5 Ways to Save Money on Pool Running Costs

by Pool Builders on 08-26-2010 in Articles

Owning a pool is a considerable expense, but knowing that you're running your pool for the best price you can will have you enjoying that water all the more. Here are 5 ways to save money with your pool and pool supplies.

1. Use a pool cover

Pool covers prevent evaporation. That can save huge amounts of water in summer, particularly in low humidity, where the heat literally absorbs the pool water. It also helps save on chemicals in the water by reducing the rate of loss of chlorine caused by its reversion to a gaseous state over time.

A further use for pool covers is preventing "donations" from trees, birds and other things landing in the water and contaminating it. The pool cover is a good thermal shield in winter, preventing rapid loss of heat from pools by creating a barrier to heat transfer. That saves a lot of money in terms of power usage.

2. Use a salt chlorinator with an automatic timer

A salt chlorinator breaks down salt by electrolysis, releasing the chlorine as a pure gas to decontaminate the pool and oxidize bacteria. The chlorinator can be set to release the chlorine at regular intervals. This is very good regular practice, and helps ensure the water contains no microorganisms.

Important: If you're in any way unsure how to do this or are having problems, check with your supplier and explain any issues you're having with the chlorinator. It's important that this process is conducted regularly to avoid risks from too much chlorine, as well as contamination.

3. If possible, operate your pool sanitation routine at night

Chlorine breaks down in sunlight. Chlorine entering the pool at night will last longer and perform a better sanitation job. This means that a salt chlorinator needs to run longer during the day than it does at night. For example, running your chlorinator for 9 hours during the day may be equivalent to 6 hours at night. Over a year, the saving in electrical costs will be significant.

4. Avoid algae - It's cheaper to prevent than cure

Algae can cause very unpleasant effects if you're swimming in a pool with concentrations of them. (Diarrhea is common, caused by plant toxins.) To give you some idea of how tough these little plants are, they've survived all major extinctions on Earth, including the dinosaurs. They're very hard to eradicate, and prevention is the only smart option. Once significant colonies of algae are established, it can take a lot of work and expensive chemicals to clear up the pool.

Be suspicious of green or brown stains around the pool area. These are small colonies of algae, and they can mass produce themselves under the right conditions. Use algaecides if required, as well as the basic daily chlorine treatment. Should your salt chlorinator fail for any reason, switch to daily manual chlorine dosing while your system is being repaired.

5. Don't get too carried away with pool shop water testing - do your own testing

Pool owners regularly take a sample of their pool water to a local pool shop for computer analysis. The service is fine, but also intended to sell you expensive chemicals, some which you may not need. Some of the basic tests are important (e.g. pH and Total Alkalinity), but these things should be easy to test at home with your own $30 test kit.

Pool shop testing may alarm you with warnings like "High Calcium" or "Presence of Metals" in the pool water. Naturally, the pool shop will recommend you regularly spend $80 - $100+ on exotic chemicals to manage these problems. In reality slightly calcium rich water or the presence of metals will generally lead to few if any problems.

Note: If there is a visible problem, it should be checked.

The biggest "scam" is where the pool owner is told "there is Zero" chlorine in their sample and they should immediately buy sachets of special booster chlorine to correct the problem. Remember, most pools have a near zero chlorine reading during the day. The special "booster" chlorine sold is normally ordinary dry chlorine, just sold in small packets with special labels and at 10 times the price.

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