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Thread: Anyone Have a Winter Pool Dome - Ameridome or Others?

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Anyone Have a Winter Pool Dome - Ameridome or Others?

    Hi all. I'm looking for reports of anyone whose had an Ameridome or similar style winter pool enclosure. Pool Domes | Ameri-Dome Inground Swimming Pool Enclosures

    I have a torn meniscus among other issues that has not healed since June. I've seen a specialist who wants me to keep up my pool physiotherapy, which I've been doing at home. We may be considering surgery next month.

    Hubby thinks we should consider an Ameridome (inflated dome using air with heater) so i can swim in winter. We're in Michigan, and had at one time looked at retractable "hard" domes but concluded that our terrace poses an engineering problem and the cost (eg 80-90k) plus the aesthetic of the structure retracted on the deck in smmer wouldn't likely work for us.

    I priced an Ameridome (vinyl) structure with blower and heater and it doesn't really cost that much more than a new custom winter cover, which I need soon anyway.

    The website suggests you can just turn off the blower, etc. in heavy storms/high winds, etc. if desired, and says lots of customers in the Midwest do so.

    I know the heating bills will be double trouble, but hubby pointed out likely not much more than physio and he's game. My equipment is all in a heated pool house so I shouldn't have any operational issues that way.

    Lastly, I don't close my own pool presently due to arthritis in back, so by staying open, I would theoretically "save" $600 a year on the always-sad closings and (happy) re opening. But for the same reason I may end up hiring in someone to erect and dismantle the structure each year so that's not really much of a factor except I prefer to spend money swimming rather than not-swimming

    Please share any thoughts, caveats or reviews! Thanks in advance!
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    Re: Anyone Have a Winter Pool Dome - Ameridome or Others?

    I looked at the site and priced one for my pool size (very roughly) and I think it looks really interesting. My own immediate thought for my climate was I'd rather spend the money on solar panels than that since we only use the pool recreationally and not therapeutically. What I couldn't get clearly from the site was better detail on how it works........there was a link to a video but it didn't take me to a video. I get it with the blower and all but I'd like a few more details......like if you have the heater, does it also need to remain attached and on at all times?

    I'd also love to get some real testimony from someone here. I had also, like you priced out the more expensive sliding domes but way out of my price range.
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    Re: Anyone Have a Winter Pool Dome - Ameridome or Others?

    Just a thought here, that you might be better off adding a swimspa / hot tub combo as they are insulated and would likely have a lower operating cost.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: Anyone Have a Winter Pool Dome - Ameridome or Others?

    Funny that my wife just had this exact same conversation last weekend. I THINK I'm currently winning with my no vote!
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    Re: Anyone Have a Winter Pool Dome - Ameridome or Others?

    Aimee, from my conversation with thm today and some additional digging on the rats nest circa 1999 website, the skinn is that the heater works via taping int the heated water return to pool via connection his and bib and then sad circulating warm water heats the air as blown into the dome. That whole process becomes edgy below 25degree F.

    I've also gleaned that people in truly snowy areas will let it deflate during a storm, then re inflate once the snow melts as the roof sits on the water, and that most/many in northern clime like mine dont operate it in the worst months, eg, jan/feb, but instead drop the pool heater down to 40, leave pump running, and periodically inflate dome (takes half hour) to manage the snow melt.

    On one hand, I'm due for a new winter cover anyway, and would likely run it Nov/Dec and March/April for sure. I'm just iffy about how much of a PITA it might be in jan/feb to manage deflated if I found the pool heater bill too high.

    In your climate, and in your shoes, I'd probably do it n a heartbeat...but thats me and I'm also highly motivated right now since water aerobics is the only exercise I'm allowed at th moment.

    Isaac, I do have a hottub already, and don't have the footprint for additional swim spa.

    Woody, just curious, but why is your vote the no vote? Don't you get bored in winter without a pool to play with?
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    Re: Anyone Have a Winter Pool Dome - Ameridome or Others?

    Again as I said it looks tempting for our climate. Here, I can have the pool open in March, thats generally when air temps will start getting in the 80's.......not guaranteed but kids were in on 3/14 this year and I remember 3/18 a couple of years ago. I have no heat source for the water so it's too cold for me at that time. I think we'd be well served by either a dome like that or solar panels. We are still swimming now so I'd say we are guaranteed a minimum of a 5 month swim season and sometimes 6 months. A dome like that would almost certainly work year round for us but........solar panels would be able to help cool the water by running at night in the hottest part of summer where I'm constantly running a sprinkler attached to a return in an effort to keep water below 90 degrees.

    Neither are currently in my budget. But I'm anxious to hear of what using a dome is like. If you do purchase, please detail installation, water temps inside/outside air temps.......I can't wait to hear the details.
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    Re: Anyone Have a Winter Pool Dome - Ameridome or Others?

    Hi guys. Just thought I'd give a small update, since there's not much on this topic in the forum.

    To date I've only been able to locate 1 person via yelp who has one to ask questions, but I have also had a conversation with the company itsef.

