EVERYTHING you NEED to know for your first SWIMMING POOL

Any thing to do with swimming pools, fish ponds, or other man made structures which hold water (but not wells for drinking water).

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Re: EVERYTHING you NEED to know for your first SWIMMING POOL

Postby Mike Judd » Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:52 am

Just to throw in some more info on pools which other members may or may not agree with. My very experienced Engineer who is retiring now after a life time in the business designing and consulting on all types of construction including large public pools, had a look at the 6mt X 4mt X 1.5mt deep pool that I intend to build inside the U of my house. He asked what type of ground (sandy clay ) and just did a rough sketch showing half inch steel 6 inch centres all over going into a flat beam at the top about 3ft wide. All the steel placed near the bottom and outsides min 2inch cover. With it all being 6 inches thick concrete 25mpa strength min. Not to forget the non return valve in the bottom and maybe a Agg pipe covered in a membrane running round the outside bottom to take away any water build up. I mentioned the rubber gasket between the slab and walls and he said O.K. just make sure it's in place and upright when pouring the walls. Apparently there's a product called Hydrotite that's used widely for sealing concrete in different applications,all shapes and sizes that expands when water hits it.But I will probably stick with the gasket that's available in Thailand.
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Re: EVERYTHING you NEED to know for your first SWIMMING POOL

Postby jazzman » Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:31 pm

Make sure that the rubber waterstop strip is embedded half in the floor and half in the wall above it. This will provide a perfect waterproof joint between the floor and the walls; reason being is that two separate casts of concrete will never have a waterproof joint. A well constructed concrete pool, vibrated and with waterproofing additive will not need an additional waterproofing coat if proper waterproof tile adhesive is used. If there are any doubts as to the waterproof qualities of the concrete and a coating is desired, check out the Weberˇ products. Often referred to as slurry, a web search will find them, but they are expensive. Available in most larger DIY and home supplies stores. Pool shops and true professionals generally pretend not to know about them for fear of giving away trade secrets. Cowboy pool builders have never heard of it and mostly don't even know about waterproof tile adhesive.

If a pool is leaking, it's either due to a cracked or poorly glued underground PVC pipe (very bad news), or porous concrete. Nothing much can be done about a damaged pipe, but porous walls can be treated by removing the tiles, coating the concrete, and retiling. Good pool builders will render the concrete first with about 1 cm of sharp sand render with Portland cement and waterproofing additive before tiling. These are the details that make some pools genuinely more expensive than others, but a pool builder who intends to stay in business will not want to have to return to his pools and repair them under guarantee after a year or two.
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Re: EVERYTHING you NEED to know for your first SWIMMING POOL

Postby Mike Judd » Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:42 am

Thanks jazzman,! I will keep that all in mind. My guy said that a common error with the gasket was when pouring the walls the first dump of concrete knocked it flat if they were not careful. Which is another reason for that constant supervision, I guess. What is the usual way to seal around pipes, going through the concrete, ?
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Re: EVERYTHING you NEED to know for your first SWIMMING POOL

Postby jazzman » Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:54 pm

That won't happen if the rubber strip is firmly tied to the rebar with rebar binding wire. The rubber is available in 4", 6", and 8"widths but the 6" is best for most purposes. It comes in 20m rolls.
Sealing around the pipes is generally not a problem if the PVC is clean and the concrete is well vibrated. Be sure that the water proof or water resistant tile adhesive buts up to them and when you glue in the jets and vac port place a bead of silicone around the rear of their flange and press the jets firmly up against the tiles. The yellow conduits for the underwater lights should be fine if you also seal them off round the outside with silicone. If you want to be extra sure, you can first paint round the pipes where they protrude into the pool with waterproofing slurry. Slurry is sold at the most economical price in 20 Kg bags or tubs, but smaller packaging is also available. There are PVC things called flashing for most pipe sizes and their use should be obvious from the photo - the flanges go in the concrete half way through the wall. However, they could be more trouble than tehy're worth and provide just more place for things to go wrong. I've never known anyone use them and most pool constructors probably don't know about them. AFAIK there is only one supplier in Thailand and the flashings won't turn up in a web search.

