how does an infinity pool work

How Does an Infinity Pool Work?

Dive into the world of luxury and optical illusions with our comprehensive guide to infinity pools. Discover how these mesmerizing pools create the illusion of endless water, the science behind their design, safety considerations, and everything else you need to know to turn your backyard into a stunning oasis. Let’s explore the magic of infinity pools together!

All You Need to Know About Infinity Pools 

Have you ever pondered the mechanics behind an infinity pool? Curious about the water’s destination or concerned about the risk of falling over the edge? Dive into this comprehensive guide to understand how does an infinity pool works.

What is an infinity pool?

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Infinity pools, also referred to as zero-edge or rimless pools, create the illusion of a vanishing edge. This effect makes it seem like the water extends infinitely beyond the pool’s boundary. Typically, these pools are constructed with stunning vistas in the background, enhancing their visual appeal as the water seemingly merges with the horizon of the sea or sky. It’s not surprising that infinity pools are prominently featured in some of the most opulent resorts globally, given their breathtaking allure.

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How does an infinity pool work? 

Infinity pools are designed with two distinct levels: the primary pool and a basin strategically positioned beyond and beneath the infinity edge. The primary pool features a concealed edge, slightly submerged below the water’s surface, functioning much like a standard pool in containing the majority of the water. The slight elevation above this concealed edge creates the visual illusion characteristic of infinity pools.

Water above this concealed edge cascades over the edge, flowing into the basin below. From there, it’s recirculated back into the upper pool, ensuring a continuous cycle without water wastage.

Are infinity pools dangerous? 

Infinity pools pose no inherent danger; their vanishing edge is merely an optical illusion, no riskier than a standard pool. Seasoned pool builders understand basin-water level dynamics well. To prioritize safety, opt for reputable contractors specializing in infinity pools. Enhance safety with features like railings, stairs, ramps, alarms, and barriers, especially for weaker swimmers or those with mobility challenges.

So where does the water go?

Infinity pools operate by channeling water over an edge into a drain or catchment basin, which then recycles the water back into the pool. The drain plays a crucial role in maintaining the optical illusion of an endless pool edge. If the drain is visible or too deep, it can disrupt this illusion and affect water levels in the pool. Quality drainage products like Stormtech drains are preferred for infinity pools due to their versatility in design, size, and flow rates. Architects, landscape architects, and garden designers carefully consider drainage specifications to ensure optimal functionality and visual appeal.

How Does the Effect Work?

You know it’s not magic, but how does an infinity pool work? Let’s take a look.

  • The Water Meets the Pool’s Edge

The initial aspect of the illusion lies in the water level of an infinity pool, reaching the top of the wall at the vanishing point. This effectively blurs the distinction between the pool’s edge and the horizon.

  • The Waterfall Effect 

The next aspect of the illusion is the waterfall effect. The infinity pool is gently sloped downward toward the disappearing edge, though the angle is too subtle to notice. Paired with the waterline effect, this slope produces a slow waterfall cascading from the pool’s edge, creating the illusion of water flowing towards the horizon.

The falling water is collected in a catch basin and then pumped back into the pool, maintaining a continuous flow. It is crucial for the basin to be deep enough to capture all the water that flows into it.

  • The Reflection of the Sun 

Another aspect of the effect is the sun’s reflection, which obscures the pool’s inner workings when viewed from above. The sunlight glinting off the water blurs the pool’s bottom and the disappearing edge, making it appear to blend seamlessly into the horizon. While the infinity pool illusion still works on cloudy days, it is more pronounced when the sun is shining.

  • A Flat Surface 

The flat surface of the water is crucial in maintaining the illusion of the water extending seamlessly into the horizon, rather than appearing churned and murky. Infinity pools achieve this effect with a special pump that cycles the water gently, avoiding the creation of strong currents.

While many customers are tempted to add bubblers or fountains to their infinity pools for added beauty, we advise against it. Our experience shows that water movement disrupts the pool’s surface and breaks the illusion.

That wraps up our Science Hour for today. Now, let’s shift our focus to the best locations for building an infinity pool.

Final Words

In conclusion, the allure of infinity pools lies not just in their mesmerizing visual effect but also in the intricate engineering that brings this illusion to life. From the gentle cascading water to the strategic placement of catch basins, every element plays a role in creating a seamless blend between pool and horizon. Despite their grand appearance, infinity pools are safe havens for relaxation and enjoyment, offering a touch of luxury to any landscape. So, whether you dream of lounging by the edge or taking a refreshing dip, understanding how infinity pools work adds a new dimension to your poolside experience. Dive into the beauty of infinity pools and make your backyard oasis a reality!

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1. How does the water stay in an infinity pool?

Infinity pools incorporate a ‘catch basin’ positioned along the outer base of the pool’s wall. This basin captures the water cascading from the edge, then circulates it back into the main pool, ensuring a continuous flow of water for the ‘infinity’ effect.

2. How does an infinity swimming pool work?

The edge of the pool that appears infinite is designed to end at a weir, which is slightly lower (between 2 to 6 mm) than the pool’s water level. Below this weir, there’s a trough or catch basin. Water flows into this catch basin and is then pumped back into the pool.

3. Can you fall over the edge of an infinity pool?

You won’t risk accidentally falling over the edge if you swim near or right up to the pool’s edge; instead, you’ll encounter the wall.

4. What catches the water in an infinity pool?

Infinity pools utilize a ‘catch basin’ located along the exterior base of the pool wall. This basin collects the water that cascades over the edge and recirculates it back into the main pool, ensuring a continuous ‘infinite’ water flow.

5. Can you swim over an infinity pool?

Of course, just like any pool, infinity pools are safe especially since the so-called “infinity” edge is just an optical illusion. So if you swim close or all the way to the edge of the pool, you’ll bump into the wall eventually, and there is no danger of falling over the edge accidentally.

6. Is it expensive to have an infinity pool?

The average cost to install an in-ground pool with an infinity edge is $79,000. In contrast, installing a standard in-ground pool costs significantly less, around $49,000. The additional expenses for infinity pools are due to their distinctive edge and basin designs.

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