Indoor pool refresh

Poolhockey

Member
Mar 31, 2021
5
Richmond VA
Hi tfppeeps,

I am obviously new here, looking for some advice on my pool. It's a bit unusual so I thought I'd post up while I'm looking around the site and the web for ideas. I am new to pool ownership. My wife and I bought this house two years ago because it has a large garage, the 6+ acre lot is forest, and the house required a complete redo. The house has an attached indoor pool, which when we bought the house we had no interest in - a pool inspector pronounced it in good working condition and required little investment, so I figured out how to get it running and have enjoyed it for two summers while I basically gutted the house and remade every room. whew. I still have the basement to go but use the pool so much for exercise that I am going to focus on anything that needs to be done for it this spring. My goal is to get past worrying about it so I can exercise and relax in it and get back to all of the other things our forever home needs. haha.

Here's our situation: Our house is a bungalow build above a full basement, circa 1986 build. The foundation is cinderblock with a brick veneer over a standard 2x4 frame. This is a large rectangle, which has on one side, our garage and on the other, our pool. So the structure is basically three boxes attached to each other, with the center box being a bit wider and longer and on top of that cinderblock foundation wall. The garage is on a slab about 4 feet lower than the main floor of the house (i.e., higher than the basement floor), while the pool, on the other side of the house, is at approximately the same height of the house. Both garage and pool are cinderblock construction with brick veneer, so it is one long brick structure from the outside. The pool room is ~ 30x50 ft with an approximately 18x32 inground pool, ranging from 3 feet to 5 feet in depth. the surrounding "floor" is concrete within the pool room structure. The pool room has a total of 7 windows and two sliding glass doors as well as 6 ~ 2 ft x 4 ft skylights. In other words, we dont get anything like enough sunlight to heat the pool. :( The pool has a vinyl liner in good condition as far as I can tell.

Mechanically, there are two skimmer traps on one side of the pool, piped under the concrete to a small closet on the wall attached to the main house. the returns are in the same area, again under the concrete. The pool closet contains my well head, well pump and tank, my pool pump and filter. More concrete flooring. At some point after the pool was built, likely during the second week of use, lol, a heat pump was added to the pool plumbing system. two pvc lines were added from the pump to the heater above the concrete from the pool closet along the long wall to the other end of the room where the heat pump is now located. It still works, but cools the room quite a bit when in use.

Mechanically, the existing pump and heat pump are old enough that they could be original to the build, and I would have no idea without doing research. Issue (1) is that there is a small leak at the pump inlet where the line meets the pump, this is my first bogey this spring - learn how to fix or replace that fitting. Issue (2) is a small leak somewhere in the heatpump that I was planning to investigate during the winter, but another issue flowered in my basement requiring my attention, LOL. The leak is small and flows directly into the pool so this isnt much of a priority. Plus, see below.

Issue (1) is not very large, there was only a small loss of water last summer from the pool while basically running the pump 24/7. I am worried about it because the water leaking from the pump drains away from the pool closet room, into or along my basement foundation wall. And, the corner of the house on the other side of the pool closet has settled up to two inches at some point prior to our ownership and I am not certain it has stopped settling. So I am doing everything I can to lower the water table around my house and drain water away from it (lots of french drains going in). So I am beginning to research how to install a pool pump.

I noticed over the winter that there was a significant loss of water (under the cover) at some point, and I will be investigating that as well. The water level dropped below my skimmers (but remained above my returns), and I am worried that I may have a leak somewhere in that plumbing. More to come on that score.

OK, now to the future. I am debating what to do with this setup. I am not happy with my pool closet - the pump, filter, and wellhead tank are all on the floor of this closet and space is tight in there. There is no accommodation for leaks there as the water will go straight to my foundation. So I am considering re-construction of my plumbing. My budget is limited, as we are well overbudget on our house rehab, and while I would prefer to reengineer and redesign this system, realistically I should probably invest as little as is possible. Perhaps you can help me make a good compromise decision.

Here is what I am thinking, and I will post some pictures tonight. I would (a) like to relocate the heat pump to outside the house, not far from where it is and between two windows. This would eliminate the interior cooling effect and improve the efficiency of the unit - although it is old enough that budget is the only thing keeping me from replacing it straight away, haha. If I were to do this, I will have to punch a hole in my cinderblock and brick veneer walls to pass the plumbing through, worry about winterizing it, and also have the electrical moved to accommodate it. Not simple. Another thing I would like to do is (b) at least raise the pump off the floor - I will likely create a shelf for it when I replace it but need to think about how that room looks. Next, I would probably (c) relocate the filter tank outside while I am relocating the heat pump. This is a nice to have and may not be worth it, you can suggest. Lastly, worst case scenario, I am considering digging up the plumbing in the concrete and relocating everything to the outside, giving me more convenient access, decluttering the precious indoor space, and making maintenance better.

I will post pictures this evening. I would love to hear your comments.

thanks!

-Ph
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
24,950
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
How old is your liner? You sure you do not have pinhole leaks in your liner causing the loss of water?

As far as relocating your HP or filter outside it depends if you intend to keep the pool open or closed in the winter. Note that most HPs are ineffective or shutdown when air temperature is below 50F. So if you put your HP outside it will be of no help heating your pool when it gets cold.

How is your house heated?

Other comments will wait for the pics.
 

Poolhockey

Member
Mar 31, 2021
5
Richmond VA
Hi Allen,

Good questions. I have no idea how old the liner is. We've been there two years, and the pool inspector said that with an indoor pool it can be hard to tell since there is little to no weathering. I am not sure there are no pinholes, and I would be interested in learning ways to try to find them.

Regarding the heatpump, I expect that relocating it outside will actually widen the useful temperature range. This is because the pump draws all of its heat from the air in the pool room, and It is pretty ineffective without all of the windows open, and the outside temperature really needs to be at least in the high 70's at the same time. Otherwise the room gets cool enough that the water reheats the room in vicious cycle. It may be old enough that efficiency is the real problem, I am not sure. But if I do replace it I can't imagine leaving it inside. Noise is another problem; the pool is not really useable with the heat pump running unless you arent interested in conversation :).

I havent actually shut down this pool - I leave it covered in the winter with the pump off, nothing else. It remains warm enough in there to keep from freezing. However, I plan to start a better maintenance process this coming winter where I will winterize normally.

Oh, and the house is heated by its own HVAC Heat Pump system. The pool room is thermally separated from the house.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
24,950
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Hi Allen,

Good questions. I have no idea how old the liner is. We've been there two years, and the pool inspector said that with an indoor pool it can be hard to tell since there is little to no weathering. I am not sure there are no pinholes, and I would be interested in learning ways to try to find them.

Hunting around with dye in the water...