8 Very Effective Ways to Cool Pool Water in Summer

There is nothing worse than getting in your pool in the dead heat of summer only to discover that it has been transformed into a hot tub rather than a refreshing oasis. If you wanted a hot tub, you would have installed one. So, how can you cool your pool water in the summer? 

To cool your pool water in the summer there are a few options: You can add a fountain or waterfall, add an aerator, drain and refill, add shade, ice it down, focus on the area around your pool, or install a heat pump or pool cooler. 

You do not want your pool to feel like you are dipping your toes in the icy Antarctic, but you also do not want to jump into a steaming pool of warmth. There is a fine balance when it comes to the perfect temperature for a pool and sometimes this requires using a few ways to cool things off. Continue reading to find 8 different ways to get your pool water back to a bearable temperature.

What are the Most Effective Ways to Cool Pool Water Down in Hot Temperatures?

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of summer absolutely pining for a dip in some refreshing pool water? You have sat in the house all day feeling the sun heat up everything around you. You can see the heatwaves stream from the concrete in the driveway, you can smell it searing the petals off of tiny unsuspecting flowers, the neighborhood squirrels have even taken shelter in only the shadiest of trees and are paralyzed by the swelter. 

Your air conditioner is no longer doing the trick and your fleet of fans is falling flat. In this case, the only resolve is to find the nearest pool- and fast. You run as fast as you can to your backyard oasis, drooling over the thought of that cool, sweet relief that only a pool can offer. You jump straight in without hesitation only to be met with what resembles bathwater. 

Complete pool betrayal. This should never have to be an issue, even in the hottest of summers. A warm pool can be just as bad as one that is too chilly, and it is a problem that so many face. Still, very few people know how to deal with it effectively. No matter how warm your pool may get, there is a solution that will help to keep your pool parties going, your guests happy, and your family from hiding away inside all summer long.

The top 8 most effective ways to cool pool water in the summer include: 

1. Add a Fountain or Waterfall

Adding a fountain or waterfall may seem like a huge ask for those of you that want to keep your pool area simple, but do not knock it too quickly. When it comes to waterfalls or fountains in your pool, they are more than something pretty to look at. Adding an active water feature not only enhances the look of your pool, but it works in your pool’s favor when it comes to keeping the water cool. 

Are you shocked? Yep, you heard right, this little feature can actually help to keep things cooled down.  “How,” you ask? Well, let’s take a closer look. Have you ever stood at the edge of a pond that was covered in a thick coat of algae, had very little active life within it, and resembled more of a graveyard than a tiny ecosystem? 

The cause of this stagnant water is likely due to no or highly limited movement within it. If there is no source of water going in, going out, or a nice breeze to help move things along, the water begins to turn to waste. Hence, everything inside the ecosystem begins to die or be overcome by the rising layer of heat and algae. 

Now, if you were to put a fountain smack in the middle of that pond, its state would likely improve. This is because a fountain is able to put oxygen back into the water and gets things all stirred up. A more scientific term for cooling your pool, lake, or another type of water basin down using a fountain or waterfall would be aeration. 

When using aeration, the water from your pool is jutted into the air (or picks up air as it falls from the waterfall) and is then thrust back into the pool. These little oxygen-carrying droplets help to keep your pool a bit cooler. 

Installing a fountain or waterfall does not necessarily mean breaking the bank. Waterfalls are a bit trickier, but there are plenty of options for fountains that you can put straight into your pool without any sort of installation. 

If you really want to amp things up and have the space to accommodate them, consider installing a few fountains in different areas of the pool so that aeration can take place at a larger rate and thus afford you cooler water temperatures. You may also find that the fountains add a nice aesthetic appeal, help to keep your pool cleaner, and are inviting for your friends and family who wish to play in or enjoy looking at them.

2. Add an Aerator 

Speaking of an aerator, if you are looking for something a bit less obvious and still just as effective at cooling down your pool water in summer, consider installing an aerator into your pool. The name gives itself away as the purpose of this little device is to get air into your pool. 

As previously discussed, adding small amounts of air into your pool in a continual stream will help to get cool air into the water and thus decrease the overall temperature of your pool. Consequently, this is a highly effective measure for consistently maintaining cool temperatures in your pool during the summer.

An aerator is actually just a small attachment that will either plug in or screw into the side of your pool. This will get attached to the spot in your pool that is already spraying out water. There can be multiple spots for this in some pools or only one in others; where you choose to attach it is totally up to you. 

With the force of the water flowing through this contraption, oxygen is then forced into tiny bubbles within the water. Once the bubbles have been created, they are then forced into the water in a surge and then flow through your pool. 

When they are dispersed, the temperature of your pool is then decreased and you can enjoy a cool swim once again! This tool works great during the day, but if you really want to optimize aeration, consider leaving it on throughout the night. Temperatures are lower at night, which is a great thing for your pool. 

