Indoor Pool - Deal Breaker??

capt. evan

Member
Feb 24, 2020
12
Michigan
New and Green here.

We are looking at a home to purchase in Northern Michigan which has a quite large indoor lap pool, which is not on our "must have" list. We have no experience with pool operation and maintenance, and neither do the owners, as they have it completely cared for by others. They leave it uncovered year around at 72°F, and bump it up to 82° when being used. Dehumidifiers are run to keep the skylights, windows and doors moisture free. I have seen their pool service costs, as well as the utilities, and they are both staggering.

I figured we could handle the maintenance as retirees with nothing to do, and better manage it's operation and efficiency. Am I a blind fool about to leap off the cliff into a painful abyss??

We would like to turn the heat off when not in use, perhaps for weeks at a time, while keeping the heat in the room around 50° during the winter. I understand that evaporation is a huge factor, so would plan to cover the surface water with a well-fitting insulated barrier. With ground temps in the high 40's to low 50's I cannot image the water ever going below 45°. At such a low temp, can you turn the circulation off? Then I would figure out the cost to fire it up to 82° and run it for a day or two when family comes for Christmas. Armed with that knowledge, I can imagine smacking my grandkid's hands if they ever reach for the controls.

Is such a pool just a place to shovel time and $$ into, or could we find a reasonable way to enjoy it? Obviously no pool haters lurk here, but please give it to me straight up.

Evan
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
13,036
Evans, Georgia
OH my gosh yes! You can easily trim down on energy and maintenance costs. Pool care is pretty simple once you learn what to do and *why* you need to do certain things. Our method is based on using the same chemicals pool stores sell, but obtaining them in their "generic" package from the grocery store or hardware store. Saves a TON!

My only concern is the humidity has to be dealt with or you risk mold in the home. If you know they've been heating the pool and still the room is in good shape that's probably a good sign that the dehumidifying system is in good shape.

Welcome to Trouble Free Pools :)

Maddie :flower:
 
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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
16,163
Northern NJ
With ground temps in the high 40's to low 50's I cannot image the water ever going below 45°. At such a low temp, can you turn the circulation off? Then I would figure out the cost to fire it up to 82° and run it for a day or two when family comes for Christmas.
Confirm the pool heater is natural gas and not propane?

What BTU is the heater? How many gallons in the pool?

Depending on the gallons in your pool and BTU of the heater it can take 24 - 48 hours of running to heat a pool from 50 degrees to 80 degrees. NG in a pool heater can cost $3 - $4 per hour depending on your local NG rates.
 

markayash

Gold Supporter
Mar 21, 2016
1,545
Marrietta Ga
I would imagine with an indoor pool you wouldn't use a lot of chemicals or need to run the pump a lot. If they are running th heaters 24x7 the pump is also probably running 24x7 which might explain the high cost

Like Maddie said Humidify would be my main concern but sounds like they have it setup
 

capt. evan

Member
Feb 24, 2020
12
Michigan
Just checked back, and was surprised/pleased to see these responses. On other forums I frequent, an email is sent to me if someone responds to my post, and even a thread of your interest. Regardless, thank you so much for your interest.

The boiler is natural gas, but I do not know its size yet. If I were to guess it would be 200,000btu +. The pool has an additional swimming area that at least equals the lap pool in volume, so I would say 50,000 gallons may be close. Yep, I know, holy Crud!! But from what I have learned so far is it is much better to shut it down for extended days of no use, rather than hold it even a 10° lower temp.

One of my concerns is the cost of running the dehumidifier system all winter, which is like a sizable A/C system. Running dehumidification (A/C) in the winter, when the outside temp is 0°, makes no sense here. With the pool covered, is there a good balance possible between water and room heat vs. humidity?

What I really need to know is what shutting down the heat and circulation will do in the dead of winter, and bringing her back up to swim temp occasionally? Sorry for such ignorance.
 
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capt. evan

Member
Feb 24, 2020
12
Michigan
OH my gosh yes! You can easily trim down on energy and maintenance costs. Pool care is pretty simple once you learn what to do and *why* you need to do certain things. Our method is based on using the same chemicals pool stores sell, but obtaining them in their "generic" package from the grocery store or hardware store. Saves a TON!

My only concern is the humidity has to be dealt with or you risk mold in the home. If you know they've been heating the pool and still the room is in good shape that's probably a good sign that the dehumidifying system is in good shape.

Welcome to Trouble Free Pools :)

Maddie :flower:
Thanks Maddie, like where you live!!!
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
16,628
Tucson, AZ
If you can, post the equipment specs. My guess is that the pool was installed with an old single-speed, high horsepower pump. If you’re willing to upgrade the equipment, a variable speed pump can be super efficient and cheap to run, even 24x7.

