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How Can You Swim All Year Long?

The dream of many pool owners is to be able to swim year-round. With harsh Canadian winters, however, swimming year-round can seem impossible. That doesn’t stop some pool owners from trying though! Today, we will explore a few of the more common ways that people try to extend their swimming seasons to see which will actually allow you to swim year-round.

Solar Blankets

The easiest way to extend your swimming season is to simply use your solar blanket as it is designed to be used. Contrary to popular belief, solar blankets don’t actually heat up water. They are instead designed to prevent heat from escaping. Since insulation works both ways (keeping warm things warm and cold things cold), if left on during warm days solar blankets can actually reduce the amount of heat trapped by the water.

To extend your swimming season you should, therefore, remove the solar blanket on warm, sunny days to allow the water to absorb as much heat as possible. Once the sun sets and the air begins to cool, put your solar blanket back on to keep that extra heat trapped in the water.

While this might seem like a lot of work, it will keep your pool a few degrees warmer than simply leaving the solar blanket on the pool at all times.

Can You Swim Year-Round?

No, although it can help you extend your swimming season by a couple of weeks.

Adding Insulation To Above Ground Pools

As the colder weather comes, the biggest source of heat loss in above ground pools becomes their outer walls. As the outside air gets colder, it quickly begins to cool the metal sides of the pool, which in turn cools the water around the perimeter of the pool.

While adding insulation to most above ground pools (especially soft-sided pools) isn’t really practical, “on-ground” pool walls generally include space for insulation. Their galvanized steel frames also allow for the insulation to be covered by vinyl siding or wood boards. This not only improves the look of the pool but also keeps the insulation from being exposed to the elements.

Can You Swim Year-Round?

No, although it can help you extend your swimming season by a couple of weeks and reduce heating costs if your pool has a heater.

Pool Heaters

To extend your swimming season in Canada beyond mid-September usually requires a pool heater. While there is a wide variety of pool heater sizes and designs (too many for us to discuss today), they all share the same two basic components.

  • A fuel source (electricity, natural gas or propane) used to heat water.
  • A control system allowing you to set your preferred water temperature.

Once installed and set up, your pool heater will be able to keep your pool water at your desired temperature, allowing you to extend your swimming season for as long as you want. This can come at a cost, however. The colder the outside temperatures become, the more the heater will have to run and the higher your heating costs will rise. Realistically, a properly sized pool heater will likely be able to extend your swimming season by 1-2 months before the heating costs get out of hand.

Can You Swim Year-Round?

Yes, although the costs to do so would quickly spiral out of control ($1000s per month in the middle of winter) as the pool would have to run and heat constantly to maintain temperature and prevent freezing.

Building An Enclosure

If you’re looking to swim year-round without spending a small fortune every year to heat your pool you will need to bring it indoors. If you already have a pool, you will need to build a heated, ventilated enclosure around it.

While this may seem like an expensive way to go, it is the only practical way to swim in a traditional pool all year long in Canada. When you factor in the amount that you will save in added pool heating expenses, the addition might even save you money in the long-term!

Your final design should include:

  • Insulated walls and ceiling to keep the pool room comfortable during the winter.
  • A floor that can get wet without getting too slippery. Avoid wood as it will warp and rot when exposed to water over long periods of time. Smooth tiles are also usually a bad idea as they can get dangerously slippery when wet.
  • A ventilation system to remove any steam and chemical smell from the room.
  • Water-resistant drywall commonly used in bathrooms.

Can You Swim Year-Round?

Yes. While it will take some planning and a large upfront investment, building an enclosure is the best way to swim year-round in a traditional inground pool.

Swim Spas

What about non-traditional pools? Swim spas are small pools that are built specifically to be used year-round, even in the outdoors. Swim spas have a few unique characteristics that allow them to be used outdoors year-round, without costing you a fortune. These are:

  • Relatively small size. Swim spas are smaller than most inground pools. The less water there is to heat, the easier (and cheaper) it is to keep the water warm!
  • Insulation. The walls, floors, and cover of swim spas are insulated to keep the water warm and keep the water in the plumbing safe from the elements. This means that the swim spa will not need to run 24/7 to prevent freezing damage.
  • Energy-efficient equipment. Swim spa pumps and heaters are much more compact and energy-efficient than those found in most inground pools.

Not only can swim spas be used year-round, they are also cheaper to run and easier to maintain than traditional pools, and are more versatile than traditional pools. Their jetted hydrotherapy seats allow them to be used as a hot tub while their swimming current systems and aqua fitness options make them the best fitness pools that money can buy!

Can You Swim Year-Round?

Yes. Due to their small size, insulation, and ultra-efficient filtration and heating systems, swim spas can be used in the dead of winter while costing a fraction of what an inground pool would.

For more info on swim spas and how they compare to more traditional pools, check out this article.


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