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Detailing a house-to-pool passageway

h_m_s | Posted in General Questions on

A question about moisture control and mechanicals placement in an enclosed breezeway/hallway connecting an indoor pool space to the main house.

We’re building a new house in upstate New York (climate zone 5) in the near future, and are planning a 4-season lap pool. The pool will be about 6’x32’ (4’ deep) and housed inside of a roughly 36’’x10’ semi-detached enclosure. The enclosure will have PERSIST walls and roof, with the 10’ southern facing wall mostly glass. We’re planning to heat the pool with a heat pump, as the pool will be small, enclosed, reasonably well-insulated, and acting as a thermal mass for any of the solar gain we can get through the glazed southern face.

The main house is planned with dense-packed double-stud walls. The inner wall will be load-bearing with air-sealed sheathing and treated more or less as a service cavity (possibly with some batts). The outer wall will be a 2×3 wall wrapped with permeable WRB to hold in the insulation. We haven’t made a final call on cladding, but leaning toward fiber-cement.

We’re planning to connect the pool to the house with a short hallway/enclosed breezeway with doors on either end to allow sheltered passage from the house to the pool while keeping the moisture load of the pool enclosure somewhat separated from the house. The pool mechanicals will also go in this space.

The question is, how should we construct the breezeway? We lean toward PERSIST for simplicity, and because the hallway will contact the pool enclosure. In either case, how should we detail the doors and the connections between the walls on either end to make sure moisture isn’t communicated from the pool to the house? We are hoping the heat pump will help with dehumidifying the breezeway space if and when moisture from the pool infiltrates the space.

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  1. tommay | | #1

    Perhaps think about installing a small fan to circulate air from the pool house or exhaust from the breezeway with a secondary louver vent at a lower level going into the breezeway to create some airflow and help with the mixing of air from the solar gain you get.

  2. MattJF | | #2

    On all things indoor pool, I would recommend consulting with someone who is really an expert to spec things out. There are very likely far more messed up indoor pool enclosures than correctly performing ones. BSC seems to have experience with these.

    It’s seems to me that an easy to use motorized cover is the most critical moisture control tool you could invest in. With the pool covered most of the time, a dehumidifier has a chance of managing the moisture loads and thereby minimizing moist air transfer into the breezeway. You should consider conditioning the breezeway at least in winter to limit the condensation risk. Otherwise you should make it highly ventilated ie outside pretty much with the wind.

    How do you see the heat pump dehumidifying the breezeway? It has no means of moisture removal in heating mode. The outside unit will condense moisture out of the air, but that will need to be outside.

    Also, find a hotel or somewhere that has a similar sized pool and spend a month doing laps there. 32ft makes me dizzy from turns.

    1. h_m_s | | #3

      HI Matt, thanks for your reply. We'll definitely be engaging someone with experience to pull this all together in the end. Just trying to get ahead of things with ideas and knowledge, if nothing else, to help evaluate whoever we find to do the final plans.

      We're planning a cover, though at only 240 sq. ft. of surface area, hadn't necessarily decided on a motorized, we'll have to run the numbers. I grew up with an outdoor 24' above ground, and we kept a manual cover on it.

      The heat pump is actually for heating the water, as opposed to the air, and so I was planning to put the compressor right in the breezeway. While this will create some cooling, the hope is that this will dehumidify somewhat, and also keeping it inside will protect it from winter lows to help it operate efficiently. I'll have our energy consultant help us with those numbers though. We've considered putting the heat pump right in the room with the pool, but from I'm assuming that cooling the air to heat the water would be counterproductive (another one for the consultant)

      The thing that concerns me most is the connection where the walls of the breezeway connect with the walls of either specialized structure (pool and house) and whether there were techniques or materials to deal with this kind of transition

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