Equipment Manuals

Please find below manuals for products we use and recommend:

1. Multi-Color Light Models

2. Zodiac Flo-Pro Epump

3. Waterco – Solar Controller
Zane PC5 manual.pdf

4. Sunbather – Solar Controller
Sunswitch Wired Controller Booklet.pdf


Pool Sanitation Systems – What We Recommend

Pool sanitation systems are how swimming pool water is disinfected or kept in a healthy and usable condition for swimming. Most pool sanitation systems are based around oxidising agents like chlorine that chemically render water borne pathogens, like germs, non-functional.

Historically, chlorine and chlorine generator systems like salt water chlorinators, have been used for sanitising pool water. Chlorine is widely used as a sanitation method for drinking water and treatment of wastewater etc. Chlorine is noxious and dangerous, so are hydrogen peroxide, bromide, silver and copper ion based ionisers, UV light systems etc. Fundamentally killing “Organics” in swimming pool water requires the use of dangerous chemicals and dangerous systems of sanitiser delivery.

Just as everything “Organic” or living isn’t necessarily advantageous to us, similarly, not all chemicals, however dangerous they may or may not be  – are to be avoided.

The modern trend of demonising chemicals and eulogising “natural systems” is, intuitively, understandable. However, in practice, “natural” systems of management aren’t usable within modern swimming pools.

pool spa combo with pool sanitation systems

So called “fresh water pools” or natural pools are rarely practical. They  are only possible with vast volumes of water, cold water temps and low bathing loads. Such conditions are rarely preferred for use in suburban households.

The small water volumes (common in space challenged backyards), high water temps (desired for year round use) and high bathing loads (the backyard pool being the hub of family life in summer), mean that proven and effective sanitation systems are best for active families.

Many of the new sanitation systems  on the market, use buzzwords like mineral pools, freshwater and chemical free – these are terms dreamed up by the marketing departments and not the R&D departments. In choosing a sanitation system for your swimming pool, the most important consideration should be the efficacy of the system, notwithstanding real concerns of allergies etc.Zodiac Tri Series Chlorinator pool sanitation systems

A simple salt water chlorination system uses the most wide spread and effective sanitiser (chlorine), a cost effective and reliable method of sanitiser generation (electrolytic cell) as well as additional technology to monitor and regulate sanitiser output. Such “salt water chlorine generators”, have been around for over 20 years and are still the most widely used technology.

Chemists know water as being a “universal solvent as well as the preferred medium of chemical action”. I guess what this means is that, water innately acts as an agent of chemical action, so in owning a large body of water (swimming pool), you will need to manage the chemical reactions that take place within it  – chemically. Hence the need to maintain the pool water chemistry of your pool.

How much does a pool cost to run?

For most people considering purchasing a pool this is a question very nearly top of mind – perhaps second only to the initial capital outlay: how much does a pool cost to run?

A photo of a pool in Ashburton.

Pool Chemical Costs

At Momentum Pools we build our pools with standard features including full tiling, salt water chlorination and an auto pH dosing systems made by Zodiac. When we first commission the pool after filling we add approx 20Kg of pool salt / 5000litres of water (approx 8 bags ). This salt can be purchased from Bunnings for approx $8 / bag. For continuous use a pool requires 20kg of salt per 5000L of water per year.

Electricity Costs

When we build clients swimming pools we always specify variable speed pumps and solar heating such as Sunbather’s solar heating and Zodiac’s compact heating. And against trend I offer clients the following advice:

Run your pool equipment for the minimum amount of time each day.

This means in summer run your filter pump for 4 hrs per day and less in Winter. Top dose sanitiser levels through adding granulated chlorine manually. Yes – your pool equipment can do this – but the energy intensive processes, provides a poor cost return. Overall, the running costs associated with running a pool are complex with many variables as well as the interplay within the variables themselves adding to the complexity.

Filter Pumps
In low speed mode use 0.6Kw of electricity x 4hrs = $0.48 per day*

Solar Pump
Assuming 4hrs of use per day = 0.6Kw of electricity x 4hrs = $0.48 per day*

Salt Chlorinator
Assuming 4hrs of use per day = 0.6Kw of electricity x 4hrs = $0.48 per day*

*Based on a rate of $0.20 per kWhr

 Water Cost

To calculate the approximate initial water cost, please try our pool filling cost estimator.

