Monthly Archives: January 2011

Time to Prepare for Pool Season. Really?

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Rules and Regulations for swimming Pools, Douglas County Board of Health.

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A regulation to protect the public health, establishing minimum standards governing the construction, use and maintenance of swimming pools and authorizing the plan review, inspection and permitting of swimming pools and structures, and providing for the administration and enforcement of these regulations.

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The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this regulation:



  1. Design Professional means an Engineer or Architect registered to practice in Georgia, or a pool contractor who is accepted by the Health Department by demonstrating his/her knowledge of swimming pool design.
  2. Fees for Services means a schedule of fees for services adopted and subject to periodic revision by the Cobb County Board of Health under the provisions and authority of O.C.G.A. Annotated, Section 31-3-4 (a) (6). A schedule of fees may be obtained from the Cobb County Health Department.
  3. Health Officer means the executive officer of the Cobb County Board of Health and his or her designated representatives acting on the Board’s behalf for the administration and enforcement of these rules.
  4. Health Department means the Cobb County Board of Health, Cobb County, Georgia.
  5. Natural Bathing Place means a bathing facility or area together with associated buildings, appurtenances and equipment, on artificial or natural ponds, springs, lakes, streams, or other bodies of water where the public is allowed to bathe or swim.
  6. Spray Pool means an artificial pool or area for non-swimmers into which water complying with these regulations is sprayed but is not allowed to pond.
  7. Swimming Pool or Pool means a structure or concrete, masonry or other approved material and finish which is used or designed to be used for bathing, recreation, swimming or other related purpose by humans, together with buildings, appurtenances and equipment required or used in connection therewith. Pools serving two (or less) private residences are excluded from this regulation except those pools described under Approval Required, Section 3.
  8. Training-Special Use Pool means any pool designed to train basic or special swimming skills, the construction of this type pool is to be approved on an individual basis.
  9. Wading-Pool means any pool used or designed to be used exclusively for wading and bathing by children and having a maximum depth of eighteen (18)inches.
  10. Water Amusement Pool means any recreational facility having a water channel, flume, slide, wave pool or other amusement pool in which users may be immersed in the water, whether or not such pool is used for swimming.
  11. Whirlpool Spa and Hot Tub mean pools primarily designed for individual or small group bathing in which treated water is recirculated. These units may employ circulation, tempered water, air induction bubbles or combination thereof.

Approval Required
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  1. It is unlawful to begin construction or to alter, modify or operate a swimming pool or natural bathing place without having applied for and received written approval from the Cobb County Health Department (hereafter known as the Health Department).
  2. Those constructing or operating pools must comply with applicable regulations and codes, including Building Codes, Electrical and Plumbing Codes and must obtain from the appropriate authorities applicable permits and approvals.
  3. All pools proposed to be constructed on premises utilizing individual on-site sewage management systems must be approved by this Department prior to construction.

Construction Approval
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  1. Upon request, the Health Officer shall provide application forms for approval to construct, alter or reconstruct a swimming pool. All applications shall be submitted in duplicate together with a complete set of detailed plans and specifications. Except for pools serving a private residence, all plans must be submitted to the Health Officer at least (10) days prior to the anticipated date for beginning construction.
  2. Plans and Specifications: All drawings, specifications and data shall be prepared by a Design Professional and shall bear the registration stamp of said person. Plans and specifications shall be drawn to scale and shall be accompanied by complete specifications so as to permit a complete review of the plans, and shall include:
    1. A plan and sectional review with all the necessary dimensions of both the pool and surrounding area including bathhouse and equipment room.
    2. Complete site drainage details including diversion ditches for surface run-off.
    3. A piping diagram showing all appurtenances, including treatment facilities in sufficient detail.
    4. Specifications shall contain details of all treatment equipment, including performance characteristics of pumps, chlorinators, chemical feeders, filters, strainers, interceptors and related equipment.
    5. Details of backwash water design and disposal methods.
    6. All swimming pools, including adjacent wading pools, shall be provided with a recirculation and filtration system.
    7. Final plat of entire development to be served by pool(s).
  3. Any additional data required by the Health Officer for the purpose of clarification, anticipated use or to support any changes in design or scope of the project must be submitted prior to issuance of a permit to construct. Maximum bathing load must be stated on the plans.
  4. A permit to construct, alter or modify a pool shall be issued only after a review of the plans and specifications indicates compliance with these regulations.
  5. Payment of the plan review fee shall be remitted with the application to construct and all relevant plan review fees must be paid prior to issuance of a permit to construct.
  6. The owner or agent for the owner may request a preliminary review of the plans by the Health Department without obtaining a permit to construct the pool. A fee may be charged for this consultation service.
  7. All contractors shall have a current business license. The general contractor and subcontractors performing electrical, heating, plumbing work shall have a current license by the appropriate governmental jurisdiction. All work must be inspected and approved by the County Inspection Department prior to final approval by the Health Department.
  8. All piping while exposed shall be water-pressure tested to a minimum of 50 psi for a minimum of 30 minutes and shall be inspected by the Health Department or the contractor must certify in writing that all requirements are in compliance.
  9. If construction is not commenced within one year from the date of approval, the construction permit is invalid and the project must be resubmitted to the Health Department.

Alterations/Modification Approval
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  1. Any alteration or modification shall be in accordance with plans and specifications approved by the Health Department. Changes in an approved project may be made only after written approval and consent of the Health officer.
  2. If alterations or modifications are not commenced within one year from the date of approval, the construction permit is invalid and the project must be resubmitted to the Health Department.

Operational Approval
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  1. Except for pools serving two or less private residences, it shall be unlawful for any person to operate a swimming pool in Cobb County, Georgia, without having applied for and obtained a valid permit issued by the Health Officer. The permit shall be publicly displayed at all times.
  2. Application for Permit to operate a pool shall be made on forms provided by the Health Department. The application shall be prepared in duplicate and the original shall be forwarded to the Health Department and a copy retained by the applicant. Application shall be made at least ten (10) days prior to the anticipated date of opening.
  3. Operational Permits are invalidated by change of ownership, name change, or if the pool is closed for more than one year. Only persons who comply with all provisions of this regulation shall be entitled to receive and retain a permit. An operational permit may be temporarily suspended by the Health Officer upon the violation by the holder of any of the terms of this regulation; or revoked after an opportunity for a hearing by the Health Officer upon serious or repeated violations. The Health Officer may post signs prohibiting use of the pool at any pool deemed to be unsanitary or unsafe. Signs shall be removed only by the Health Department. No person may enter the pool enclosure while the pool is posted.
  4. A yearly fee for services shall be remitted with the application to operate and all pertinent fees must be paid in full prior to each pool’s opening.
  5. Periodically, the Health Officer shall inspect every operating pool located in Cobb County, Georgia. In the event the Health Officer discovers the violation of any item relative to sanitation and safety, he shall make a second inspection after a lapse of time as he deems necessary for the defect to be remedied, and the second inspection shall be used to determine compliance with the requirements of this regulation. Any violation of the same item of this regulation on the second inspection shall be ground for an immediate suspension of the permit to operate a pool.
  6. Pools operating seasonally are required to have their operational approval renewed by undergoing a satisfactory inspection by the Health Department prior to the pool being re-opened.
  7. Each operator shall maintain and make available for on-site inspection a daily record of operating information. The record shall include data on disinfectant levels, pH, maintenance procedures, together with such other data as may be required by the Health Officer.
  8. All instructions necessary for the proper operation and maintenance of equipment and appurtenances must be easily readable and conspicuously posted in the filter or equipment room.

