Tips for Energy Efficient Swimming Pool  

by Pool Builders on 08-05-2011 in Articles

The costs of having a swimming pool vary greatly, depending on the kind of pump installed, level of use and regular upkeep. We will get to the pumps later, but for now think about how much time is spent using the pool. Some families predict five hours a day, seven days a week. Other families only use their pool on the weekends, but for 12 to 18 hours per day. Then there is the cost of filters, chemicals, weekly cleaning (if done professionally), as well as seasonal opening and closing procedures.

Most pool owners who are energy conscious opt for reducing costs the easiest way possible: running the pump less often or not at all...bad idea. The pump does use electricity, but to pump water through a filter to keep the water clean. If the pump is not used often or at all, then when it is finally turned on it will end up costing you a great deal more in chemicals, the filter will need to be clean two to three times as much, not to mention you will be unable to use the pool because of algae problems. The best bet is to have a good quality filter that will make your pump work more efficiently in less time. There are three main types of filters: sand, cartridge, and diatomaceous earth. All have their pros and cons, but overall the diatomaceous earth variety is the most efficient and has the finer filtering of all three filters. Units typically fit both small and slow pool pumps, allowing for greater flexibility. Also, there are some brands designed to encase the actual filter fibres in cartridges, adding a whole new level of convenience for the pool owner.

One long standing piece of advice any pool owner will offer is backwash the diatomaceous or sand filter. This is the process of reversing pumped water through the filter to clean it out. Backwashing is important at regular intervals during the season, but it does use a lot of water. To reduce energy costs, make sure the chemicals are properly balance. In fact, some pool owners even opt for backwashing only at the beginning and end of each season, because this is when the pool is most likely to get used and shut down for the winter.

To reduce the annual costs of pool maintenance, take advantage of seasonal temperature changes. Since algae requires warm water, sunlight and carbon dioxide to grow, the warm months require regular use of the pool pump. In colder months algae does not grow, so there is not need to run the pump as often. As you begin to set up a regime of pool maintenance throughout the seasons, watch things carefully. Every region has different levels of humidity, temperature and water quality. Some places may see a faster development of algae, while others find it easier to keep the little goblins at bay. Either way, it is important to find that balance between energy savings and dirty water because everything boils down to cost.

Having a pump with a 24-hour clock and timer on it will help reduce energy costs as well. The times for the pump to turn on and off can be set according to the season, providing the best year-round efficiency. Additionally, there is the option of a variable speed pump. These pumps include different speeds for water features and seasonal changes that require less water and electricity. In fact, the variable speed design reduces energy costs so significantly; California enacted a mandate in 2008 demanding the use of two speed pumps in every pool. Now there are pumps with up to eight programmable speeds.

At night when the temperature drops, all that superb warmth collected in the pool water during the day evaporates. So that refreshing morning swim becomes a Polar Bear Swim. Turning on the pool heater and waiting for it to heat the water up takes too long, and it uses unnecessary energy. Instead, consider using a solar blanket specially designed for swimming pools. It looks just like blue bubble wrap, but is made of high quality plastic that will not delaminate. The bubble air pockets magnify the heat of the sun and conduct it down into the water €" no heater required! Plus there is the inherent benefit of keeping debris out of the water. Most heat loss in a pool is from wind, so keeping the pool blanket on after daily use will keep the heat in during a wind storm and the cool evening air. That morning swim will no longer be of the polar bear variety. Not to mention saving dollars in not using the pool heater!

Having a backyard swimming pool doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. Regular maintenance, good quality equipment and the intelligent use of energy will reduce pool expenses a great deal.

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