For most of us, pool season ends with the Labor Day holiday. But for a lucky few homeowners, swimming is a year-round activity in their own indoor pool.
"Indoor pools are becoming more popular," says Bob Spero, co-owner of the Columbia-based Maryland Pools Inc. With your own indoor pool, there's no driving to a gym, no looking for another activity to carry you through the winter months. "You can jump right in and exercise on demand," says Spero.
Some pools are designed to be functional, some to be decorative, but whatever the intent, there is no such thing as a "low-end" indoor pool, says Spero, pointing out that a home indoor pool can range from $50,000 to $300,000, depending on size, shape, materials, special features and pool enclosure.
If space and finances are at a premium, a stationary pool, such as those offered by Endless Pools in Aston, Pa., may be the answer. The Endless Pool is a counter-current swimming and water exercise machine that features an adjustable current that allows you to swim or exercise in place. The width, length and depth can be customized to meet your needs, but the average stationary pool measures a compact 8 feet by 15 feet, says company president James Murdock.
"The big advantage of this type of pool is that it can fit anywhere, from a basement to a sunroom, patio or porch," says Murdock, adding that the pools are cost-effective and easy to maintain, especially when compared to a traditional indoor pool. They also come with a special purification system that's lower in chlorine than a customary swimming pool and an optional retractable cover that locks the heat and humidity in the pool (and also keeps the kids out when you're not around).
"A lot of customers do use the pool for a specific health condition, such as MS or arthritis, or to lose weight," says Murdock. Increasing numbers of customers, though, see the pool as a great source of recreation. The company, which began in 1988, sells approximately 1,400 pools a year; approximately 20,000 are now installed throughout the United States and in 80 countries around the world.
No matter what kind of pool you're interested in, ask yourself several questions during the planning phase, Spero recommends. What are you planning to use the pool for? Strictly exercise? Family activities? Entertaining? Will you need a changing room or will you have access to the house? How will the humidity of the pool affect your walls and furnishings?
"Make sure that your pool is going to meet your demands," says Spero, who builds approximately 10 home indoor pools a year. "Functionality and aesthetics are the keys."