Having a pool is an awesome gift. Being able to go for a swim on a hot day is a fantastic thing, and should always be appreciated.
But I’m sure every pool owner has had an experience where they want to go for a swim on a scorching day, dipped their toe in the water... and found that it was ABSOLUTELY FREEZING.
What’s up with that? And is there anything we can do about it?
A LITTLE SCIENCE
Water is slow to warm up, and slow to cool down. This is the reason coastal areas (say, Oregon) tend to have more moderate temperatures than inland areas (say, North Dakota). Water is slow to warm in the summer, keeping the air cooler. It is also slow to cool in the winter, keeping the air warmer.
The same principal applies to swimming pools. The average pool has over 10,000 gallons of water, and it takes a ton of thermal energy to warm this to a comfortable temperature. This is why, even in the dog days of summer, your pool can be shockingly cold.
ELECTRIC AND GAS POOL HEATERS
There are many kinds of solar pool heaters available on the market today to try and solve this problem. Electrical and gas powered heaters can be purchased, but tend to be expensive- usually $2,000 or more. They also use a ton of power or fuel, and need consistent maintenance. All of this leads to a pretty hefty investment for the luxury of having comfortable swimming water.
Luckily, there are cheaper alternatives.
SOLAR POOL HEATERS
Solar pool heaters use the sun to heat your pool. The top layer of the water in your pool is usually pretty warm after a month or so of summer. A pump is used to move the cold water at the bottom through a solar panel, where it is warmed. This water is directed into the pool, and the cycle starts anew.
A good solar heater will be surprisingly effective at warming your pool, at the
fraction of the total cost. The only power and maintenance you need is for the pump, and solar pool heaters are available for a much lower price than more traditional models.
A solar pool heater will raise the value of your home, and will reduce your energy dependence and help the environment.
If you like do-it-yourself projects, a solar pool heater can be put together relatively simply, and for under $100 (pump not included). For a step-by-step design, go here.
When setting up a solar panel, make sure it faces directly south to maximize the sunlight you receive (if you live down under, the opposite is true).
Good luck and stay prepared!
Read more from Rambo Moe, about Do It Yourself and survival, at preparedforthat.com.