Underwater lights:
Another important tip which I have seen ignored by many 'professionals', is to be sure to install deck boxes for the connection of the lights. All UL lights come with a 2.5m bonded lead that should be fed through the conduit and up to the deckbox for further watertight connection to the underground cables to the transformers in the pump house. It is never permissible to use a 'watertight' connection that will be permanently in water, however convincing the claims are of the connector manufactures. The instructions come with the lights but by the time they are purchased and unpacked it is often too late to do the job properly.
Most people nowadays use LED lights since the prices have dropped dramatically. Miniaturisation of LEDs makes a flat mounted light possible without a niche recess in the concrete. They do not suffer from the regular blow-out of traditional halogen bulbs and hence need virtually no maintenance. Avoid no-name cheap lights as their plastic is not truly resistant to pool chemicals and they get brittle and crack after a couple of years. LED lights are available in white or color-changing and of course make huge savings in electricity.
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Re: EVERYTHING you NEED to know for your first SWIMMING POOL

Postby Mike Judd » Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:57 pm

Thanks once again.!
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Re: EVERYTHING you NEED to know for your first SWIMMING POOL

Postby jazzman » Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:22 am

Underwater lights:

Choose carefully to avoid disappointment later, remember you won't often get an opportunity to see how they look at night time in a real pool before you buy. The wattage and number of units depends very much on the size, and the shape of the pool (to avoid unlit areas in free-form pools). Although most new pools are equipped with salt water chlorinators, some models are not recommended for saltwater pools and you don't know this until you unpack them and see the warning sticker on the back of the light unit.

When choosing underwater LED lights, note that they often come as WHITE ONLY or COLOUR CHANGING. Emauxˇ brand offers the colour changing version at no extra cost; color changing is automatic every 30 seconds or so and can be overridden by switching the lights on and off to cycle through the colours. Most brands also sell an optional remote control which then offers additional effects. Emaux is possibly less well known than Pentair, Astral, or Hayward etc., but is in fact the largest manufacturer of lights in the world and they are very reasonably priced; designed by the parent company in Australia and assembled in China (like everything else these days), the quality is excellent.

Quality lights are well documented on the Internet, and some manufacturers' sites allow you to download the brochures and installation instructions.
If anyone here would like a calculation for the number of lights and wattage to use, don't hesitate to ask me here.
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Salt water chlorination

Postby jazzman » Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:40 am

Salt water chlorination systems:

The popularity of saltwater chlorination is increasing exponentially - to the extent that suppliers of powder, granulated, or tablet chlorine are now feeling the pinch. There are mixed opinions on such systems and rival manufacturers often make claims that are based only on optimal environmental conditions. Salt water chlorinators can save money and time on maintenance. Avoid cheap models at all cost (pun), they are almost guaranteed to fail a day after the warranty expires and spare parts may be hard or even impossible to obtain. Some quality brands are so reliable that their makers offer up to 3 years full guarantee. Quality brands have self-cleaning (automatic reverse-polarity) electrolysis units (called cells) reducing the need to rinse the cell occasionally with hydrochloric (muriatic) acid to remove build up of calc (which shouldn't happen if the pH is maintained correctly).

Most models offer built-in multiple digital timing programmes for the pump, and 'no-flow' pump protection. Modern 220V pumps are self-starting and self-priming, making any additional control boxes with relays and voltage regulators totally obsolete. All the chlorinator needs is a normal earthed (grounded) 3-pin mains outlet (socket) which should be routed to a consumer unit somewhere that contains an RCCB. The pump simply plugs into the chlorinator unit.

Most brands offer various sizes for pools up to 200 m3 (including the volume of the balance tank on overflow or infinity-edge pools). Larger pools can use multiple units of various sizes. 380V 3-phase pumps will need to be connected through a relay (if installing a 3-phase pump for the first time, óver-under' voltage regulators will be required). Some models are available with automatic acid dosing for pH control. They maintain the pool pH with extreme accuracy, the best setting is 7.2 for salt water pools.

