Thursday, May 15, 2008

Heating the Kiddie Pool

When you were a kid did you ever have a backyard kiddie pool? Even in high summer, was it always just a little too cold for comfort? I've always hated cold water. It's probably because I have very low blood pressure and can't warm myself well, so in cold water, even in summer, I'll get chilled to the bone.

Fast forward to adulthood... In the past, when I've had infants under a year in my daycare and set up a kiddie pool on the scorching days, I've always put it in the shade and added hot water with a bucket to make it tepid. When they got a little older, and I got a family sized inflatable pool, I'd connect all the hoses my apartment had and run them to the hot water spout in the laundry room.

Last night I did some research online and with all the information I read, devised a great solar heating system. I bought 100 feet of 1/2" black poly hose from Home Depot in the garden department (used for drip system installation) and attached it to the Maxi-Jet submersible water pump I already own. I laid the hose out in loops on my black asphalt driveway and let the pool water loop through, heating up as it went. The returning water got quite hot and balanced the cold water that I filled the pool with.

I did try a gravity flow method of getting the water to loop, but my physics are rusty and I only got a little trickle. Perhaps I didn't have enough difference in height between the outflow and inflow. I don't know. Eventually I just used my pump.

What I'd do differently next time, though, is attach the black poly hose (with duct tape) to the garden hose and let water heat as I fill the pool. The only thing I'm not sure about is how long it would take (203 gallons) since the poly hose is only 1/2" and you don't want anything bigger or there will be too much water flowing compared to heated surface area so the water won't heat.

One of the reasons I'm thrilled with this heating system is that I can leave the pool filled overnight, covered, and heat the same water tomorrow. We went on water ration rules today so this is important. I've also discovered that there are water sanitizers for kiddie pools over 200 gallons. For tonight, I poured in 1/4 cup bleach (3 drops per gallon) and it will be gone in the sun tomorrow in an hour.

Needless to say, I felt very 'green' and earthy today, despite a little sunburn and 97 degree heat and the kids had a blast!

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