Pennsylvania Year-Round Pool Possible?

Apr 5, 2017
Carlisle, PA
My husband and I have just made the decision to retire in Pennsylvania, and part of that decision is looking into building an indoor or retractable building so it can be used year-round. Is this possible or are we crazy? We are in the contact stage and trying to figure out if it is something that's affordable, not only to build, but to maintain. We are not independently wealthy, but have a big of equity built up in a home in Hawaii we intend to use some of to build the pool. I have a muscle disease and I love to swim. I know it will be of great benefit to my health, as well as my husband's, and we also want a place our grandkids can play when they visit. Any advice? We are very interested in the Covers in Play buildings made in Ontario. We believe they will be less costly and more functional than having a structure built. We are thinking a 16 X 36 fiberglass in ground pool, nothing fancy. We do not want chlorine. Are there alternatives other than salt? We know very little, but are trying to make good decisions. I'm so glad I found this site. Any and all recommendations/input/advice are greatly appreciated!


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 7, 2011
Midland TX
Welcome to the forum!

They make retractable pool specific enclosures, but I dont know much about them sorry. I would say not to rule out Chlorine completely because you can have a very nice Chlorinated pool. Unfortunately most people that dont like Chlorinated pools have been exposed to poorly maintained ones whether Salt, or more traditional types. But that said, there are completely non Chlorinated pools that use a family of products known as Biguanides. Baquacil is a well known one, but these are relatively very expensive and eventually problematic for everyone despite the best efforts. They aren't something we suggest with any enthusiasm, but they are approved as Sanitizers, and an alternative nonetheless.


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
Grand Rapids, MI
Greetings, HP. I have talked to Covers in Play on a few occasions and like what little I know about their constructions, engineering and approach. Those Ontario guys understand how to handle snow load ;) In my particular instance, my footprint bordered by a terrace in the side of a hill with an angle wasn't an ideal fit for a retractable without ripping out and re shaping an uber expensive retaining wall and was further complicated by the physical dimensions of the pool house and house.

But in a new build on the right site and with an adequate budget, I'd do it in a heartbeat, especially with the therapeutic benefit ;)

As far as running through winter, your circumstances will likely be a lot different than mine, but I am currently operating year round using a seasonal, inflatable dome supported by an air blower. I installed it this year in order to be able to do physiotherapy at home for a knee injury and compounded arthritis.

This winter operation is no small feat in Michigan, and has been awesome ;) In terms of energy cost, my highest month was $480 in natural gas through careful management -- which is considerably less than my share of physio would have been ;). Previously, in open air my May bill would be almost as much running uncovered and to 88 via Thermostatting.

Eg, So in winter dome means: Keeping a 12 mil cover on the water except when swimming, scheduling automated but limited 3x daily heater runs to maintain 95 degrees instead of just Thermostatting for 24 hrs, etc. With the dome and in my case, we use an air warmer that attaches to the structural blower that increases air temps in the enclosure by as much as 20-30 degrees by cycling the warm pool water through a mini exchanger. To prevent deterioration from UV, the ceiling of the dome is not transparent (as its just heavy vinyl and ergo treated with a coating.)

In your case, with the beefier construction, I'd expect you to gain and retain a lot more heat via the sun through the clear panels.

I will link you to my dome thread where you might glean info worth considering...somewhere in there is a link for calculating heating costs by season and location. Anyone Have a Winter Pool Dome - Ameridome or Others?

The thread chronicles the purchase and install so much of it won't be especially useful to you...let me know if you have specific questions and I'll try to assist you as able (off to a very early meeting right now.) Eg. I might be able to assist you in calculating real world energy costs by a combo of some questions for Covers in Play combined with gallonage, location, proposed btu of heat system etc. My own calcs turned out to be pretty accurate.

