Summer Pool Care in the Desert

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The intense sun and dry heat of the desert make pool ownership desirable but also make it a challenge. While water is water no matter what state you live in, pool maintenance considerations are dependent on your location. Our climate and location influence the amount of rain, ambient heat, UV radiation, even the type of dust and debris that is likely to come blowing over the fence and into the pool. All of this determines how you need to care for your pool.

Southern Nevada with its baking sun and dry climate creates different challenges than a pool in the mid-west or the humid climate of Florida.  The first thing to consider is how chlorine effects the water. Because the majority of chlorine leaves the pool through UV exposure and evaporation, our desert days can conspire to drain the chlorine from your pool in a short time.  Chlorine must be added more frequently to compensate plus higher levels of cyanuric acid should be maintained.

Cyanuric acid is used as a chlorine stabilizer in swimming pools. It binds to free chlorine and releases it slowly, extending the time needed to deplete each dose of sanitizer.

Vanishing Act

One of the reasons we long for a dip in the pool on a hot day is how quickly it can cool us down.  The extremely low humidity causes the water on your skin to evaporate very quickly dispersing the heat from your body.  This same evaporation we love on our skin also occurs to your swimming pool.

Leave you pool uncovered and you can expect to lose about a quarter inch of water per day in the winter and a half an inch or more of water per day during our hundred plus degree summer days. This total water loss can come close to equal the whole volume of the pool over the course of the year.

Of course, to keep the pool topped up, fresh water must be added.  This can become a problem in southern Nevada due to our hard water (full of minerals) which concentrates the amount of calcium and salts and other dissolved solids in the pool.

Calcium is the main concern and when high can make deposit on the plaster or even in the heater. According to the APSP standard, calcium hardness should be a minimum of 150 ppm, with the ideal 200 to 400 ppm, and the maximum at 1000 ppm. When calcium levels reach 1000 ppm, it is recommended that you drain and refill your pool.

We cannot forget that in this arid region we have a great deal of dust just blowing around and landing in the pool. Desert dust is very alkaline and contains a lot of calcium, so of course as it dissolves in the pool it increases the pool’s calcium levels and pH.

Although all pool owners love to look out at the view of their pools, having a pool cover will help keep many problems to a minimum and lower maintenance costs.

UV Breakdown

We all know the impact the desert heat and sun has on materials and equipment. Plastics tend to be particularly susceptible to the UV breakdown the sun brings us.  Pools filters, fittings, drain covers and pool covers can suffer in our relentless baking sun. It is important to routinely check for UV damage and replace components as needed.

Southern Nevada summer temperatures often reach into the hundreds which places high stress on pool pumps. If possible, it is a good idea to run pumps at night when temperatures drop.

Desert Rains

As desert inhabitants, we know not to complain about rain, but when it comes it brings many challenges to your pool.  Mid-July to mid-August brings a concentrated amount a rain due the Monsoon season.  Rain and debris have a big effect on your water’s chemistry and rain can cause your pH to drop quickly. High levels of rain in a short time can overflow some pools which also may result in altered chemistry, including dilution of chlorine and other treatment chemicals.  This can result in having to drain your pool to normalize the levels.

Excess rain can also mean problems with algae due to spores being washed into pools.  Some algae strains are more resistant to chlorine than normal, making more aggressive treatments necessary. 

It takes a lot of time to keep your pool the blue oasis you desire in our desert climate but it is definitely worth it.