Swimming Pool Enclosures

For anyone owning an outdoor swimming pool the three keys to getting the most from the pool are:

1. Keeping the pool clean and free of debris

2. Maximizing the periods during which it can be used

3. Keeping heating costs as low as possible.

There are various ways of achieving these objectives and they range from pool covers and solar heating, to floating solar rings. However, the most effective way of protecting the water, conserving latent heat energy and increasing year-round usability is by covering the swimming area with a structural enclosure or canopy.

Swimming pool enclosures differ from covers in that they not only cover and protect the area, but they also allow swimming and bathing to take place whilst the enclosure is in its covered position.

Enclosures come in a number of different forms with the most popular being a sectional telescopic canopy. With this type of structure several sections telescope out to cover the pool during cooler weather and retract to leave the area uncovered during warmer days. These canopies can be motorised or opened manually and slide on runners.

All sections are made of a toughened glass or a “Perspex like” material which is held in a lightweight frame that slides over the pool’s perimeter. The height of the canopy is usually sufficient for someone to walk under without stooping and most models will have manually adjustable ventilation openings.

This type of canopy offers maximum versatility and it can even be positioned in a half open and half closed state.

Permanent covers

More permanent (non-retractable) enclosures are also available, but these are classified as permanent structures and, depending upon local laws, may require a planning permit.

These structures are usually referred to as “pool houses” and they can be built of brick or stone, but with a wall and roof area that is predominantly made of glass. This type of structure has a considerably greater cost than its telescopic counterpart and it has the effect of converting an outdoor pool into an indoor one. These glasshouses can be simple or elaborate and they can encompass an area that allows for a patio area and the inclusion of heating and/or air conditioning.

The cheapest option

At the opposite end of the scale there are inflatable bubble enclosures that are tied or weighted down over the swimming pool.

These bubbles use an air pump that inflates them so that they encapsulate the swimming zone and create a bubble of warm air around and above it. This makes swimming conditions much more pleasurable on cool days, however these “bubbles” are not suitable for windy days and therefore they do have some limitations.

Which option is the best?

The answer to this question is ultimately determined by the limitations of a budget.

A pool house converts an outdoor pool into an indoor one, whilst a telescopic enclosure offers the best of both worlds. Bubbles are a cheap to buy, but they are an easily damaged alternative and they also require packing and storing when not in use.

The telescopic option usually has a permanent pool end fixing and it can also be used to store pool toys etc when not in active use. This makes it highly versatile and long lasting.

For more information and some examples of covers/canopies, pool liners, heaters and other items of kit, go to http://www.pool-heaters.net/enclosures.html.

Always check your county/state bylaws before contemplating the erection of any kind of building or structure and ensure that you employ a reputable contractor or fitter.

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