I'd also like you to seriously consider learning more about PROPER, eg TFP use of chlorine in a pool...I think you'll find that science shows its the only true way to go for a healthy, safe pool and that mch of the rest is hype. But I'll leave you to dig around this robust resource on that one ;)

Lastly, I cannot tell you just how much of a difference year round swimming and physio makes in terms of health management and pain abatement. Your endeavor is wholly worth it ;)
Apr 5, 2017
Carlisle, PA
Thank you both very much for replying. Lots to think about for sure! We had a meeting with our pool salesman yesterday, and he stayed several hours to make sure our questions were thoroughly answered. The reason I'm cautious about chemicals is because of my autoimmune disease. I just want to go with the most natural, body-friendly pool environment possible, and not knowing much about anything at all, I only assumed saltwater would be that. I keep hearing about this proper TFP use of chlorine. Everyone talks about it on here, but I have yet to find out exactly what they're talking about. :) Swampwoman, you say that it is the only true way for a healthy safe pool. Is there a stream of comments on here you might link me to so I can get going on my research in the right direction? A a firm believing in not recreating the wheel and learning from other's valuable experiences and insights. Thanks, again, so very much for the welcome and response! I'm going to go start poking around and see if the price he quoted is within the realm of sanity, and if others have the same brand of pool and what they think of the choices we made BEFORE we get in over our head. No pun intended. Ha! -me-


Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Nov 29, 2015
Carrollton tx
you have to have some disinfectant for the pool ... "salt pools" are chlorine pools they just get the chlorine from salt.
you just need to find out if chlorine is an issue for you or the bromides options are ...
but if you read here you will see that most people who choose a "new high tech " disinfectant like bromines or UV or some other choice have trouble with them keeping the water clean.
If you have autoimmune issues then you also need to worry about what happens if you get in a "dirty" pool, one that "looks clean" but isnt correctly sanitized... that may be a bigger risk ..
Btw I also have auto immune issues, in my case my body decided my pancreas was not friendly ....


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
Sebring, Florida
You have two BIG issues....

1. A year-round pool in a snowy area

2. sanitizing that pool.

I'll comment on #1. You will have to have a structure that can handle a snow load. You need to talk with PB's about that cannot be like the "cages" you see here in the South where we hav no snow. That's a big investment/hurdle and you may end up with a permanent structure with retractable side. Whatever, it will need to be quite sturdy.


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
Grand Rapids, MI
I just want to go with the most natural, body-friendly pool environment possible, and not knowing much about anything at all, I only assumed saltwater would be that.
Hebpeddler, I have an SWG...saltwater is awesome. The generator "makes" chlorine from the salt through a process called electrolysis. My reference to TFP levels of sanitation is the ratio of free chlorine to cya (which stabilizes it) and can be found here: [fc/cya][/fc/cya]

I personally feel its a great choice for someone with compromised immune future daughter-in-law has RA and is on enbril and I am especially cognizant of this in my pool care. The added value of salt water generators is that you have a "constant" supply of sanitizer when your pump is running as opposed to "dosing" daily and having a wider variance to account for the daily reduction of chlorine from sunlight, etc.

Salt water pools, ("SWG") are included in TFPs methods. Methods we DONT advocate are claims about ozone, UV, minerals like copper and silver systems that some in the industry and for financial reasons or ignorance promote as legitimate sanitizers or adequate alternates to the WHO-validated efficacy of chlorine.

While there are little nuggets of truth in some of those claims (eg silver really is anti microbial if you infuse nanites of it into textile ;) - there is not enough clear evidence or practicality in the field to adopt those methods. If you search through the forum using the search tool for chlorine alternatives, you will likely come across a lot of heady discussions and links out to research so you can make your own determination.

Chlorine pools get a bad rap (or are exploited as same) only when improperly kept...meaning if the levels are too LOW, byproduct chloramines are formed that have shown negative health impact...A TFP-kept pool will not "smell" like chlorine...if you smell chlorine strongly, then the pool has combined chloramines.

The forum was based on some ground-breaking scientific research into the relationship of FC (free chlorine) to CYA that is slowly becoming accepted in the wider pool industry over the last decade.

Hope that helps give you the short strokes on the topic. If you also take a good read through the Pool School section here, you will learn the methods that TFP teaches.

Do also keep us posted on Covers in Play and any talks you have with them. Snowy operation is rare on the forum, and many will benefit from your sharing of info ;) Because I was familiar with the company and their northern clime, I knew what you were talking about...but for others..Covers in Play is a Canadian manufacturer of winter-worthy telescoping structures engineered for snow load ;)

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