Pool maintenance is not for the faint of heart. Just one week of half-hearted pool chores is all that stands between you and that dreaded tinge of green in the water. If you’re currently weighing your options between an indoor pool and an outdoor one based on how much maintenance either option requires, I’m here to help.
In this article, I’ll dive deep into the ins and outs of indoor pool maintenance and discuss how it’s different from looking after outdoor pools. Let’s get started!
- Indoor pools are ideal for those looking for an easier cleaning time with long-term pool maintenance, but they come with some caveats.
- Indoor pool maintenance, while not as intensive as outdoor maintenance, still includes a few common pool tasks, such as brushing, shocking, vacuuming, and water chemistry and filtration maintenance.
- Maintaining an indoor pool also involves unique tasks such as ventilation and humidity control.
- Indoor pools often have additional equipment compared to outdoor pools, such as ventilation systems, dehumidifiers, and climate control units.
Essential Indoor Pool Maintenance
Indoor swimming pool maintenance calls for a few essential tasks—and a few specialized ones. Here’s a rundown of what you can expect.
Brushing and Vacuuming
Indoor pools accumulate dirt, grime, and algae like any other outdoor pool. So, regularly brushing the pool walls, floor, and other surfaces is a great way to prevent the buildup of algae, dirt, and debris. Use a pool brush to scrub the walls and vacuum the pool to remove any debris that has settled on the floor. This promotes better water circulation, prevents staining, and keeps the pool’s surfaces clean and inviting. No one wants to swim in a dirty, stained pool!
As mentioned, algae infestations are a problem in indoor pools, just like outdoor pools. One effective way to fight this is to regularly shock the pool by adding a high dose of chlorine or another suitable disinfectant to eliminate bacteria, algae, and other nasty contaminants. Shock treatments are crucial to maintain water clarity and kill any microorganisms.
Any pool’s filtration system, indoor or outdoor, is the heart of pool maintenance. Your pool filter is a major line of defense against unwanted debris and dirt particles in the water. To make sure everything is running as smoothly as possible, clean or backwash the filter to remove trapped debris. After all, who doesn’t want a clean and sparkling pool? Plus, depending on the type of filter (e.g., sand, cartridge, or DE), you may need to periodically replace the filter media or cartridges.
Generally, indoor pool filters are more low maintenance than outdoor pool filters for obvious reasons. There is less debris to filter. You are simply way less likely to end up with leaves, dirt, and other larger debris in your indoor swimming pool.
Water Chemistry Maintenance
Chemical balance is one of the most crucial aspects of keeping your pool water clean. Without the right amount of chlorine and a balanced pH level, your indoor pool would never be able to fight off contaminants.
Maintaining your chemical levels fights off algae and bacteria and ensures the safety and comfort of swimmers. At the very least, test the water for pH, chlorine, alkalinity, and other vital chemical parameters. Also, be sure to adjust the chemical balance as necessary, using appropriate chemicals to meet recommended ranges.
One of the coolest things about indoor pools is that you can use them all year round! But during the colder months, indoor pools may still require further specific maintenance. Just because the pool is indoors doesn’t mean you can leave it to its own devices in the winter. Make sure you keep up pool maintenance during the winter by regularly shocking the pool and balancing the chemistry in the water. You should also ensure the area is adequately ventilated and the humidity is maintained at the proper levels.
And since it’s the off-season, the winter is the perfect time to check all your pool equipment for leaks and damages!
Indoor swimming pools are prone to high humidity levels, which can lead to condensation, moisture-related damage, and the growth of mold and mildew. Install and maintain dehumidification systems for the pool area.
Besides the enclosure, the main unique maintenance requirement of indoor pools is an effective ventilation system. These are used to control humidity levels, prevent condensation, and maintain good air quality in your pool room. Proper air circulation helps remove excess moisture, reducing the risk of mold and mildew growth. To prevent this, you should regularly inspect and clean ventilation ducts, vents, and fans to keep the area clean and dry. This will make for a much more pleasant swimming experience too!
Additional Maintenance Considerations
There are a few miscellaneous points to remember regarding indoor pool maintenance.
- Inspect and clean pool surfaces, including tiles, grout, and pool accessories, to prevent scale buildup, stains, and deterioration at least once a month.
- Inspect and maintain pool equipment, such as pumps, heaters, and chlorinators, according to manufacturer guidelines.
- Routinely check and clean pool drains, skimmers, and baskets to prevent clogs and improve water flow.
- In addition to your usual water chemistry, regularly test the water for metals, total dissolved solids (TDS), and other potential contaminants to address any issues that may arise.
