The indoor pool installation includes a state-of-the-art dehumidifier that recovers energy to efficiently heat the pool water.

GLENCOE, Ill. - A new 2,000-square-foot residential indoor pool in suburban Chicago has so many luxurious and innovative amenities that it rivals any 5-star resort natatorium in both function and style.

Automatic covers for the 20 x 40-foot pool and the 7 x 9-foot spa, a radiant heated deck, a state-of-the-art dehumidifier that recovers energy to efficiently heat the pool water, a three-tier natural rock waterfall with a collectible European antique sculpture converted into a fountain, an in-wall resistance swimming jet, plus many other amenities put the price tag of this inimitable Glencoe, Ill.-based home addition to well over $300,000.

Designed by Michael Hirshenson Architects, Chicago, the pool structure's construction consortium included custom pool builder, Downes Pools, Wheeling, Ill.; HVAC contractor, Wift Heating & Sheet Metal, Glenview, Ill.; and high-end residential construction firm, LakeRidge Builders, Glenview.

One noticeable extravagance is the use of whole timber trusses and wood ceiling decking which is 10 times more expensive than the typical glue-laminated wood found in home interiors. "On instruction from the homeowner, everything we chose for this project is top-of-the-line with no holds barred," said Brad Spiegel, project architect, Michael Hirshenson Architects.

Protecting the lofty investment in natural woods as well as the adjacent 109-year-old Tudor style home's interiors from humidity deterioration is a Dry-O-Tron® DS-30 dehumidifier, manufactured by indoor air quality manufacturer Dectron Internationale, Roswell, Ga. The 3,000-cfm dehumidifier recovers heat to serve as the primary pool water heater while also heating or cooling the space.

Complementing the dehumidification effort and helping maintain 50 percent relative humidity is a mandatory 6 ml. vapor barrier that envelops the facility, plus the pool/spa covers and a strategic air distribution design. With engineering assistance from Bruce Svec, sales engineer for manufacturer's representative lmbert Corp., Niles, Ill., Wift Heating & Sheet Metal designed a PVC-coated under-deck duct system with take-offs that surface along the enclosure's 100 linear feet of seven-foot-high windows. Keeping six skylights dry was also a difficult air distribution problem to solve. Typically, return air is brought to an indoor pool dehumidifier through one wall mounted diffuser. Instead, Wift's idea of running a ceiling-level return duct draws room air across the skylights and keeps them condensate free.

The installation also includes a radiant heated pool deck.

Another luxury Wift incorporated is the radiant heated pool deck. Heated with a model Cgi3, 70,000-Btu boiler by Weil-McLain, Michigan City, Ind., the deck keeps bare feet warm in the winter and quickly evaporates splashed out pool water therefore eliminating the need for unsightly floor drains.

More design ingenuity comes from the consortium's solution to hiding hvac, pool/spa, and other equipment in the existing house's stone foundation cells. No one cell was large enough to hold everything, so the equipment was separated, but interfaced together into three cells to provide easy serviceability. "We couldn't put everything together because there wasn't one area with enough room to allow servicing and maintenance," recalled Rick Wift, president of Wift Heating & Sheet Metal.

The custom gunite swimming pool by Downes Pools offers many amenities in function and safety. The automatic pool covers by Cover Pools, Salt Lake City, which are hidden under custom cut limestone coping, are hydraulically operated from basement equipment so that no electric motors are near the pool water. "The covers not only offer safety from a small child falling into the pool, but they also save the customer up to 75 percent in energy costs by keeping the humidity and heat in the pool and spa," said Timothy O'Neil, operations manager, Downes Pools.

A different cell includes the 400,000-Btu back-up heater, the sand filter (for the pool and spa) and a 1.5 hp circulation pump - all manufactured by PacFab, Sanford, N.C.

Another cell includes two 1.5 hp jet pumps for the spa, a 5 hp Badu Jet by Speck Pumps, Jacksonville, Fla., which offers resistance swimming.

Tying the pool, spa, and water feature together with monitoring and controlling capabilities is an electronic control system by the Jandy Products division of Teledyne Laars, Novato, Calif.

"We've built a lot of indoor swimming pools during our 30-year history, but because the customer had uncompromising demands for the best function, style, and equipment the industry has to offer, this is certainly one of the nicest," added O'Neil.

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Publication date: 02/12/2001