Advantages:
No need to stock expensive chlorine and manually add it to the pool. The ROI on the system can be quite fast, bearing in mind also that no control box is required for the pump - even retro fitting a chlorinator will make an existing control box obsolete.
Accurate dosing of chlorine after empirical set-up.
Built-in timers.
Built-in pump protection.
Low salt warning.
Some models available with automatic pH control & dosing.
Winterisation programme - useful for owners who are absent for longer periods.

Disadvantages:
Need to stock salt, although topping up is infrequent and salt is much, much less costly than buying chlorine for manual addition. Salt comes in 20 Kg bags and is sold in two types: red bag is standard salt, blue bag is specially prepared for swimming pool use and already contains small quantities of important Cyanuric Acid. There is little price difference. However, retail outlets sell the pool salt at extremely different prices. Some pool shops have been known to charge as much as ฿500 for a bag, especially in traditionally expensive areas to live, while it can be obtained for as little as ฿150 and still works out cheaper even if you have to pay for the transport.
Occasional addition of very small quantities of Cyanuric Acid may be required - stabilised pool chlorine (TCCA) powder, granules, or tablets for manual dosing already contains cyanuric acid stabiliser. Non stabilised chlorine powder often sold in hardware stores in 50 Kg drums for general use does not.
Relays needed for 380V 3-phase pumps.

*Choose you model carefully - remember that your pool is in the tropics and will need more chlorine than a pool in a cool or temperate climate. Good chlorinators are relatively expensive but just a few bob more will not break the bank, and will pay dividends.
*Check the prices carefully: serious sales outlets offer quality chlorinators that start from as little as ฿36 - 40,000 while some pool shops/constructors in traditionally expensive areas are known to charge up to double. The most popular brands and readily available here in Thailand are Zodiacˇ, Haywardˇ, and Emauxˇ (although the Emaux range is aimed at a budget conscious small-pool market). Avoid buying a chlorinator in your home country and bringing back to Thailand - you probably won't get accredited service for it here even if it's a leading brand because many manuyfacturers make models for specific markets.
*Remember that not all pool 'constructors' are accredited agents or wholesalers of the equipment they install, and are often known to shrug their shoulders (or are no longer around...) when something goes wrong, leaving you to find out where they bought the darned thing.

As always, if you want any advice, read the entire Swimming Pool section from the beginning, and if you don't find the answers, just ask us here on CoolThaiHouse :)
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Re: EVERYTHING you NEED to know for your first SWIMMING POOL

Postby mtsinternational » Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:28 pm

Greetings!

I've got "halogen" swimming pool lights installed in the pool I had built at the house 5 years or so ago and am interested
in the possible replacement of those "halogen" lights with LED lights.

The existing "halogen" lights and electrical set up is what I would consider the norm for a swimming pool here in Thailand.

Is it reasonable to think that the existing electrical system and wiring will accommodate the LED replacement lamps or
does something special need to be done?

Any recommendations on brand make and model of LED lamps to purchase? Cost? Contractor to install?

Thanks in advance for any provided helpful feedback.
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Re: EVERYTHING you NEED to know for your first SWIMMING POOL

Postby Roger Ramjet » Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:47 pm

mtainternational,
According to my electrician, the set-up is basically the same with both having an identical two pin receiver. I initially bought three "racks" that took three separate lights each and then changed the halogen globe inside for clear LED. Very very disappointing result, the halogen lights were 5 times brighter than the LED replacements. The cost saving would be minimal for a disappointing result. I'd stick with the halogen lights.
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Re: EVERYTHING you NEED to know for your first SWIMMING POOL

Postby mtsinternational » Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:20 pm

Appreciate the prompt feedback Roger. Points noted. It is less of a cost saving consideration and more of
maintenance consideration as it seems as though I am having to replace the "halogen" lamp bulbs way to
frequently. Thoughts? The "halogen" lamp bulbs do not seem to have the durability for some reason....
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Re: EVERYTHING you NEED to know for your first SWIMMING POOL

Postby MGV12 » Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:21 pm

Roger Ramjet wrote:mtainternational,
According to my electrician, the set-up is basically the same with both having an identical two pin receiver. I initially bought three "racks" that took three separate lights each and then changed the halogen globe inside for clear LED. Very very disappointing result, the halogen lights were 5 times brighter than the LED replacements. The cost saving would be minimal for a disappointing result. I'd stick with the halogen lights.


