(C) Daniel Friedman Indoor Swimming Pool Solar Heating, Insulation, & Moisture Control

  • SWIMMING POOL SOLAR HEAT, INDOOR - CONTENTS: Q&A: for an indoor swimming pool solar heater, insulation requirements, and moisture control needs. Air accumulation in solar collector systems. Swimming pool heating solar collector corrosion concerns. How to purge air from a solar collector. Solar Age Magazine Articles on Renewable Energy, Energy Savings, Construction Practices
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Indoor swimming pool insulation & ventilation specifications: this article describes indoor swimming pool insulation, heating, and moisture control requirements.

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Advice for Solar Heated Indoor Swimming Pool Construction

Here we include solar energy, solar heating, solar hot water, and related building energy efficiency improvement articles including material reprinted/adapted/excerpted with permission from Solar Age Magazine - editor Steven Bliss.

The question-and-answer article below paraphrases, quotes-from, updates, and comments an original article from Solar Age Magazine and written by Steven Bliss.

How Should I Insulate, Heat, and Control Moisture for a Solar-Heated Indoor Swimming Pool


I am planning to build an indoor swimming pool that will have a well-insulated building around it. It seems that the pool, which is to be of the vinyl liner type,should be insulated from the ground, but I have not been able to find any information on how this should be done. Do you have any suggestions? -- J.W. Barta, Barboursville WV.


Outdoor swimming pool in trouble (C) Daniel Friedman

Our photo (left) shows an outdoor swimming pool in some trouble. But the requirements for heating, insulating, and moisture control at an indoor swimming pool are still more demanding.

We put the matter to Doug Root, a Florida expert who has written widely on solar pool heating, including a useful Solar Age article (11/83).

His opinion is that the earth is a fairly good insulator in most cases, at least once the surrounding earth has been warmed up.

If cold springs flow near the excavation for the swimming pool, you may do well to insulate with 2- to 4-inch thick sheets of foamed glass insulation, which is expensive but won't waterlog over the long lifetime of the swimming pool.

DJF note: actually the earth is an infinite heat sink and you'd be better off with moisture-resistant solid foam insulation surrounding the pool exterior.


Indoor swimming pools create some special heat loss and humidity problems that you should keep in mind as well. Most indoor swimming pools receive little direct indoor sunlight - an important heat source for outdoor pools. And though one might expect an indoor swimming pool to pick up heat from their heated surroundings, actually pools lose heat to their enclosures, most notably through evaporation.

If room humidity is allowed to approach 100 percent,conditions get uncomfortable and more seriously condensation on walls ("wall sweat"), and on metal hardware corrodes metal components, risking damage to electrical system items such as wiring and lighting.

Mold may become a severe indoor problem, including due to moisture that escapes the swimming pool room and enters other building areas. See HUMIDITY LEVEL TARGET, and see the mold-resistant construction suggestions at MOLD PREVENTION GUIDE.

DJF note: we have also observed severe indoor mold contamination in fiberglass building insulation in areas subject to unusually high indoor moisture levels, including insulated walls surrounding indoor swimming pools. See INSULATION MOLD CONTAMINATION TEST.

DJF note: we have observed severe damage to warm air furnace heat exchangers used to heat an indoor swimming pool. The problem seemed to be a high level of airborne chlorine gas that was traced to heat exchanger corrosion. When selecting a warm air heating system for use to heat an indoor swimming pool, be sure to review this question with your heating equipment manufacturer.

The bottom line is that indoor swimming pool walls probably won't require insulation [in Mr. Root's opinion, but insulating the pool with water-resistant foam insulating bored is likely to reduce a high pool heating bill - DJF], the room will certainly require moisture control, and the swimming pool will require year-round heating regardless of whether or not its walls are insulated.

Original Solar Age Magazine Article on indoor swimming pool insulation, ventilation, and moisture control:

The link to the original Q&A article in PDF form immediately below is preceded by an expanded/updated online version of this article.


Continue reading at SWIMMING POOL SOLAR HEAT, OUTDOOR DIAGNOSIS or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below.

Or see SOLAR COLLECTOR AIR or GAS COLLECTION where we describe gas collection problems and solutions for solar heated swimming pools. Contact us to suggest text changes and additions and, if you wish, to receive online listing and credit for that contribution.

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