Picture of DIY swimming pool cooler.
Build a mechanically drafted, counter-flow cooling tower for your swimming pool. These would be especially useful to people living in gulf coast states and the SW deserts.

For more detailed instructions: DIY Pool Cooler
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Step 1: Obtain or build some kind of "tower".

Picture of Obtain or build some kind of
First you will need a "tower". Pictured are a couple of options we have used. The first was made from a couple of HDPE barrels. The second is made from PVC pipe, fittings, and corrugated roofing material. Your tower will need to have some sort of catch basin at the bottom, and area for fill material in the center, an area for a water sprayer systems, and finally you'll need a fan that fits the top.

Learn more at: www.davidwilbur.com

Step 2: Cut up the fill material.

Picture of Cut up the fill material.
The fill material is the most critical part of getting this to work right. We used 26" by 96" sheets and cut them down to five smaller sheets of 21" by 16.25". These smaller sheets are cut on the bias of the corrugations (see photo). The sheets are stacked with sheets alternating their corrugations.

For more details: DIY Pool Cooler

Step 3: Next install the water sprayer system.

Picture of Next install the water sprayer system.
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Construct either a fixed manifold of pipes with holes to spray water or a rotating spray arm. The picture should give you the method for building the rotating arm.

Additional info can be found here.

Step 4: Top it off and try it out.

Picture of Top it off and try it out.
Finally, top off your creation with a cheap box fan (I prefer the "weather resistant" variety that comes with a GFCI on the cord). Our versions return the water to the pool using gravity, so you have to set it up next to the pool. Good luck and enjoy a pool that doesn't feel like bath water.

Complete details: www.davidwilbur.com
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sshekhar121 year ago

hey dave, please let me know what is the temperature drop u get with this device. as well as, if we use various cooling pads will there be any variation in the temperature drop? its imp as i am working on a project based on evaporative cooler

