This week, amid Tropical Storm/Hurricane Elsa, we did something that we honestly should’ve done years ago – added a solar heater to our pool.
Once the bad weather passed and the sun had a chance to come out for more than an hour, the effect was seriously like swimming in bath water!
Yesterday I set the pool at 92 degrees and it was almost too warm, compared to the 82-85 degrees we’ve been seeing the last couple of weeks in June since I started measuring.
Today I backed it off to 90 and at 11:30am when we first went, it was just about perfect.
I’ve found that 80+ is enough to enjoy during the summer and feels refreshing when the sun is out, but you still get that shock when you get in for the first time – particularly when the boys in your swim trunks first hit the water – and after dark once the sun is down and the kids are asleep, it’s a bit chilly to relax and unwind in.
90, on the other hand, is like stepping into a giant bathtub and brings back memories of swimming down in the Florida Keys in the middle of July … without the salt water, thankfully. I was even able to use the heater to get the hot tub up to 102 degrees during the day, which fell to around 97-98 by the time I got the kids to bed and could actually enjoy it for myself.
Considering that our spa heater has literally been broken for years, this was a nice little bonus!
The only downside that’s going to take some getting used to is that Matthew is a lot more comfortable in the warmer water, which has kept me on my toes the last couple of days. Lately I’ve been taking all three kids swimming by myself because Sara has been having problems with her ear, and I can mostly handle it because Christopher and David can usually handle themselves and Matthew would spend a lot of time playing on the pool deck, so I could relax and just catch him when he wants to jump in…
…now, however, he’s gotten a lot braver between jumping in without waiting for me and swimming over his head where he can’t make it across without assistance. He’s also been doing this thing that Christopher used to do where he can’t judge when he’s tired and needs a break, so he just keeps going and going and struggling more along the way. ☹️
Hopefully we can push him to build up his skills, just like his brothers did, to where these won’t be as big of a deal, and once Sara’s feeling better that will give me an extra set of hands, too.
Anywho, I’m really curious to see how these solar panels manage once we get out of the hottest months of the year because the selling point that we heard wasn’t so much warmer temps but a longer swimming season – as in, this should in theory add another month or two to each end of when we normally use our pool, which is typically around May – October for the kids and maybe June – September for us thin-skinned adults!
If it could keep the temps into the high 80s or even 90 for March/April and October/November, that would be amazing, but there are a lot of other factors like the position of the sun in the sky that I’m just not familiar enough to say, so we’ll see what happens.
In the meantime, though, the consensus is that solar heat is a win! 😉