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  1. Finish and Materials: Pools shall be constructed of inert, impervious, enduring, non-toxic materials which will provide a non-slip and easily cleanable surface. The surface shall have no cracks or open joints and the interior corners shall be coved. Rough and abrasive surfaces are not permitted. The surface below the normal water level shall be finished in a very light color.
  2. Shape and Size: Pools shall be constructed of such shape and size as to provide adequate water circulation, bather access and egress and to afford proper operator control. Calculations for determining size of pool and the number and type of associated facilities shall be based on maximum expected bathing loads (see Table 1). Pool proportioning between deep and shallow water shall be in accordance with the anticipated uses of the pool.
  3. Depth
    1. Swimming Pools: Water depths at the shallow end of the swimming area shall be three feet (3′) minimum, with a three feet six inches (3’6″) minimum for racing pools. Depth at the slope break shall be five (5) feet. In the diving well, depth shall be stipulated in Figure 1 of these regulations or the current National Spa and Pool Institute Standards for Public Swimming Pools. Permanent easily readable depth markings indicating in feet (i.e. 5 ft.), and visible from both inside and outside the pool, shall be provided on each interior side of the pool above normal water level and on the deck (a) at the shallow end (b) at the slope break and (c) at the deep end. Life lines with floats shall be installed across the pool along the slope break.
    2. Wading-Pool: Wading pools shall have a maximum depth of not more than eighteen (18) inches.
    3. Spa Pool: Water depth shall be no more than four (4) feet nor less than eighteen (18) inches in any portion of the pool. No seat or bench shall be more than two (2) feet below waterline.
  4. Slope
    1. Swimming Pools: For water depth less than five (5) feet the slope of the pool bottom shall be uniform and shall not exceed one (1) foot in twelve (12) feet. For depths greater than five (5) feet, the slope shall not exceed one (1) foot in three (3) feet. (See Figure 1 of these regulations).
    2. Wading and Spray Pools: Slopes shall not exceed three (3) inches in ten (10) feet nor be less than one (1) inch in ten (10) feet.
    3. Spa Pools: Slope shall not exceed one (1) foot in twelve (12) feet.
  5. Egress/Steps and Ladders: Steps and/or ladders shall be in such number and located as to provide bathers adequate egress from the pool. They shall be of an easily-cleaned impervious material, with a nonslip finish and shall be self-draining. Steps shall have a maximum riser height of 12″ and a minimum tread of 12″. All steps shall have handrails anchored in the bottom step and extended over the coping and anchored in the deck or the leading edge of handrails facilitating stairs and pool entry/exit shall be no more than eighteen inches (18″) plus or minus three inches (+/-3″), horizontally from the vertical plane of the bottom riser (where applicable). For swimming pools, no less than two egresses shall be provided and an additional step or ladder will be required for each additional seventy-five (75) feet of pool perimeter over one hundred-fifty (150) feet. Abrupt breaks in floor level, such as steps, stairs, benches and seats shall be clearly and permanently marked by a dark, continuous or broken line (non-slip tile or non-slip paint) with a width between one and two inches identifying the break. Spa ladders, recessed steps or stairways shall be provided where depth exceeds 24″, and at least one ladder, set of recessed steps or stairway shall be provided for each (fifty) 50 feet of spa pool perimeter or fraction thereof.
  6. Walk Areas and Decks: A walk area or deck no less than four (4) feet in width, as measured from the inside wall of the pool, and with a minimum surface area equal to that of the pool, shall completely surround the pool, except at the deepest end when a diving board is provided; the width shall be at least ten (10) feet. A four (4) feet wide minimum continuous unobstructed deck, which may include the coping, shall be provided around 50% or more of spa pools. The walk area or deck shall be unobstructed in all directions with a minimum vertical clearance of six (6) feet, eight (8) inches, except when ceilings are provided, the minimum height shall be eight (8) feet. Decks and walkways shall be constructed of impervious, durable materials which have a smooth, nonslip, easily maintained finish. Wood is prohibited for use as expansion joints and as a finish material. Deck finish shall be smooth, non-slip, durable easily cleaned and sanitized, and mildew/mold resistant. Deck drainage shall be conducted away from the pool with a minimum pitch of one-quarter (1/4) inch per foot so as not to retain standing water. Floor drains shall be provided as required to adequately accommodate surface drainage and the drainage shall be disposed of in a safe, sanitary manner. A slip resistant coping which provides a hand hold shall extend over the pool edge or over the top of the gutter

Water Quality & Sanitation Standards
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  1. Water Source: Water supplied to the pool shall be clean, clear, free of objectional minerals and meet standards applicable to potable water.
  2. Back-flow Prevention: An atmospheric break (three inches minimum) or an approved backflow prevention device must be provided in all potable water lines. Back-flow prevention must be assured in all plumbing.
  3. Pool Water: A sufficient number of samples may be taken to affirm via bacteriological analysis that the pool water meets the requirements in this regulation. Samples shall be taken while the pool is in use, preferably during the peak bathing load. Additional samples may be required on large pools having high bathing loads. To comply with this requirement, fifteen percent (15%) of the samples shall neither (a) contain more than 200 bacteria per milliliter, as determined by the standard (35 degree C) agar plate count nor (b) show positive test (confirmed test) for coliform organisms in any of the five 10-milliliter portions of a sample – or when the membrane filter test is used more than 1.0 coliform or organism. per 50 mi. All samples shall be collected, dechlorinated and examined in accordance with the procedures outlined in the latest edition of Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater (APHA).
  4. Chemical and Physical Quality for Pool Water: The chemical, physical and bacteriological quality of pool water shall be maintained such that it is sanitary, clean and safe for swimming.
    1. Swimming pools when open or in use shall be continuously disinfected by a chemical which imparts an easily measured free available residual effect. When chlorine is used without a stabilizing chemical such as cyanuric acid and the source of free chlorine is from elemental chlorine or a hypochlorite solution, a free chlorine residual of at least 1.0 ppm at proper ph shall be maintained throughout the pool. If other halogens are used, residuals of equivalent disinfecting strength shall be maintained. Where cyanuric acid is used as a stabilizing agent, a free chlorine residual shall be maintained at a concentration of no less that two parts per million (2ppm) at all times. Every pool shall be supplied with a chemical test kit for the determination of pH, chlorine or bromine residuals, cyanuric acid (if used), total alkalinity, and calcium hardness. The test kit shall be capable of measuring chemical ranges, as detailed in Part 9 Section 4e. The method used in determining the free available chlorine residual shall be such that chloramines or other chlorine compounds that may be present in the pool do not affect the determination.
    2. Other disinfecting materials or method shall be acceptable after they have been adequately demonstrated to provide a satisfactory residual effect which is easily measured and to otherwise be equally as effective under conditions of use as the chlorine concentration required herein, and not be dangerous to public health, create objectionable physiological effects, or impart toxic properties to the water.
    3. The water shall have sufficient clarity at all times so that the grate openings of the main drains are clearly visible when viewed from deck level nearest the main drain.
    4. Chemicals used for algae control and in the control of water quality shall be demonstrated as imparting no toxic properties to the water.
    5. Pool Water Quality
      The chemical operational parameters in swimming pool water shall not exceed the maximum level or be lower than the minimum level given in the following parameters: 

      Parameters Min Ideal Max
      Free Chlorine ppm 1.0 Pool: 1.0 – 3.0
      Spa: 3.0 – 5.0
      Pool: 5.0
      Spa: 10.0
      Combined Chlorine ppm 0 0 0.2
      Bromine ppm 2.0 Pool: 2.0 – 4.0
      Spa: 3.0 – 5.0
      Pool: 4.0
      Spa: 10.0
      pH 7.2 7.4 – 7.6 7.8
      Total Alkalinity as CaCO2 60 80-100 for Calcium Hypochlorite, Lithium Hypochlorite, Sodium Hypochlorite
      100-200 for sodium dichlor, trichlor, chlorine gas and bromine compounds
      Cyanuric Acid ppm 10 30-50 100
      Total dissolved solids, ppm 300 1,000 – 2,000 3,000
      Calcium hardness, ppm CaCO3 150 200 – 400 500 – 1,000+
      Temperature 104 degrees F


  5. Operation and Maintenance: Every pool shall be under the direct close supervision of a trained pool operator competent to operate the pool in full compliance with all requirements hereof relating to pool operation and maintenance.
    1. The operator of each pool open for use shall keep daily records of pool operation including total bather load, peak bather load, volume of fresh water, filter influent and effluent pressure gauge readings, rate of flow meter readings, amount of chemicals used, disinfectant residuals, pH readings, algae control measures taken, alkalinity, maintenance and malfunctioning of equipment including cleaning of filters, and such additional records as may be required. Such records shall be kept available for inspection by the Health Department for a period of at least one year.
    2. Routine daily and weekly operating procedures shall be posted in a location frequented by the operator. Manufacturer’s instructions for operating and maintenance of mechanical and electrical equipment shall be kept on the premises and available for the operator’s use.
    3. Pumps, filters, disinfectant and chemical feeders, flow indicators, gauges and all related parts of the pool water purification system shall be kept in operation whenever the pool is available for use, and at such additional periods as may be necessary to maintain the water in the pool in a clear and disinfected condition.
    4. Floating scum, sputum and debris shall not be allowed to accumulate in the pool. The sides and bottom of pools, decks and other surfaces shall be kept free of slime and algae to prevent unnecessary slipperiness and danger of accidents or drowning, and shall be cleaned as often as necessary to keep in a clean condition.
    5. Where chlorine gas is used, a valve protection hood shall be kept in place on the cylinder except when the cylinder is connected to a chlorinator. A valve stem wrench shall be maintained on chlorine cylinders connected to chlorinators so that the supply can be shut off quickly in emergencies. In case of an emergency due to a chlorine leak, the pool and other potentially affected areas should be evacuated, and the operator should take steps to stop the leak which would include contacting emergency response teams when necessary. Replacement canisters for the chlorine gas mask shall be provided and a record kept of all gas mask usage to insure that the mask will be serviceable when needed. The gas mask, replacement canisters, and record of usage shall be kept in a closed container located outside the chlorinator room. (See Disinfection Equipment and Chemical Feeders for additional requirements.)
    6. Dressing rooms, showers, toilet rooms and fixtures, equipment rooms and equipment concession and spectator areas, and all parts of the pool enclosure shall be kept clean and in good repair. Walls, ceilings and equipment shall be painted as often as necessary to minimize deterioration. The entire pool area shall be maintained in a sanitary condition and free of litter and vermin.
    7. Soap shall be provided at showers and lavatories.
    8. Bathing suits and towels provided by the pool management shall be laundered and sanitized after each use.

