Are Pool Alarms Effective?

It not uncommon for people living in hot climates to build pools in their backyard. Some may even look for residential communities and complexes with pools.

If you own a pool or have access to it, you should be aware of the accidental drowning rates. These are alarmingly high when it comes to kids.

An effective way to prevent and reduce the number of deaths caused by accidental drowning is by installing pool alarms.

There are two main types of pool alarm sensors:

  • Subsurface sensors
  • Surface sensors

The ones with subsurface sensors are mounted a few inches below the waterline, onto the side of the pool. On the other hand, pool alarms with surface sensors float on top of the pool water.

Both these alarms are controlled by a remote receiver that is mounted inside your home. These receivers alarm whenever there is unusual water movement in the pool; you will know if anyone has accidentally fallen into the pool or is fighting for their lives inside it.

Let’s talk about whether pool alarms are effective or not.

Are Pool Alarms Effective

What are the Different Types of Pool Alarms?

There are different types of pool alarms. Let’s learn a little more about each one of them in the following sections.

Floating Motion Sensors

If you have a pool that really is placid, when the water’s surface is disturbed, these may commonly emit false alarms if you live in a windy region. They are also more expensive than infrared systems, which are much more effective. They are a far superior secondary defense system than a primary one.

Personal Immersion Systems

These gadgets are worn by the kids and function with a base system near your pool. These notify you if they take an unintentional dip. On the other hand, children are curious and resourceful, and they may quickly remove or misplace the wristbands. Therefore, only use this option in conjunction with a permanent system.

Infrared System Pool Alarm

Infrared system pool alarms are cost-effective, dependable, and efficient options. They can be installed on the fence, wall, or gate surrounding your pool, or they can be installed near the pool itself.

Each has its own set of disadvantages:

  • Fence-mounted alarms can be readily bypassed by leaping the fence or navigating the gate
  • Pool-mounted sirens will not trigger until your child is already in the pool, which may be too late

These systems may also not activate unless anything that weighs more than fifteen pounds enters the pool. If your child or pet weighs less than that, they may not trigger the alarm, which can be dangerous.

Underwater Motion Alarms

If you are ready to pay extra, these systems monitor the water using ultrasound rather than the infrared system. As a result, there will be no false alarms caused by the wind interfering with the water’s surface. They can be used in any pool, regardless of their size or shape.

There are no obstructions or ways to avoid the alarm going off because these alarms are continuously active. However, like the infrared system, they will only trigger once someone is already in the pool. Therefore, before the pool may be used, they must be manually removed and put into sleep mode.

Are Pool Alarms Effective?

It seems that they are indeed effective. However, is there a chance that their receivers could alarm on the occurrence of false positives? Keep reading to find out.

A study to determine the accuracy and effectiveness of these pool alarms was conducted. The main goal was to ascertain whether these pool alarms would go off with wind, rain, falling of leaves, or debris in the pool. Also, will they accurately report pool accidents?

This study concluded that the pool alarm with subsurface sensors was more reliable and had the tendency to record fewer false positives than the surface sensor pool alarms.

However, it further concluded that the pool alarms may be effective, but they are definitely not a reliable replacement for other pool safety measures. These measures include but are not limited to legally compliant pool fencing, and adult supervision, or lifeguards.

The study showed that the alarm response can be delayed by up to 30 seconds. That too, if only the distance between the pool alarm and the water disruption was less than 35 feet. So, if the distance was more than 35 feet, then the alarm would be further delayed. Such a delay was recorded at up to 2 minutes.

Now, you might consider this delay to relatively minor, and that one pool alarm would be sufficient for you. Well, in that case, note that the average time a child can drown is 5 minutes. Therefore, a delay of 2 minutes and then the time spent for you to run and jump in the pool could cost a child their life. This requires some serious consideration!

How Much Does a Pool Alarm Cost?

On average, a pool alarm can cost up to $185. So, the effective and somewhat reliable ones are going to be this expensive. However, with these costly models, their battery life can extend to 1 year.


It wouldn’t be wrong to claim that pool alarms are effective. However, they must be seen as a complementary safety measure. Do not solely rely on these pool alarms for the reasons mentioned above.

So, if you have a pool and children at home, relying solely on pool alarms is not wise. However, making sure that you DO have them installed is always a good idea and highly recommended.

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