RR

What is the brand and wattage of the halogen bulbs? Total wattage for all lights in the pool?

What is the brand, wattage and type of the LED bulbs? Total wattage for all lights in the pool?

mtsinternational

Industry standard LED bulbs have a greater lumen output per watt than halogen or CFL and run cooler ... however there are a lot of manufacturers [Chinese mostly] producing sub-standard products that have a feeble output and don't last anywhere near the hours they suggest. Changing underwater bulbs can be a pain ... therefore longevity is a bonus ... the only way you will guarantee longevity is to buy a top brand ... one that is based upon genuine Cree components for instance; bulbs advertised as 'Rotundity CREE' aren't actually a Cree product. These do not come cheap in Thailand ... nor anywhere to be honest at this stage. Thailand is not interested in LED ... they are still endeavoring to switch everyone to CFL's and you can still buy incandescent bulbs here; unlike the UK where they are banned.

Fitting is not a problem as all standard size low-voltage [12V] bulbs ... be they Halogen or LED ... will have the same MR16 socket fitting. You will be well-advised to change the existing step-down transformer[s] for LED driver[s] as these will give a more stable light and longer life. Warm white bulbs will be more expensive than cool white/daylight as they are more expensive to manufacture.

It's not a simple answer as it's not as simple a question as it first appears ... sticking with Halogen as RR suggested is the simple solution but not necessarily for the reasons given.

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Re: EVERYTHING you NEED to know for your first SWIMMING POOL

Postby mtsinternational » Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:42 pm

Brand of halogen lamps are Philips and were purchased at pool supply shop. Wattage of lamps are 100w each x 6 light/lamp locations in the pool = 600w total by my calculations.
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Re: EVERYTHING you NEED to know for your first SWIMMING POOL

Postby Roger Ramjet » Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:07 pm

MGV12,
MGV12 wrote:What is the brand and wattage of the halogen bulbs? Total wattage for all lights in the pool?

What is the brand, wattage and type of the LED bulbs? Total wattage for all lights in the pool?


I've already posted on my building thread or on another thread (I searched for an 20 minutes and couldn't find it) the types of LED and halogen bulbs I've used (the only ones available at Thai Watsadu and HomePro) and, as they were the only ones available without driving to either Chang Mai or Pattaya or searching dozens of electrical outlets in Bangkok, they're the ones I'm sticking to. Both were 12V though and worked off the same step-down, even though it's not recommended.
We had this discussion before, with you adamant that LED were far superior to halogen, however, if you look at all the people who have LED installed, they all complain about the inicial cost and the short span the LED lights have in some cases. Add to that the cost of changing the step-downs, the fact that the LEDs do not give off the same light as the halogens and you have the reason why I went for spiral fluorescents throughout the house and have gone back to halogen for the three racks, along with the pool lights. Along with that the cheap Chinese and Thai LEDs that are being flogged by the big stores are totally disappointing and have a life expectancy of getting out of the store only with miserable light quality, and it all adds up to a dismal failure at this stage. Perhaps, when the Chinese and Thai improve their quality, then I'll reconsider, but at this stage it's a waste of money.
Perhaps you should tell the Chinese and Thai about "industry standard" because so far they are years behind the rest of the world.
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Re: EVERYTHING you NEED to know for your first SWIMMING POOL

Postby jazzman » Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:24 pm

Interesting comments from everyone.

A couple of points to get those up to speed who only glossed over my post:
Halogen bulbs are very expensive to replace around ฿600 for the small 2-poin ones and up to ฿3,000 for the sealed beam style ones that we used to have on round car headlights. Not to mention the inconvenience of having to unmount the lights and change the bulbs. When you get that far, you often find that the failure was not the bulb itself but ingress into the unit by water. That said, repacement halogen bulbs for pool lights are easily available online here in Thailand - just surf the net. However, it's not all doom and gloom - I know of halogen lights that are still working properly without a single bulb change after 8 years and still going strong.