    Per the owner, I'm going to want to use a solar cover insid the dome..,which I don't use now due to tight footprint and liking open water. But this thread may help me sort that out: DIY Solar Cover Roller - Page 6

    Owner says all his customers would run the dome year round if they could afford the heat, but most in snow climes deflate the dome in Jan/Feb, drop water temp to above freezing, keep pump running, and manage water on top of done by periodically inflating or using cover pump.

    Yelp user loves his dome, is on his second one, but recommends against clear top (so does owner as UV deteriorates it faster) and cautions against ever letting the "l" zipper get submersed as dewatering is the problematic. He also prefers to leave it up ALL the time...whch in my case I wouldn't do given my footprint, gardening, terrace access, etc. he reports that an inch or two of wet snow will slowly sink the dome until it contacts with water water, at which point snow melts and dome can re inflate.

    The air heater uses heated pool water and connects to blower, but apparently can't operate much below 25 degrees...which makes it awkward for me in Michgan, as Jan average for example s 22, with frequent colder spells, especially overnight. I'm debating whether an electric pipe heater tape and thermax insulation would make this more viable.

    On top of my general wariness of the moving parts in this madcap scheme (eg with swg, will cable corrode? Will the enclosure and fabric top trap ccs? Will dome waterlog and sink and suffocate skimmer? Etc etc etc) the company appears to be very busy and may not be able to fabricate one for me before the big maple dumps its leaves, which would make installation a PITA.

    If I could viably use it as a winter cover in jan/feb and net Nov/dec and march/April swim time for 300-400/mo in gas, I'd pull the trigger. Still working on the decision tree, so feel free to chime in with any theoretical concerns to consider, quash, or work-around
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    Re: Anyone Have a Winter Pool Dome - Ameridome or Others?

    That is a big list of things to consider! I would be inclined to do an experiment first by building a greenhouse cover with a pvc pipe frame and polyethylene sheeting. An acquaintance had one for over wintering tropical water lilies and it was 80+ in February, they had to vent it regularly to keep the temp below 90. February in Dallas is not February in MI but it is usually around 30 at night and 40 during the day, sometimes colder. So, they had significant heating from the sun.

    I know it has been discussed but I would really try to find a place for a swim/spa instead.
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    Re: Anyone Have a Winter Pool Dome - Ameridome or Others?

    You may think this is a silly question, but from an economics perspective, wouldn't membership in a gym with an indoor pool be a better option?
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    Re: Anyone Have a Winter Pool Dome - Ameridome or Others?

    Economically, sure. Practically, in terms of lifestyle, not so much. We've long wanted to extend our season, just extra motivated right now because doc says no land exercise, swim only. So I've been logging about 45 min physio in am and another 45 aquajogging at night, which sometimes is quite late. Doing this would been the difference between daily activity and less reliable compliance

    Ps - Dave, there really isn't space to find for a swim spa. I'm bordered by dual septic tanks on the north end, a hill/terrace to the west, and 8" concrete pad, pool house on north end also bounded by a work studio adjacent to hous. So the pool is something of an "island"...which is also why perma structures don't work.
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    Re: Anyone Have a Winter Pool Dome - Ameridome or Others?

    Okay, it looks like the experiment is proceeding so I'll attempt to document for posterity

    First tip...if you live in the north and make a decision to proceed, do it at least a month earlier than I am I will be fighting heavy, and I mean HEAVY leaf traffic once this dome is fabricated and shipped, which will take 4 weeks or more as we're just finalizing the measurements now. So installation in such conditions will be a riot

    What tipped our decision, which may turn out to be stupid, is that we'd been planning to buy a new winter cover for our unfortunately slightly custom sized grecian. By the time all the dust cleared, the acquisition cost of the dome wasn't a whole lot more, and at a minimum, will allow us to extend the season throughout Oct, Nov, possibly December, then hopefully again in March and April.

    The second factor influencing us is that we hate closing the pool. We hate looking at the cover. Spending money on something we hate seems somehow far less satisfying than spending money on something we may enjoy

    To have any hope of making this work in this climate, as I mentioned, I have now purchased a solar cover. Hubby is dreaming up an interesting way of managing it in pool (our footprint is tight for a reel) -- still have to find the foam pipe, but in the next few weeks we will cut said cover in half lengthwise, affix each half to 9' foam roller using auto upholstery stays, then string both rolls across the shallow end line using marine grade nylon and swivel clips. This way half can be rolled in-pool and moved aside for physio exercises, or both haves can be rolled and moved to side via nylon cable to ladder, or alternately, moved up to the deck, dependent on number swimming. To close half from in pool, Im basically thinking I'll "rodeo-style" lasso the diving board with more marine grade nylon cable to form a pulley.

    Second plan is to insulate the air heater hose run from pool heater in pool house, and wrap with heat tape on outlet with remote on/off.

    For air quality concerns (the blower only triggers when/if dome deflates a bit) we will use doors to vent and turn over air periodically. Likewise, for easier snow/ice removal of entry area, we're thinking of sliding vents under, and of course, using pool salt

    I will keep you posted in coming weeks so that folks have a point of reference for pool domes. If it doesn't work out, I will have a lovely play/party tent
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    Re: Anyone Have a Winter Pool Dome - Ameridome or Others?

