How to cool down a pool: swim in comfort this summer with our tips

Learn how to cool down a pool and you can enjoy a refreshing dip no matter how hot it gets outdoors

outdoor pool with decking
(Image credit: Caia Image/Collection Mix: Subjects/Getty Images)

Expecting high temperatures this season? You may be wondering how to cool down a pool. 

Ideally, these backyard features are meant to be refreshing – a cooling respite from the midday sun's heat. But in seriously warm weather, the water temperature in your pool can climb up and up, resulting in a much less comfortable swim.

Whatever backyard pool ideas you've gone for, you'll want to be able to enjoy them to the max in the height of summer. So we're here to help with tips on how to stop your pool from turning into a warm bath.

5 ways for how to cool down a pool when temperatures are high

Knowing how to cool down a pool will help make midsummer use of it way more enjoyable – whether you want to swim some post-work laps or throw an epic pool party. But it's not just your comfort levels that will benefit.

As The Swimming Pool & Allied Trade Association (opens in new tab) (SPATA) explains, maintaining lower pool water temperatures will also help to minimize pool algae, which thrives in bright sunlight and warmth.

1. Install a fountain

Water features aren't just for pepping up your patio – there are plenty of gorgeous looks that can be added to a pool. From fountains and water walls to pool waterfall ideas, they'll up the fun factor for all ages, and offer a soothing sound that – as a bonus point – will help obscure noise from nearby traffic or neighbors.

But that's not all. As these features move the water around quickly, they will help to cool it down. Run them in the evening when the air is cooler for the best results.

water bowls on swimming pool edge

These water bowls elevate the swimming pool, creating a spa-like vibe

(Image credit: Carolyn Ann Ryan/Moment/Getty Images)

2. Create shade with your pool's surroundings

Another way to keep the water at a comfortable temperature is to bring some sort of shelter to your pool landscaping.

This could be a pergola overhead, a giant parasol to one side, a stylish shade sail, or even a retractable awning. You could also plant up some hardy shrubs or trees nearby to offer a spot of shade as the sun moves across your plot.

Avoid enclosing it completely, however, as a breeze blowing across the water's surface is also beneficial at cooling it down.

outdoor swimming pool with tropical plants and seating

Leafy trees and plants create shade in this pool area

(Image credit: Anett Flassig/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

3. Try a pool cooler

There are a few add-on tools you can use that are specifically designed to cool down a pool. 

One option is installing an evaporative cooler. These fit into your pool's plumbing and, according to Aquacal.com (opens in new tab), use fans to decrease the water temperature by as much as 10°F (6°C). They are relatively budget-friendly, too.

Alternatively, you could use a reversible heat pump – they're not just for heating a pool, they can cool them down, too. The downside of this is it can be expensive to install and run, although you will have more control over the pool's temperature throughout the year.

outdoor swimming pool in summer

Cooling down your pool will make it more comfortable to use in summer

(Image credit: Martina Birnbaum/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

4. Use solar panels at night

During the day, a solar panel system is useful for giving a swimming pool a boost in temperature. However, if you run the water through the panels at night, when the air temperature is cooler, it can actually cool it down.

The experts at Swim University (opens in new tab) explain that this process is called nocturnal cooling. It works because the panels are effective at expelling heat as well as absorbing it.

solar panels and swimming pool

Nocturnal cooling can be effective

(Image credit: Ashley Cooper pics/Alamy Stock Photo)

5. Run the filters when the air is cooler

Even if you don't install a water feature or use a solar system, simply running the filters when the air is less warm – in other words, at night – can help to cool down the pool.

It's an easy way to encourage the water to drop a few degrees, but don't expect anything too drastic.

pool deck

Running the filter at night can help reduce your pool's temperature by a few degrees

(Image credit: Caia Image/Collection Mix: Subjects/Getty Images)

Can you use ice to cool down a pool?

When thinking about how to cool down a pool, your first thought might be to simply add ice. Okay – this approach may give you quick results, but it's not very practical.

Firstly, you will need a lot of ice – we're talking several pounds of the stuff for a standard-sized pool. And, presuming you'll be buying it from a store, the costs will add up, meaning it's definitely not one for those looking for budget garden ideas

Secondly, the effects will wear off pretty quickly. It's much wiser to try the steps above on how to cool down a pool for more long-term results.

bowl of ice near swimming pool

Ice is not a practical solution for cooling down a pool

(Image credit: Westend61/Getty Images)

How do you keep an indoor pool cool?

With indoor pools, climate control can be more complicated, as there are other factors to consider.

'A well-planned indoor pool hall must have the appropriate climate control method to provide comfortable conditions for swimmers and spectators and to protect the building,' says SPATA.

Climate control systems can have many different functions, they explain, but some clients choose to omit some, sometimes due to budgetary constraints and occasionally due to aesthetic issues.

Alongside the water temperature, these systems can also include room pressure control, fresh air introduction, air cooling, and dehumidification, amongst others. For the best results, work with your professional pool engineer when planning your pool design, to ensure you have all the functions you need to keep the ambiance optimum.

Holly Crossley
Holly Crossley

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.