Swimming Pool Equipment

Complete Guide to Swimming Pool Plant & Equipment

Good swimming pool maintenance needs to start with the choice of swimming pool equipment you choose to install, both when constructing the pool, and during its lifetime. There are several aspects the maintaining a pool, not the least of them being the need to protect the health of those using it.

The amount of servicing a pool may require will depend largely on its size and the amount of time the pool is used. Larger pools will have a plant room installed that maintains many of the pools features automatically.

It may not be the most pet friendly feature

It may not be the most pet friendly feature

Plant room

A swimming pool plant room will be ideally positioned at the end of the pool, and this will preferably be at the deep end. This helps to ensure that the pool water circulation system is operating efficiently and will also minimise the amount of suction pipework that needs to be installed. The level of the plant room floor should ideally be located either below or level with the pool water line as this will allow the pumps to work more efficiently. A plant room needs to be large enough to accommodate all of the necessary plant and equipment and should also be easy to access, particularly for servicing or to replace items that may malfunction. Included in the design should be storage that is specifically for chemicals.

The position and size of the plant room needs to be decided at the design stage, rather than be treated as an afterthought, and should take into account ventilation, background noise levels, accessibility and the neighbours. One thing that is often overlooked is the need to make available within the plant room area personal protective equipment (PPE), such as goggles, gloves, aprons and overshoes. Basic first aid equipment should also be provided which would include items such as eyewash, and for larger plant rooms, an emergency drench shower and a sink with running cold water would need to be available.

Pool plant room with Boiler, Filter, Air handling equipment

Pool plant room with Boiler, Filter, Air handling equipment

Generally when a pool is installed the company supplies the tools you need to clean the pool and to test the chemicals in the water. The range of tools is extensive but will basically consist of nets and suction cleaners to remove debris, along with all shapes and sizes of brushes and also pressure cleaners that are set on tracked wheels to run along the bottom of the pool and clean it with jets. It is possible to install an automatic pool cleaner which will help keep the pool clean and free of debris. The cleaners work off the pool filtration system and create enough suction to clean the pool surface on a regular cycle.

A swimming pool will add lots of value to your house

A swimming pool can add value to your house

The chemicals used in pool cleaning are something that a pool owner needs a certain amount of training in how to use effectively and safely. The water in a pool needs to be checked regularly and taking a sample to a professional pool supply company once a month will enable you to obtain the right chemicals for the pool and to know when to put them in. For most of the time all that is needed are chlorine tablets or sticks.

A Jacuzzi is another feature you could add to your swimming pool but don’t overuse it!

A Jacuzzi is another feature you could add to your swimming pool but don’t overuse it!

The amount of effort that is needed to keep the pool clean is directly related to

the number of times the pool is used. Frequent use may mean that the pool needs to be cleaned, maintained, and free of debris at least every two weeks, and this is particularly important during the summer months. This will also affect how often the filter will need to be changed or maintained. Once all of this is in place all you need to worry about is practicing your front crawl.


Save your self some money.

If your planning to construct a swimming pool, at some point you will come across the question of Air handling- Ie: how are you going to heat and extract the moisture from the air to avoid streaming condensation and possible damage to the building structure.

A story-

A couple of years ago I was project managing a large Barn conversion. – Young Tim the owner decided one day that he would like a swimming pool. This would be built within a conservatory and have basement plant and utility storeroom running alongside, for the full length of the pool.


Knowing Tim for many years, this wasn’t taken seriously at the first suggestion, as he would have likely changed his mind the following day. However he didn’t.-  We took a massive gamble that planning would be approved – put in a retrospective application and notified Building control. By this time a very large hole had been excavated and works were well under way.

pool structure

Pool structure in concrete blocks showing bottom drains in position

Some time later after huge amounts of concrete had been poured, we had ourselves a subterranean pool and basement structure.

