Building and designing commercial pools in Florida presents challenges and added maintenance due to the hot and humid climate. Pool professionals designing and building pools in Florida need to know how to design commercial pools that can thrive in the hot, muggy climate and last a long time.
This guide will cover everything pool pros need to know when designing or building commercial pools. These include considerations like choosing the right materials, equipment, functionality, and more.
How Does Hot and Humid Weather Affect Pools?
Hot and humid weather is synonymous with Florida. This means cooling off by the pool is popular throughout the year, especially since the pool season in the state lasts a lot longer than in the average US state. Florida has around 1.6 million pools (more than any other state)! Since more people use pools in Florida, more maintenance is needed too. Couple this with hot temperatures and high humidity levels, and you layer on a lot of additional care required from pool owners or professionals.
Humidity can mess with the pH levels in the pool water, especially when the humidity is over 90%. The moisture in the air can also damage the concrete around the pool if the concrete is not properly sealed. Finally, humid air creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria that can be transferred into the pool water, putting both swimmers and the pool water at risk.
Things to Consider When Designing Commercial Pools in Florida
Due to the high heat and humidity, pool professionals building commercial pools should consider a number of things to ensure that the pool can withstand the conditions in Florida.
Here are some things to consider when you are designing commercial pools:
Choose Appropriate Materials for Coping, Decking, and Surfaces
There is no point in designing a stunning pool if it can’t withstand the heat and humidity. When choosing the materials for the decking, coping, and other surfaces, you must ensure they are built to last under high humidity and relentless UV rays.
Avoid using coping, decking, or surfaces that are dark, as this will attract and absorb heat, making it incredibly hot to touch and stand on. Dark colors also typically fade with prolonged exposure to the sun. The same goes for pool decking. No one wants to roast their feet getting into a pool. You want to choose coping and decking that ideally reflects the heat. Avoid concrete, ceramics, or brick, as these absorb a lot of heat and will take a while to cool down.
Instead, use limestone and marble, as they are durable and can withstand heat. Also, it is important to choose materials that can handle humid weather. For example, wood is never a good choice in humid weather as mold and mildew can easily grow on the surface. Furthermore, ensure that any stone or concrete you use is properly sealed.
Incorporate Misting Systems, Fans, and Shade
When designing commercial pools, it’s not just the pool design and features that you need to consider but also the comfort of the people using the pool. During soaring temperatures, you should ensure that your swimmers have plenty of shade inside and outside the pool. If the pool is outdoors, consider building a shaded section for swimmers to lounge under when the sun’s rays are particularly harsh.
If the pool is indoors, the high humidity levels and temperatures can make one feel like they’re inside an oven. To combat this, consider installing a pool misting system that will spray a light cooling mist over the pool. This can also be used in outdoor pools.
Dehumidifiers and extraction fans are also extremely helpful in keeping indoor pool areas cool and dry. If you do not install equipment that will keep the pool area dry, the high humidity levels in indoor pool areas can cause an increase in mold growth and other unwanted bacteria.
Balance Design and Functionality with Climate Needs
When working on the pool’s design and functionality, consider the environment of the area. For example, pools with heating systems are not needed in Florida since the temperature rarely dips below 70 degrees. Instead, you should focus on ways to prevent water evaporation, keep the water sanitized, and fight off algae growth.
Make use of natural shade in the space where you build the pool, and think of ways to keep the water temperature from rising too much.
Consider Using Water Features
In Florida, when summer temps can get up to 100 degrees for extended periods, the pool water can get uncomfortably warm. Water features keep the water moving and help increase the pool water’s exposure to the air, which in turn cools down the water temperature. In some cases, water features can almost act as “reverse-pool heaters.”
Heat-Resistant and UV-Resistant Pool Covers
A great way to prevent water evaporation and control your water temperature is to install a heat and UV-resistant pool cover. Standard pool covers can break down and fade faster in the sun, so getting a UV-resistant pool cover not only prevents the pool water from evaporating and the chlorine from breaking down but also means the cover itself will last longer.
There are even pool covers that can keep pool water cool by deflecting the sunlight back into the atmosphere instead of absorbing the heat.
Install an Effective Pool Filter
Installing the right pool filter goes a long way in ensuring that the pool water remains free of debris, algae, and harmful bacteria. In hot, humid weather, pools that see heavy foot traffic are more vulnerable to algae and bacteria growth, which is why you need to install an effective pool filter.
For a commercial pool, a sand filter is the way to go, as it is cheaper and requires less maintenance. While DE filters may be more effective at cleaning up smaller particles, the issue with DE is that it requires way too much maintenance for it to be justifiable on a larger scale, like a commercial pool.
Saltwater vs. Chlorine Pool Systems in Hot, Humid Weather
Choosing the correct type of pool system for Florida’s climate is very important. There are plenty of factors that determine whether you should use saltwater or a traditional chlorine pool.
Things to consider when choosing between the two pool systems:
- The building costs
- Maintenance costs
- Which will last better in hot, humid weather
Saltwater systems are a good option for the Florida climate, as humid weather tends to burn through chlorine. However, it is worth noting that saltwater pools do use more electricity to create enough chlorine to combat the heat, especially in larger commercial pools. So, there is a higher cost involved in both the initial setup and the long-term running of saltwater chlorinators. Before making the decision, discuss the pros and cons with your clients and ensure they fully understand the maintenance needs for either type of pool.
Pool Maintenance for Hot and Humid Climates
Once you have the design on hand, ensure your clients know what it takes to take care of a pool in a hot and humid climate. There are a couple of extra considerations when it comes to the Florida climate:
Algae and Water Quality Issues in High Humidity
Algae thrive in hot, humid environments because of the moisture in the air. In addition, hot sunny weather can make the chlorine work extra hard and causes it to dissipate faster, giving algae a better chance to breed. So, hot sunny weather combined with humidity is public enemy number one for pool water quality.
Therefore, pool owners must check the pH levels every day and use enough chlorine and cyanuric acid to cope with the high usage of a commercial pool. The more the pool is used, the more chlorine is combined with sweat, oils, and other contaminants, giving it that tell-tale chlorine smell. Pools in Florida struggle much more with algae-infested water, as algae infestations can occur overnight in humid conditions. So, staying on top of pool care is imperative.
Use Cyanuric Acid or Stabilized Chlorine
Chlorine rapidly depletes in the sun. So, in the harsh UV rays in Florida, it is vital to use stabilized chlorine or cyanuric acid to fortify chlorine against the elements. Otherwise, shocking the pool may become a more common occurrence and expense than expected.
Florida provides the perfect conditions for swimming, but designing and maintaining a Florida pool is a bit more complex. It is important to build a pool in Florida with the hot and humid conditions in mind and keep up with a regular maintenance routine and testing to counteract the effects of the Florida climate on pools.