Recirculation System
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A water recirculation and treatment system consisting of pumps, piping, filters, water conditioning and disinfection equipment and other accessory equipment shall be provided which will clarify, condition and disinfect the water in accordance with these regulations. A separate recirculation system is required for each pool. The equipment shall be operated continuously on a twenty four (24) hour basis to obtain the minimum required number of four (4) turnovers* per day (12 turnovers* per day-wading pools). The turnover rate for spa pool water shall be (1) turnover every thirty (30) minutes. Twenty percent (20%) of the recirculation flow shall be through the main drain and eighty percent (80%) shall be through the overflow gutters and skimmers. For pressure filter systems utilizing over-the-gutter recirculation, a surge tank shall be provided. The tank shall be designed to provide a minimum balance/surge capacity of one (1) gallon water per square foot of pool surface area.

* Equivalent to the volume of water the pool will hold.



  1. Pumps: Pumps shall be adequate in number and capacity to provide the required pool turnover rate and shall be located to eliminate priming. If the pump or suction piping is located above the pool overflow level, the pump shall be self-priming. Pumps shall supply the recirculation and backwash flows at a dynamic head sufficient to overcome friction losses in the piping, appurtenances and maximum filter head loss. Pump performance curves shall be submitted with the plans.
  2. Filters: Filter(s) provided shall be sized to handle the required recirculation flow. Pressure filter tanks and integral parts shall be constructed of material capable of withstanding continuous anticipated usage and shall withstand a pressure four (4) times the maximum operating pressure of the filter.
  3. Inlets: Adjustable inlets installed flush with wall or floor shall be located in conjunction with the proposed method of recirculation so as to provide effective, uniform circulation of the incoming water throughout the pool and to prevent “dead” spots. The number of inlets shall be calculated based on one inlet per fifteen (15) feet of pool perimeter (ten [101 feet for wading pools). Inlets shall be evenly spaced along the pool perimeter or on the pool floor. Except for wading pools no inlet shall be less than thirty (30) inches below normal water level (twenty-four (24) inches for spa pools).
  4. Outlets: All pools shall be provided with two or more outlets at the deepest point and constructed to completely drain the pool. Outlets must be covered by an acceptable grating, not removable by bathers. The open area of the drain cover (total, less area of gratings) shall be at least four (4) times the cross-sectional area of the drain pipe and sufficient flow area shall be provided so that the full-flow velocity at any part of the grate will not exceed 1 1/2 feet per second. Openings between grate bars shall not exceed 1/2 inch. Multiple outlets shall be constructed in parallel and spaced evenly across the deep end. Pools shall be provided with a hydrostatic relief valve with a minimum size of two (2) inches. A minimum of two hydrostatic relief valves are required on pools with surface areas in excess of 1800 square feet.
  5. Hair and Lint Strainer: A strainer shall be provided on the suction side of the recirculation pump if the pump draws directly from the pool. Secondary pumps on vacuum-filter systems shall be protected by a strainer sized to protect the pump adequately.
  6. Vacuum Cleaning Systems: Except for spa pools, a vacuum system shall be provided for pool cleaning and fittings shall be located so as to allow cleaning the pool with no more than fifty (50) foot hose. A vacuum fitting cover shall be provided.
  7. Flow Meters: An adequately sized flow meter shall be installed on the pool return line to accurately indicate the recirculation rate.
  8. Heaters: Pools equipped with heaters shall have a fixed thermometer in the recirculation line. Adequate valves and piping shall be provided to enable bypassing the heater. Heaters shall have the capability to keep pool water between 70 degrees and 104 degrees Fahrenheit during all normal use periods. Heaters shall be plumbed and valved to facilitate complete removal for repairs without interruption of pool recirculation. Water temperature shall be thermostatically controlled and shall not exceed 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. Backwash Waste Line: The backwash waste line shall be no smaller than the size of the pipe exiting the filter for the entire length of the backwash line.
  10. Equipment: All equipment shall be installed to facilitate servicing with minimum effort.

Piping and Hydraulics
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The piping system shall consist of non-toxic materials and be able to withstand a minimum pressure of fifty (50) psi. Piping configuration shall be designed to minimize friction losses. All pipe and manufacturers must be listed in the current “Seal of Approval Listing of Plastic Materials, Pipe Fittings, and Appurtenances for Potable Water Supplies,” National Sanitation Foundation. Pipe installation shall comply with the local plumbing code and these regulations.



  1. Maximum Velocity: velocity shall not exceed ten (10) feet per second in pressure piping nor five (5) feet per second on vacuum lines.
  2. Main Drain Line: The size of the main drain line of pressure filters shall be based on full flow conditions, including a total of five (5) feet of head loss at maximum flow (head loss shall include friction losses of the pipe and fittings and the hair and lint strainer). Negative elevation head shall be included in the losses, but positive elevation head shall not. The main drain line shall be designed and constructed to accommodate 100% of the design flow rate.
  3. Skimmer Lines: The skimmer lines shall be designed and constructed to accommodate 100% of the design flow rate.
  4. Gravity Lines: On vacuum or gravity filters the main drain line shall be sized so that the required flow is obtained, considering the elevation head.
  5. Waste Lines: Pool waste water shall be discharged to an approved subsurface disposal system, settling or separation tanks (for diatomaceous earth removal) or sanitary sewer when specifically authorized. Sewer lines shall be one standard size larger than main drain line(s). There shall be no direct connection between any pool piping and the approved disposal system. Discharge points shall be shown on plans. When backwash subsurface disposal systems are utilized, they shall be sized in accordance with Health Department requirements.
  6. Piping Details: Engineering plans must include complete details of all piping including pertinent elevations. Plastic pipe shall be supported in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations.
  7. Hydraulic Calculations: Hydraulic calculations shall be performed in the manner required on forms provided by the Health Department and shall be submitted with all plans.

Pressure Sand Filter
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  1. Pressure Sand Filter Capacity: Pressure sand filter shall be based on a filtration rate between fourteen (14) and sixteen (16) gallons per square foot per minute.
  2. Filter Media: Media shall consist of at least a twenty-four (24) inch depth of screened, sharp filter sand or crushed quartz having an effective size of 0.4mm to 0.5mm and a uniformity coefficient of 1.5 to 2.0. Filter media may be supported by at least twelve (I 2) inches of gravel graded to distribute water effectively and uniformly during filtration and backwashing.
  3. Backwash: Facilities shall be provided to backwash filters at a rate of not less than fifteen (15) gallons per minute per square foot of filter area.
  4. Freeboard: A minimum of twelve (12) inches of freeboard shall be provided between the surface of filter media and the overflow troughs (or pipes) of filters to allow adequate expansion of the media during the backwash cycle.
  5. Underdrain: The filter under drain system shall be of corrosion resistant, durable material, designed and constructed to adequately collect water during filtration and to evenly distribute water during backwashing.
  6. Pump: The pump shall be designed to maintain required recirculation flow against the total dynamic head of the system as calculated. Existing pools with an unknown total dynamic head shall be considered to have a minimum of sixty (60) feet of head.
  7. Appurtenances: Each filter tank shall have an access port for inspection and service. Each filter shall have both influent and effluent pressure gauges(minimum face size two (2) inches) and a manual air relief valve. The filter system shall have an in-line backwash sight glass.
  8. Piping-End Valves: The filtering system shall be designed with all valves and piping required to permit filtering to pool; filtering to waste; filter bypass to waste and complete drainage of the system. The piping layout shall accommodate proper maintenance, operation and inspection.

Diatomaceous Earth Filter
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Capacity of all diatomaceous earth filters shall be based on a maximum filtration rate of one (1) gallon per square foot per minute.


  1. Backwashing: Pressure filters shall be backwashed by reverse flow, which may be assisted by agitation and spray wash. A quick-opening valve is also required on the filter discharge line. Pressure filter tanks shall be completely drained by gravity.
  2. Filter Tank and Septa: The filter and all component parts shall be of such material, design and construction to withstand normal continuous use without significant deformation, deterioration, corrosion or wear which would adversely affect filter operation. The filter area shall be determined on the basis of effective filtering surfaces, with no allowance given for areas of impaired filtration – such as broad supports, folds or portions which may bridge the filter elements. Where dissimilar metals are used, provision shall be made to avoid electrolytic corrosion by galvanic action.
  3. Pumps: Pumps shall be designed to maintain required recirculation flow against the total dynamic head as calculated. Existing pools with an unknown total dynamic head shall be considered to have a minimum of fifty (50) feet of head on vacuum systems and ninety (90) feet of head on pressure systems.
  4. Appurtenances: Pressure filters shall be equipped with an air-relief valve; influent and effluent pressure gauges (minimum face size two (2) inches) and a sight glass on the backwash line. A vacuum gauge (minimum face size two (2) inches) shall be provided on the pump suction line for vacuum filter systems.
  5. Piping-and Valves: The filtering systems shall be designed with all valves and piping to permit filtering to pool; precoat recirculation and/or precoat to waste; complete drainage of the system to bypass filter to waste; backwashing to waste. The piping layout shall accommodate proper maintenance, operation and inspection. If precoat recirculation is used in a pressure system an in-line sight glass shall be provided.

Cartridge Filters
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Capacity of cartridge filters shall be based on a maximum filtration rate of (0.375) gallons per square foot per minute.