kstanley44 years ago
I also live in Dallas my pool temp 93 it feels like bathwater.Great ideal !!! I was thinking of a tower letting the water run down pine slats with the tower open allowing the wind to be your evaporating fan..??do you think that would work??
cmorris124 years ago
looks like you turn the fan down ..... blowing over the water tricling across the fillers(coils)... in that your making a radiator ( some what ) right.
Bartboy6 years ago
So it cools the pool? lol
Dave7F (author)  Bartboy6 years ago
It cools the pool and in turn, cools me! I am just about to hook it up and run it for the a third season, with some minor modifications to improve efficiency (fan is now integrated into the barrel to remove nearly all parts that could rust, larger pipes for better water flow, etc.),. If I get around to it, I will post some pictures of the current version.
Bartboy Dave7F6 years ago
I've never been somewhere where the pool was too warm...
Guess you haven't been to Dallas after months of 90 degrees.
Nope. Although, it was 110 in alberta where I'm visiting currently.
You should live in South Louisiana.....
Mmmmmm...... hot sauce Canada is nice...:P
Redgerr Bartboy5 years ago
im with Bartboy, i have never heard of one of these however it seems like it would work, very cool
Bartboy Redgerr5 years ago
Well, I might use it in my house in Ontario, but I don't have a pool there. In Canada, we pay a fortune for pool heaters...
Redgerr Bartboy5 years ago
pool heaters is where its at, expencive.. but warm none the less
Kaiven Bartboy5 years ago
LOL. When I walk into my pool, my body temperature goes up.
mikewrobel5 years ago
I assume the fan blows up (based on some other internet research)?
harry885 years ago
you could do the reverse with a metal jug and your old baseboard heaters
miiwii35 years ago
if only this worked in reverse...
Tray5 years ago
Im going to give this a shot, in a smaller size for my worm hotel.   Composting worms slow down when they get too warm.  There is another Ible that details building an ice chest based worm hotel that is plumbed with cooling tubes fed from an iced water bucket.  This system would eliminate the need to periodically fill a feed bucket with ice.  Run all the pumps off of a battery that is solar charged, and viola.  COOL IBLE!!
TrPPnN5 years ago
Hahaha... heater?  daniel... here in the desert, we can't turn off the sun when we want... can you? if you can... you've got to show me how... perhaps write an instructable!
teslafan1005 years ago
Danny_Payne5 years ago
 cant you just turn the heater down? that way, you will save energy!
Dave7F (author) 7 years ago
It occurred to me that this, or a smaller version, might be useful to the water cooled CPU crowd. If you live in a dry climate, it would act as a humidifier for your computer room/office keeping static electricity down at the same time....naah, nobody out there is crazy enough to build that.
You would be suprised, Many people would be interested in that but the CPU wiuld most likely make too much heat for the cooler to disperse.
beehard445 years ago
PLAN B: Grab an ice maker and plug in the inlet to ur pool and put the ice outlet to your pool. Added feature: Millions of floating toys in your pool!!!!!!! PLAN C: Pour liquid Nitrogen to the water!!!
This is the same way commercial air conditioning works. Large buildings use cooling towers which is the same thing you have here. The water temp from the evaporation process gets down to 60 deg even in the hottest Florida heat.
Sandisk1duo6 years ago
well if it's 110 outside, and your pool temperature is 90, using your device would be warming the water
Dave7F (author)  Sandisk1duo6 years ago
Actually, no. Please see my comment to crazyrog17.
crazyrog176 years ago
Could you clarify this a little bit? In the first few steps, explain the ambient wet bulb temperature for everyone and how it works to cool your pool. Did you pump the water into the barrel/sprayers? How? Is the fan blowing down into the barrel and being exhausted at the bottom or pulling up out of the barrel blowing out the top?
Dave7F (author)  crazyrog176 years ago
The easiest way to explain how it cools the pool (even if the water is 90 and the air is 110), is with an phenomenon many of us have probably experienced. If you are wet (even with 90 degree water), and you stand in the wind (even 110 degree wind), you will feel cold. This is because of the heat that is removed by the phase change as the water turns from liquid to vapor. In the case of the pool cooler, the wind is produced by the fan and the cooled water is returned to the pool. The water is pumped by the pool's normal pump. On many pools there is an aerator device (a simple sprayer nozzle). I removed this and installed a threaded reducer to allow attaching a short garden hose that feeds the sprayer assembly. The fan is blowing up and pulling air in at the bottom. The water is flowing down. The design is based on industrial "counter-flow" cooling towers.
hleon6 years ago
since it is evaporative, wouldn't the pool LOSE water, since it is being transferred to the air?
Dave7F (author)  hleon6 years ago
Yes it does, but only just enough to cool the water to the ambient wet bulb temperature. It is a small price to pay compared to not being able to cool myself in the pool.
altgrave6 years ago
i've never seen this idea, either, but i do recall lukewarm pools in new jersey. ugh! nicely done!
Patented7 years ago
Lol! In Canada we try to make our pool warmer!
I was thinking the same thing. Here in Minnesota, we make our pools warmer. Some people put hot tubs outside, so you can swim with the snow all around.
Dave7F (author)  Patented7 years ago
Living in a desert, I envy that!
You live in a desert? you must take great care of your lawn, it looks more green than my lawn in Illinois! anyway, nice instructable
Dave7F (author)  T3hpw9ag3 7 years ago
That nice lawn is actually my brothers -- he lives in area that has flood irrigation. MY lawn is much smaller and only looks that nice after a couple of monsoon storms.... Anyway, Thanks!
jojo2005177 years ago
That is pretty nice, I hope you washed the barrel out damn good, since I spy a corrosive placard. The pool place tossed in a cheapo fountain when we got ours, and occasionally I put it in when its horribly hot in the summer. It does seem to drop the temperature a few degrees.
My mom lives in Doha they have cooling and heating lol
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