Choosing a type of Swimming Pool
HOW DO YOU WANT TO USE THE POOL?
It sounds simplistic, but you really do need to answer this carefully as it affects many aspects of your pool.
- Swimming Laps
If you want to swim laps, get a long pool with squarish edges, where the steps are not in your way. This probably means a concrete pool as fibreglass ones are limited in size.
If you want the kids to play in the pool, you should consider a wider pool rather than a long, skinny, lap pool. Kids like to jump-in. In this case, you need to consider the surroundings, room to run and jump, location for water-slides, hazards and landscaping.
- Difficult Sites
Odd shape designs can look great and are the only possible fit in some sites, however, these designs may need special plumbing attention to ensure good water circulation. Please take care that there is good circulation.
- Extended Seasons – Heating
If you want pool heating, plan and install the plumbing for a heater at the construction stage. For details refer to our guide on pool heaters.
Do you want to enjoy your pool or have a new hobby maintaining it?
If you want minimum-hassle with automatic pool cleaning, plan and install plumbing for a pressure-side pool sweep such as a Jet-Vac or Polaris at the construction stage. For details refer to our guide on pool sweeps. You will also need an automatic water-chemistry sensing and control system. For details refer (here).
- Looks: Infinity-Edges
Infinity edges and waterfalls are very attractive but these designs are accompanied by large amounts of evaporation, using up considerable amounts of additional water and chemicals, and cooling the pool significantly. You can minimise these problems and still have a wet-edge/waterfall if you use the correct plumbing and control system. For details refer to our guide on pool-infinity-edges.
TIP: DO NOT USE SMALL TILES ON INFINITY EDGES AS THE THERMAL EXPANSION FROM THE COOLING WATER AND HEATING SUN WILL CAUSE THEM TO FALL OFF PREMATURELY.
- Running Costs
The pool will become the largest ‘appliance’ in your house. It will likely have 50,000 litres of water in it, water that needs to be pumped through a filter and cleaned and sanitised twice daily in summer. If you choose the wrong type of equipment, you can increase your total household electricity use by more than 50%. If you use the correct equipment as described (here), you can keep the operating cost modest and know that your pool has a small carbon foot-print.
- Types of Water
There are three basic types of pool:-
- Salt Water including Common Salt, Magnesium Salty and Mineral Salt (aka ‘Natural’)
- ‘Eco’ pools
Of these, the so-called ‘eco’ pools are the ones that rely on reeds and ‘natural’ bacteria to sanitise your pool. In our view, there is no such thing, unless you want to raise ducks, frogs etc. If you want a pool that is safe to swim in, you need a pool that is sanitised. That means that it is either ‘Fresh’ water, sanitised by chlorine or bromine or oxygen, or ‘Salt’ where it is sanitised by salt-chlorination.
Most of the difference between so-called ‘Fresh’ water pools and ‘Salt’ pools is not the actual salt level, but marketing spiel and running costs. Virtually every so-called “Fresh” water pool is naturally salty from the water that comes through the tap, and natural evaporation. You cannot have a true “fresh’ water pool and you do not want to. The reason is that the slightly salty water found in most pools in Australia, is more comfortable on the skin and eyes.
- Salt vs Fresh Water
The nomenclature confuses most people
- The ocean is about 35,000 ppm (parts per million) of salt.
- Your eyes have a salinity of about 9,000 ppm and if you match that, you have the most comfortable or ‘isotonic’ water.
- Most “Salt” po0ls, be they common salt, magnesium salt or mineral salt (where mineral is a marketing rather than a chemistry description) have salt levels form about 3,000 to 6,000 ppm. The actual choice of number is between what your chlorinator manufacturer wants, and what your heater manufacturer allows. If in doubt, use 4,000 ppm. These pools are ~90% of the market and use salt chlorinators to generate the chlorine to sanitise the pool.
- Most Freshwater pools are actually quite salty but are usually defined as 1,500 ppm of salt or less, although only a few actually achieve this. These pools usually use liquid chlorine to sanitise their pools and are often called chlorine pools. This iS a misnomer as almost all pools are chlorine pools, be they ‘salt’ or ‘fresh.’
The choice ultimately comes down to a choice of:-
- The cost and hassle of using liquid chlorine (here), or
- Normal, inexpensive Normal Salt (Sodium Chloride) as used by some 90% of Australians, or
- Slightly more-expensive but nicer Magnesium Salt (here), or
- Expensive Mineral salt, which is a blend of Magnesium and Potassium Salt (here).