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Indoor or outdoor pool at home?
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Are you thinking of enhancing your home with the addition of a swimming pool? Before you get carried away dreaming about the obvious lifestyle benefits, it’s a good idea to think carefully about the kind of pool installation that will give you the right results. I spoke to award winning pool builders to get some useful advice about how to approach this important home investment purchase.
The choice between having an outdoor or an indoor pool will depend on a number of factors including the available space and budgetary considerations. However, the main deciding factor lies in how exactly you are planning to use the new facility.

Frequency of use
You’ve no doubt thought long and hard about how much use and enjoyment you will get out of having a pool at home, in order to justify the expense and upheaval. However, there’s a big difference between having an outdoor pool and an indoor pool facility.
If you’re planning regular morning swims come rain or shine, you’re installing a pool for the children to learn to swim, or you’re thinking of using it for pool based exercise classes, an indoor pool may be exactly what you need. You can swim whenever the fancy takes you at any time of day or night and in all weathers. Like your home gym or sauna, it’s a leisure facility that’s available whenever you need it.
On the other hand, if you’re more of a fair weather swimmer, perhaps with some sunbathing and the odd summer pool party thrown in, an outdoor pool makes much more sense. Let’s face it, nothing beats relaxing around the pool with family and friends, spending lazy summer afternoons in the sun perhaps with some alfresco dining too.
Of course, your use will be limited by the seasons as an outdoor pool will be closed for the annual winterisation period to protect it from the elements. Heated outdoor pools offer more flexibility but unless you’re able to invest heavily in energy efficient heating systems or are willing to accept substantial heating costs in the off season, there’s no getting around the fact that your outdoor pool will be out of action for more than half the year.

Heating options
Indoor and outdoor pools use different forms of heating. Indoor spaces will require more than just water heating. An environmental control system will allow you to not only heat the pool but the air around it too, thus controlling humidity and providing fresh air at all times.
You should keep your pool room heated to 2-3 degrees warmer than the water temperature, since water evaporates faster when surrounded by cooler air, meaning your pool heater is having to work harder. As a general rule, a as the best temperature for swimming.
An outdoor pool will require dedicated heating to keep the water warm. Without an enclosure, the pool will lose heat all the time as soon as it gets to the set temperature. Pool heaters can be powered by gas, oil or electric heating but modern systems also offer renewable solutions such as air source heat pumps.
Heat pumps take the heat from the ambient air temperature, recycling it into heat for the pool. You can also invest in ground source heat pumps or solar arrays for a super efficient renewable solution. Alex from Compass Pool points out the advantages: ‘Most of our customers opt for an air source heat pump, with typical running costs of just £5 per day in summer for a 11m x 4m [standard size] insulated carbon ceramic pool.’ An additional pool cover is recommended to minimise heat loss.

Cost and maintenance
Swimming pools come in all shapes and sizes – from basic block and liner pool kits to bespoke centrepieces that can range from traditional to ultra modern designs. It is the complexity of the design and build, the size and finishes chosen that will determine the cost of the pool.
As a rough guide, high quality pool installations of standard size, including all groundworks and materials, renewable energy heating options, safety covers and a good warranty come in at an average of about £80,000. It’s worth noting that indoor pools will typically carry a higher price tag than an outdoor pool, particularly if major excavation work is required for a subterranean pool.
For your own peace of mind, it goes without saying that you should choose your pool installer carefully, making sure they are a member of (Swimming Pool and Allied Trade Association).
Planning permission should not be necessary for an outdoor pool unless you live in a listed building or a . Indoor pools my need permission unless the build falls under Permitted Development. If in doubt, do check with your local authority.
Pool maintenance for outdoor pools mainly involves checking chemical levels to make sure pH and chlorine are topped up. There are automatic dosing systems to help with this, and of course there’s always an app! If you have a pool cover, keeping leaves and debris out of the water is not an issue, although a regular daily check in the summer is recommended. Less maintenance and servicing is generally required for indoor pools that are not open to the elements.
Outdoor pools will have to be put into hibernation from September to March. The is not difficult; it will require a pool engineer to service your pool over the colder months and reopen it in springtime.
Whichever pool option you eventually decide on, a luxury pool that is expertly designed and installed to be in total harmony with the architecture of your home, and that takes advantage of the latest energy saving technology, will create a stunning additional feature for your home. Whether it’s sited indoors in a pool extension or a specially constructed pool house, or outside set among lush greenery in the garden or even on a rooftop, your new pool will be admired by everyone and .

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