Maintaining an Indoor Pool vs. an Outdoor Pool: What’s the Difference?
Understanding the differences between indoor and outdoor pool maintenance can help pool owners address the specific maintenance needs of their pool type. Plus, it can help you decide whether an indoor pool is for you.
Climate Control and Water Temperature
Of course, indoor pools require ongoing climate control to keep the water and air temperatures comfortable regardless of external weather conditions. This involves using heating systems and HVAC equipment to regulate the indoor environment, which can be pricey.
On the other hand, outdoor pools are subject to natural elements and weather variations. The water temperature primarily depends on ambient temperatures, sunlight exposure, and any heating systems employed. You would need to use a pool cover to protect the pool from sunshine, heavy rain, or even dust storms.
Indoor pools are generally much better protected from outdoor debris but can still accumulate dust, lint, and small particles. So, occasional brushing and vacuuming are still needed.
Outdoor pools are much more exposed to environmental factors, such as leaves, pollen, insects, and other debris. Weekly cleaning sessions and brushing and vacuuming the pool surfaces are absolutely essential to keep the water clean and debris-free.
Sunlight Exposure and Water Chemistry
Indoor pools are shielded from direct sunlight, resulting in more stable water conditions. This means that your chlorine is less likely to dissipate and stabilizer (muriatic acid may not be necessary). You still need to closely monitor and maintain the water chemistry to ensure everything is balanced. But with that said, it’s a little less intensive than outdoor pool chemistry maintenance and can be slightly easier for pool owners.
As already mentioned, outdoor pools are exposed to a lot of outdoor elements. Sunshine, for instance, can quickly dissipate chlorine, which can severely hurt water chemistry levels since it causes the breakdown of chlorine, increases evaporation rates, and promotes algae growth. Water chemistry maintenance is a constant task for outdoor pool owners to keep the pool in tip-top shape.
You can use an indoor pool year-round, allowing for consistent maintenance throughout all seasons. Besides your usual maintenance routine, you may need to adjust your heating system slightly. Easy as pie!
Outdoor pools require specific seasonal maintenance, such as pool opening and closing procedures, winterizing equipment, and protecting the pool structure and plumbing from freezing temperatures. Skipping this step can lead to cracked pool tiling, burst pipes, and even black mold in the water when summer rolls around. Yikes!
Indoor Pool Maintenance Costs
The cost of maintaining an indoor pool can vary depending on a huge range of factors, including the pool’s size, location, equipment efficiency, and local market conditions.
Indoor pools typically require heating systems to maintain comfortable water temperatures throughout the year. Heating a pool can contribute significantly to energy expenses. The size of the pool, insulation quality, and desired water temperature all affect the energy consumption level.
Furthermore, climate control systems, including ventilation, dehumidifiers, and air conditioning, are necessary to maintain a comfortable indoor pool environment. As expected, these systems consume energy and contribute to overall maintenance costs.
Unfortunately, due to all of this, indoor pools drive up energy costs a whole lot more than outdoor pools, making them the more energy-intensive option.
Indoor pools require regular testing and treatment to maintain proper water chemistry. Chemicals such as chlorine, pH adjusters, algaecides, and sanitizers are necessary to ensure water quality and safety. Exactly how much you use will depend on how much you use the pool. Remember that this would also be the case with outdoor pools. However, with that said, indoor pools usually require fewer chemicals, as there is no sunlight to dissipate the free chlorine in the pool.
Indoor swimming pools often have additional equipment compared to outdoor pools, such as ventilation systems, dehumidifiers, and climate control units. These expensive and complicated systems require regular inspection, cleaning, and maintenance to ensure proper functioning and energy efficiency. Pool pumps, filters, heaters, and other equipment also need regular servicing, cleaning, and potential repairs or replacements. Routine equipment maintenance helps extend its lifespan and prevent unexpected breakdowns, saving you more money in the long run!
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Are Indoor Pools Worth it?
Indoor pool maintenance differs from outdoor pool maintenance, as there are many other considerations to keep in mind, such as humidity, ventilation, and overall costs. However, they still share a few common maintenance tasks, such as shock treatments, filter maintenance, and chemical balancing. All in all, as long as you have the budget and space for it, an indoor pool is an extremely valuable addition to your property over an outdoor one. Just make sure that you fully understand how to look after and maintain an indoor pool! Check out my comparison of indoor pools vs. outdoor pools for more research on the subject.
Do you have any more questions about indoor swimming pool maintenance? Let me know!