In-floor Cleaning systems. What , When, Why, What can go wrong, and How much?

A pool is a big investment and often when looking at the price of a new pool package the costs can seem very daunting.

The Extras that can be added to a pool will quickly add up and before you know it your $45,000 pool could be fast approaching $70,000. The question with infloor cleaning, which is often the single largest extra you may add to your pool is, “Is it worth it?”

We have been installing infloor cleaning systems with Minke Pools, directional and before that with many other pool companies, since their introduction into Australia more than 15 years ago. The general idea with the system is to have a separate pump and water circulation system that will return water to directional jets on the floor of the pool. These jets will blow all floor debris to a collection point where it is removed from the pool. The introduction of in-floor cleaning at the construction stage will remove any need to Vacuum the pool and the pool should be crystal clear all year round.

Infloor cleaning has been proven to not only be benifical to the pool cleanliness, but the increased water circulation has be proven to reduce chemical consumption and heating costs.

WHAT:

We use the Paramount infloor cleaning system as they are the industry leaders and innovators for continued development in regards to Infloor Cleaning world wide. They are an american based company and an individually designed infloor cleaning system plan is prepared for each individual pool. This design will take into account the individual pool size, floor depths, floor to wall transition profiles, entry steps and or swim out ledge etc. The result will be a unique infloor cleaning system designed to clean the specific pool.

Infloor cleaning plan

The heads located in the floor of the pool fire at different intervals, controlled by a mechanical watervale and gear head. The system pictured is a “9 port” system so there will be 9 different cleaning zones in the pool. They fire in such a sequence so as to push all the floor waste to the safety suction shown at the deepest point of the pool.

To get a more complete picture of WHAT the system is and how it works please watch the video from Paramount.

WHEN:

As the infloor cleaning system in built into the concrete structure it is imperative that the system be installed at the construction stage. The system can be added to a pool renovation, or retro fitted, but the cost associated  with demolishing large sections of the existing structure, and subsequent repairs may make the system cost prohibitive. If, as a client,  i could not afford the complete infloor cleaning system i would still look at installing the components into the concrete shell for a subsequent installation of  the remaining equipment at a later stage.

WHY:

Discussed in the “What” section and clearly explained in the paramount video…There is a lot of reasons to install the system.

First and formost is the convenience and luxury of not having to do time consuming pool maintanance. The pool will look good and be swim ready at all times by cleaning itself.

The pool will use less chemical as the improved water circulation will aid in more efficient sanitation.

The pool will heat more evenly heated reducing heating costs.

Evaporation cause by temperature differences within the body of water will be reduced.

WHAT CAN GO WRONG:

The infloor cleaning system is designed in America and all hardware is supplied as part of the system. The key area where there could be issues is in regards to POOR INSTALLATION, and unfortunately it happens.

The flow
The flow that comes out of each nozzle is controlled by the water pressure delivered to each head. It is critical that the below shell plumbing design and installation is completed by an experienced pool plumber. The  Plumbing has to be installed in such a way as to ensure even flow through each nozzle or some nozzels may return large amounts of water , and some very little or even none. It is important that the infloor cleaning is installed prior to any steel works so that the best under floor plumbing design can be set up to ensure even flow to all nozzles.

The equipment:
It is important that the right sized pump is used to mazimise the efectiveness of the infloor cleaning system. A pump that is too small will not deliver the required water pressure to each nozzel and there may also be insufficient suction to remove the debris at the main drain collection point.

Safety compliant plumbing:
It is important that the system is installed as per manufacturer recommendations as poorly installed main-drains and safety suction breakers can pose a very real risk of entrapment and even death by drowning.. This may sound serious..and it is…

Plumbing depth:
It is important that all pipe work is buried deep enough under the pool shell to ensure the nozzles can recess back into the pool floor. We have seen pools where the elbows are too close to the surface and the nozzle remain proud of the internal finish, unable to fully with draw back into its body. Not a good look.