Because the temperature is lower, this means that the air forced into the water is cooler, which, in turn, causes the water to cool quicker due to the decreased temperature. In this instance, you would be working smart and not hard. A total win-win for you and your pool! 

3. Drain and Refill 

I will never forget the day I stepped into my childhood pool and it felt as if I was touching the surface of the Gobi desert. It was horribly hot and it stayed that way for weeks until we finally got a good heavy rain that gave the water a rest from the sun, but also added some cool, fresh water back into the pool. 

I cannot tell you the relief that I felt when I finally hopped back into the water and found that it was no longer bathing water. I was happy to leave the shower inside. This flux of rainwater was what did exactly the trick for my pool during the blazing month of August, but the weather is not always in our favor and even more, some people do not want to sit around and wait for it to get to work. 

For those of you that do not want to rely on the forecast to cool your pool down, consider draining and refilling your pool. Before you start choking due to the huge gasp of shock you just thought about taking, hear me out. 

I do not mean draining every last drop from your pool. First of all, that is completely wasteful and secondly, it is completely unnecessary. Think of draining your pool like you would draining a fish tank. You are not going to remove all the water from your tank as it would be way too much trouble and could mess up the environment. You take a third or close to half of the water out and your water is as clean as a whistle. 

The same rule applies to your pool. Drain about a third of your pool’s water out and replace it with fresh water. Half of the water is quite a bit, but if you are really desperate for some relief, go for this amount. Once you have the fresh water in, this should help to solve your issue of water that is entirely too warm. Just keep in mind that this is not a permanent solution and put a big dent in your water bill if you use this method continually. 

4. Add Shade 

Have you ever seen a pool that is just out in the middle of nowhere? I once drove up on a pool that had just been installed in a new neighborhood and the only protection this pool had to it was a tiny iron fence surrounding the property. Trees were nonexistent, there were no bushes in sight that had the potential to cast even the tiniest of shades, and not a single umbrella was on the property. All I could picture was myself roasting on the pavement. 

For many people though, this is the reality of a new pool: they have it in a space that does not have a ton of natural shade. Of course, the most covering type of shade for your pool would be trees, but this is not always immediately possible considering they take time to grow. 

Even more, many pool owners want to avoid trees so that they do not have to constantly worry about debris falling into their pool and blocking up their filters. This is completely understandable! 

So what does a pool owner do if they don’t already have trees? If you want to prepare for the future, go ahead and plant a few trees that have the potential to grow quickly but are also big enough to offer any amount of shade. If you do not want trees near your water or if you need a temporary solution while mother nature does her magic on your newly planted landscaping, consider a man-made option. 

This is where those oversized pool umbrellas come in handy. If you were to purchase two to four of these for your pool (depending on the size) they can do wonders for the overall temperature of your pool. Strategically place them over different points in the pool and try to cover as much area as possible. Get them up in the morning to start blocking out the sun right away and keep them rotating as the sun moves throughout the day. 

I realize that having to move these umbrellas throughout the day may seem like way too big of a commitment, but they are going to be a quick fix throughout your day that will not require any major equipment being installed or constant changing of water. Alternatively, you could place a shade tarp overhead that will allow for rainfall to come through and yet block much of the sun.

With either option, this is one of those solutions that offer a happy medium. Even more, placing shade (natural or synthetic) near your pool will offer shade for any swimmers- and this is a huge plus when you turn the color of a lobster after a few hours, like me. Protection from the sun’s rays is always a plus! 

5. Ice it Down 

I can see every one of you rolling your eyes right now. You are thinking “How on earth am I supposed to have enough ice to make any sort of impact on the temperature of my pool?” The question you raise is completely warranted. For most of you, cooling off your pool does not include the kind of pool that blows up just big enough to fit a two-year-old and his favorite toy, but one that has thousands of gallons of water. This would seem to pose a problem for ice. 

In this case, you are absolutely right. Sure, if you really felt motivated you could clear out a complete ice freezer from the gas station down the road and dump all the contents into your pool as quickly as possible, but by having to take time to dump the ice in, it would melt before you were able to get enough bags in to make a difference. Plus, you have a huge area to cover and this slow disbursement could mean trouble for the overall temperature drop. 

Instead of dumping a few bags into your pool (I would imagine very few of you have the ability or motivation to go and clean out an entire ice freezer) consider getting a dozen extra-large bags and stringing them along the inside of your pool. I realize this seems like a stretch, but keeping the ice in the bag is going to help slow the rate of them melting and the placement will also help with even disbursement. 

Once you have the bags in the water, get into the water and begin to walk the walls in a circle so you can help speed the circulation of cool water. This will help to disperse it into the pool relatively quickly. You can also walk the edges using an oar or paddle to effectively stir the water and create a steady circulatory flow.

If you do not like the idea of ice, consider freezing a dozen or so gallon jugs full of water. String them along the inside of your pool and follow the same steps. These tend to last longer than ice, but many find it difficult to accomplish due to a lack of freezer space.

