Your Swimming Pool is an Energy Hog - Learn How to Save Hundreds on Your Electric Bill

by Pool Builders on 05-23-2007 in Articles

With gas prices headed skyward, people are doing a lot more thinking about their energy use in general. Electricity costs have continued to rise as well, and energy-efficient products are the best way to offset these cost increases. If you want to lower your energy use, it is always best to start out by analyzing what uses the most energy in your home. In the southeast and southwest, most people know that air conditioning is number one. If you have a pool, it generally fills the number two spot. The sad truth is that your pool pump is an energy hog - but it doesn't have to be.

Reducing the cost of pool ownership is an area that the pool industry has been working on for some time. Some great advances have been made, but most people are unaware of the energy-saving technologies that are available. You want to enjoy your pool at a minimum cost, so how can you save money? Two main methods have emerged for reducing the energy consumption of pools. One is to have a two-speed pump. Running at an optional low speed decreases the resistance to water flow, allowing for more efficient pump operation. The second method employs a smart year-round controller, specifically designed for pools. A seasonal cycle runs the filter less in the winter and more in the summer, gradually turning up through the spring and down through the fall.

A two-speed pump is pretty simple to understand. A two-speed pump is just a conventional pump with an added low-speed mode. The low-speed mode moves water through the filter more slowly but much more efficiently. This gives you more gallons filtered per dollar. A good analogy is: "slow and steady wins the race". It also has a high-speed mode which is used to run your surface cleaning equipment (pool sweep or pop-ups). This is an efficient method of keeping your pool looking great, but is a sizeable investment because it requires that you replace both your pump and controller. It will usually cost over $1000 to upgrade to a two-speed pump.

A smart year-round controller allows you to keep your existing pump, but is designed to run it only as much as necessary. Most pool owners know that you don't need to run your filter as much in the winter as you do during the summer months. When the water is cold, bacteria and algae don't do much, and you can get away with running your pump less.

Some pool owners adjust the run time of their filter a couple times a year, but many don't adjust them at all. A company out of Chandler, AZ produces a product called the TightWatt® pool timer which will properly run your pump throughout the year. You simply set a "summer" and "winter" run time for your pump, and it calculates the rest of the year based on those values. This is a good option for people who want to save money but can't afford the investment in a two-speed pump. It is an affordable replacement for an aging mechanical timer, at about $149, and an easy way to save some money.

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