I live in western NY (Rochester area) and we have some tough winters, and humid summers. I'd say typical "pool season" is from late June to early September for most folks. Lots of pools around here, maybe 10% of some neighborhoods have a pool, who knows, maybe more (many above ground, some in-ground as well.)
I have had it with NY taxes, and the high cost of living here, and our family is hoping to move to a small town in Arizona. Snowflake is the target, a town at 5800 feet elevation. What we noticed when we visited the town (I have an uncle who lives there) is that absolutely nobody has a swimming pool. The weather was in the 80s when we visited in June, and was certainly warm enough for swimming, from our NY perspectives. Temps there seem to reach about 9 or 10 degrees higher (looking at "average high" data from usclimatedata.com) in the summer, though the max temps are about the same. If average high temps were the only consideration, they should have about 2 extra months of pool weather.
We're hoping to put in an above ground pool when we move there, but I'm wondering if maybe we'll be sorry. Maybe someone here will have an opinion or idea about some concerns I have.
1. While temperatures are nice in the daytime, they're somewhat cooler at night. Perhaps that is one reason swimming isn't the obvious choice we thought it would be. Maybe heat losses at night make the season shorter than here?
2. Relative humidity there that I remember was 5 to 60%, while here is is more like 50% to 98%. Maybe pool heat losses are much higher there on a mid-80s day than we get here, so maybe they really do have a "too short" season to make swimming reasonable.
3. They get a lot of wind. I believe that also accelerates the cooling losses of evaporation. So maybe pools just don't warm up there like they do here. Or maybe with all the wind and dust, pools are too difficult to keep clean?
4. The summertime is "monsoon season" there. So more clouds and rain than any other time of the year. So maybe the weather just doesn't cooperate for pool usage?
Will solar heating overcome these challenges? Am I worried about nothing? A resident there suggested that there are no pools because nobody can afford it. However, in a town where many houses are under $100k, there are other homes selling for $350k or more. So it seems like that can't be it. She also said it "wasn't worth it" because the season would be too short, only late June through early September. That's exactly when we swim here in NY!!
My wife loves to swim, and swimming is one of the few ways we can get our video game and YouTube addicted children to be active - and they'll do it for hours on end, without complaint. Snowflake's "community" swimming pool (located at the High School) was closed indefinitely last year because of needed repairs to the pool and building, and no funding could be found. The only available pool we've found in the area is the "Family Aquatic Center" in Show Low, 20 miles (27 minutes or so) away. Not impossible, but not as nice as our own pool.
I've read ideas like using insulation board under the pool liner (to help smooth the ground as well as insulate) as well as thoughts about sidewall insulation, using solar covers, solar water heating ideas (which should work really well in AZ) etc. I guess I'd like someone to confirm that a swimming pool would be a good enough idea in Snowflake, with maybe some solar heating ideas if needed. Also, it seems like it could go a long way to helping our kids make friends there, if they had the only pool in town.
If you look at an aerial picture of Penfield NY, or Brighton NY, places we've lived here, you'll see every neighborhood is dotted with these bright blue circles, ovals, etc. It was a real surprise to look at the same sort of aerial pic of Snowflake and see absolutely zero pools.
I'm interested to hear what folks think about this.
Scott in Penfield NY (hoping to escape to AZ soon...)