or residential pool owners lucky enough to have a pump room (such as most public and commercial pools), there are certain things one should keep in mind when designing an equipment pad.

“Plenty of space and air circulation is needed for heaters, especially low-NOx models, when installing them indoors,” according to service industry veteran Bob Foutz, owner of Purity Pool Service in Huntington Beach, Calif. “A lot of fresh air is also required to keep them working properly.”

Enclosed equipment pads need to be properly ventilated with fans, and/or screened windows and doors. “I like to install screens or grates, usually in the door,” Foutz says. “The screen lets the air in, but keeps the bugs and rodents out. I just build a frame and pop it in, and that’s usually enough.”

Proper drainage is important for indoor pads, too. If the pump or some other piece of equipment begins to leak, the water needs a place to go. If the pool and the pump room are being built at the same time, a drain needs to be installed near the equipment pad in conjunction with the deck drains around the vessel. In addition, the door(s) should be hung an inch or two off the ground.

Keep in mind that an indoor equipment pad is no different from those built outdoors — you need to be able to work on the equipment. “There never seems to be enough room,” Foutz says. “If you don’t make some [room], it will definitely come back to bite you.”

With space often at a premium, it’s important to discuss pump room policies with the pool owner or operator ahead of time. Often, nonpool equipment gets stored in the pump room. “On one pool I do, I have to share [the pump room] with the gardener,” Foutz says. “On another one, I’ve seen tables and chairs stored in there.

Talk to pool owners about such scenarios and establish pump room protocol ahead of time. This will help avoid minor problems and/or big disasters. “One time I found a gasoline-powered high-pressure washer leaning against the heater,” Foutz says. “I quickly pulled it out and called the property manager. I said, ‘Do not let them put that back in there again. It will go boom.’

“I haven’t seen it back there since,” he adds.