In terms of evaporative water loss – even with solar heating your pool should only lose water in the peak summer season from mid November through to mid March. On average approx 5 – 10mm of water per day or 0.005 – 0.01m of water will be lost off the surface of the pool. This means a total water loss for the period of 120 days x 25 ( sqm ) x 0.005 – 0.01 = 15 – 30cm of water or 15,000 – 30,000L. Whilst this figure seems high its offset by Melbourne rainfall in this period on average of 250mm for the 120 days or approx 9500L of water hence the average pool will need a net water input of approx 5000 – 20,000L of water for the year or approx $20 – $80 of water.

Filling Your Pool

How much does it cost to fill a pool?

The average suburban in-ground pool with a surface area of 25sqm starts off by containing approx 38,000L of water or, by the time Melbourne Water or the local regulatory authorities apply their charges, (approx $4 / 1000L) $150 of water.

Water Loss due to Evaporation

pool cover

In terms of evaporative water loss – even with solar heating your pool should only lose water in the peak summer season from mid November through to mid March. On average approx 5 – 10mm of water per day or 0.005 – 0.01m of water will be lost off the surface of the pool. This means a total water loss for the period of 120 days x 25 ( sqm ) x 0.005 – 0.01 = 15 – 30cm of water or 15,000 – 30,000L. Whilst this figure seems high its offset by Melbourne rainfall in this period on average of 250mm for the 120 days or approx 9500L of water hence the average in-ground pool will need a net water input of approx 5000 – 20,000L of water for the year or approx $20 – $80 of water.

This can be greatly reduced however by installing a pool cover. We recommend Sunbather’s hidden pool covers.


How deep do I make my pool?

Setting water depths in domestic pools is a tricky subject. The dangers of diving into shallow water are a huge risk. Similarly deep water poses a drowning risk to young kids and poor swimmers. Public access pools have been re-designed in the last 20 years to have shallow water external step entries with graduated step drops of 200mm to enter the pool shallow ends with depths generally set at between 900 – 1100mm. Deep end water depths are rarely more than 1800mm. This has resulted in the practice of diving into pools being banned. Many diving pools with water depths of less than 4m have been de-commissioned as unsafe. The reduction in pool water depth has been brought about to reduce drowning and increase the usable area people can use within pools. Its seems an oxy  – moron but people don’t swim in pools. They get wet and cool off. This is not withstanding the lap swimming times early in the morning etc. at 50m pools etc.

The take away on pool depth

So when it comes to the average backyard pool depth there a few basic golden rules:

  • Don’t allow anyone to dive in your pool
  • People will primarily stand and sit within the pool.
  • Increase the usable area (the water depth between waist and shoulder depth for teenagers ( often the primary pool users))

I advise that you build a pool with a shallow end water depth of 1.0 – 1.2m and a deep end water depth of 1.6 – 1.8m. This will allow for usable and manageable water depths as well as a smooth elongated transition zone with a steady floor gradient between the shallow and the deep end.

Swimming Pool Depth

Like many of our pools, this pool includes a full length bench seat. We’ve found that the deep end gets a lot more use when there’s a bench seat nearby to swim back to and rest on.


Waterproofing swimming pools

Waterproofing swimming pools is a critical component of the construction works required when building a pool. Historically, the trade of “waterproofing” didn’t exist and certainly within the swimming pool industry no specific specialised trades were ever employed to waterproof the structure of the pool. Instead in-ground pool builders relied on the density and thickness of the concrete pool shell; the relative impermeability of the surface coatings applied to the concrete pool form; as well as epoxy seals and expandable foams to seal around penetrations (pipes, etc).

Before I go into more detail on waterproofing practices, probably best if I explained the mechanisms by which swimming pools leak.

Most people imagine a pool leak in a swimming pool to be related to the failure of the plumbing lines. This is sometimes the case – though the widespread use of pipe pressure testing equipment to check for failed lines; and the use of mini excavators to excavate the pluming lines to fail safe depths means plumbing line failures are uncommon and easily fixed.

