If you’re still on the fence about building a swimming pool because of the cost then plunge pools may be a viable option for you. Plunge pools sit in a weird place between spas and swimming pools due to their size, but basically, it’s a smaller-sized swimming pool. They’re called plunge pools because that’s basically what you can do with it, take a plunge. Don’t let that get you down though. For a lot of families, taking a plunge to get away from the heat is more than enough!
What are plunge pools?
Like we said before, plunge pools are basically smaller-sized swimming pools. They’re a little bit larger than spas but not by much. A typical plunge pool is usually between 4 to 7 meters (13 to 22 feet) in length and 2 to 3 meters (7 to 10 feet) in width. These numbers aren’t set in stone though, they can be smaller or larger, but that should give you a good idea of how big a plunge pool is.
Why opt for a plunge pool?
The number one reason people have plunge pools installed in their homes is space! When space is at a premium and a full-sized swimming pool is out of the question then a plunge pool is a very good option.
Advantages of a plunge pool
While it isn’t obvious, there are actually a number of advantages that plunge pools have versus your regular-sized pools.
- Smaller footprint - Obviously because of the smaller footprint of plunge pools, they can be installed where a regular-sized pool will be impossible to fit. They can be installed alongside a patio or even tuck it away at an unused corner of your home. Imagine that, from wasted space into a little private getaway! What’s not to love right?
- Easier maintenance - Since plunge pools are smaller in size, they’re much easier to clean than your regular-sized swimming pools. Skimming the surface for leaves or manually vacuuming the pool can now be done in a few minutes instead of hours! In fact, with a plunge pool, you can opt-out of getting automatic pool cleaners and just go with the cheaper manual cleaning tools!
- Cheaper ongoing maintenance - Again, because of the size, everything is reduced! From the time spent running the pump to maintaining your filters, everything is cut down! Heating your plunge pool? No problem! The low water volume of plunge pools will allow you to heat up the water in virtually no time at all. Your chemical usage will go down since there’s less water to treat and balance.
- You can get better pool equipment - Since you don’t need the larger versions of your pool equipment (pump, heater, chlorinator, etc) then you can get the better versions! By better, we mean instead of getting a gas or electric heater, you can get an appropriately sized pool heat pump size or instead of needing a powerful pump for circulation, you can get a smaller energy-efficient ECO speed pool pump. Instead of manually chlorinating the pool, you can get a smaller salt water chlorinator and so on…
Check out our investing in an ECO friendly pool guide to find out more about why it's best to get better equipment for your plunge pool.
Disadvantages of a plunge pool
Of course, with the limited size, some disadvantages will also present themselves when it comes to plunge pools versus regular-sized swimming pools.
- You can’t swim laps - Well, obviously, because of the size of plunge pools, you can’t get a sustained exercise session in one unless you have specially designed swim jets installed. What are swim jets you ask? They’re basically jets of water that create a flowing water current in which you can swim against and good a workout. Swim jets are a bit pricy though, so if that’s out of the budget, this swimming limitation can be overcome by getting a swim training belt. A swim training belt will essentially tether you and will allow you to get a full workout by swimming in place.
- It’s a little bit dangerous - While it’s called a plunge pool, it’s really not recommended to jump into the pool because of the shallow design. There’s no deep end where you can jump into and safely! So if you have kids using the plunge pools, always stress the importance of not doing running jumps into the pool so that they won’t hurt themselves if they hit the bottom!
- Limited space for users - Because of the small size, it’s only good for a handful of swimmers at any given time. Sadly there’s no way around this except to make your surrounding furniture as comfortable as possible so that you and your guests can lounge in comfort while others are using the plunge pool.
In-ground plunge pools versus above ground pools
This is a question that many people ask. Is an in-ground plunge pool better than an aboveground pool? Well, there’s no simple answer to this since the answer will depend on each homeowner’s situation. For a temporary solution, an aboveground pool is usually the way to go. But for homes where there’s no option to expand in the future, a well-designed plunge pool may be an excellent choice for permanence. Another thing to think about when choosing between an aboveground pool is your landscaping costs. I mean, yes, it will be very affordable to have an aboveground pool installed, but making it look good will cost more!
Specialized Plunge Pools
If you want to take your plunge pools to the next level then having a specialized plunge pool may be a good idea. Specialized hot or cold plunge pools can have many therapeutic effects that we will be briefly touching on today! Take note though that specialty plunge pools will require a specialist to set up and they’re usually installed indoors.
Cold Plunge Therapy Pools
Think of cold plunge therapy pools as “refrigerated” pools! The plunge pool water temperature is kept at a constant 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The therapeutic thought behind this is that by rapidly cooling the body or shocking it with cold, the pores are closed and detoxified. Aside from that, the rapid drop in temperature will also promote blood circulation because your body will naturally try to compensate for the cold temperature. Aside from that, the cold water are extremely effective in reducing muscle pain and spasms by numbing the joints and reducing inflammation.
Hot Plunge Therapy Pools
This is basically just like your spa. The heated water increases blood flow, flexibility and helps loosen stiff joints and muscles! These are great for pre-workouts as part of the warm-up session to prepare your body for the stresses of working out and they’re great at the end of the day to melt away the stress accumulated during the day
Contrast Plunge Pools
This is just basically two personal-sized plunge pools, one is cold and one is hot. Contrast therapy uses both hot and cold plunge pools in repeatedly in quick alternating sessions. The muscles constrict in cold water then expand in the hot water, greatly increasing the blood circulation. This increase in blood circulation promotes better oxygenation and promotes healing for any micro-injuries and help treat any joint inflammation.
Note: Before using plunge pools for any therapeutic purpose, it’s best to consult with a health professional as there are certain health conditions where contrast plunge therapy can be dangerous.
As we can see plunge pools have their own advantages and disadvantages that are specific to them and they’re not just “small” swimming pools or “XL” spas! Due to their size, you can even opt to have a chlorine-free and bromine-free plunge pool by using the Lo-Chlor Aquaspa kit!
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Happy swimming :)