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A guide on how to install, clean and maintain a plunge pool

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Bigger than a hot tub but smaller than a full-size pool, a plunge pool can be the perfect way to add some water to your yard. It’s not deep or large enough for swimming laps but still allows you to take a dip — perfect for cooling off on a hot summer day. Adults can get their toes wet, dogs can take a dip and kids can splash around.

In addition to being practical, these small pools are highly customizable so that you can tailor them to your yard’s size and style. They are usually in-ground, although aboveground models are available. The average dipping pool is about 4 feet deep. It’s also possible to get a deeper pool. For example, this can be useful for adults who want to use a pool for water aerobics or physical therapy.

These pools can be heated or unheated. Plunge pool sizes vary, too. Measurements could be 8 feet in width and anywhere from 10 to 18 feet in length. Plus, plunge pools come in various shapes, from rectangular to round. You can even have plunge pools with tailor-made additions, like wraparound bench seats.

You can add aesthetic elements like water features and lights if you want to take your plunge pool design ideas to the next level. You can also add practical perks like massage jets. The only limit is your imagination. A professional pool designer can help determine the perfect style to fit your needs and your yard’s practical requirements. Alternatively, you can order a ready-made fiberglass pool to cut plunge pool costs.

That said, plunge pools require careful planning. In addition to choosing the right design and fitting features, you also have to plan the pool’s installation. To protect your pool once it’s in place, you have to invest time and effort in regular maintenance — most notably, cleaning. This care will help safeguard your pool, ensuring you can enjoy it for as long as possible. Read on for a quick guide to installing, cleaning and maintaining plunge pools.

 

How to install a plunge pool in 5 steps

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Before you can enjoy splashing around in your plunge pool, you’ve got to install it. Proper installation and placement will help minimize the risk of damage to your property and the pool itself. 

The good news? With the right help, it’s not too complicated of a job. Read a step-by-step process for installing a plunge pool in your backyard below.

Step 1. Order the plunge pool

Plunge pools usually come in pre-molded fiberglass. You can order a precast pool for your outdoor space and then have it installed by a professional. But first, you have to select the pool. Start by deciding whether you want an aboveground pool or an in-ground pool. Then determine what size and shape you want.

You can browse pool ideas online and get inspired by different designs, tiling, materials, features and perks. If you have a small backyard, consider the limited space you have to work with. Measure the surface area and leave space around the pool for walking and lounging.

Step 2. Hire an excavator

An in-ground plunge pool requires hiring an excavator. They will dig a hole in your yard to accommodate the pool’s depth, width and length. After creating the space for the pool, the excavation team should prepare the hole by adding about 1.5 feet of crushed stone and compacting the earth to prepare for setting the pool.

Step 3. Set the plunge pool

Next, the pool itself needs to be set in the hole. This step requires heavy-duty equipment and is not a DIY job. Although these pools are smaller than a regular pool, they are still heavy and unwieldy. A crane can be used to lower the pool into place. Before this happens, prepare your property by moving vehicles and objects like kids’ toys and pet goods. This will allow the work team and their vehicles easy access to the property.

Step 4. Hook up plumbing and equipment

Once the pool is in place, it needs to be connected to the necessary equipment. The pool pump and filter should be installed and tested. These are essential items that help maintain the pool and keep it clean, ensuring the water is safe for swimmers. Make sure to install these items in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Step 5. Finish the plunge pool

Last but not least, it’s time to integrate your plunge pool with the surrounding yard. This could involve adding hardscaping around the pool for people to walk and lounge on, or planting bushes, trees and flowers to boost aesthetic appeal. Landscaping will give the pool a polished look, creating a pretty impact.

 

How to clean a plunge pool

Regular cleaning will help keep a plunge pool pristine, ensuring you can enjoy it safely and comfortably. Sticks, leaves, grass clippings, pollen, dust, soil and other debris can get into the pool, dirtying it. Debris can also increase the risk of bacteria and algae growth, potentially making the water unsafe. The good news is that you can take some simple steps to keep a plunge pool clean.

Here are some quick tips for maintaining your fiberglass pool:

  • Skim: Remove debris from the water using a pool skimmer. Ideally, you will skim the pool’s surface every day. Skimming prevents debris from sinking to the bottom of the pool and collecting there, where it’s harder to reach and clean.
  • Vacuum: After removing major debris, vacuum the pool using a professional pool vacuum. These devices use suction to remove debris from the pool floor and sides. You should vacuum at least twice per week.
  • Brush: In addition to vacuuming the pool’s bottom and sides, you should brush them, too. Brushing helps to dislodge dirt and algae that can cling to the surface. When brushing, turn on the circulation pump. The dislodged debris will then be sucked up and filtered via the pump. Brush at least twice per week.

 

Plunge pool maintenance tips

Overall, plunge pools are more cost-effective and less maintenance compared to full-size swimming pools. Since they’re smaller than traditional pools, it’s easier to maintain the temperature, whether hot or cold. Most plunge pools are fiberglass, so they’re also easy to clean. In addition to taking the cleaning measures described above, you should also take some other steps to maintain your pool.

First, treat the pool with chemicals regularly. Using pH strips, check the pool water’s pH levels, showing how acidic or basic it is. The water should ideally be between 7.4 to 7.6 pH for humans. Adding chemicals like chlorine as instructed on the product label can help balance the pH. The chlorine level should be from 1 to 3 ppm.

Second, make sure to clean the pool’s pump system regularly. The precise process will vary depending on the type of pump, but generally looks something like this: 

  1. First, turn off the pump and heater.
  2. Close the main drain valves and remove the pump lid. You can clean the pump basket using a hose and a sponge. 
  3. Finally, replace the pump and skimmer valves.

Additionally, clean the plunge pool’s filter, which helps remove particles from the pool water. How you clean the filter will depend on the type of filter: sand, cartridge or diatomaceous earth. Check the filter’s instruction manual to see how to clean it. Not cleaning it according to the manufacturer’s guidelines can void the filter’s warranty.

Last but not least, keep the outdoor space around the pool clean. Cleaning could mean raking leaves, pruning hedges and trimming trees. By tidying up the area around the pool deck, you minimize the amount of debris likely to get into the pool. Maintaining an orderly backyard will make for more enjoyable outdoor living, which is generally the entire point of a plunge pool installation.

 

Discover plumbing system warranty coverage from Cinch

When adding upgrades like a plunge pool to your property, you want to protect them accordingly. A Cinch warranty can bring homeowners peace of mind, covering repairs for essential home systems and major appliances. While plunge pools aren’t covered, the Cinch Built-in Systems plan can cover air conditioning, water heaters, plumbing systems and more. Get a quote to protect your property today.

 

A plunge pool is smaller and easier to maintain than a swimming pool. Find out how to install, clean and maintain one here.