"> Ten Ways to Cool Down the Water in your Above Ground Pool – Above Ground Pools Know it All

Ten Ways to Cool Down the Water in your Above Ground Pool

It’s hard to imagine for some who live in colder regions but pool water can get too hot.

Where I work in Central Florida, this is a very common issue with all types of swimming pools including above grounds.

pool too hot


As a general rule, the water temperature of a swimming pool is in relation to what the outside temperature is. In the winter, the water is very cold, and in the summer, the water gets warm.

As another general rule, the water temperature will be warmer the closer the pool is to the equator. This means that pools in Florida and Texas will have warmer water than pools in New York and Michigan.

There are other factors too, but that’s for another article written for a weather site or something.

Now, regardless of where you live and what your summer pool temperature is, the water can get too hot from one main factor – Too much direct sunlight.

Swimming pools that are in open yards and exposed to direct sunlight all day long can be as much as 15-20 degrees warmer than the same sized pool next door that is under a full canopy of trees.

This is a huge difference! Here in Central Florida, I have seen pools with too much shade with a mid-summer pool temperature of 75 degrees while their neighbor’s pool with no shade has water temps at 90 plus degrees. For me, one is too cold and the other too hot.

So, swimming pool water temperature is all about shade versus direct sunlight.


Pool water being “too hot” is personal. Some want their pool like bathwater while others need it to be quite cold before they consider it a perfect swimming temperature.

The pool water temperature that people consider perfect is often dependent on where they live. The further north, the cooler they want the water.

For all of my adult life, I have lived in an area of Orlando that has a lot of people come and go. They move here from all over the country. Some will stay here for a couple of years and then move on to some other locale. Others (too many) stay and live here forever.

I had a pool service business in this area for sixteen years. It was fun to see people move here from the north into a home with a swimming pool. The first year, they would go in their pool when it was very cold and loved it.

After just a year or two though, their bodies would get used to Central Florida heat and humidity. In the course of a year or so, the water temperatures that they thought were perfect would become way too cold.

These same “northerners” who made fun of Floridians for not wanting to get into 75 degrees water now needed it to be 82°F before they would get in.

The perfect water temperature for swimming is typically around ten degrees Fahrenheit cooler than what the normal summer temperature is for your region of the country. For example, if your area typically has summer-time highs of 85°F, then a water temp of 75°f is good for most. Everyone is different though.


Let’s say that you live in Ohio and your parents are coming to stay with you for a summer period. Let’s say too that they live in Florida and will be using your above-ground swimming pool while visiting and you want the water temperature to be good for them.

Considering that they live in Florida, you can assume that they will want the pool water to be warmer than you usually like (as a person living in Ohio).

Another example is if you live in Texas and have childhood friends from Massachusetts coming to visit. You will be hangin’ by your pool for sure with them, so consider that they will probably like the pool water to be cooler than you are used to (with being a Texan).


1. Add a Fountain to the Return Line

Fountain in oval above ground pool made with PVC

Fountains made for above-ground pools don’t cost a lot and are an effective way to cool the water down some.

You can make a fountain yourself by using PVC and having some plumbing knowledge that is very effective, but a simple store-bought or Amazon fountain works well.

You can also consider adding another return line just for a fountain too.

2. Using a Pool Cover During the Heat of the Day

This is an option for pools that get a lot of direct sunlight. Covering the pool during the heat of the day will prevent the sun from heating the water some.

It’s a pain to put covers on and take them off, so this is an option that only some will do.

3. Draining the Pool Down Some and Adding New Water

As a temporary solution, draining the pool down and then adding new water works well for cooling down the pool water.

Replacing the water at night using a sprayer will help even more.

4 Add Several Pounds of Ice to the Pool (Temporary Fix)

This is good if you are having a party. I customer of mine once bought ten blocks of ice for his pool party and it worked well to cool the water down. Just make sure the blocks are melted before someone jumps in the pool. Ouch!

5 Increase shade artificially from direct sunlight by installing shade sails or umbrellas over the pool

Shade sail over 24' above ground pool

This will work better than some think. Just one triangle shade sail installed over the pool in an area that blocks mid-day sun can be the difference between wanting to go in your pool and not.

6. Increase shade naturally from direct sunlight by adding trees or tall bushes

This is not a quick fix as you will have to wait for the trees or bushes that you plant to grow.

7. Use solar panels at night

It’s not worth buying and installing solar panels for this. If you already have them though, you can run water through them at night and they will cool the water some.
Solar panels for above-ground pools aren’t great and usually, there isn’t enough surface for them to work very well, but they will help a little.

8. Installing a Chiller Inline with the Pool’s Equipment

A chiller is less expensive than a heat pump and uses less electricity.

A chiller is a unit that is plumbed in line with the pool’s equipment. The pool water runs through a bunch of tubes while a fan blows the tubes. This cools the water before it makes its way back to the pool.

Chillers will decrease the pool water temp by 8-10 degrees, which is great.

9. Installing a Reversible Heat Pump

Heat pumps work great but use a decent amount of electricity. They cost more than a chiller and use more electricity, but also can work better at decreasing the water temperature.

10 Screen Enclose the Pool

It’s rare to see an above-ground pool in a screen enclosure because of the cost, but they do exist.

Only areas of the country that don’t get much snow or any can have a pool screen enclosure. Even though the screen is thin, it does a great job at keeping the sun from heating the water.

Warning with screen enclosures – Most screen-enclosed pools stay too cold even in the summer months.


Dan writes with the knowledge of having 35 years (and counting) in the above ground pool industry.

One thought on “Ten Ways to Cool Down the Water in your Above Ground Pool

  1. #8: same idea as a car radiator*? (heat exchanger)

    I’m not suggesting using one*, just getting my head around the concept.

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