LED lights have a far greater longevity, They are very bright provided a sufficient wattage is chosen to match the original wattage of the halogen lights. Nobody who is aware of the market has been installing the very expensive 300W sealed beam type tight for years, especially since the trend to install flat mounted lights that don't need a niche in the concrete. Most halogen lights are the 75W, 100W, or 150W type nowadays, but with the trend towards LEDs and their colour changing features and low power consumption, it's likely that most manufacturers will phase out their halogen models sooner or later.

LED pool lights generally come in, 8W, 24W, and 35W although some manufacturers may make lights with intermediate wattages. There are two types of LED lights: those that have many LEDs, and those that have the latest generation of extremely tiny LEDs - these are the brightest. It's important to download the manufacturer's data sheets and compare the real lighting value. For example, a 35W LED white light provides 2000 LUX while the colour version gives off 1400 LUX; a 24W LED unit gives the same as a 75W halogen bulb: about 490 LUX.

Retrofitting:
Some of the larger diameter flat-mount lights will fit over the niche of the older type lights. But you will have problems if the pool wax not correctly fitted with deck boxes for connection of the bonded 2>5m cables that come with the lights. Its this bonded seal that usually fails first on cheaper lights and I've even known the more expensive older model HaywardˇLED lights to fill up with water, ruining the motherboard. Note that many manufacturers have the same housing on their halogen and LED lights, so the problems are not special to LED lights only - cheap halogen lights fill up with water too.

Transformers:
If replacing or retrofitting, remember that large wattage transformers can be used for lower wattage lights but not the other way round. Think of how many LED lights you can run from just one of your existing trafos for halogen lights, making all the others redundant. Transformers are not cheap so don't buy new ones unless you absolutely need them.

Always avoid cheap Chinese imports and go for the established brands such as Astral, Emaux, Hayward, Pentair, Spa Electric, etc. I know what I would chose every time on a price/quality ratio, but to avoid the usual web forum squabbles, I will let CTH members make up their own minds.
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Re: EVERYTHING you NEED to know for your first SWIMMING POOL

Postby MGV12 » Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:50 pm

Roger Ramjet wrote:MGV12,
MGV12 wrote:What is the brand and wattage of the halogen bulbs? Total wattage for all lights in the pool?

What is the brand, wattage and type of the LED bulbs? Total wattage for all lights in the pool?


I've already posted on my building thread or on another thread (I searched for an 20 minutes and couldn't find it) the types of LED and halogen bulbs I've used (the only ones available at Thai Watsadu and HomePro) and, as they were the only ones available without driving to either Chang Mai or Pattaya or searching dozens of electrical outlets in Bangkok, they're the ones I'm sticking to. Both were 12V though and worked off the same step-down, even though it's not recommended.
We had this discussion before, with you adamant that LED were far superior to halogen, however, if you look at all the people who have LED installed, they all complain about the inicial cost and the short span the LED lights have in some cases. Add to that the cost of changing the step-downs, the fact that the LEDs do not give off the same light as the halogens and you have the reason why I went for spiral fluorescents throughout the house and have gone back to halogen for the three racks, along with the pool lights. Along with that the cheap Chinese and Thai LEDs that are being flogged by the big stores are totally disappointing and have a life expectancy of getting out of the store only with miserable light quality, and it all adds up to a dismal failure at this stage. Perhaps, when the Chinese and Thai improve their quality, then I'll reconsider, but at this stage it's a waste of money.
Perhaps you should tell the Chinese and Thai about "industry standard" because so far they are years behind the rest of the world.


I hadn't realised what a lucky person I am; as with the SANWA taps! I have dozens of LED bulbs and smile every time I remind myself how little 'juice' they are consuming.

Jazzman's last post covers most of it so I won't bore you with the results that can be obtained by DYOR.

Legislation in many countries is causing the demise of incandescent bulbs ... ironically a friend of my mother has asked if I can take some back for her on my next trip. As some claim with vinyl records and valve radios/amplifiers ... she simply prefers the 'warmth' of incandescent bulbs. However, many countries are still embracing CFL's as the way forward and therefore LED's are struggling to establish a market worthy of their potential ... it tends to be a case of very high quality and very high prices or very low prices and very low quality. To find the middle ground you certainly need to DYOR.

One of our members up in Chiang Rai suggests that LED's will never make it into the number one position ... as 'Induction Lighting' will overtake it.

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