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I know they make solar covers for pools, but I that is a bit of a pain to put on and take off all the time and my cover (from a well known manufacturer) from last year was easy to rip and became brittle and fell apart in a few thousand pieces at the end of the summer.

I was thinking about taking milk jugs, pouring a bit of black paint in them to coat the inside, letting them dry, and then submerging them in the pool. This sounds like it would be more effort than the solar cover, but I don't think I would need to remove them every time. Also, they could double as weights to keep the normal cover on when it storms.

Are there any DIY solutions that work well to really warm up a pool?

I live in Ohio, USA if that matters/helps.

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6 Answers 6

up vote 5 down vote accepted

As others have said milk jugs are too small and much of your heat loss is due to evaporation.

An alternative would be to build these "lily-pad-pool-warmers".

They are basically hoola hoops with black plastic sheeting stretched across them. You make a bunch of them and then float them on the pool. How much good they do will depend on how much of the surface they cover.

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Accepting this answer because my question (not what the title was changed too) was for DIY ways to warm up a swimming pool. Upvoted the other answers that were helpful. –  SpectralGhost Jun 3 '13 at 11:12
    
I figured I would post back on here. I made the "lily pads". I ended up having to use a soldering iron to join the black plastic to the hoola hoops. Glue didn't work nor did a laundry iron. –  SpectralGhost Jun 19 '13 at 19:58

I'm not clear on how some milk jugs are going to heat the pool. Most of the light will have scattered before it reaches the submerged jugs. Plus the surface area is going to be minuscule compared to the pool area, unless you have thousands of jugs.

Finally, I thought one of the main benefits to a pool cover was to reduce evaporative heat loss. Underwater jugs won't help you at all.

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If you put actively decaying nuclear waste in those jugs your pool would warm up.

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It would depend on the half-life of your waste whether it would be worthwhile or not. –  whatsisname May 29 '13 at 16:11
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Why the down votes? This is a correct answer. –  Chris Cudmore May 29 '13 at 17:04
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Great. I tried your idea. Went to Amazon, found nuclear waste for sale, but they say they cannot ship to my home address. Even worse, then I get a call from homeland security, wondering why I was trying to buy nucular waste. –  user558 May 29 '13 at 18:15
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@woodchips Shop for me comments are off-topic. –  Chris Cudmore May 29 '13 at 18:40

Submerging black milk jugs is not going to create any worthwhile difference. The overwhelming source of heat loss in an outdoor pool is due to evaporation. Evaporation literally draws heat out of the pool. You need a solar cover to stop the evaporation.

Compare your pool against a lake, with water stratification. From the surface, looking below it is pretty much black, indicating that all of the incoming sunlight is being absorbed. Despite that, if you dive down several feet, you'll find the water temperature gets very cold very fast, even if the upper layer of the water is warm.

If absorbing all sunlight isn't enough to warm the whole of a lake, it certainly won't be enough to heat your pool with several black milk jugs.

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With your current requirment need to find out how big is the pool and how many jugs you are planning to use. You many required 1/3rd the area size with respect to pool area. Than there may be a chance under good sun light.

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I wouldn't put anything painted in a chlorine pool. You might try jugs filled up with hot water.

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That won't work. Even a small pool will be well over a thousand gallons, ex ~4000gal for a 15' x 4' round pool. If you add 40 gallons of 210F water to a 60F 4000 gallon pool, you'll only warm it ~1.5 degrees. (150 degree difference/100x capacity difference) –  Dan Neely May 29 '13 at 4:47
    
Hmmm... still the best alternative. –  DMoore May 29 '13 at 5:33
    
I should have been more clear. I would cap the jugs after weighing them down enough to sink (probably with sand). I never intended to let chlorine interact with the paint. –  SpectralGhost May 29 '13 at 11:21

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