In general
It is important that the infloor cleaning system is installed with great care by an experience and licensed installer. As it is installed below the concrete pool floor the plumbing has to last as long as the pool so every join and glued fitting must be of the highest integrity.
Often a pool builder may be licensed to install the product, but they may then subcontract out the critical installation to an unlicensed sub contract pool plumber. Check with your pool builder to ensure they are licensed to install the product and that they are installing the below ground plumbing works in house.

HOW MUCH:

The addition of an infloor cleaning system can add anywhere from $7000 to $20,000 to the cost of the swimming pool. The price is dependent on the pool design and the requirements of the system. A complex pool and spa with balance tanks, weirs and spa that all require cleaning will cost a lot more that a simple 6 x 3 meter rectangular pool.

An infloor cleaning system is fast  becoming a standard inclusion in most high end concrete swimming pools . As it is an item that cant be added later it is important to consider the inclusion very carefully during the pool design and quotation stage.

I would compare it to air conditioning in cars , where as air conditioning use to be an extra or option when buying a new car , it is now a standard inclusion as the value of the systems far outways the inconvenience of not having it. In my opinion unless you really enjoy pool maintenance, which most people don’t, and if you want your pool to be seen as a value adding item to you property i would install an infloor cleaning system over any other pool option.

Minke Pool pv3 Licensed installer

From Concept to Concrete

We have just sprayed our latest pool shell and i though it would be a good time to demonstrate the evolution of a project from concept to concrete stage…

This is where the bulk of the impact takes place as a site progresses from a blank canvas to a raw structure.

The latest project is sure to become a showpiece pool .The planning and design work that takes place before breaking ground, combined with quality workmanship during the build and integrated quality control procedures ensure the shell is built to last a life time.

The initial conceptual design is drawn up and finalized. This plan becomes the blue print for the entire project.

Landscape design

After engineering and all  plans are completed the project begins. Excavation is completed and formwork begins.

Steel-fixing and plumbing installed and passed by building surveyor.

Then after three weeks of intensive works the concrete shell is poured.

As you can see its a great relief when a concrete shell is poured… Especially in melbourne ….in winter where there is the constant risk of catastrophic cave ins.

This pool will be:

Approx 11 x 6 with 3 full length entry steps

Fully tiled in a white Bisazza tile.

Mineral sanitation/infloor cleaning/gas and solar heating.

The surrounding coping will be white large format marble pavers..

There are 2 waterfeatures on the boundry wall that will spill into narrow aquaducts before returning to the pool.

There are 5 new generation “em”series spa electric led lights in the step side of the pool.

There will be fiber optic lighting running under the steps and coping on the entry side of the pool as well as on each side of the aqua ducts.

Now the concrete shell is complete the works around the pool can begin. The pool company is usually the first to start on a site, as all the other hard landscaping elements usually tie into the pool.

We are also usually the last to finish on site. When a pool is being fully tiled it is important to protect the tiles once the works have been completed so for this reason we like to tile the pool once all other works are almost complete. We like to hand over the pool as the clients take possession of the the project as a whole.

We’ll keep you posted on the project as it develops so stay tuned…

BEST POOL BUILDERS IN MELBOURNE…but why?

We love what we do and we continually strive the build the best pools in Melbourne. This is our mission and our goal.
I  have been reflecting lately on why we love building pools so much. It is hard dirty work, hot in summer, wet in winter, dusty, muddy and dangerous. For me,  my answer is as follows.

Growing up with pools

Growing up we did not have a pool, but some of my best memories are of days and nights spent at friends pools.

As a child, it was the days playing around the pool,  pool games such as Marco Polo and handstands. Swimming underwater from end to end and holding your breath as long as you could while fetching sunken objects off the pool floor.

As a teen it moved to jumping push bikes into pools, launching of roofs into the deep end and eventually long nights sitting in the spa drinking beers with friends.   Very rarely did it involve laps, but it was always great fun.