  1. Pumps: Pumps shall be designed to maintain the required recirculation flow against the total dynamic head as calculated. Existing pools with an unknown total dynamic head shall be considered to have a minimum of fifty (50) feet of head.
  2. Appurtenances: Each filter shall be equipped with an air relief valve and influent and effluent pressure gauges (minimum face size two (2) inches).
  3. Piping and Valves: The filtering system shall be designed with valves and piping to permit filtering to pool; bypass filter to waste; complete drainage of the system and the piping layout shall accommodate proper maintenance, operation and inspection.
  4. Cartridges: Two (2) sets of cartridges per cartridge filter shall be provided so that one set may be cleaned while the filter is in operation. Disposable cartridges will be replaced when the required filtration rate is impaired.

Skimmers – Overflow Gutters
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  1. Skimmers: One skimming device shall be provided for each five hundred (500) square feet of water surface, or fraction thereof, for pools having up to five thousand (5,000) square feet of water surface.
  2. Pools exceeding five thousand (5,000) square feet of water surface area shall be required to have an overflow gutter system.
  3. All skimming devices shall be built into the pool wall and each shall have a minimum weir length of seven (7) inches. Skimmers shall be evenly spaced along the pool perimeter and located to prevent “dead spots” in circulation.
  4. Each skimmer shall be designed for a flow-through rate of at least twenty-five (25) gallons per minute. Additional skimmers shall be provided when the design flow through rate based on the turnover rate of the pool exceeds the manufacturer’s recommendations. If manufacturer’s recommended maximum flow through the skimmers are not available then a maximum 55 gpm per skimmer shall be utilized.
  5. Each skimming device shall be automatically adjustable to variations in water level over the range of at least three (3) inches.
  6. Each skimmer shall be provided with a device to prevent air lock in the recirculation system suction line. Equalizer lines shall be (a) not less than one and a half (I 1/2) inch diameter (b) installed at least one foot below the weir level (c) provided with an equalizer float valve (d) provided with a check valve and (e) provided with a grated opening at the pool wall.
  7. Each skimmer shall be adjustable for balancing recirculation.
  8. A non-corrosive screen shall be provided to trap large solids. It shall be installed to allow ready removal and cleaning.
  9. Overflow Gutters: Overflow gutters shall be constructed of sufficient size to retain normal overflow and the lip of the gutter shall be uniformly level. The gutter invert shall slope uniformly one-half (1/2) per inch per foot to each drain. Spacing between drains shall not exceed ten (10) feet. Minimum drain size shall be two (2) inches in diameter with a minimum three (3) square inch open grate area. Recessed gutters shall be not less than four (4) inches deep and four (4) inches wide, and no part thereof shall be visible from a position directly above the gutter. Open gutters shall be not less than six (6) inches deep and twelve (12) inches wide, and the invert of the gutter shall slope uniformly one (1) to two (2) inches to the drains. Gutter drain lines shall carry the pool overflow to the recirculation system. Where slopes in the gutter drains are less than one-half (1/2) inch per foot, sufficient gutter wash fittings shall be provided to maintain a continuous flow in the gutter.

Disinfection Equipment and Chemical Feeders
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  1. Disinfectant equipment and chemical feeders, hereafter referred to jointly as “equipment”, shall comply with the requirements of NSF Standard 50. The disinfection equipment shall be capable of precisely introducing a sufficient quantity of an approved disinfecting agent to maintain the appropriate recommended guidelines as outlined in Water Quality and Sanitation Standards, Section 4e.
  2. Every pool shall be required to have at least (1) unit of disinfectant agent equipment in compliance with Section 1 above. Additional units may be required to maintain chemical and physical parameters of the pool water.
  3. The pool water shall be continuously disinfected by a disinfecting agent that imparts an easily measured residual. The disinfecting agent used shall be subject to field testing procedures that are simple and accurate. Gaseous chlorine, chlorine compounds, bromine compounds, or other bactericidal agents shall be acceptable when meeting the disinfectant level parameters outlined in Water Quality and Sanitation Standards, Section 4e. Bactericidal agents shall be registered by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  4. Gas Chlorination: Where gas is used, the chlorine, chlorinator and associated equipment shall be housed in an enclosure located at or above ground level. The enclosure must be provided with ducts from the bottom of the enclosure to the atmosphere in an unrestricted area, a chlorine resistant motor driven exhaust fan capable of producing at least one air change per minute, and louvers of good design near the top of the enclosure for admitting fresh air. All chlorine tanks shall be secured by chains or other approved devices. New approved washers shall be used each time a cylinder is connected. Platform scales or other means of gauging available supply must be provided or a full reserve tank of chlorine shall be kept onsite at all times. The enclosure’s ventilation and light switches shall be located outside the enclosure. The enclosure shall have an observation opening to enable inspection of the interior without entry. An approved gas mask, with a current filter, shall be available on-site at all times; shall be located near the chlorine room but shall not be stored therein. Enclosures with at least two side walls open (Chain link, etc.) for natural ventilation need not have additional ventilation. A warning sign shall be posted on all entrances to chlorine room. A chlorine leak detection device shall be provided for the chlorinator room.
  5. When using chemical feeders, it is extremely important that they be installed downstream from the filter and heater. Erosion-type feeders shall be allowed to feed their solution to the suction side of the pump.
  6. If the chemical feeder is equipped with its own pump, it shall be installed so it introduces the gas or solution downstream from the heater and, if possible, at a position lower than the heater outlet fitting.
  7. Chemical feed pumps shall be wired so they cannot operate unless the filter pump is running. If the chlorinator has an independent timer, the filter and chemical feed pump timers shall be interlocked.

Equipment Room
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  1. Pumps, disinfection equipment, filters, appurtenance and other electrical equipment shall be located in a permanent, enclosed equipment room, secure from unauthorized entrance, protected from freezing, and properly drained.
  2. Ventilation and Drainage: Adequate fresh air cross-draft ventilation is required for equipment rooms located above grade. A minimum open area calculated as five (5) percent of the total wall area shall be provided. Stairway access, suitable drainage (sump pump if necessary) and ventilation of fresh make-up air with an exhaust fan capable of one air change every three (3) minutes must be provided for equipment rooms located below grade.
  3. Equipment Clearance: Filter tanks shall be at least eight (8) inches apart and twelve (12) inches from walls and eighteen (18) inches from the ceiling. Clearance between vacuum filters shall be sufficient to allow normal maintenance operations. Space around equipment must permit unobstructed ready access.
  4. Size: Equipment room size shall be determined in accordance with Part 17 (3) above and shall include additional working space adequate to perform routine maintenance and service operations. Unobstructed space shall also be provided for storage of chemicals and auxiliary equipment. Ceilings shall be no less than seven (7) feet from the floor.

Diving Areas
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  1. Dimensions, width, depth and length of the diving area shall be in accordance with anticipated use by divers. (Refer to Construction and Figure 1)
  2. Clearances: Diving boards or platform must be installed no less than ten (10) feet apart and no less than ten (10) feet from any side wall. This distance may be reduced to eight (8) feet for boards set two (2) feet or less above the water. At least fifteen (15) feet of free, unobstructed clearance shall be provided above diving boards and platforms.
  3. Finish: Diving boards and platforms shall be a nonslip finish.

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  1. Artificial lighting shall be provided for all indoor pools, and any outdoor pool to be used at night. Lighting shall be adequate to illuminate the entire swimming pool enclosure without glare.
  2. Lighting in dressing rooms, toilets and equipment rooms and concessions shall comply with the local building code requirements. Pools and deck areas shall be lighted in accordance with the following minimum standards:
    1. Where underwater lighting is used, not less than 0.5 watts shall be employed par square foot of pool area. Where competitive swimming is contemplated underwater lights should not be placed in the end walls of the pool.
    2. Where underwater lighting is used, and night swimming is permitted, area lighting shall be provided for the deck areas and directed toward the deck areas and away from the pool surface insofar as practical in a total capacity of not less than 0.6 watts per square feet of deck area. Where underwater lighting is not employed and night swimming is permitted, area and pool lighting combined shall be provided in an amount of not less than 2 watts per square foot of pool and deck areas.
  3. All electrical components installed in and/or adjacent to a pool shall comply with the requirements of Article 680 of the National Electrical Code (NEC), as published by thenational Fire Protection Association and any state and local codes.
  4. No switches, starters, panel boards or similar electrical equipment shall be located in areas readily accessible to bathers.

Bathing Loads
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  1. Bathing Load: Pool usage shall not exceed the maximum bathing load (i.e.: The number of persons that will be allowed in the pool enclosure at one time). Bathing load shall be calculated on the basis of one person for each ten (10) square feet in that portion of pool surface where the depth is five (5) feet or less, plus one (1) person for each thirty (30) square feet of pool surface in that portion with depth exceeding five (5) feet. The bathing load of the pool shall be posted in a conspicuous location within the pool enclosure. Note: Table 1 Specific minimum standards for swimming pools serving Dwelling/Living Units.
  2. Use Restrictions: The Health Department may set use – restrictions on any pool and may require the owner/operator to post notices in public view. Failure to comply with the use-restrictions is a violation of these regulations.

