will not taste salty like the ocean either. Instead, this system is meant to provide you a more enjoyable swimming experience with the same benefits as a chlorine-based system pool, but without the large amounts of harmful chemicals.
Q4: WHICH IS BETTER TO CLEAN & SANITIZE MY POOL - SALT OR CHLORINE?
A: Cost, maintenance and health concerns are some of the things to consider, along with asking which system will provide the most desirable swimming experience. Of course the function of chlorine in the pool water is both a sanitizer that kills algae and bacteria, and an oxidizer that removes unwanted organic matter, such as oil and perspiration. However, as both systems of chlorination perform this function, only you can make the right decision that best fits your needs.
Chlorine pools have been the most common over the years and probably still today. These systems to chlorinate pools are easy to operate and chlorine is readily available at many pool supply stores and major retailers. Usually, pool owners add chlorine tablets to a device plumbed near the pump and filter known as an in-line tablet chlorinator, but chlorine can also be added directly into the pool water through a floating disbursement device that dilutes the chlorine tablets over time in the water. Also, the use of stabilized chlorine will often minimize or eliminate the need to add cyanuric acid to prevent chlorine from burning off in sunlight.
With reference to saltwater pools, chlorine is produced through a method described in the question above. The chlorine that's generated however is unstabilized, so you will probably need to periodically add cyanuric acid to maintain a chlorine residual (unless the pool is indoors where it won't be affected by sunlight). While you still need to check sanitizer, total alkalinity, and pH levels about once a week with either kind of chlorination system, the ideal chlorine level of 1 - 3 ppm is easier to maintain in saltwater pools through the use of an electronic control panel.
Also, the amount of salt you periodically add to your saltwater pool will depend on things like the amount of rainfall, the frequency of backwashing, and the amount of water loss occurring through splashing or draining, followed by the addition of new water to maintain proper level. Of course once you've added the initial or "Start-Up" salt to your pool, you will only be adding additional salt over time to maintain chlorine levels. Keep in mind that salt never disappears from the water once added to the pool water. That's why the up-front cost of salt is more than regular chlorine, but over time the cost goes down significantly.
The average, well-maintained, home-based saltwater pool system might use approximately $10 to $20 worth of high quality salt per year. Comparatively, the average chlorine-based system might cost approximately $60 to $100 per year in chemicals.
The bottom line is deciding what kind of pool is right for you. On one hand, chlorine pools are affordable and have a long history of use. They are fun and safe if the owner is committed to keeping the water and chlorine levels precise with regular maintenance. They do, however, have risks if the owner is not diligent with pool maintenance. On the other hand, saltwater pools have chlorine generators to steadily replenish the chlorine, keeping it consistent and easy. They are less irritating to the eyes and easier on your skin and bathing suits, but have a slightly higher initial investment cost as compared to traditional chlorine pools. They can however offer a more enjoyable swimming experience.
A: There are three main types of swimming pool filters; D.E. (Diatomaceous Earth), Cartridge and Sand. Different regions of the country seem to prefer different filter types for different reasons, although the suitability of a particular filter can have as much to do with filter size, than the type. As such, it's most important to properly size the filter to the volume of water in the pool. Beyond that, it comes down to your personal preferences of water clarity and maintenance to determine which may be the best filtration system for you.
Sand filters may require the least periodic maintenance, but don't filter the water as well as the other two. Cartridge filters require more periodic cleaning and replacement of the filter media, and although relatively simple to clean and replace, they don't filter the pool as cleanly as a D.E. filter. So if you want to throw a dime in the deep end of your pool and be able to see what year it was minted, then a D.E. filter is the way to go. You just have to be prepared for a little more maintenance time than the other two. For instance, D.E. filters, like Sand filters, require periodic backwashing, but D.E. filters also require periodic recharging (adding Diatomaceous Earth) after breaking down and cleaning the filter from time to time ? depending on the amount of use. Sand filters only require that the pool filter sand be replaced once every five to seven years generally.
Strictly based on water clarity though, the D.E. filter's performance wins hands down by its ability to trap smaller particles in the water. See below:
Good - Sand / approx. 25-30 microns
Better - Cartridge / approx. 10-15 microns
Best - D.E. / approx. 3-5 microns
Nevertheless, good water cleanliness and clarity depends on adequate run time of the pool pump - no matter which filter you choose. Every pool must have a water volume equal to its capacity filtered at least once during a maximum 12 hour period each day. The process of moving this volume of water through the pump and filter is called "turnover" and you should have at least one turnover per day. This should not be difficult as most pools today are designed for an 8 - 10 hour turnover.
Q6. ARE TWO SPEED OR VARIABLE SPEED PUMPS REQUIRED TODAY?