Now an adult and homeowner I see the value of a swimming pool in a different light. When I jump in a newly finished pool now I get a feeling of complete luxury. What a joy and luxury it is to be able to have the space to dive into your own backyard pool and splash around. Your own oasis where you can relax and entertain without any interference from the outside world. The kids and their friends will never be far away on a hot day or balmy night because where else would they rather be.

The Pool as an idea

Building pools now I realise I have had a long love affair with the idea of pools. The Hollywood movie pools and movies about pools have always been a favourite for me. Although they were before my time I like to “The Swimmer” with Burt Lancaster is a real showpiece of American pools in the 60’s as he swims from the river to his house doing laps in every backyard pool he passes on the way.

Also “Don’t make waves” the 1967 Tony Curtis film where Tony plays Carlo Cofield a Malibu-based swimming pool salesman. The movie is based on California beach culture in the 60’s and showpieces some great pools and real estate from the era.

The idea of a pool is really what drives the demand for pools. The idea that you can own your own piece of paradise.

Your own oasis or holiday destination where you need only travel to your back door.

The idea of a design feature in your private landscape that could be seen in a magazine or on a movie set, or in a music video clip with bikini clad girls. if that’s the idea.

The idea is different for everyone and it is very emotional. The great thing with pools is that although the idea is one of extreme luxury it is attainable. There are many options to suit varied budgets. So the dream can become a reality.

Pushing design and innovation

My passion for pools has now moved to a new stage where I am literally addicted to them. I love the intricacies in design and the behind the scenes working of a pool. To the owner, it has to be simple to operate and clean and polished in design but to make this happen there is a lot of thought and construction knowledge required to ensure it is built well. Structurally and hydraulically there is a lot that can be done wrong when building pools and one mistake at the construction stage is one too many.

I now enjoy researching cutting edge pool designs from around the world. Following architects from today and the past in their design and integration of pools into landscapes and home designs. I enjoy watching trends in pool design come and go and keeping note of what seems to be timeless.

Famous Lautner edge pool @ Goldstein residence

At Minke pools we really enjoy the challenge of complex designs in pool and spa construction. I find the pool with even one small design feature that may be a point of a difference a joy to build, and I love watching an idea sketched out on paper becoming a full-scale construction and finished product of exceptional quality.

A lot of pool companies build pools as a soulless business concern.They focus on numbers and turnover and have a primary focus on costs. What it will cost them to build it ..and how can we cost in some additional variations.

We believe we are the best pool builders in Melbourne because we love what we do. We love the process and the result and most of all I love being able to provide a client with a pool that meets their Idea of what a pool is, and should be, to them and their family. To meet the need created by the idea.

Latest completed swimming pool renovation

The pool inside a pool renovation project is now complete.

1. This is what we were first greeted with. Massive old pool in good condition but far too big and very dated.

BEFORE.

Originally a large pool the pool was shortened to become more of a courtyard feature.

Infloor cleaning, spa jets, solar heating was all incorporated into the new design.

2. This is at the concrete stage with the old pool still visible behind.

@ Concrete

The pool is fully tiled in an Italian 200 x200 ceramic tile with 200 x 50mm rectangular tiles used to tile the curved walls.

Entry steps are finished in travertine to match the coping and the pool surrounds and paved in a feature cobble style paver.
A water tank was put in the old part of the original pool shell as part of the water conservation plan.

3. Tiled about to lay travertine.

Tiled

4. Complete… the dawn of a new pool. Photos were taken at daybreak this morning.

The pool is finished and ready to provide years of family fun and entertaining.

Landscape design by Paul Bangay and pool designed by Minke pools in conjunction with SJB architects.

The pool was built in conjunction with Krongold Constructions.

We are very happy with the result. Our hands-on approach to building pools ensures we maintain our uncompromising high standards on every project we do and the result, even on the closest inspection, will not disappoint.

Stay tuned more completed pools to come in the next few weeks.