Building An Oasis – Plumbing Requirements for Outdoor Pools

It is the dream for many, a gorgeous pool outdoors with glistening blue waters, a floatie or two bobbing around, maybe a drink while hanging out on the edge. But there is a lot that goes into getting that ideal backyard vacation spot. Part of that involves the materials and planning, but the actual plumbing is going to be what runs the entire operation. Without good plumbing you won’t have a pool worth swimming in, so your best bet is to understand the basics of outdoor plumbing 


The Basics of Outdoor Pool Plumbing

Similar to a human’s internal circulatory system, the plumbing system for your pool is going to be what carries water to and from the pool, cleans the water, runs energy to water features or filters, and might even include heaters or chlorinators. If any part of the process is out of order, then your entire pool setup might suffer.

Pool plumbing is made up of several different pipes, usually buried underground, that connect the pool itself to the filter equipment. They involve the suction lines, two pipes connecting to the pool pump, a return line that carries water back to the pool from the filter, and other plumbing lines such as step jets, a pool cleaner line, fountains, or other water features. The plumbing might also include a conduit or pipe carrying power to underwater pool lights, heaters, chlorinators, and more depending on the complexity of your setup.


The International Swimming Pool and Spa Code, or ISPSC, makes several requirements of pool plumbing. 

  • The turnover rate of your pool, or the rate at which water is moved through and returned to the pool, should be no greater than once every twelve hours. 
  • All pressure filter systems need to have a strainer between the pool and circulation pump.
  • Pipings and fittings have to comply with the International Plumbing Code.
  • Water supplies must be protected from backflow.
  • Water supply systems must be designed, installed, and maintained to prevent contamination.

Types of Piping Used For Outdoor Pool Plumbing

When it comes to outdoor pool plumbing the right kind of pipe and correct installation are key to the overall success of your construction. There are several types of piping used for outdoor pool plumbing, including :

  • PVC Pipe – Probably the most commonly used type of pipe, and often believed to be the best pick when it comes to outdoor plumbing. PVP piping comes as either the highly durable rigid piping, or the tube-like flexible piping to make sure you are getting the one that best suits your needs.
  • Black Polyethylene – Often found in older inground pools, this type of piping is flexible, chemical resistant, and bug resistant but is prone to leakages.
  • Copper – More popular in the past, copper is the second most used of the piping types but has seen less use due to its tendency towards corrosion. It also requires more skill to put in but is far more earthquake-resistant than other types.
  • CPVC – Best used for hot water applications like hot tubs or spas, this type of pipe has a higher heat tolerance than PVC but it is also one of the more expensive options.


When it comes to the care and maintenance of your pool, your plumbing system might not be first on your mind but it’s going to be one of the major ways you keep your pool clean and sparkling while extending its longevity. Before starting any pool project, make sure you read up on all local requirements and regulations, particularly when it comes to plumbing as it may change from state to state or city to city.

When it comes to pools the more you know the better off you will be. And if you aren’t sure of something, that is where the experts come in. When you are looking for in-depth care, a maintenance plan, or specialized care with a satisfaction guarantee, Johnson Plumbing is here to help. Contact us today for all of your indoor and outdoor plumbing needs!

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