Sanitary Facilities
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Adequate sanitary facilities (ie: toilets, urinals, lavatories, showers, etc.) enclosed in a bathhouse are required at all pools. In determining the number of units required, the bathing load composition shall be considered as three-fifths (3/5) men and two-fifths (2/5) women.



  1. Individual Sanitary Facilities: If individual private sanitary facilities for all bathers are located within 300 feet of the pool, no additional sanitary facilities will be required. A shower (meeting plumbing code requirements) shall be provided in the pool area if no bathhouse is required. A water fountain is required at all pools.
  2. Facility Size Requirements: Facilities shall be in proportion to the maximum bathing load (See Table 1) based on the number of dwelling living units outside a 300 feet radius measured horizontally from the pool edge. Separate facilities shall be provided for men and women.
    1. Toilets: One toilet shall be provided for each bather increment of sixty (60) men or forty (40) women.*
    2. Urinals: One urinal shall be provided for each sixty (60) men.*
    3. Lavatories: One lavatory shall be provided for each sixty (60) men or women.*
    4. Showers: One shower shall be provided for each forty (40) men or women.* Soap shall be available and showers shall be an integral part of the bathhouse and located for bather use prior to entering the pool area.
    5. Placement: The bathhouse pool configuration shall be such that bathers must pass toilets and showers enroute to the pool.
    6. Floors: Floor shall be smooth, impervious, easily cleanable, light colored, non-slip, shall have a slope of one-quarter (1/4) inch per foot to drain(s) and shall be coved at the wall junction. Hose bibbs with backflow preventors shall be provided for cleaning.
    7. Walls: Partition walls shall terminate at least six (6) inches above the floor or shall be placed on a continuous raised masonry or concrete base at least four (4) inches high.
    8. Water Fountains: A sanitary drinking fountain shall be conveniently accessible to all bathers.
    9. Food: Eating and drinking shall not be permitted within the pool and deck enclosure. Exception may be made to allow food and beverages in the visitor and spectator area or in a similarly separated snack bar area for users, which has been approved by the Health Department. Food and beverages shall only be served in non-breakable containers. Covered garbage containers shall be provided where food and/or beverages are available or allowed.

* Bather increments equaling or exceeding one-half (1/2) the base number will be considered full increments (i.e.: for item b: 90 men = 2 increments, therefore 2 urinals are required.)

Safety Precautions
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  1. A telephone shall be readily available at all times the pool is open. Directions to telephone location must be conspicuously posted. Emergency phone numbers must be posted near the telephone. Life saving and emergency first aid equipment shall be provided at swimming pools mounted in conspicuous places, kept ready for use and maintained in good repair.
  2. A life line shall be provided at or near the break of grade between the shallow and deep portions of a public swimming pool with its portion marked with colored floats at no greater than five (5) foot spacing. Life line shall be 3/4″ minimum diameter and its terminals shall be securely anchored and of corrosion resistant material and of type which will be recessed or have no projection which will constitute a hazard.*
  3. Swimming pools shall be equipped for safety and rescue with one or more light but strong poles (bamboo prohibited), shepherd crook, having a blunt end and which is not less than 16 feet of length for making reaching assists or rescues.*
  4. Every pool shall be equipped with one or more U.S. Coast Guard approved throwing buoys of not more than 24 inches in diameter with 1/4″ line attached at least equal in length to the maximum width of the pool plus ten (10) feet.*
  5. Each pool shall be equipped with a readily available first aid kit.
  6. Dogs and other pets shall not be permitted in swimming pools or on the pool premises.
  7. No bather shall be permitted to enter a swimming pool or swimming pool enclosure unless an attendant is present, except where pools serve restricted clientele only, such as hotels, motels, apartments and condominiums. In such cases where no attendant service is provided, a warning sign shall be placed in clear view and shall state in clearly legible letters at least four inches high “Warning–No Attendant On Duty”.
  8. Easily readable and simply stated rules and safety guidelines for bathers shall be posted conspicuously.
  9. No person suffering from a communicable disease transmissible via water shall use the pool.
  10. Bathers should be required to take a cleansing shower before entering the pool.
  11. Spa pools require a clock which is readily visible to bathers or a maximum 15 minute time switch connected to the air blower.

* These requirements may be waived or modified for spas and other pools where their dimensions do not necessitate these safety measures

Water Amusement Pools
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  1. Finish and Materials: Pools shall be constructed of inert, impervious, enduring, non-toxic materials which will provide a non-slip and easily cleanable surface. The surface shall have no cracks or open joints and shall be finished in a light color and interior corners shall be coved. Rough and abrasive surfaces are not permitted.
  2. Materials Selection and Finishing: The selection of all materials for components and accessories should be such that all parts with external surfaces and edges that may come in contact with the user are assembled, arranged, and/or finished (deburred, polished, etc.) so that they will not constitute a cutting, pinching, puncturing, or abrasion hazard under casual contact and intended use.
  3. Construction: Design and materials used should be in accordance with proper structural engineering practice providing sound, durable structure which will safely sustain all dead and live loads, liquid, hydrostatic and earth pressures involved in each case, throughout the expected life of the structure. The structures shall be water-tight and all surfaces shall be inert, non-toxic, smooth and easily cleaned. Covered flumes, if used, should be designed and/or ventilated to prevent a hazardous concentration of toxic disinfectant fumes under all circumstances of operation.
  4. Curves and Turns: All curves and turns throughout the flume shall be designed in such a manner so that user impact with the walls does not present a hazard and these portions shall be banked so that users are retained safely inside the flume under all foreseeable circumstances of operation.
  5. Flume Clearances: The difference between the side of a flume exit and a pool side wall shall be at least five (5) feet. The distance between sides of adjacent flume exits shall be at least six (6) feet. The distance between flume exits and the opposite side of the pool excluding steps shall be at least twenty (20) feet.
  6. High-Speed Slide: Special provisions shall be made in both flume exit design, pool depth and pool width measured from flume exit to safely accommodate high-speed slides.
  7. Flume Terminus Elevation: Flume shall terminate at a depth of at least six (6) inches below the water surface level.
  8. Depths: The operating water depth of the pool at the end of a flume shall be three (3) feet. This depth shall be maintained in front of the flume for a distance of at least twenty (20) feet, from which point the pool floor may have a constant slope upward to the minimum water depth. These slopes shall be no more than one (1) foot in seven (7) inches.
  9. Decks: Decks along the exit side of the splash pool shall be at least ten (10) feet wide, have slip-resistant, light colored, impervious surfaces and be sloped on quarter (1/4) inch per foot minimum away from the pool to drainage or to deck drains. Decks shall not retain standing water and if deck drains are used, at least one floor drain for every two-hundred (200) square feet of surface shall be provided. Any decks at the entrance to the top of the flume shall be drained as above. Decks along the side opposite the pump reservoir shall be at least four (4) feet wide and have the same slip resistance and drainage requirements as top and pool decks. The pump reservoir area shall be accessible by a three (3) foot minimum width walkway deck for cleaning and maintenance.
  10. Walkways: A four (4) foot minimum width, surfaced walkway steps, or stairway shall be provided between the pool and the top of the flume. These walkways and/or steps shall (1) be well drained (2) not retain standing water and (3) be separated from the flume by a physical barrier, set back far enough from the operating flume so it cannot be contacted by users on the way down the flume.
  11. Pump Reservoirs – Volume: The pump reservoirs shall have sufficient volume to contain at least two (2) minutes of combined flow from all water treatment and flume pumps and/or contain enough water to insure that the lower splash pool will maintain a constant water depth.
  12. Recirculation System: A water recirculation and treatment system consisting of pumps, piping, filters, water conditioning, and disinfection equipment and other accessory equipment shall be provided which will clarify, condition and disinfect the pool volume of water. The equipment shall be operated on a twenty-four (24) hour basis to obtain the minimum required number of twenty-four (24) turnovers per day (one turnover every hour). The pattern of recirculation developed in the pool shall be such that twenty percent (20%) of the flow shall be through the main drain and the remainder through the overflow gutters or skimmers. A surge-free automatic water makeup system shall be provided, constructed so that the water level of the splash pool is maintained at the proper design operating level at all times.
  13. Exceptions may be made to the design of a water amusement pool depending on a registered engineer’s design and approval by the Health Department.

Training – Special Use Pools
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Training – Special Use Pools are pools specifically designed to train basic swimming or other special swimming skills. The design and construction of these pools shall be based on sound public health and engineering principles and shall be approved on an individual basis.

Natural Bathing Places
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  1. Adequate facilities shall be provided and appropriate precautions shall be taken to control bathers’ use of natural bathing places to insure their health and well-being. A permit to operate a natural bathing place must be obtained from the Health Department.
  2. Survey: A sanitary survey shall be made to record characteristics of the water source, possible sources of sewage contamination, industrial wastes, potential hazards and site suitability. A report of this survey shall be submitted to the Health Department along with the permit application.
  3. Bacterial Quality: Bacteriological analyses shall be made of the water and results shall be included in the sanitary survey. Resurvey and analyses may be required as often as deemed necessary by the Health Department. No less than three (3) bacteriological samples shall be collected from the proposed bathing area each of the first three (3) days of each week for three (3) consecutive weeks prior to issuance of the operating permit. The water quality shall meet the current standards for recreational waters as specified by the current rules and regulations of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.
  4. Sanitary Facilities: Separate toilet, hand washing and shower facilities shall be provided in accordance with anticipated bathing load. (See Sanitary Facilities.)

