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The Water's Edge

Too Cool for the Pool?  –  We live in a tropical climate, and I’m sure few people feel sorry for us when we talk about how chilly the weather gets around the winter holidays, but for those living in hilltop properties, it’s time to unpack the blankets and duvets and exchange shorts and t-shirts for jeans and sweaters. Wind speeds can reach up to 20 knots during this time of year, and on the hillsides, the average wind speed is 5 to 10 knots higher than it is in town or at sea level.

Many homeowners have swimming pools that they find are too cold to enjoy during the winter months, but that does not have to be the case. When speaking with Erick Oeseburg from Poolworks about how to efficiently heat a pool during the colder season, I first ask about dark-bottomed pools. “A dark-bottomed pool can make a five- to six-degree difference in temperature,” Erick says. “But the wind factor here will cool off a pool more than anything.” Erick recommends heating pools that are located on properties that are above 700 feet in altitude.

 

Solar covers are always an option for heating a pool during the winter months, but Erick reminds me that most people don’t want to cover their pools. “One of the reasons you have your pool is for the aesthetic value, so why would you want to cover it?” Additionally, a solar cover must be removed and stored each time someone wants to use the pool which makes the idea of a “quick dip in the pool” less appealing.

Instead of a solar cover, another option is using solar panels that are especially efficient during the winter months when there is plenty of sun. The main factor for homeowners to consider when choosing solar panels is that the amount of panel area increases as the volume of water and desired temperature increases. A company such as AES can advise homeowners how to best outift their homes with solar panels. A pool should add to the beauty of a property’s outdoor scenery and also provide a place for homeowners and guests to relax and socialize year round. Solar panels work for heating a pool, but they are not always the most attractive additions to a property.

A standard air source heat pump is often the most practical option for heating a pool during the cooler season, especially since most homeowners only have to use it for a few months of the year. Electric air source heat pumps work by extracting the heat from sun-warmed air then using a compressor to increase the temperature and transferring it to the water of the pool. This type of pump is more efficient than a standard resistance heater, using about 1/3 to ¼ of the amount of electricity, according to Wikipedia. Also, an air source heat pump is typically small enough to conceal in a bench or cupboard, so there is nothing to detract from property owners’ lovely backyard views.

A warm pool can be one of the best ways to ward off the winter blues and also a great way to liven up holiday entertaining. A closet full of soft, thick towels and fuzzy robes nearby will make the transition out of the pool even more comforting.  

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