It’s already autumn in Australia and if you’re like a lot of folks, you’re probably getting ready to close your pool for the season due to the dropping temperature. This doesn’t have to be the case though, there are a number of options available to Australian pool owners that can allow you to ignore the seasons and keep you and your family swimming the whole year round!
Building a pool enclosure
The first way to go about this would be to have a pool enclosure built. Out of the many options available to pool owners, building a pool enclosure is possibly the most expensive one available. Don’t let the price tag scare you away though, the pool enclosure is also the one that provides the most benefits for your pool!
Benefits of a pool enclosure
- Allows for all-weather entertaining - Don’t let rain, cold, or even too much heat stop you from holding pool parties! Pool enclosures shield your poolside area from the elements so that you will always have a shady area to do your pool parties.
- Easier pool maintenance - If leaves, bugs, and other debris can't reach your pool then it means that you’ll spend less time scooping out and cleaning your pool, and more time enjoying it!
- Save on pool chemicals - Since your pool can now be considered “indoors” with the addition of a pool enclosure, maintaining your chemicals will become much easier as well! Your sanitiser/chlorine is partially protected from direct UV exposure so they last longer. Lower organic debris will mean lower chlorine demand and lower phosphates which means less algae growth in your pool!
- Shields your pool from the wind - As you already know by now, one of the biggest factors that draw the heat away from your pool is heat loss caused by the wind pulling the heat from the surface. Less heat loss means lower heating bills!
- More comfort for swimmers - Not only does a good pool enclosure help keep heat in your pool, it also keeps the swimmers warm! While it’s only an inconvenience, it’s pretty nice to know that once you exit the pool, you will be shielded from direct wind!
- No more pool covers - If you find rolling and unrolling a pool cover to be inconvenient, then say goodbye to all to that if you have a pool enclosure!
Disadvantage of a pool enclosure
There’s only one main disadvantage of a pool enclosure that we can think of and that is price! Depending on the size and design, a pool enclosure can cost as much as your pool! Although this might sound scary, it does also add overall value to your home so that’s something to think about.
Using a Gas or Electric Pool Heater
The easiest comparison we can make when describing a pool heater is that of a giant electric kettle! The pool heater’s heating coils come directly in contact with the water passing through it and heats it up, sending hot water to your pool. That’s basically it and that means that you’ll have warm pool water the whole year round! One super advantage that pool heaters provide is that they can heat up your pool water quite fast when compared with the other options out there.
Disadvantage of using a gas or electric pool heater
Pool heaters, whether gas or electric, have one main disadvantage that we can think of, and that is the cost of heating the pool! Although the unit cost itself is kind of low initially, using a pool heater can wreak havoc on your budget if you’re not prepared for it.
Utilizing a Solar Powered Heating System
We have gone through how a solar heating system works in depth here but without going through all of the intricacies of a solar powered heating system, the main takeaway from that article was that there’s something that a solar powered heating system provides that no other active heating system can provide, and that is it can heat your pool for free! Barring the initial installation costs, you can have a warm pool the whole year round. Unless you live in an area that snows (ha!) or sees unusually cold winter temperatures, a solar powered pool heating system can be a very good choice.
Disadvantages of using a solar powered heating system
This is pretty straightforward, no sun means no heat! So on cloudy or dark days (and at night!) you won’t be able to depend on solar pool heating systems to warm up your pool. This next thing is more of a warning since this can work against you. At night, be sure that the water intake for your solar pool heating system is diverted if you run your pool pump! Why? If your pool water is routed through the system, it will cool your pool water down very fast!
Installing an energy-efficient pool heat pump
And finally, one of the best (and recommended) ways that you can swim no matter what season it is will be to install an energy-efficient pool heat pump. Pool heat pumps work drawing heat from the air (as opposed to generating heat from energy) and running it through a compressor before transferring it to the water, essentially heating it up. We’ve discussed how pool heat pumps work in detail here but in a nutshell, it only takes a fraction (10-20%) of the electricity cost to heat up your pool the same amount as a traditional gas or electric pool heater
Disadvantages of using an energy-efficient pool heat pump
There are two disadvantages that we can think of when it comes to heat pumps. The first one is the initial up-front cost for purchasing and installing the unit. Although they are pretty pricey to begin with, remember that this cost is offset in the long term by ongoing energy savings benefits! In a few years, you will have recouped the upfront cost via the savings and it just gets better from there!
The second disadvantage we can think of when using energy-efficient pool heat pumps is that they’re just not as fast as using a traditional gas or electric pool heater. There is a workaround for this though, and that is to plan your pool usage appropriately. If you’re planning on using the pool during the chilly days, simply keep the heat pump running in advance so that it will be warm and ready to use when the time comes. So yeah, no impromptu pool parties when you have a pool heat pump!
Energy Saving Notes for different heating solutions
If you’re already invested in a traditional pool heater and changing out your heating system is out of the picture, adding a good pool cover goes a long way in keeping the heat in your pool! In fact, a good pool cover like the ones from Daisy that Mr Pool Man has available on its online store will pay for itself in under a year if paired with a traditional pool heater!
A good pool cover can also pair well with solar pool heaters and pool heat pumps by keeping the heat in your pool! If you think about it, not only does it keep the heat in the pool, but solar covers can greatly increase the efficiency of your pool heaters by warming up the water for free by a couple of degrees.
Outdoor Improvements for all-season swimming
Portable and permanent outdoor heating
The temperature of your pool water is only one of the aspects that will affect swimming comfort! Of course you can always run indoors after swimming, but where’s the fun in that right? The addition of a space heater poolside or a fire pit will also allow you to enjoy your pool during the colder seasons by allowing you to lounge around at the poolside where it wouldn’t normally be comfortable doing so.
Install Privacy Shields for your pool
Privacy shields can be a good addition to any poolside! Aside from the added benefit of keeping prying eyes away from your poolside, a privacy shield does have some “undocumented” advantages that will help in allowing you to use your pool during the colder season! What is this secret use? Well, privacy shields can actually provide a bit of wind shelter for your pool! Less wind = less heat loss for your pool. And of course, the less windy it is poolside, the more comfort it will be for swimmers around the pool!
Consider a swim spa
Yes, there are a lot of options for you and your family to be able to enjoy swimming no matter what the season is. But if heating up a full sized pool sounds too expensive to do over the winter then you may have an option of turning your attached spa into a swim spa with some swim jets! Heating up or warming up a spa costs a fraction of what it does to heat up a full-sized pool simply because of the volume of water involved. The addition of swim jets to an attached spa can give you the experience of doing laps even in a confined space! And if the expense of adding swim jets sounds like a lot, a swim training belt can help as well, provided that the spa is deep enough.
P.S. Don’t worry about the spa being too small for kids, we’re sure that they’re going to be perfectly happy to get into warm water during the colder seasons as opposed to not being able to swim at all!
So there you have it! You shouldn’t let the cold weather stop you from enjoying your pool! With the addition of a proper pool heater or if you’re feeling extravagant, a full-on pool enclosure, there’s nothing that really prevents you from enjoying your pool no matter what the season is!
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Happy swimming :)