The Importance of Ventilation in Aquatics

Pool enclosures have always provided a savvy way to offer both indoor and outdoor aquatics, ensuring swimmers can access the water year-round. But on top of that, the ability to let in outside air provides ventilation benefits.

Q: What should we know about ventilation for aquatics?

A: Indoor aquatic facilities can present a number of challenges for aquatic operators when it comes to air quality. Without proper ventilation, chloramines can build up in the air, presenting a health challenge to swimmers and staff, as well as leading to deterioration of equipment. Add a pandemic driven by a respiratory virus, and you've got a dangerous equation.

Properly ventilating the air around your pool will not only protect guests from chloramines, but also provides more protection from airborne viruses.

Typically, pools turn to air handling units specifically designed for aquatic facilities. Skylights or openings in the building can also be a solution. Retractable buildings, which allow operators to convert pools from indoor to outdoor use with the push of a button are another solution.

Q: How can pool enclosures help us keep the air and water safe for swimmers?

A: Facility managers look at one particular metric to gauge whether there's an elevated risk of airborne virus transmission: air changes per hour (ACH). Most experts suggest at least 3 ACH, and ideally, 6 ACH.

Well-designed ventilation systems are not the only way to ensure a space is well ventilated. How fast outdoor air is moving into the space is also important to consider. Even a slightly open window can introduce beneficial outdoor air.

According to one calculation, the ACH for a single 4-by-3-foot window would be approximately 4 ACH. In comparison, a retracted enclosure of approximately 583.2 square feet would achieve more than 200 ACH, making the retractable enclosure almost 5,000 times more efficient.