public pools

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city restricted hours and programs at its three pools—meaning public pools were empty for much of the record-hot summer.

Many will summarize feelings for August in two words: Good riddance.

A sizzling month came to a surprising fizzle, as weekend showers cooled Peoria high temperatures below 100 for the first time in weeks.

August 2020 will be remembered as the most brutally hot month Peoria has endured.

An Aug. 24 National Weather Service tweet: “Just tied the record high for Phoenix today at 115 degrees! It’s also the 13th day of 115-plus of the year.”

Before August ended, the NWS recorded a record 50 days of 110 degrees or hotter in Phoenix. Peoria normally is just as hot as Phoenix.

After a few blissfully cool days, Peoria highs will near or exceed 110 degrees this weekend.

Normally, Peoria residents who don’t have pools at home are able to cool off at the public pool.

But 2020 is about as far from a “normal” year as imaginable.

The city of Peoria’s three public pools are closed for the season. Over the summer, the city partially closed its aquatics facilities—with limited hours and programs when they were open.

Asked about 2020 swimming pool attendance compared to last year, Kristina Perez, a city spokeswoman, responded, “The last two years are hard to compare because of the COVID-19 pandemic and related closures. With a shorter season and only two of our three pools opened this year, we had more than 1,600 swimmers participate in our swim lessons, with a limit of 10 swimmers per class, water aerobics and lap swimming this summer. Classes were 80%-85% full. 

“Last year, with all three pools opened and having full spring and summer seasons, we had more than 37,000 participate in swim lessons, swim/dive team, junior guard program and open swim.”

After Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive order to combat the surge of COVID-19 cases, the city of Glendale closed the Foothills Recreation and Aquatics Center for nearly the entire summer.

Hot kids were able to cool off at the Glendale Heroes Regional Park splash pad, open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through this weekend.

Peoria reopened the Rio Vista Recreation Center to the public Monday, Aug.  31. Face coverings are required to use the facility and class size are limited to 10 people or less.  

The Rio Vista Recreation Center is at 8866 W. Thunderbird Road and offers a variety of fitness and family-friendly amenities from pickleball courts to a weight room.


A/C units cranking

With many sheltering in place, both from the heat and for social distancing, air conditioning units have been humming for months.

And, not rarely, clattering to a stop.

The record summer translates to big business for air conditioning repair people like Bryce Heffelfinger, owner of ACExpertek Service. His service area covers the West Valley from Avondale, Buckeye and Goodyear to Glendale and Peoria.

“Our business did increase this year,” he said. “Many homeowners don’t realize their A/C needs to be serviced until it gets very hot outside and then they have a problem.”

His tips  to save money on electric bills:

•Check your attic insulation and make sure there is enough of it.

•Update windows or install heat-reducing window film.

•Purchase a programmable thermostat so the temperature will adjust when you’re not at home. 

•Keep the blinds closed when the sun is hitting the windows. 

•Change filters every 30 days. 

•Maintain your A/C unit by having yearly checkups/tuneups.

On Sept. 1, the NWS said August was the hottest month on record for Phoenix, with July 2020 close behind. 

According to the NWS, this summer had 28 days where the temperature failed to go below 90.