New Equipment, Construction and Materials
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The Health officer may grant test or conditional construction permits or conditional licenses for new designs or new equipment proposed for use or installation in new or existing swimming pools if satisfactory proof is submitted that sound engineering and public health principles are complied with in the design or equipment. Performance guarantees may be required. Conditional permit and licenses shall require satisfactory performance in the field for a time period to be established by the Health Officer.

Administration and Enforcement
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  1. Variance: These regulations shall be administered by the Health officer who shall have the authority to grant a variance from the requirements of these regulations as follows:
    1. Where it is demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Health officer that strict compliance with the standards would result in practical difficulty to or undue hardship upon the property owner due to special conditions or causes.
    2. Where the public or private interest in the granting of the variance is found by the Health Officer to clearly outweigh the interest of the application of uniform rules; and,
    3. Where such alternative measures are provided which in the opinion of the Health Officer will provide adequate public health and safety protection.

    In granting a variance, the Health Officer may attach thereto any conditions which may be deemed advisable so that the purpose of these regulations will be served, and public health, safety and welfare secured.

  2. The administration and enforcement of these rules and regulations shall be as prescribed in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated Chapter 3 1-5.
  3. All regulations and parts of regulations in conflict with this regulation are hereby repealed, and this regulation shall be in full force and effect thirty (30) days after its adoption.
  4. Should any section, paragraph, sentence, clause or phrase of this regulation be declared unconstitutional or invalid for any reason, the remainder of said regulations shall not be affected thereby.
  5. Should any part of this regulation become outdated, through research in the field or by changes in technology and fail to provide adequate protection to public health and safety, the Health Officer may use official research recommendations, governmental standards, or other official standards, such as those developed by the National Spa and Pool Institute (NSPI), as guidelines when enforcing the provisions of the regulations.

Table 1:Dwelling/Living Units vs. Maximum Bathing Load*
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Swimming Pools with Transient Bathers1

Number of Units3 Bathers/Unit
0 – 100 0.75
101 – 250 0.50
251 – 500 0.15
501 and over 0.05

Swimming Pools with Non-Transient Bathers2

Number of Units3 Bathers/Unit
0 – 100 0.75
101 – 200 0.60
201 – 300 0.40
301 – 500 0.15
501 and over 0.10

1 Motels and hotels, etc. non-residential

2 Apartment complexes, condominiums, subdivision pools and clubs, etc., residential

3 Use of table in calculating the bathing load shall be cumulative.

* Maximum number of bathers allowed inside pool enclosure at any one time.

Figure 1: Minimum Dimensions for Diving Portion of Pools
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Note: L4 is a minimum dimension to allow sufficient length opposite the board. This may of course be lengthened to form the shallow portion of the pool.

* The radius shall be tangent at the point where the radius either meets the wall or the floor and shall be at least equal to, or greater than, the depth of the pool minus the vertical wall depth measured from the waterline minus three inches (3″) to allow draining to the main drain (R minimum = Pool depth – Vertical wall depth – 3″).


Related Diving Equipment Min. Dimensions Min. Width of Pool At:
Max. Board
Length Over
D1 D2 R L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 Pt. A Pt. B Pt. C
10′ 26″ (2/3 Meter) 7′-0″ 8′-6″ 5′-6″ 2′-6″ 8′-0″ 10′-6″ 7′-0″ 7′-0″ 16′-0″ 16′-0″ 18′-0″
12′ 30″ (3/4 Meter) 7′-6″ 9′-0″ 6′-0″ 3′-0″ 9′-0″ 12′-0″ 4′-0″ 28′-0″ 18′-0″ 20′-0″ 20′-0″
16′ 1 Meter 8′-6″ 10′-0″ 7′-0″ 4′-0″ 10′-0″ 15′-0″ 2′-0″ 31′-0″ 20′-0″ 22′-0″ 22′-0″
16′ 3 Meter 11′-0″ 12′-0″ 8′-6″ 6′-0″ 10′-6″ 21′-0″ 0″ 37′-6″ 22′-0″ 24′-0″ 24′-0″

L2, L3 and L4 combined represent the minimum distance from the tip of the board to pool wall opposite diving equipment.

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Budgeting and Reserves for Condominiums

Most covenants for condominiums require that the association include as part of the annual budget, an allocation for  reserves.  Reserves should be set aside for roof replacement, pavement resurfacing, building painting, and any other item of association responsibility with a replacement cost or deferred maintenance expense of $10,000.00 or more.

Traditionally, the reserve schedule accompanying the proposed budget has used the “straight line” method of calculating required reserves. For example, assume that the roof on a condominium building has a twenty year useful life, is ten years old, and will cost $100,000.00 to replace. Further assume that the current amount of money in the roof reserve is $50,000.00. The association will need to collect $5,000.00 per year, over the next ten years, to accumulate another $50,000.00 so as to “fully fund” the roof reserve. This is traditional, “straight line” funding of reserves.

Similar calculations are then made for all other required reserve items (building repainting, pavement resurfacing, and other items with a replacement cost or deferred maintenance expense in excess of $10,000.00), and the annual contribution required to “fully fund” the reserve account is thus arrived at.

When reserves are funded on the straight line method, whether fully funded or partially funded, they should only be used for their intended purposes. For example, money should not be taken out of the roof reserve account to pay for painting the building. However, the association can use reserve funds for non-scheduled purposes if approved in advance by a majority vote of the unit owners.

The concept of “cash flow” or “pooled” reserve funding differs from “straight line” reserve funding.  Under pooled reserves, it is still necessary for the reserve schedule which accompanies the annual budget to set forth required reserve items (roofs, painting, paving, and other items with the replacement cost/deferred maintenance expense of more than $10,000.00). Further, the “cash flow” reserve schedule must still disclose estimated remaining useful life and replacement costs for each reserve component. The main difference in the cash flow presentation of reserves is that instead of each reserve line item having its own fund balance, there is a “pool” of money in the reserve fund, which is available for costs affiliated with any item in the reserve pool. For example, the painting and roof reserve monies are “pooled” into one fund, so a vote of unit owners is not required for expenditures from the fund, as would be the case in a straight-line reserve scenario where monies from one reserve account would be used for another reserve purpose.  As with “straight line” reserve funding, with pooled reserves, a vote of the unit owners is should be required to use reserve funds for operating purposes, or for any expenditure involving items that are not part of the “pool”.

The pooling method of reserve funding attempts to predict when a particular item will require replacement or deferred maintenance, and reserves are scheduled and funded so as to insure that a necessary amount of funds are on hand when the work needs to be done. Theoretically, monthly or quarterly reserve contributions can be lowered, while still avoiding special assessments.

Of course, what works in theory does not always work when placed in human hands. In addition to needing a crystal ball to predict exactly when a reserve expenditure will need to be made, reserve contributions may be substantially higher in certain years, such as when the fund is depleted for the replacement of a required item, and there is a short useful life for the next asset that needs to be replaced.

A condominium reserve fund helps associations pay for maintenance and upgrade costs as they become due.   As a property owner, you will be well aware of the benefits which accrue from setting aside sufficient reserve funds.   The  association will better maintained over time and you will lessen the need for special assessments to make up future budget deficits.



FHA Approved Condos, FHA Approved Condominium, List of FHA Approved Condos | FHA Approved Condos

Fannie Mae and FHA Approved Condo Projects

The current real estate market is providing plenty of amazing opportunities for buyers to get great deals on condominiums around the country. However, the recent turmoil in the financial markets has caused financial institutions to tighten their lending guidelines and make it more difficult to obtain financing on condos. It is even more difficult in cities that experienced the biggest booms and busts and which now have lots of troubled projects and are seeing the highest foreclosure rates.

Fannie Mae and FHA Approved Condo Projects

The current real estate market is providing plenty of amazing opportunities for buyers to get great deals on condominiums around the country. However, the recent turmoil in the financial markets has caused financial institutions to tighten their lending guidelines and make it more difficult to obtain financing on condos. It is even more difficult in cities that experienced the biggest booms and busts and which now have lots of troubled projects and are seeing the highest foreclosure rates.

There is a bright spot in this real estate market and there are ways to still take advantage of the deals being offered now. Fannie Mae and FHA have recently released lists of condo projects around the country that are approved for financing. These approved projects are then eligible for government backed loans and smaller down payments for interested buyers. These loans usually only require the buyer to put down 3.5 percent and allow for a speedier qualification and purchase process.

The condominium projects that are approved by Fannie Mae must have less than 15 percent of condo owners in the building delinquent on their condo or Home Ownership Association fees. In addition, the association must have enough funds on hand to meet the deductible of their insurance policy. Other conditions include the following: At least 70 percent of new condo units must be pre-sold, at least 10 percent of the operating budget must be set aside for reserves, projects can not contain more than 20 percent non-residential space, and no more than 10 percent of units may be owned by a single entity.

