Keeping Your Cool In Extreme Heat
People often dream of having an endless summer, but the reality of ever-rising temperatures can make fun in the sun a challenge. As heat waves roll through your backyard, the importance of preparation in the face of extreme heat has never been higher. That said, the relentless summer sun doesn’t need to ruin your next pool party. With a few simple precautions, you can stay safe and keep on swimming through all the toasty weeks to come.
Extreme heat causes serious damage to your pool chemistry if left unattended. When the ultraviolet rays of the sun hit your water, they break apart the hypochlorite ions created by chlorine and release chlorine gas into the air. Sunlight by itself can reduce the chlorine level of your pool by up to 90 percent in just a few hours! Most professionals recommend using a chlorine stabilizer to extend the life of your chlorine and stave off the effects of UV rays.
In addition to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, rising temperatures also have a profound effect on your pool chemistry. Extreme heat burns out your chlorine at an increasingly faster rate, leading to unsanitary and unsafe swimming conditions. Because it’s easier for algae and bacteria to grow in warmer environments, burning off the chlorine in your pool can quickly result in murky, filthy water. As such, during periods of extreme heat, it’s important to test your Free Available Chlorine (FAC) levels on a regular basis. The ideal range for your FAC levels are between 2.0 and 4.0 ppm. Should your water fall below this range, it’s important to shock the pool immediately to keep it safe through the hot summer months.
Under extreme heat, your chlorine levels aren’t the only things taking a beating. Rising temperatures leave you at risk of sunburns, heat stroke, and heat exhaustion! No pool party is worth risking your safety over, so be sure to take proper precautions before diving in.
First and foremost, recognize the signs that you might be experiencing heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Heat stroke is caused by your body overheating. It increases your heart rate, makes your skin dry to the touch, causes headaches, and can even induce nausea and vomiting. Heat exhaustion is similar, but the symptoms are markedly different. It causes a slower heart rate, heavy sweating, and clammy skin. As with most things, prevention is the best cure for heat stroke and heat exhaustion: relax in shaded areas, drink plenty of water, and only wear lightweight clothing. If you or someone nearby appears to be experiencing heat stroke or heat exhaustion, seek medical help immediately.
Dehydration is also a serious threat in the heat, and is best recognized by feelings of dizziness, fatigue, and extreme thirst. It’s easy to forget to stop for a drink of water while having fun in the pool, but just taking regular breaks to cool off and drink water goes a long way towards keeping you safe.
Finally, you likely don’t need to be reminded to use sunscreen to prevent sunburns under extreme heat, but it’s important to remember how often sunscreen needs to be applied. Even when the weather is cloudy outside, the risk of sunburns under extreme heat is ever-present. Reapplying your sunscreen over the course of the day is also a must; sunscreen loses its effectiveness over time, and can wash off in the water.
Cool Your Pool
Drinking water and staying in the shade will keep you cool, but did you know you could cool down the swimming pool itself? The simplest and easiest way to keep your pool just a little bit colder is to run your pump at night, when the air is cooler. The effect won’t be drastic, but this should still make a noticeable difference.
Another effective way to cool your pool is to install a reverse-cycle heat pump. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but many heat pumps have the power to run reverse cycles that take heat out instead of pumping it in! As such, a reverse-cycle heat pump is a great investment for both extreme heat and cooler weather, extending the weeks you can comfortably swim in your pool. Similarly, dedicated pool coolers are also a great way to lower your water's temperature and give you perfectly chilled water.
Finally, the most entertaining way to cool your pool in extreme heat is to install a waterfall or fountain! Moving water stays cooler than still water, so adding air to your water and keeping it circulating can make a big difference in how refreshing your pool feels. Whether you install jets, a fountain, a waterfall, or even a pool slide, it’s hard to go wrong with any moving water features.
Beat The Heat
Extreme heat can ruin your summer fun in a hurry, but with a few simple precautions, staying safe in the pool has never been easier. Adjusting the Free Available Chlorine levels in your water takes only a few minutes each day, and everyone should always be using sunscreen and drinking plenty of water around the pool. It’s even possible to cool down the water itself, to keep your swimming pool from becoming a hot tub. If you still need help beating the heat, stop into your local Leslie’s. From chlorine to cooling solutions, our experts help you spend less time worrying and more time making a splash!