    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasG View Post
    You may think this is a silly question, but from an economics perspective, wouldn't membership in a gym with an indoor pool be a better option?
    Except that most TFP folks wouldn't step foot in a public pool.
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    Re: Anyone Have a Winter Pool Dome - Ameridome or Others?

    Well, yes, there's THAT

    Nothing beats a private swim Its 47 degree this morning and I just finished my physio...watching the heat roll off the pool. Today is a glorious example of ideal dome conditions I just wish the clear top domes didn't degrade so fast, as I will miss the sky on days like this! Then again, I'd likely not be able to see for the fog...
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    Re: Anyone Have a Winter Pool Dome - Ameridome or Others?

    Sounds nice in a way, it will be another 90+ degree day here although at least it is a somewhat pleasant 66 degrees outside this morning at 8 am, our forecast calls for our first dip into the 50's overnight later this week.
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    Re: Anyone Have a Winter Pool Dome - Ameridome or Others?

    Sez Isaac-1, owner of an indoor pool that I would kill for in the depth of winter

    With that said, it IS nice this time of year too if you don't think too hard about the gas bill I always use the hot tub to warm up first so even for the leg exercises when I'm half above water I don't actually mind the cold air.

    Isaac, I may have to pick your brain on cc-reduction strategies once the dome comes to life, btw. Different kettle o fish with the higher cya required for swg run the latter of which I'll really have to dial down without much UV. I'm also thinking my MA additions will have to be with the door wide open...
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    Re: Anyone Have a Winter Pool Dome - Ameridome or Others?

    Next pre-installation challenge:
    Protecting exposed lines in the event I turn the heater down to 40 in January because gas bill is throttling me!

    I'm thinking I will build a small box with insulated and removable cover using plywood and thermax foam insulation (fire rated and foiled on both sides) so that if needed I could (very carefully) use pipe heat tape during serious sub zero winds (happens now and then.)

    Thoughts? Or would running, 40 degree water be enough?
    I'm used to having blown out the lines so I never worry about this stuff.

    Here's the small section of lines that come out from pool house, then down through garden to pool:

    image.jpg

    To entertain myself while dome is being fabricated, I've also rigged up a riddiculous removable leaf net system to try to keep pool area clear as leaves are starting to fall. I'm now buying bungee by the roll...hi ho
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    Re: Anyone Have a Winter Pool Dome - Ameridome or Others?

    Update:
    On tap this weekend, hubby is building an insulated shelter for those pipes.
    If we find we need it, I'm considering using gutter heat tape tied to a thermo cube power supply...found out about this temp controlled outlet (only goes on under near freeze conditions) by reading a lot of farm/chicken coop/horse feeding blogs, plus some RV blogs....anywhere people need to keep water flowing in sub freezing temps.

    This info is geared more directly to the dome's "air warmer" unit that sits atop the blower...it requires a garden hose run/plumbed from pool heater return line but doesn't work below 25 degrees. In an attempt to keep it working at lower temps, I will be wrapping the feed hose in foiled insulation wrap with a pipe heat cable zip tied in a straight run, with additional rubber tube foam on top...this approach worked well for a farmer who reported the prefab heated hoses that cost a few hundred kept failing so did this instead with years of success. I figure this way if any part fails, then i can replace/reconfigure.

    Leaves are coming down but I've managed to keep pool clean with a Jerry-rigged leaf cover and bungee cords on top of the solar cover.

    Heating experiments continue and I'm optimistic that by leaving water still during day, then heating up overnight, I can manage to get to therapeutic 95 degrees fairly economically so far...and that's without the dome. With overnight lows at 37, I've lost an average of about 6 degrees during my non-heat/still water period of 15 daytime hours...am heating at night to take shortest route to a 95 degree a.m.

    Physio was actually still kinda fun at 37 degrees with open water...because the water was so warm!
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    Re: Anyone Have a Winter Pool Dome - Ameridome or Others?

    You can let the CYA fall if you want. Remember the only purpose of high CYA with an SWG is to lower the rate of UV photolysis. With a dome, UV is not an issue and you'll want to keep your FC low. Too much FC = faster CC generation rates. You'll want to avoid that if the fresh air exchange is low.

    You might might also want to consider a UV system for your setup. In the winter months you can use it to control CCs and then just shut it down once the dome comes down.
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    Re: Anyone Have a Winter Pool Dome - Ameridome or Others?

    Ah yes, I've been stewing about the ccs and mdrejhon and I had a sidebar convo about UV to that end....

    As hubby likes to say, it all starts with the shoes of course, his observatory build is going at the same time so we have competing budgets...

    My next priority though is going to be to remote automate the heater, pump and swg for independent operation...I think...
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    Re: Anyone Have a Winter Pool Dome - Ameridome or Others?

    Ah yes, the observatory...you'll have to post a few photos of that in another thread.
    Matt
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