Pools also leak through “penetration leaks”, whereby water leaks out of the pool concrete form around the pipe / fitting penetration that passes through the concrete form. Pool builders try to mitigate these type of leaks through applying epoxy collars and swellable water stops – which works really well when correctly implemented; the other type of water leak in a swimming pool and by far the hardest to fix is a “structural leak”. In this type of leak, water leaks through the concrete form of the pool shell at a slow and often imperceptible rate. Most people aren’t even aware of having a “penetration or structural leak” in their swimming pool unless they can visually see a buildup of water on an exposed part of the pool form.


What is the best way of heating a pool and spa?

The average domestic pool / spa combo is set up so that one set of pool equipment can be used to run both the pool and spa. Valving is used to distribute the water and isolate the pool or the spa as required depending on usage. Commercial pools and spas use designated equipment to run either the pool or spa. This means there is twice the amount of equipment required – a considerable added expense. Also, commercial spas have onerous water testing and sanitation requirements because they are permanently heated and not “heat on demand” like domestic pools. Public spas heated permanently to 36C require the water to be tested every 3 hrs, because they are literally a petri dish of organic compounds – but not everything preceded with the descriptor “organic” is good for you!

The portable acrylic spas people often buy and fit in their backyards are sometimes permanently heated by a low capacity electric resistance type heater. Such a method is reasonably effective because the polymer construction material the shell is built from, the thick foam filled covers, the air gap surrounding the outer spa shell and the deceptively small water volume make them energetically quite efficient. As to the sanitising of the water, these types of spas run super high levels of sanitisers / oxidising agents / halides, etc. Often the suppliers “cheekily” market “bromine” sanitisers as a “chlorine free system” which is deceptive marketing as Bromine is familial in its makeup and functionality with chlorine based systems.

Understanding Ambient Water Temperature

Ambient temperatures at the beach

Ambient water temperatures in Melbourne are little known and as a result poorly understood. During peak summer, standing pool water – unheated – would be in the realms of 18 -20C. Over winter the temp would be 10 -12C. The temperature of the bay would be similar – but not as cold during winter as the bay / ocean is quite a heat sink. The water temps indicated are surface temps only with the temperature at full depth in the pool being around 3 or so degree cooler.

If you think the standing temp of water at bay temperatures isn’t too bad – as you will swim in the bay over summer without too much discomfort, remember people swim in the bay mostly on those 30 degree plus days when cooling off is a great option. Domestic pool usage is about cooling off but also about relaxing – and “chilled water temps” aren’t that relaxing. As a further descriptor people idealise ocean holidays on the Sunshine Coast – water temp 26C in summer; Port Douglas 29C. Nobody goes to Hobart for a seaside holiday at 18C in summer.


How much do concrete pools cost?

In one way or another we are all consumers. To my mind swimming pools are conspicuous effigies for consumption. As a kid I always thought any friend of mine whose parents had a pool were wealthy beyond measure. As a (reportedly) grown up pool builder I still think pools are ace but not necessarily the providence of the rich and fabulous.

The cheapest concrete pool we build starts from $40k for a 6m x 3m fully customisable pool with solar heating, salt chlorination, waterline tiles and LED lights etc. There is nothing cheap about $40k but likewise there is nothing cheap about the pool we offer for this price. It’s heated, well lit with multi coloured lights, sanitised by an automatic chlorination system, and finished with tiles and paved coping. We could easily delete our standard inclusions and possibly lower the price to around $30k but we don’t want to build pools that are literally “nude pools”.

In-ground concrete swimming pools are the premium end of the pool market. As per the above, prices start from $40k and go well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A photo of a concrete in-ground pool in Ashburton.

Pool service provisions, fencing and landscaping are an additional expense often adding 25% – 100% of the cost of the pool. This means that the $40k base pool we offer will as a project cost, often cost at least $50k allowing for fencing, services and landscaping.

The average price of a pool we build is around $75k, and I estimate most of our clients spend approximately 35% of the price of the pool on services, pool fencing and landscaping, resulting in a total spend of around $100k.