I would get a thorough inspection of that pool room and even pay to have a mold inspector bust open one of the walls and scope it with a camera. Or, at the very least, moisture test the sheet rock and use an IR camera to look wet areas. Unless the previous owners were very diligent about dehumidification, mold abatement is a serious (and costly) prospect. If it tests positive for mold, I wouldn’t go anywhere near that house and look elsewhere.
 

wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
1,216
Spring Valley, NY
Seeing pictures and having pool dimensions is crucial in your decision. Doesn't seem like the pool is of much interest to you. Have seen many indoor residential pools but have a hard time believing you've got an indoor 50k pool. Knowing exactly what you have may change the lots of doubts.
 

carnivalday

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Oct 25, 2017
426
Ocala, FL
Boy, I just dont know. It doesnt sound like you are people who just would love to have a pool and would use it a lot. The maintenance on an outdoor pool isnt difficult, but you do have to be consistant. I would think with the issues you are facing with an indoor pool of that size, that you are looking at even more maintenance and potential issues. Plus, if down the road, you decide the pool just isnt worth what your are putting into it, money and time wise....then what?
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
2,473
NY
How close do all your family live ? If they, or at least some of them are less than 2 hours away, having a winter pool would be reason to come visit ALOT more. 'Hey kids, do you want to go see a movie or go swimming at Grandpa's this Saturday?'. Well into the swim season it becomes much less fun for the kids on the 500th time. In the cold season they will jump at the chance 9 times out of 10 and you could end up using it far more than you are expecting. But if they all live far away, then it would just be for Turkey day and Xmas.
 
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capt. evan

Member
Feb 24, 2020
12
Michigan
Thanks for the comments. The lap portion is 80x10x4 and the play part is about 40x15x6(avg) I will have all equipment specs this weekend. They just spent major $$ on mechanical upgrades, and a variable speed pump may be part of that. There is no evidence of moisture damage, no smell, no drips on wood frame skylights, so they have humidity under control.

We had an outdoor pool for a few years and enjoyed it. And yes, the kids and g-kids are about 2 hours away, so it will be used.

If it gets annoying, we'll just fill and turf it for indoor golf. :cool:
 
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jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
2,161
Morris Cnty NJ
As you know humidity is a huge issue. As the room cools the dew point gets closer and becomes more humid. The newer Xcross fresh air heat/air exchangers are excellent in exchanging air and keeping the heat and lowering humidity. You cant really cut much in that aspect but you can definitely cut running and heating costs. The colder the water the easier it is to care for it and less sun helps alot
 
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wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
1,216
Spring Valley, NY
As you know humidity is a huge issue. As the room cools the dew point gets closer and becomes more humid. The newer Xcross fresh air heat/air exchangers are excellent in exchanging air and keeping the heat and lowering humidity. You cant really cut much in that aspect but you can definitely cut running and heating costs. The colder the water the easier it is to care for it and less sun helps alot
Understanding Home Ventilation With ERVs and HRVs
 
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capt. evan

Member
Feb 24, 2020
12
Michigan
Still have not received specs on the pool system, will post when I do, as well as pictures. I have learned it is 56k. o_O

I tried to set up my preferences to be emailed if anyone posts on this thread, but it is not doing so. Pardon my ignorance, but could I get some guidance to make that work.
 

wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
1,216
Spring Valley, NY
Still have not received specs on the pool system, will post when I do, as well as pictures. I have learned it is 56k. o_O

I tried to set up my preferences to be emailed if anyone posts on this thread, but it is not doing so. Pardon my ignorance, but could I get some guidance to make that work.
Go to top of this thread beyond #1 and click WATCH ,then choose how to get notifications
 

RichE

Gold Supporter
Oct 6, 2016
5
Ann Arbor MI
Here's my indoor pool experience: My pool was built in 1962 and there's no dehumidification system (yet!). The most recent hvac estimate was 50k to add a dehumidification system, plus 14k to upgrade the electrical system for the pool building. The numbers are big! I run window fans in the sunroom to exhaust the humid air. I used to remove the window fans when I covered the pool, but the whole building smells fresher when the window fans are operating. I have had many visitors comment that the pool smells better than other indoor pools, which I love to hear. In the winter, the window fans keep the sunroom windows from fogging up, and when it is really cold they keep the walls around the pool from sweating. I keep the pool covered when not in use and the building humidity can go way down to 30%. When the pool is uncovered, the humidity can be closer to 70-80%. I turn off the pool heater in the summer, but have kept the pump running. In my experience, setting the pool heater to 89° makes for comfortable recreational swimming in the indoor pool. (For my parents' outdoor pool, setting the pool heater to 86° makes for comfortable summertime recreational swimming.) When my furnace broke this past winter the covered pool kept the air temp in the pool building at 65° even though the temps outside were much lower. I think regular usage of a swimming pool and regular testing makes a big difference for pool success.
 

markayash

Gold Supporter
Mar 21, 2016
1,545
Marrietta Ga
Here's my indoor pool experience: My pool was built in 1962 and there's no dehumidification system (yet!). The most recent hvac estimate was 50k to add a dehumidification system, plus 14k to upgrade the electrical system for the pool building. The numbers are big! I run window fans in the sunroom to exhaust the humid air. I used to remove the window fans when I covered the pool, but the whole building smells fresher when the window fans are operating. I have had many visitors comment that the pool smells better than other indoor pools, which I love to hear. In the winter, the window fans keep the sunroom windows from fogging up, and when it is really cold they keep the walls around the pool from sweating. I keep the pool covered when not in use and the building humidity can go way down to 30%. When the pool is uncovered, the humidity can be closer to 70-80%. I turn off the pool heater in the summer, but have kept the pump running. In my experience, setting the pool heater to 89° makes for comfortable recreational swimming in the indoor pool. (For my parents' outdoor pool, setting the pool heater to 86° makes for comfortable summertime recreational swimming.) When my furnace broke this past winter the covered pool kept the air temp in the pool building at 65° even though the temps outside were much lower. I think regular usage of a swimming pool and regular testing makes a big difference for pool success.
We looked at a house with a nice indoor pool off the master bedroom. Tempting but it had other issues :(