Indoor pools are quite unlike any other type of room in a hotel. When it comes to designing and operating them, they are also notably more complex. Indoor pool projects don’t come around every day, so having experienced people involved in the design of a new facility is the most reliable predictor of success.
In this post, we’ll explain 3 things that make indoor pools special.
Reason #1: High Moisture Load
The HVAC requirements for indoor pools are nothing like in your typical indoor space. The average room is air-conditioned from a temperature perspective, i.e. it is focused on the sensible load of the space. With indoor pools, the system is primarily designed for moisture removal, i.e. latent load. As most HVAC applications are not latent-heavy, this fact alone really makes a difference. The equipment that must be used is sized and designed differently, and getting it right requires experience and focused knowledge.
Most consulting engineers will only design one indoor pool in their career. As a result, they appreciate the assistance of dehumidifier manufacturers, who specialize and work with the technology every day. When they team up with us, you get the best possible outcome.
Reason #2: Different Air Distribution Needs
The kind of air distribution duct design that works in traditional indoor spaces quickly lead to problems when applied to indoor pools. In fact, many facilities today struggle with poor indoor air quality for this reason.
A very common type of duct layout in traditional indoor spaces will place the supply air diffusers and the return air intakes overhead. When applied to indoor pools, this approach results in poor air movement and a failure to break up and remove chemicals that accumulate above the water surface and deck.
For an indoor pool, it is essential to have good airflow in the “breathing zone”, which is the area from the water surface and deck level to about 7 feet. This is where the people are, and they need fresh ventilation air to breath. The best quality air in a pool comes directly out of the dehumidifier. This air has been dehumidified, filtered, blended with outdoor air and conditioned for optimal comfort. It’s the best quality air in the space by far, and so you need a well-designed duct system that works airflow down to the deck level, as well as across the water surface to break up accumulating chemicals.
If you have overhead supply ductwork, a low return is effective towards getting a good overall airflow pattern in the space. When you add in an exhaust fan that is strategically placed to capture off-gassing chemicals (like directly above the hot tub) and eject them from the space, you can get significantly better air quality for minimal investment.
Knowing what works and what doesn’t work from an air distribution perspective really comes down to experience. While a good general guideline is to have high supply and low return, the specifics of all indoor pool air distribution designs are very dependent on the project.
Reason #3: Different Guest Comfort Needs
Pools are one of the most popular amenities at any hotel. Many people, especially families on vacation, will not even consider staying at hotels that do not have a pool! When you have so many people drawn to your business because of your pool, you’ll also encounter a wide variety of guest expectations that all need to be met. This is where our experience really helps. We have designed thousands of hotel pools and know where most facilities need to operate to keep swimmers and people on the deck comfortable. While this experience is vital, the design team still needs to get vital input from you to ensure your patrons are happy.
One of the ways guest comfort needs can vary is in water and room conditions. What temperatures should you operate your facility at? If you have a lot of elderly guests, then they will probably prefer warmer temperatures, like 84–88°F water and 84 or 85°F for air. While this is not much different to the typical 84°F water and 82°F air used, that small change has a big impact and needs to be known up front.
This is where experience goes a long way in the design. Someone who is not experienced with indoor pools may pick a set of space conditions from a table, without considering what the special needs of the space are.
Here’s the big question: Are indoor pools extremely difficult to design? The answer may surprise you: No, not if you know what you are doing. It all comes down to experience. Everybody is much more polished the 10th time they do something compared to the first and second time. You learn from your mistakes and refine your design. You get better and better. Here is the rub: there simply aren’t enough indoor pools around to afford many people that luxury. It is exceptionally rare that everyone on a team involved in an indoor pool design will have significant experience.
As you do more and more pools, vital aspects of the design become second nature.
That is where we come in. We’re Dehumidified Air Solutions and in our years of experience with indoor pool dehumidification through our Seresco, Dectron and PoolPak brands, we’ve seen just about everything.
We want to help you make your specific hotel pool a total success that keeps guests happy and generates revenue. If you’re looking for detailed expert advice, please leave a comment below or complete the form on the right for a direct response.