Customers often ask how close to the pool should a safety fence be installed. In most cases, the answer is about 24 inches. Your state’s rules play a role, as well as pool safety, and common sense. Here are some of the reasons why a pool safety fence should be installed at that distance.
Pool Fence Building Codes
Most states require that you place the safety fence at least 20 inches from the edge of the water. This rule applies if you are trying to pass a safety inspection. Inspections typically occur when you move into a newly built house, build a new pool or make renovations that require permitting. However, installers usually add four more inches. Pool curves and corners can cause the fence panels (typically 3 feet between fence poles) to cut inward one to three inches. If the fence is installed at exactly 20 inches you would not pass the inspection because the fence would come inside of the 20-inch rule.
General Pool Safety with Pool Barriers
Pool safety is another reason to put the safety pool fence at 24 inches from the water’s edge. Preventing accidental drowning is a key reason you install the safety fence in the first place. But what if someone is struggling in the pool to stay afloat and manages to get to the side of the pool? A fence installed at the water’s edge would present a challenge. They would not be able to pull themselves out of the pool to safety, possibly even leading to drowning. If the fence is 24 inches away from the edge, the swimmer can pull themselves out of the water and safely sit on the edge of the deck.
Pool Owner Common Sense
The third and final reason has to do with common sense. People need to clean pools. Whether it is the homeowner or a professional, they need to lean over the water to use the cleaning equipment. Do you trust yourself or the pool cleaner not to lean into the fence every time? A fence installed at the water’s edge will mean someone leaning over the fence for access. Therefore it becomes very likely over time that they will cause damage and possibly break it.
The bottom line is that 24 inches are the magic distance that will keep you and your family safe and increase the life of the fence! Now you’ll know the next time you ask yourself how close to the pool should a safety fence be installed.