We live in an area where we don’t have to close our pool during the winter (not to brag for all you pool owners up north). It can get below freezing for a few days in the winter, but those occurrences are few and far between and never last for long. Because of that, we don’t face many risks in keeping our pool open throughout the year. However, as the Texas freeze of 2021 taught us, we do have to take extra precautions when temperatures get below freezing.
That being said, we are able to utilize our pool running year-round for the most part. Does that mean I am out there cannon-balling during January? Absolutely not! But there are ways to still enjoy it, and below are the top ways my family and I have had fun doing so.
Read on below to find out!
Here is a quick summary of the four ways we use our pool in the winter:
- Turn on the Heater to Heat Your Spa or Pool
- Use the Pool for an “Ice Bath” / “Cold Plunge”
- Use Remote-Controlled Boats
- Put in Floating Lights
#1: Turn on the Heater to Heat Your Spa or Pool
Alright, this one seems like a no-brainer, right?!
As we get into the fall and winter times of the year, that is when we start to use our heater to warm up our pool and spa. More often than not, we are just warming up the spa.
It can take about 30 to 45 minutes to heat up the spa enough to use (usually about a degree a minute). In contrast, it might take several hours to nearly a whole day to heat our pool to get the pool at a comfortable temperature. (It typically depends on the size and depth of the pool for how long).
It’s easy enough for us to heat up the spa so our kids can swim or for us to use if a few friends or family want to come over.
📣 Tip: If you are on the fence about adding a spa (some people may call it a hot tub) to your new pool, we recommend adding one because it will allow you to get more year-round use from your pool because you can easily heat up your spa in the winter. It’s more cost-effective than heating the entire pool, and it can be done on a whim with how little time it takes compared to a little more planning and cost when heating the entire pool.
✨ Idea: Does someone in your family have a winter birthday? Heat up the whole pool and have a pool party just like you would in the summer! You can do this if you have a pool heater.
But having the option to heat up one or the other is great, and that is why we made sure to have a heater installed when we built our pool.
Also, once the weather starts to get warm during the day and not super cold at night is a perfect and cost-effective time to heat the pool. Without extreme dips in the temperature, the pool will stay warm for longer if not possibly the rest of the season.
📣 Tip: If you live in an area that allows you to keep your pool open all year long, install a heater so that you can use your pool more often in the winter. If you are in the process of design and building a pool, we recommend adding a pool heater. Below is one that a pool professional may recommend for your new pool.
#2: Use the Pool to Take an “Ice Bath” / “Cold Plunge”
I am going to be completely honest here, this one isn’t for me! My husband has done it several times, and my kids are oddly okay with the cold water. As for me, NOPE! If the pool water temp is below 75 degrees, I’m out!
But, the cold water in your pool during the winter can be useful for taking an “ice bath” or “cold plunge.”
Studies and reports find that there are many health benefits of taking an ice bath, which include:
- Reduces inflammation
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Relieves sore muscles / speeds up recovery
- Improve mental health
- Improves sleep
- Helps immune system
Generally, it is ideal to take an ice bath in water temperatures from 50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Even if you live in areas where it doesn’t get below freezing that often, it’s likely it will still get cold enough for your pool to get to these water temperatures. We live in southeast Texas, and I can say our pool water temp averages around this during the winter months.
📣 Tip: If you think this is something for you, please consult with your doctor first.
✨ Idea: It might be a good idea to have a warm towel ready after you get out of the cold pool. Check out the towel warmer below as a way to have a warm towel ready for when you get out of your ice bath.
#3: Play with Remote Controlled Boats and Toys
Another way we have used our pool in the winter is by actually not getting in it all! Our son has a remote-controlled boat that he can play with in our pool.
This is a great option if the water is too cold, you don’t want to get in, or you don’t feel like heating up the pool or spa. All you have to do is make sure the boat and controller are charged, and you can get plenty of use out of your pool with remote-controlled toys.
📣 Tip: You might need to help your kids with steering, speed, and control starting out to make sure they know how to control the toy and navigate the pool to get the most out of these toys.
📣 Tip: Keep the pool brush and net nearby; it might help get a toy unstuck in a hard-to-reach place, especially if batteries run out in the middle of the water!
✨ Idea: Below are some ideas of remote-controlled toys that you can use in your pool.
#4: Put Floating Lights in Your Pool
Another way you can get more use out of your pool in the winter is not really using it all – but how your pool can make your backyard stand out more at night.
The nights get longer during the winter, meaning that it gets dark sooner. One thing you can take advantage of is adding floating lights to your pool to add more ambiance and appeal to your backyard during the night (especially if you plan to enjoy the cooler weather by your pool but don’t plan to get in).
What is great about these lights is that they can be used year-round. Just because you utilize them in the colder weather, doesn’t mean they won’t be used during the summer as well. It’s really a great bang for your buck when you are considering ways to add a pop to your outdoor area.
📣 Tip: As you can imagine, you may not want to leave these lights out during storms or high wind; they might get damaged!
✨ Idea: Below are some floating light options that you can add to your pool!