These requirements help to insure that the condo projects are healthy and that the individual units are generally pretty solid investments. Condo units in approved buildings are also usually much easier to obtain financing for because the mortgage can be guaranteed by Fannie Mae. Buying or renting in a approved project helps to insure that you living or investing in a project with long term viability, even though the market may be down now.

There is a bright spot in this real estate market and there are ways to still take advantage of the deals being offered now. Fannie Mae and FHA have recently released lists of condo projects around the country that are approved for financing. These approved projects are then eligible for government backed loans and smaller down payments for interested buyers. These loans usually only require the buyer to put down 3.5 percent and allow for a speedier qualification and purchase process.

The condominium projects that are approved by Fannie Mae must have less than 15 percent of condo owners in the building delinquent on their condo or Home Ownership Association fees. In addition, the association must have enough funds on hand to meet the deductible of their insurance policy. Other conditions include the following: At least 70 percent of new condo units must be pre-sold, at least 10 percent of the operating budget must be set aside for reserves, projects can not contain more than 20 percent non-residential space, and no more than 10 percent of units may be owned by a single entity.

These requirements help to insure that the condo projects are healthy and that the individual units are generally pretty solid investments. Condo units in approved buildings are also usually much easier to obtain financing for because the mortgage can be guaranteed by Fannie Mae. Buying or renting in a approved project helps to insure that you living or investing in a project with long term viability, even though the market may be down now.

via FHA Approved Condos, FHA Approved Condominium, List of FHA Approved Condos | FHA Approved Condos.

Green Initiatives for HOA's

The catch word phrase these days is “everything should go green.”   The dictionary defines green in relation to the environment as:

“Green” – (made with little harm to the environment, using renewable resources, or the politics of promoting the protection of our environment.)

In community associations, each individual can make a positive impact on our environment, and in some cases, we can save money by going green. Imagine supporting a cleaner and more efficient community and being a steward for its environmental health.

As we think about green communities, we need to look at the cost of making and keeping ourselves green.

It takes commitment of the Board of Directors and the community members to make a green community program work.  All efforts focused on Green Communities Philosophy can make a difference in, not only your community, but also the world around you.

The management company for the community association should be committed to “Green Sustainable Communities” and already developed a paperless technology system that reduces the need for the more traditional paper form of communication in favor of the electronic version. In the past, property management companies had drawers upon drawers of files that contained file after file of information that is important.

Today virtually all of that information can be stored digitally and several filing cabinets full of information can be stored on the hard drive of a computer.

What does that mean to the green community? It means that they have just saved reams of paper, the ink to print it, and the energy the copier used to print the paper. In other words, every step we take to save the environment and use less energy is a contribution to a greener community, it all adds up.Green Board of Directors Meetings

An example would be the Board that has reduced the multiple pieces of paper used in creating board packets for meetings. In some cases, what took 50 to 100 pages can now be as little as 8 pages. The rest should be available electronically and the board has reviewed it prior to the meeting or the manager can show them the information digitally.  This method saves time, money, and contributes to a green community. In many cases, a document is created and subsequently reviewed by multiple people but never printed.

Did You Know? If you do not use one ton of paper you will save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy, 7000 gallons of water, and 60 pounds of air pollutants.

It is possible to have meetings via the telephone or email; however you must consider availability for members and compliance with any state laws that regulate electronic meetings.   By holding electronic meetings, you can save the association time, money and the volunteer board members more time with their families.

Paperless technologies coupled with state of the art property management software can enable a community to be greener.  A Board member can quickly look at the financial health, deed restriction violations and all primary management areas of the association from their computer without ever printing a piece of paper. In fact, board members should have access to more information digitally than ever before. In this case, green information means more information.

Green Community Energy Reduction & Recycling Plan

A community has the ability to evaluate and control a number of issues to make a positive impact by adopting a green philosophy.

Associations responsible for providing the waste disposal contractor should select one that has a recycling plan. For years, almost all waste disposal companies have been using recycling techniques. Use this as an important component for selecting a contractor and work with your community members to utilize the recycling programs.

Did You Know? Recycling a ton of plastic bottles saves 318 gallons of gasoline, or enough energy to run a refrigerator for a month.

Energy Consumption Audit Conduct an energy audit of your association. It is very simple to do.  In reviewing most energy bills, you can see consumption and historical consumption. Look at the possibilities of developing an energy plan for the association that encourages members to use renewable energies or to inventory their energy consumption and develop an energy reduction plan. Invest your community in renewable energy sources. If the demand for renewable energy increases, the energy industry will move to accommodate the demand.  The association Board of Directors has the ability to shape green communities and working with the members should exercise that ability.

Your management company should work with your power vendors in regulated and deregulated communities to get the best price available and to work with power companies that are concerned about the environment. They should also work with them to conduct an energy audit to determine those areas where we can save money and energy.

Each community is different and some are larger energy consumers than others. Here are a few areas to review to help make your community green.

Outside lights: Are they solar powered? If not, how much would it cost to change them to solar?  This would also help in the event of a sustained power outage. Are you using energy efficient light bulbs?

Inside lights: Are they turned off when not in use? Consider changing the switches to motion switches or timers. Are you using energy efficient light bulbs?

Did You Know? Each incandescent light bulb that you replace with a compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb can save up to 56 watts an hour.

Electronic Equipment: Electronics usually have a power saving mode but even with this mode, they still consume electricity. Be sure electronics are switched off when not in use.

Did You Know? Monitors typically use about 80% of the energy that a computer uses, so you can use that to calculate how much energy you save by turning off the monitor. For example, with a 200 watt computer you’d be saving 160 watts per hour by turning off the monitor.

Pools:  Are timers being used for heated pools and hot tubs or are they being heated year round?  Are the lights energy efficient?

Community Center:  How often are the HVAC filters changed? How old is the system? Older system fan motors and compressors were constructed when energy consumption was not a concern. Are appliances turned off when not in use?

Did You Know? By adjusting your thermostat down in the winter or up in the summer will reduce CO2 emissions by 500 pounds a year for each degree.

Tennis Court: Are there Lights? Are they energy efficient? Could they be solar powered?

Indoor Recreation Facilities: Is there an HVAC system? Is it energy efficient? Does it need to be changed to be more efficient? Is the system serviced regularly?  Are the lights energy efficient? Electric gates are usually easy to convert to solar and not very expensive. In the event of long-term power outages, electric solar powered gates can be very useful.

Park Restrooms:  Is the water heater energy efficient?  Are the lights energy efficient? Is the water use efficient or could it be reduced? These have been just a few examples of the steps a community can take to adopt a green community philosophy. Communities need to be aware of their energy consumption, recycling possibilities and the steps they can take to be proactive in creating green communities.

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Benefits of HOA Rules

HOA is abbreviation for Home Owners Association.

If you are planning to settle down in a cozy home which is part of a development then you should be aware of the important HOA rules. These rules mainly govern various factors related to living as part of the development.Home Owners Association as the name suggests is by the owners and for the owners. However it was not conceptualized by the owners who bought homes in the development but rather by the developer who initially designed the development. This was done keeping in mind the wellness of the neighborhood in the long run.Some of the key rules which are part of the HOA and common to most HOAs are:

• Restriction on making any modification to the external structure of the house lest it might disturb the uniform appearance of the development

• Rules pertaining to pets like whether they are allowed if so are there any issues with regard to number of pets or types of pets

• Restriction on number of parking space available for each resident

• Rules related to maintenance of the surroundings like landscape gardens, swimming pools, common areas, garbage clearance, children play areas, club houses, etc

.• Restriction on renting out homesAs already mentioned these are some of the common HOA rules but they are not the only rules.

via Benefits of HOA Rules.

Have an Attorney Attend a Board Meeting

A Homeowner Association is typically formed as a non-profit corporation initially created by a real estate developer to govern a planned community. Planned communities governed by HOAs can include residential subdivisions, condominiums, and town-home developments. They are initially set into place to give the developer control over the standards of quality in appearance established in the developer’s plans.

They not only give the developer control of the way the homes are built and the appearance of each lot, but they allow them to maintain a high standard for the common areas like the entrance, clubhouse, golf course, and property landscape. Establishing an HOA makes it much easier for that developer to effectively market and sell the lots and homes in the subdivision.

HOAs are run by a board with positions being filled by election or appointment and are bound by the bylaws. An Annual fee called a Homeowner Association Fee, is collected from all owners to continue the maintenance and upkeep of common areas, address legal and safety issues, and enforce restrictions that are applicable to that particular area. The HOA hold monthly meetings to provide residents with a platform to address common concerns within their community.

Real estate law is a branch of civil law governing rights to posses, use and enjoy land and the permanent man-made additions to it. This covers everything from relations between owners, relations between owners and the community, landlord and tenant relations, and the transfer of interests in real property. The purchase, sale and leases of real estate are governed by a wide body of federal and state laws that often vary from state to state.

It’s a really good idea to hire a lawyer to participate in your Homeowner Association meetings primarily for the purpose of translating the bylaws and real estate laws that often are not written in a clear and concise language that everyone understands.
A seasoned lawyer can provide the true meaning of each law and how they actually apply to the residents.

When hiring a lawyer for an HOA, remember there are many services they can provide for that community. It’s important that the board defines their needs before making this investment in order to keep legal fees within the allocated budget. The lawyer should provide a retention letter that spells out their responsibilities, turnaround time, and the attorney’s rate of pay.