A: Yes - As of March 2012, all new swimming pools constructed in Florida are required to have at least a two speed pump provided that the water volume of the pool requires at least a one horse power pump or larger for filtration. There are also a couple of real benefits to the owner in using these new pumps ? less electrical cost to operate and they're much quieter when running at lower speeds.
As an example, a 25,000 gallon pool with a single speed 1.5 HP pump running 8 hours a day might run at 80 GPM (gallons per minute) which equals 38,400 gallons per day. We might expect the amperage draw for this pump to be about 9.0 @ 240 volts with an approximate kilowatt hour cost of say 10 cents making the cost to operate about $1.73 per day or $51.90 per month. This equates to 4.5 cents per thousand gallons of flow.
Now if we use a two speed 1.5 HP pump for the same 25,000 gallon pool running 12 hours a day in low speed, we might expect it to move the water at 40 GPM totaling 28,800 gallons per day. Remember though, we only need to turn the pool water over once per day. We then might expect that our amperage draw for this pump to be about 2.25 @ 240 volts in low speed with an approximate kilowatt hour cost of again of 10 cents making the cost to operate this pump about 65 cents per day or $19.50 per month. This equates to just 2.25 cents per thousand gallons of flow and an electrical savings of $32.40 per month.
With variable speed pumps, the savings could even be greater, and the only time you need to run these pumps at higher speeds are for backwashing, vacuuming, running water features, etc., AND while they're operating at a lower speed (which is most of the time) they're much quieter! Who doesn't want to save on their electric bill and enjoy some quite time by the pool?
Q7. DOES IT REALLY MATTER WHO BUILDS MY POOL?
A: Absolutely! Selecting the right pool builder to capture and protect your vision for your pool or spa – or as we like to call them, your "Backyard Resort", is essential. After all, there aren't any pool & spa stores where you go to pick one off the shelf and try it on to see how it fits or take one out for a test drive before your purchase. It's also not quite as easy as comparing design, price and features from one pool builder to the next. Although these are certainly important elements to consider in your buying decision, they shouldn't be the only ones. In fact, one of the most important elements to consider before your pool purchase is often left out by most buyers. It's the relationship and level of trust created between you the Owner and your pool builder.
You shouldn't make the mistake of assuming that all pool builders are the same or that they will provide you the same level of service. You should ask yourself a few questions - for instance: do I think my choice of pool builder will carry out my wishes from design to ground breaking to completion; all in a prompt and courteous manner and with a high level of professionalism? Will my choice of pool builder take adequate care when entering onto my property and crossing my lawn, protecting my home, landscape features, etc.? If a problem should arise during the course of construction, will my choice of pool builder address my concerns timely, professionally and courteously? Will my choice of pool builder stand behind the work they provide and assist me after project completion if I have questions or need assistance. All of these questions address the level of service you should expect from your pool builder, and not every contractor provides the same level of service and concerns for your unique interests and concerns.
You want a pool builder that truly values the trust you've placed in them. You want a pool builder that will put forth the extra effort to capture the vision you have of your "Backyard Resort" or one that will work to create a vision and design with you and with your desired features and budget in mind. You want a pool builder that will transform your vision into reality through experienced craftsmanship and attention to detail. You want a pool builder that will stand behind the work they perform and one that truly values the investment you've made with them through the construction of your new pool or spa. You want a pool builder that will work hard to serve your specific needs and properly address your concerns in an effort to earn your kind words to others in the form of referrals. You want Pinecrest Pools & Spas, Inc.
Q8. HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO BUILD MY POOL?
A: The time it takes to properly construct your pool depends on several things such as the size, complexity of design, quantity of features and any adverse weather conditions. It also requires the owner's active participation in certain selections prior to beginning construction such as waterline and cap tile, interior pool shell finish, deck material styles and colors, etc. in order to insure timely completion. However, our average pool completion is approximately 60 – 70 days.
Q9. HOW MUCH DOES A POOL COST?
A: Unfortunately there's no simple one size fits all answer to this question as it depends on a variety of conditions. For instance, what's the size, shape & depth of the pool and/or spa you're interested in? Do you have specific pump, filter, chlorinator requirements, or do you prefer special features for your pool such as a beach entry, benches with therapy jets, waterfalls, fountains, etc. Are you interested in other features such as equipment automation or special pool lighting? What about the space needs around the pool for your deck and screened enclosure? We also need to account for site access to construct your swimming pool and determine what if any lawn and sprinkler repairs may be in order.
For these reasons and others, we ask that you allow us the opportunity to visit with you at no obligation, and review a proposed pool layout and determine a design and price that fits your budget.