It is no secret that the swimming season in Canada is short. In fact, most swimming pool owners are lucky to be able to swim for 4 months of the year. It doesn’t have to be that way though! In this article, we will explore a few ways to help you maximize your swimming season.
The easiest and cheapest way to extend your swimming season is by purchasing and properly using a solar blanket. Contrary to popular belief, solar blankets don’t actually heat up water. Solar blankets are actually insulating blankets designed to prevent heat from escaping the pool water. Since insulation works both ways (keeping warm things warm and cold things cold), if left on during the heat of the day, solar blankets will actually reduce the amount of heat trapped by the water.
To extend your swimming season you should, therefore, remove the solar blanket on warm, sunny days to allow the water to absorb as much heat as possible. The solar blanket should then be put back on the pool overnight and on colder, cloudy days to keep as much of that trapped heat in the water as possible.
While this might seem like a lot of work, it will also keep your pool a few degrees warmer than simply leaving the solar blanket on the pool at all times and can extend your swimming season by a couple of weeks.
Cost: $200-$400 Can Extend Your Season By: 2-3 Weeks
The most common way that pool owners extend their swimming season is with a pool heater. Pool heaters come in a wide variety of sizes and designs (too many for the purposes of this article) but all share the same two basic components.
A fuel source (electricity, natural gas or propane) used to heat water.
A control system allowing you to set your preferred water temperature.
Once installed and set up, your pool heater will be able to keep your pool water at your desired temperature, allowing you to extend your swimming season for as long as you want. This can come at a cost, however. The colder the outside temperatures become, the more the heater will have to run and the higher your heating costs will rise. Realistically, a properly sized pool heater will likely be able to extend your swimming season by up to 2 months before the heating costs get out of hand.
Cost: $2000-$5500 to purchase the heater. $250-$500 per month in added heating costs during colder weather and $1000s per month during the dead of winter. Can Extend Your Season By: 6-8 Weeks
ADDING INSULATION TO ABOVEGROUND POOLS
One of the biggest sources of heat loss in above ground pools is through their walls. As the outside air gets colder, it will quickly begin to cool the metal sides of the pool, which in turn cools the water around the perimeter of the pool.
While adding insulation to traditional above ground pools (especially soft-sided pools) isn’t really practical, “on-ground” pool walls generally include space for insulation. Their galvanized steel frames also allow for the insulation to be covered by vinyl siding or wood boards. This not only improves the look of the pool but also keeps the insulation from being exposed to the elements.
Adding insulation to the perimeter of the pool also helps to improve the efficiency of your pool heater or solar blanket, allowing you to further increase your swimming season.
Cost: $500-$1500 Can Extend Your Season By: 2-3 Weeks
BUILDING AN ENCLOSURE
If you’re looking to extend your swimming season to 6+ months of the year then more drastic action will be required. Building a heated, ventilated enclosure around your pool may seem like an expensive way to go, however, it is the only way to really be able to swim in a traditional pool all year long. When you factor in the amount that you will save in added pool heating expenses, the addition might even save you money in the long-term.
Your final design should include:
Insulated walls and ceiling to keep the pool room comfortable during the winter.
A floor that can take some water without getting too slippery. Avoid wood as it will warp and rot when exposed to water over long periods of time and smooth tile as they can get dangerously slippery when wet.
A ventilation system to remove any steam and chemical smell from the room.
Water-resistant drywall commonly used in bathrooms.
Cost: $15,000+ Can Extend Your Season By: As long as you want!
Swim spas allow you to easily, and affordably, extend your swimming season to at least 6-9 months of the year, with some swim spa owners operating their swim spas year round! Swim spas are able to do this because they are insulated and because they hold much less water than a pool does.
Due to their small size, insulation, and ultra-efficient filtration and heating systems, swim spas can be used in the dead of winter while costing you less in running costs than a typical single speed pool pump!
Not only can swim spas be used year-round, they are also cheaper to run and easier to maintain than traditional pools, and are more versatile than traditional pools.
Swim spas are also able to be used as a hot tub. They include jetted hydrotherapy seats to massage your back, neck, and legs and the water can be heated up to 104 Fahrenheit!
Swim spas are also able to be used as fitness pools. They can generate a current powerful enough to swim against and offer many additional options and accessories that can be used for a full-body aqua fitness workout.
Cost: $15,000-$35,000 Can Extend Your Season By: As long as you want!