Extend your Swim Season, with a Pool Enclosure!

August 13th, 2012 | Posted by Ann in - Buyer's Guides | Pool Closing

inflatable-pool-dome-enclosures

Q: What’s the Saddest Day of the Year for a Backyard Pool Owner?

A: Pool Closing Day!

No matter where you live, swim season always seems too short. Summer days pass too quickly, and before you know it the kids are back in school,  the weather is turning cooler again, and it’s time to pull out the winter cover. In climates with “real” winter weather, swim season actually is too short – only 3-4 months in some areas of the country! Since most of us don’t have the option of building an indoor pool at home (and others of us aren’t really excited about the prospect of swimming in an indoor public pool all winter), what’s a swimming enthusiast to do? The answer – a Swimming Pool Enclosure!

What is a Pool Enclosure?

A Pool Enclosure is a covering that surrounds the entire pool, all the way over & around. With a Pool Enclosure on your aboveground or inground swimming pool, you can enjoy warmer air, and warmer pool water. Also called pool domes, enclosures can significantly extend your swim season – potentially year-round, depending on the climate in your area and the enclosure you choose.

Pool Enclosures also offer a host of other benefits – which can save you time, chemicals, and money. These include protecting your pool from bugs, debris and rain, reducing pool water evaporation, and also the need for balancing chemicals. And while pool enclosures are not intended for sun-protection, they will indeed block the majority of UV rays.

There are two basic types of pool enclosures, a frame-set dome known as the Sun Dome and an inflatable pool enclosure called the Super Span Dome.

Structural Pool Enclosures

Sun Domes, manufactured by Fabrico, are a type of pool enclosure constructed with clear, heavy-duty 12-gauge vinyl to allow light and warming energy from the sun. They are called the Sun Dome for the obvious reason that they absorb the sun during the day to warm the pool. The vinyl is supported by a series of 1” polished aluminum tubes that form a frame over the pool, and are secured by a series of Neoprene shock chords attached to grommets. Aluminum pool enclosure kits are available in a variety of sizes for round aboveground, oval aboveground, and rectangular inground swimming pools (and even for Spas & Hot Tubs!).fabrico-sun-domes-for-pools

This type of pool dome will warm the air temperature inside the enclosure and increase the pool water temperature by up to 20 degrees. They also help retain heat during cool nights by trapping the pool heat and blocking heat-robbing winds.

Frame types of enclosure are sturdy, and typically last up to 5 seasons if well cared-for, and properly stored during the off-season. They can withstand rain, heat, sun and wind gusts up to 40-45 mph. They typically do not require cleaning, but if needed, structural pool domes can be gently cleaned with a mild soap & water solution before storing it.

This type of enclosure is not suitable for use in areas that receive heavy sustained winds (as in a strong summer storm, hurricane or tornado). They also won’t withstand a large amount of heavy, wet snow. In areas that receive a lot of snowfall, this type of enclosure should be removed on a sunny day before the first big snowfall, and stored for the winter. The enclosure should be clean and dry before folding it up and stored in a cool dry location.

Sun Dome enclosures offer a top-quality clear vinyl and aluminum option for aboveground pools, inground pools, and Spas at an affordable price. They install in just a few hours, to extend your season by several months. They’re value-priced when you consider the extra time you’ll have in the pool every year, and are easy to set up yourself.

Inflatable Pool Enclosures

AquaFlex SuperSpan Domes give inground pool owners a truly year-round option – even in areas with heavy snowfall! Unlike a traditional clear vinyl enclosure, this type is manufactured using a super strong, 18-gauge PVC reinforced vinyl. Fade, abrasion, fungicide, freeze & UV resistant, in 20 color options. Inflatable pool enclosures are supported entirely by air – provided by a quiet, energy-efficient and weatherproof blower that maintains the air pressure inside the enclosure. Inflatable pool domes are secured with a plastic-coated metal cable anchoring system.  This type of swimming pool enclosure can be custom-made in sizes from 400 to 7,000 square feet – accommodating just about every inground pool size possible.aquaflex-superspan-pool-dome-enclosures

Inflatable pool enclosures, also called Pool Bubbles or Pool Domes, keep the air temperature within 10 degrees of the water temperature, but they do require you to run your existing pool heater to get maximum benefit. The heated water warms the air inside the enclosure, to allow for comfortable swimming at any outdoor temperature! Snow isn’t a problem either – it typically melts on contact, or may slightly build up and slide off by itself.

Entrance and exit from an inflatable pool dome is made through a zipper door, or an air-lock revolving door can be fitted in any location you wish.

Heavy snow can cause the Dome to sag, so it’s suggested that you turn off the blower (to deflate the enclosure) prior to heavy snowfall. A long rope thrown over top of the pool dome can be used by two people to remove a fast snowfall that builds up on top of your enclosure. Accumulated snow will usually melt on contact with the warm pool water (so it can be siphoned off with a hose or cover pump). About the only thing that could potentially damage this type of enclosure is heavy winds (40+ MPH sustained). So make sure the enclosure is properly anchored, and always deflate it if high winds are forecast. Storage during the spring & summer seasons is easy too – even the largest enclosures fold into a compact size.

SPP offers the AquaFlex Super-Span Dome – a top-quality example of this type of enclosure. It is priced higher than a traditional clear vinyl enclosure – because they last longer and can truly be used year-round in many areas.

So now that you know about these season-spanning pool enclosures, check them out for your aboveground or inground pool – and look forward to next fall, when you’ll still be swimming comfortably, while all your neighbors have covered their pools and retreated indoors.

Ann Rasmussen
SPP Pool Enthusiast

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