When creating the list of responsibilities, give careful thought as to whether the attorney should attend every board meeting. It’s inevitable that legal issues will arise at meetings. Since the association is paying for the attorney’s time, you need to decide whether it’s better to have an immediate answer and a larger legal bill, or answers within a day or two and a smaller legal bill.

With over 23 million HOAs governing residents throughout the country today, there are numerous reports lawsuits that arise most of which are over simple misinterpretations of these laws. Many of these lawsuits could easily have been avoided if members had understood the rules clearly from the start. Lawyers understand all the nuances of the law and can effectively advise the board members and residents on the best legal course of action for resolving problems in their community.

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Riverside Property Management, Inc. – New Testimonials


Its such a pleasure working with such a professional, competent and customer friendly staff. They are responsive, do what they say they are going to do and always make you feel like a valued customer. I feel that switching to Riverside, has been the best decision we have made all year!


Deborah Woolf, Treasurer

Piedmont Heights Condominium Association

via Riverside Property Management, Inc. – New Testimonials.

Riverside Community & Property Management – All Property Management Factsheet

Riverside Community & Property Management

Specializing in Community Association Management

Riverside Community Management, Inc. Riverside Community & Property Management is a locally owned community management company providing management services for homeowners, condominiums and office associations in the Atlanta metropolitan area and surrounding communities. Whether your association is a large condominium development, a small homeowners’ association, a commercial property, or anything in between, Riverside Community & Property Management has the resources and experience to manage your association’s needs, efficiently and within budget.

Riverside Community & Property Management knows that strong community management is the key to enhancing the value of your community. Our staff is comprised of outstanding professionals and our services are based upon the best practices in the industry. Our goal is to preserve and enhance property values, maximize cash flow and timely and effectively communicate with owners. We believe that a well-managed community not only ensures a sense of pride, but is a sound investment for the entire community.

Riverside Community & Property Management has developed one of the most innovative and responsive condominium, office and homeowner association management companies in the Atlanta region. Our experience and exceptional customer service combine with community association management to provide our clients with quality, professional service unmatched in our industry.

We build betters communities – one community at a time.

via Riverside Community & Property Management – All Property Management Factsheet.

Avoid Freezing Pipes!

An awesome post that will come handy for us. I felt that it had all the useful and important information with great advice to avoid disastrous incidents. Personally, frozen pipes is one of the last things that I want to deal with.

Via Lori Miles, Marketing Manager, Riverside Property Management, Inc. (Kennesaw, GA):

When water freezes, it expands. That’s why a can of soda explodes if it’s put into a freezer to chill quickly and forgotten. When water freezes in a pipe, it expands the same way. If it expands enough, the pipe bursts, water escapes and serious damage results.

Why Pipes Burst

Surprisingly, ice forming in a pipe does not typically cause a break where the ice blockage occurs. It’s not the radial expansion of ice against the wall of the pipe that causes the break. Rather, following a complete ice blockage in a pipe, continued freezing and expansion inside the pipe causes water pressure to increase downstream — between the ice blockage and a closed faucet at the end. It’s this increase in water pressure that leads to pipe failure. Usually the pipe bursts where little or no ice has formed. Upstream from the ice blockage the water can always retreat back towards its source, so there is no pressure build-up to cause a break. Water has to freeze for ice blockages to occur. Pipes that are adequately protected along their entire length by placement within the building’s insulation, insulation on the pipe itself, or heating, are safe.

Regional Differences

Generally, houses in northern climates are built with the water pipes located on the inside of the building insulation, which protects the pipes from subfreezing weather. However, extremely cold weather and holes in the building that allow a flow of cold air to come into contact with pipes can lead to freezing and bursting.

Water pipes in houses in southern climates often are more vulnerable to winter cold spells. The pipes are more likely to be located in unprotected areas outside of the building insulation, and homeowners tend to be less aware of freezing problems, which may occur only once or twice a season.

Pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls are all vulnerable to freezing, especially if there are cracks or openings that allow cold, outside air to flow across the pipes. Research at the University of Illinois has shown that “wind chill,” the cooling effect of air and wind that causes the human body to lose heat, can play a major role in accelerating ice blockage, and thus bursting, in water pipes.

Holes in an outside wall where television, cable or telephone lines enter can provide access for cold air to reach pipes. The size of pipes and their composition (e.g., copper or PVC) have some bearing on how fast ice forms, but they are relatively minor factors in pipe bursting compared with the absence of heat, pipe insulation and exposure to a flow of subfreezing air.

When is it Cold Enough to Freeze?

When should homeowners be alert to the danger of freezing pipes? That depends, but in southern states and other areas where freezing weather is the exception rather than the rule (and where houses often do not provide adequate built-in protection), the “temperature alert threshold” is 20°F.

This threshold is based upon research conducted by the Building Research Council at the University of Illinois. Field tests of residential water systems subjected to winter temperatures demonstrated that, for un-insulated pipes installed in an unconditioned attic, the onset of freezing occurred when the outside temperature fell to 20°F or below.

This finding was supported by a survey of 71 plumbers practicing in southern states, in which the consensus was that burst-pipe problems began to appear when temperatures fell into the teens. However, freezing incidents can occur when the temperature remains above 20° F. Pipes exposed to cold air (especially flowing air, as on a windy day) because of cracks in an outside wall or lack of insulation are vulnerable to freezing at temperatures above the threshold. However, the 20°F “temperature alert threshold” should address the majority of potential burst-pipe incidents in southern states.

Mitigating the Problem

Water freezes when heat in the water is transferred to subfreezing air. The best way to keep water in pipes from freezing is to slow or stop this transfer of heat.

Ideally, it is best not to expose water pipes to subfreezing temperatures, by placing them only in heated spaces and keeping them out of attics, crawl spaces and vulnerable outside walls. In new construction, proper placement can be designed into the building.

In existing houses, a plumber may be able to re route at-risk pipes to protected areas, although this may not be a practical solution. If the latter is the case, vulnerable pipes that are accessible should be fitted with insulation sleeves or wrapping (which slows the heat transfer), the more insulation the better. It is important not to leave gaps that expose the pipe to cold air. Hardware stores and home centers carry the necessary materials, usually in foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves. Better yet, plumbing supply stores and insulation dealers carry pipe sleeves that feature extra-thick insulation, as much as 1” or 2” thick. The added protection is worth the extra cost.

Cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes should be sealed with caulking to keep cold wind away from the pipes. Kitchen and bathroom cabinets can keep warm inside air from reaching pipes under sinks and in adjacent outside walls. It’s a good idea to keep cabinet doors open during cold spells to let the warm air circulate around the pipes. Electric heating tapes and cables are available to run along pipes to keep the water from freezing. These must be used with extreme caution; follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to avoid the risk of fire, and check to make sure the product conforms to UL 2049. Tapes and cables with a built-in thermostat will turn heat on when needed. Tapes without a thermostat have to be plugged in each time heat is needed, and may be forgotten.

Letting the Water Run

Letting a faucet drip during extreme cold weather can prevent a pipe from bursting. It’s not that a small flow of water prevents freezing; this helps, but water can freeze even with a slow flow.

Rather, opening a faucet will provide relief from the excessive pressure that builds between the faucet and the ice blockage when freezing occurs. If there is no excessive water pressure, there is no burst pipe, even if the water inside the pipe freezes.

A dripping faucet wastes some water, so only pipes vulnerable to freezing (ones that run through an unheated or unprotected space) should be left with the water flowing. The drip can be very slight. Even the slowest drip at normal pressure will provide pressure relief when needed. Where both hot and cold lines serve a spigot, make sure each one contributes to the drip, since both are subjected to freezing. If the dripping stops, leave the faucet(s) open, since a pipe may have frozen and will still need pressure relief.

If You Suspect a Frozen Pipe

If you open a faucet and no water comes out, don’t take any chances. Call a plumber. If a water pipe bursts, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve (usually at the water meter or where the main line enters the house); leave the faucet(s) open until repairs are completed. Don’t try to thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame; as this will damage the pipe and may even start a building fire. You might be able to thaw a pipe with a hand-held hair dryer. Slowly apply heat, starting close to the faucet end of the pipe, with the faucet open. Work toward the coldest section. Don’t use electrical appliances while standing in water; you could get electrocuted.

Going on a Trip

When away from the house for an extended period during the winter, be careful how much you lower the heat. A lower temperature may save on the heating bill, but there could be a disaster if a cold spell strikes and pipes that normally would be safe, freeze and burst.

A solution is to drain the water system. This is the best safeguard. With no water in the pipes, there is no freezing. This remedy should be considered even when the homeowner is not leaving but is concerned about a serious overnight freeze.

To drain the system, shut off the main valve and turn on every water fixture (both hot and cold lines) until water stops running. It’s not necessary to leave the fixtures open, since the system is filled mostly with air at that point and not subject to freezing. When returning to the house, turn on the main valve and let each fixture run until the pipes are full again.

Source: Institute for Business and Home Safety. IBHS is a national nonprofit initiative of the insurance industry to reduce deaths, injuries, property damage, economic losses and human suffering caused by natural disasters.