I love my job. I get to help people realise their dreams. Well, as far as hot tub and plunge pool dreams go I guess. Either way, I am helping people get what they want. What Steph and Nathan wanted, was a pool in their backyard.
I speak to lots of people all over the world – it’s interesting and fun. There are just some people you think “wow, you’re really nice!” This is exactly what I thought when I spoke to Steph and her husband Nathan for the first time.
Such nice people I wanted to help them achieve their goal! I’ve had some great chats with Nathan from him telling me about how we was watching the Italians train ahead of the soccer game against England in his local park that morning, to the art of plastering and everything in-between …it’s always an interesting conversation.
Now, back to the build.
When Steph first gave me a call to see if I could help her, I wasn’t 100% sure what I was going to be assisting with. After a 30 minute call and some pictures being sent, it turned out that her husband Nathan had built what essentially was a concrete pool shell in their backyard.
Nathan actually sent me the original idea that Steph wanted. When you scroll down below, he’s totally nailed it!
He wasn’t sure about what to do on the plumbing, so put that to the back of his mind and cracked on with the pool structure. That was as far as it had got and the project had stalled until Steph decided she was fed up at looking at a concrete “hole” and wanted her pool finished.
When Nathan first called for a chat, the first thing I asked him was how can you build something as good looking as that and not put any plumbing in? His response was “I didn’t know what I was doing and I wish I had found your website sooner!“
Good answer Nathan! I’m here to help. Let’s get you back on track.
Really? How good is this build – just no plumbing – doh! Nathan!
Understanding the Brief
First thing was to understand the brief. This was the easy bit, well, according to Steph anyway. Steph wanted a heated pool with a colour changing light that looks like the concept picture at the top of this article. Any other “requirements” or how to make it work were down to Nathan. lol
Nathan on the other hand needed for his own peace of mind to fully understand how everything was going to work. After all, this was the bit he had basically got stuck on. When you see the build quality, Nathan is a talented chap. Fitting the plumbing per one of my designs was going to get him back on track for sure. There are lots of way I help people with their build, for Steph and Nathan, it was the plumbing side of thing they needed help with.
They needed a design, a plan, and a set of parts to match. With these in place, Nathan was not going to have a problem putting it together.
We decided that he was going to use an air source heat pump to heat it. He’d done some research and we looked at the models available and in the end, he too, like me, went with the Comfortline Hear pump – you can read my review here.
Next was to come up with a plumbing diagram that was going to fit into their back yard but also fit around the build that was in place. The last thing that we wanted to do was chop and knock about the concrete structure too much.
Wherever possible, I like to put combinations together of kit that I know work. Tried and tested if you like. So, for Nathan, the design I put together included the exact kit that I use to heat my hot tub through my “make shift” returns. You can read about this here.
For Nathan, we did it properly of course and had a dual suction, no skimmer as his build was already in place and we didn’t want to ruin it, pump, air source, cartridge filter and two pool returns. A simple, but effective setup. We decided against jets and making it a hot tub because we didn’t want to core all the holes in Nathans very tidy concrete work.
The “problem” I find with swimming pools is the price of everything. “Swimming Pool Tax” as I often refer to it. The last thing I wanted for Steph and Nathan was that this was going to cost them the earth to finish. So, what Nathan and I discussed was rather than using a regular pool control system that runs into the $$$$$, we were going to rig up a basic timer on his pump that would do the filtration cycles.
Twenty quid or thirty bucks from Amazon and it was job done. We would program that it came on for 2 x 20mins a day for the filtration cycles and he could override it if he wanted to heat the pool. DIY at its best.
The Air Source would have its own thermostat so would control the temperature. Simple and effective – just how I like it.
The light Nathan went for my Buildahottub.com light – Steph was very pleased when she saw that you could change the colours and modes. That was her brief met!
Parts on Order – and the Deadline
Next step was for Steph and Nathan to order the parts which they did from me. Nathan has been giving a deadline by Steph and this is the 17th of June because they have organised a pool party for one of their kids. Not too tight of a deadline and totally doable.
Nathan started the plumbing and fitted the lower drains after coring some holes. He has offset them from the wall as he was not able to get fully around them to be 100% confident they were filled and water tight. Does nothing to layout and the light is nicely fitted at the bottom of the tub too.
Then it was onto the external plumbing. We have used a self priming pool pump even though we are below the water line as this model was well priced. Cartridge filter as the pool is not too big and the area is not dusty and a 9KW Air Source Heat Pump – more than capable of getting this pool up to whatever temperature they want to use it.
Very tidy job Nathan! Really nice work. So now the waiting starts – he needs to let some of the epoxy sealant he has used cure which actually finished today at time of writing this. So, next steps for Nathan are to fill it and turn it on. Hopefully no leaks! Watch this space for the next update!
June 15th – T Minus 2 Days – Disaster Strikes!
I knew that Nathan was filling his pool on the 15th – 2 days before the party. I thought that it was a little tight but should be fine and not an issue with heat up times or anything like that.
Well, it got to 9pm and I had not heard anything from Nathan. I thought he must have been in the pool already so I dropped him a text.
I got a phone call – disaster had struck. For the first time, a usually upbeat Nathan sounded downtrodden and beaten. It turns out he had been working on the pool for 6 hours trying to plug a leak. This was quite a big leak. A leak that would going to be a “party stopping” leak.
Being a dad myself, I always strive to never let my kids down. This was going to be Nathan letting one of his kids down. He had been promised a pool party for his birthday and there was a huge leak coming out of the filter that rivalled a waterfall! I couldn’t let this happen, I had to help.
The Rescue Mission!
Given it was 9.30pm when I got off the phone with Nathan, it was way too late to get some parts out. Unfortunately with PVC weld products that are used in hot tub and plunge pool builds, when the joints are made correctly, you have to cut them out and remake them. You cant plug them on most occasions. This was certainly one of these occasion.
There was simply no other option but for me to put the parts in the back of my car and drive the few hours over to Nathan the next day.
However, it turns out that Nathan was going to be at work so would not be able to fit them in time – arghhh!
OK, it was time to break my own rules and do some on site work. As you will have read on this blog I am sure, I don’t do the installs for people – my remit is to help you to do it yourself. On this occasion, I couldn’t let Steph and Nathan have to cancel their Son’s pool party so loaded up the parts and tools into my car and headed over to fit them for them.
On arrival at Steph and Nathan’s it was clear there was quite a large leak coming from the filter. But unfortunately, there was several other leaks in the plumbing that Nathan hadn’t spotted. The only thing I could do was to cut out the leaks, reconfigure the plumbing slightly as I didn’t have spare valves with me (my bad!).
Normally with an air source you put in a bypass so you can adjust the pressure. On this occasion, I tested it was ok do just removed the bypass and replaced the plumbing. A couple of hours later, job done!
Job Done, Party Saved!
A few hours work and some new parts and job was a good’un. There were no leaks, I set the heat pump going to start heating up the pool. I text Nathan that evening to see if he or any of the family had been in – he sent me this.
I’d say that was job done! Party will go ahead as planned.
You certainly can’t say I wont go the extra mile for my customers!
If I can help you in any way with your own DIY Plunge Pool or Hot Tub project, then please do get in touch.
Happy Hot Tubbin’
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Thanks - Andi