- Last Updated on Wednesday, March 13 2013 20:33
Since the first few inches of water in a swimming pool contain almost 80-90% of all the pool contaminants such as: dirt, body oils and bacteria, it's important to the health of your pool and its patrons that the swimming pool gutter system is doing its job by skimming the surface of these contaminants constantly and effectively.
Swimming pool gutters can range from traditional open-trough style gutters to integral recirculation systems. The term “integral supply and return gutter” simply means that the gutter system itself contains the pan or trough to collect the skimmed water as well as the actual piping to supply the clean, filtered water back to the swimming pool. Combining the plumbing within the gutter system itself reduces the potential for leaks due to broken or cracked underground piping that can be caused by freeze/thaw conditions or rust.
The following factors should be considered when designing a pool gutter system:
- What materials will be employed? Proven options for integral supply and return gutters include 12-gauge stainless steel, extruded PVC and aluminum. Concrete gutters are either tiled, painted or PVC-coated and usually are not designed to be integral.
- Will the pool be a continuous rim flow design where the water flows over the edge all around the pool or will skimming weirs be inserted to allow in pool surge capacity?
- How will the pool address surge capacity? Will the pool be designed to store it in the gutter, in the pool itself with adjustable skimmer weirs or in a balance or surge tank?
- At how many points around the perimeter of the pool will skimmed water be collected to take to the mechanical room, and at how many points will filtered and treated water be returned to the gutter supply piping designated to supply water back to the pool.
- What will the gutter lip to deck height elevation be? Generally, the lower this height the better, as it allows easier access for pool patrons. However, the lowered deck elevation must be coupled with a much wider gutter to prevent splash-out. Gutters can even be designed with the gutter lip and the deck at the same level.
- Will the space between the gutter lip and the back of the gutter be open or enclosed with flowthrough grating? Although open gutters are cheaper, closed gutters offer safety advantages.
- What will the primary function of the pool be? A world-class natatorium has different needs than a high school swimming pool.
Keeping the gutter system simple keeps initial as well as long-term maintenance costs in line.