6. Focus on the Area Around Your Pool 

Have you ever gotten in your car that has sat on top of a blacktop driveway for hours on end on a hot summer day and immediately felt like you were going to explode due to the pressure of heat surrounding your body? 

Of course, the sun beating down on the car causes it to be hot within, but you know what else contributes to its heat? All the heat surrounding your car from the surfaces below and beside it. Heat radiates off of just about anything if given the change. 

Knowing this, your pool is no exception. When you look at your pool, what are some areas that could be drawing in and retaining unnecessary amounts of heat? The two biggest culprits are going to be decks and pavement around your pool. Although they are not in direct contact with your water, if they are burning up all day long, that heat is going to find its way into your pool. This is where you come in to give those surfaces, and your pool, a little relief. 

You can accomplish this through a few different ways, but let’s first start with hosing the area off. By spraying the area, you are going to have immediate heat relief. This will be the fastest solution to cooling a large area off in record time. However, the water will evaporate and it will heat right back up after some time. This means that you’ll have to continually spray the area throughout the day. This may be fine for you, but remember that more water equals higher water bills. 

If you do not want to constantly spray water on the area, consider investing in a portable cooler (or a few) for the space around your pool. These are electric and will need to be plugged in, but they are powerful little things and do very well with keeping the ground from reaching record temperatures. As an added bonus, you and your guests will love wallowing in its breeze on a hot summer day. This is one of those “two for the price of one” type deals. 

7. Heat Pump 

No, don’t look confused, you read that right. If you are wanting a method to cool down your pool effectively that is going to be more permanent, then I want to discuss a few options that are out there for you. 

This first one is called the heat pump. Yes, you have heard of it for those who need to warm up their water when the pool is first opened or when a heavy rain has turned their water to a nice Alaskan temperature, but did you know there are heat pumps out there that are capable of more? 

Beyond being a great investment for those chillier summer days and early fall afternoons, some pool heaters are capable of cooling your pool. The goal of a heat pump is to generate heat. This happens through the pump creating heat with electricity, heating up the water that is within the heater, and then disperses it back out into your pool. This cycle repeats over and over until the entirety of your pool has reached a specified temperature that you set.  

To cool the pool, the only difference is that the process is reversed. The operation for this is going to vary from model to model, but you should be able to switch the mode on your heater to get it to the setting that functions as a coolant. Once you have this done, water passes by cold air and is pumped back into the pool. Some even release warm air out of the heater itself. This can take the night to complete, but drastic temperature changes can be seen. 

When I say drastic, I am talking anywhere from a 10-12 degree drop in the overall temperature of your pool water. Now, this is not a hack that is free but is a solution that will take investment. Even with the expense, if you are constantly dealing with the problem of a warm pool due to the climate of your area, this is a product worth taking a look at. It will solve your warm water problems and will not require anything but the flip of a switch from you. 

Now, there is a point to consider when looking into using a heater for your pool. These systems are eclectic and when they run, they require a tremendous amount of power to operate. This is not to say that your home is not capable, but that this power usage is something to consider if the cost is at the front of your mind. The systems are relatively expensive to purchase and this extra energy usage will be something tacked on each month it runs. 

8. Pool Cooler 

Now you know that a pool heater can heat and cool your pool off. Essentially, they are two for the price of one. However, some of you out there have absolutely no need or no desire to have your pool heated at any point in time. If you want hot water you either head to the shower or you’ll buy a hot tub, right? I completely hear you on this, so I am here to introduce to you the one and only pool cooler. 

That’s right, you may not have even known such a thing existed, but guess what, it does! Even better, this little invention is one that is going to keep your pool as cool as you please and will work like a machine (because it is one) to get the job done. Instead of using heat exchange, pool coolers typically use an electrical fan that requires a dramatically less amount of energy usage when operating. 

This means that your energy bills will not skyrocket the way that they would if you were using a heater to accomplish your cooling needs. Through the use of fans, water is circulated through the pool cooler and the fans are activated. They then work vigorously to cool down the water before it is put back into the pool. Once the water is cooled down, it is removed from the pool cooler and back into the main swimming area. 

These machines pack a serious punch when it comes to their ability to get your pool cooled down. Overnight, they can bring the temperature down anywhere from 8-12 degrees without even breaking a sweat. They are efficient when it comes to how they work and they are obviously fantastic savers of energy. 

However, since it is a pool cooler, be advised that they are not capable of heating your pool, even if you try to reverse the function (not possible). They cannot perform the same way as a heater can, but again, this may not be your need. 

However, this product is quite expensive when compared to a pool heater. A pool cooler is special in that it guarantees cool water without having to suck massive amounts of energy to operate, but you will definitely pay for what you get with this. If the price is too steep for you, consider how much extra you will pay to run a heater over time- it may be worth it. 

Jed Arnold

Jed spent every year from the ages of 15 - 22 as a Lifeguard (Red Cross) and ages of 17 - 22 as a Certified Pool Operator (CPO). Between working for over a dozen facilities and owning a pool, he carries over a decade of pool experience.

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