During the process and not really having a clue about pool construction we decided to get a specialist over some advice. This chap duly arrived with 25 years of pool construction experience in his back pocket, stood on some high ground and gave us a good old lecture, mainly about how great he was. We had a run down of just about every pool he had ever fitted. Eventually, many hours later we awoke to tackle the subject of air handling. At this point Tim, thinking out of the box had a blue sky eureka moment. Instead of fitting hugely expensive air handling equipment (and very expensive to run) why not use a quality air conditioning unit that had a good dehumidifier.

Pool expert looked over his glasses, scoffed and rebuked –“it wont work”.- Why not, – “it just wont” I’ve never hear any thing so absurd”. Pool expert duly left, and yes he did leave the bump in the concrete foundations is purely coincidence.

I must admit we all had our doubts about this concept. However here we are 14 months from pool commissioning and having passed through one of the worst winters on record and I’m happy to report – It works.




The pool water is kept at a constant 30 degrees this keeps the surrounding air temp constant. The Air conditioning unit is set to auto de-humidifier mode.

Result.- No condensation, relatively cheap to install and run. Additional heating is also an option by using the reverse cycle on the unit, however so far this has not been needed.

aug 12 107


Be aware- This is a relatively small pool, if you are planning on designing a pool to host the next Olympic swimming competition, you may want to have a re think.

Pool dimensions.                   6.0L x  4.0W 1.6D

Conservatory dimensions   8.4L x  7.4W x 2.3H.

Water temperature               30 deg

Pool cover – Slatted


Swimming pool plant and equipment. ( see schematic diagram )

swimming -pool - schematic

swimming pool schematic



Main drains.

These need to be fitted in the deep end of the pool and piped in prior to the pool base and walls being constructed. Don’t forget to fit these as you will not get then fitted after the pool has been constructed.

pool- bottom - drains

pool- bottom – drains


For continuous removal of debris that floats on the pool surface.





Return outlets.

Fitted to the pool wall to return clean heated water to the pool.

swimming pool - return outlet

swimming pool – return outlet


Pool pump.

Pump fitted for continuous circulation of the water.

swimming -pool -pump

swimming -pool -pump



Usually filled with sand and has a multi port valve fitted. Water from the drains and skimmers is circulated through the filter returning clean water to the pool.

swimming pool-sand filter


Drain pipe.

This is for back washing the filter and needs to be done regularly to keep the filter sand clean. Drains should be connected to the waste water drain system.


Pool water heater.

These are usually gas similar to a central heating boiler but specifically designed for pools. Can be LPG or mains gas. The size required will be determined by the size of your pool and the quantity of water to be heated. Some people are now using air source heat pumps as an alternative means of heating pool water.

swimming pool-boiler-gas

swimming pool-boiler-gas



Other items not shown.

Water Chlorinator.

For supplying a regulated amount of chlorine bleach to the water to keep it bacteria and germ free.

swimming-pool- chlorinator

swimming-pool- chlorinator




Air handling equipment.

For use where pools are installed in a building .The equipment continually draws moist air from the poolroom, then removes the excess water and returns heated air to the room. This equipment ensures that condensation does not occur and maintains the air temperature .

swimming-pool-air handling

swimming-pool-air handling


Pool covers.

Essential for keeping the pool water clean and losing heat while its not in use. Some covers are designed with a safety in mind. They are designed to withstand someone falling into the pool. This type of cover needs to be fitted into a track on the sides of the pool.

Floating and slatted covers do not need tracks. They simply are made to fit the pool and float on the water surface.

There are a few types of cover that can be considered.

For pool covers to look there best they should be fitted into a designed pit at one end of the pool.  They can also be fitted into a surface mounted box that can be made to look like a bench. A motorised cover is worth considering operated by a simple button or remote control.

Types of cover.




slatted cover in top box

slatted cover in top box


safety cover in track

safety cover in track


simple slatted cover

simple slatted cover

Pit for pool cover

Pit for pool cover