Key points:

  • Well appointed concrete swimming pools start from $40k.
  • The fencing and landscaping around a swimming pool may cost 25% or more than the cost of the pool.
  • A budget of a $100k will allow you to build nearly any pool project as seen in our pool gallery.

For an accurate price estimate of the pool you’re planning, try our pool price calculator.

How much backyard space does a pool need?

A well designed swimming pool is a complimentary addition to any outdoor living area. And whilst visually the pool is often the focus – the purpose of your pool design should be the seamless use of the whole outdoor space – year round. By this I mean allocate space and positioning according to how intensive you think your use of an outdoor living area will be, for instance:

  • Grassed areas if you have kids and animals will afford play areas and free roaming – year round
  • Al fresco entertaining and outdoor rooms will break the sun in summer and knock the chill in winter
  • Paved areas form platforms for outdoor furniture and thoroughfares for foot traffic – year round.
  • Planting and garden beds soften finishes and offer privacy – 24/7
  • Pools serve a practical purpose for the Summer period ( – effectively the period from October to April if you have solar heating); and otherwise offer a purely visual function year round.

Even though I build swimming pools I don’t think they are the be all and end all of outdoor design.

A pool that uses space efficiently

Here is an example of what we’re talking about. The pool is not too large to take up the garden, leaving plenty of space for other activities.


What are the costs of pool upkeep?


We sell all our swimming pools with auto testing and dosing salt chlorinators. These units use salt dissolved in the pool water and convert it to Chloride ions which act as the sanitising/oxidising agent to kill organic matter within the water column. The average size swimming pool would use approximately 200kg of salt a year. This can be bought in 20kg bags of salt from Bunnings and pool shops from approximately $8 per bag. This means that the total cost for salt  usage / sanitising the pool is around $80 per year.

The pool chlorinators also test and dose to manage the pH of the pool  – they do this through dosing pool acid. A 15 LT drum of pool acid can be bought from Clarke Rubber for $22 a drum. The average pool will go through 3 – 5 drums of acid / year. This totals a figure of approx. $100 / year. At the start of and completion of each swimming season (October to April) additional pool water testing for Stabiliser concentration, total alkalinity and calcium hardness is required. Pool shops test water for free and will happily sell you the chemicals you need. A yearly budget of approx. $200 for these items is ample.

This means the average pool will cost approx. $400 for chemicals  / year

A photo of a pool in hampton.


Swimming pools are energy intensive to maintain primarily they use electrical energy to move water through the filtration and heating  systems etc. But in addition they use gas to heat the water and  even the sun to heat the water in solar pool heating systems.

Item Electricity Cost per Year*
Pool Filtration Pump $305
Solar Heating Pump $317
Salt Chlorinators $105
Infloor Cleaning $1,058

*Based on 2015 electricity prices of $0.29 per KWhr

Upkeep on Plant and Equipment

There are some commercial realities that need to be considered in first answering this. Nearly every commercial product manufactured is not built prioritising durability; but rather commercial advantage. Pool equipment manufacturers are no different. Their business models are built around innovation and  functionality with  durability and longevity being supplanted by the knowledge that continuous re-imagining of function will make even the most durable product  – out of date: Just think of mobile phones, the market drivers are functionality; whilst the concept of longevity needs to just meet the expiration date of your mobile phone contract.

So an honest reflection of the likely durability of significant pieces of pool machinery is as per the following:

Item Warranty Lifetime Common Issues
Pool Pumps 3 years 5 – 10 years Likely service issues include bearings and seals.

Approx $200 to fix per item.

Salt Chlorinators Up to 5 years 5 – 10 years Likely to require salt cell replacement after 6 yrs. Cost $500
Gas Heater 1 – 2 years 6 – 10 years Likely to require replacement of PCB board and screen – up to $500.

Replacement of heat exchangers and burners $2-3K – may be required after 6 years or more years of use.

Sand filters Up to 10 years   Sand requires replacement after 5 yrs cost $400; multiport valve may require replacement or servicing of seals after 5 or more years cost upto $500
Infloor cleaning 1 year   Infloor heads and water valves 5 – 10 yrs cost to change up to $5K