Monday marked the first day of summer this year, and those of us in the Phoenix metro area were welcomed by an intense heat wave, reaching a record 116 degrees Fahrenheit (47 Celsius). While this is still 7 degrees shy of the city’s all-time record of 122 on June 26, 1990, it broke the previous record for June 21 of 115 degrees set in 1968. High-pressure areas over the US Southwest result in clear skies that allow the sun to beat down unhindered for the entire duration of the longest days of the year. This results in frantic dashes from house to car, burns from our seat belts and steering wheels, and average people walking down the street with a gallon of water in one hand and an umbrella in the other for shade.
In this awful heat, what can we do to stay cool? We can hide in our refreshing air-conditioned homes all day, only leaving when we absolutely have to—often this seems to be the most flattering option—but what if we don’t want to stay indoors all day? Is there a way to actually enjoy the outdoors without sacrificing health and comfort? For most people, the go-to outdoor activity in the summer is swimming. It’s a great way to stay cool by taking a dip in the refreshing water and escaping the heat in the air surrounding it. Sometimes, however, it seems it’s just too hot to even enjoy swimming! A fun time in the pool turns into squinting at the bright sun on the water, dehydration, and rubbing aloe vera gel on sunburns so tender it hurts just to think about them.
The best way to overcome this problem is to shade your swimming pool with a shade sail. Shade sails are artistic canopies that are designed to both provide shade and add style to an outdoor area. They are made of a breathable fabric called high-density polyethylene, which blocks the harmful rays of the sun without trapping hot air beneath. This can lower temperatures under the sail by over 15 degrees! While 100 degrees is still not ideal weather, it is much better than 116 and comfortable for swimming. The shade from the sail also means no more squinting at the sunlight reflecting off the water, and much less risk of sunburn and other more dangerous and long term effects of UV exposure. If your kids want to swim and you’d rather just watch, try putting a shade over your deck chairs too! Now we can enjoy the outdoors even in the blistering heat of an Arizona summer solstice.
Not only do shade sails provide much needed protection from the heat and brightness of the sun, they do so in a way that greatly improves the aesthetics of the pool. The wires that run the perimeters of the sails keep them taut and steady, so they won’t sag or be tossed by the wind. The tight fabric membranes come in different colors, custom shapes and sizes, so you can personalize the shade for your backyard.
Perhaps some reading this don’t experience the same excessive heat waves as we do in the Valley of the Sun. Probably most use their umbrellas to block the rain, not the sun. But those who frequent 100-degree weather in the summer understand first hand the invaluable treasure that shade is. It can transform unbearable conditions into a splash at the pool! A shade sail over your pool will provide all the shade you need in a creative and original way, and you will be able to defeat the record breaking heat year after year!