Be a Conservative Pool Owner - save Money & Energy!


by John Galcius, April 22, 2009

In honor of Earth Day 2009, here's a post on how you can save money on your money pit! Let's face it - pools use energy and they can waste energy too! Here's four areas to look at ~ to try to keep your pool from draining your wallet and heating up our planet!

Solar Pool Heatfree solar sun heat for your pool
Take a look at the sun. Thats a lot of energy. A lot of free energy.
Solar pool heating is the most economically attractive option for pool heating and for extending your swim season.
Solar energy is more economical over the life of the system than a pool heater that uses electricity, fuel oil, natural or propane gas.
Compared to other pool heating methods, a solar pool heating system pays for itself within 2 to 4 years.  "Solar pool heating is the most cost-effective use of solar energy in many climates." United States Dept. of Energy
 
In comparison with other pool heating technologies, solar energy:
  • Provides the lowest annual operational costs (energy is provided free from the sun)
  • Provides the lowest maintenance costs (minimal if any)
  • Is the cleanest, safest and quietest source of energy
  • Has the longest lifespan (no moving parts, no corrosion) - almost always outlasting their warranties.
  • Click here for more information on solar heating. 
     
Pump Efficiency
You can save energy and maintain a comfortable swimming pool temperature by using a smaller pump or higher efficiency pump and by operating it less.
In a study of 120 pools by the Center for Energy Conservation at Florida Atlantic University, some pool owners saved as much as 75% of intelliflo energy efficient pumptheir original pumping bill when they used these energy conservation measures (see table below). And the best thing about energy efficient pumps are the rebates available.
Many energy providers, such as San Diego Gas & Electric  , Pacific Gas & Electric Company and Southern California Edison. Each offer hundreds of dollars in rebates. Just to use your pool timer or energy efficient pump. Timers will allow you to operate the pump a minimal time. Just enough to keep the pool clear and sanitized.
Set your timer to run the pool system during the hottest time of the day, or when your local energy provider suggests.

Save Money By Reducing Your Pump Size
Condition
Energy Use (kWh/year)
Cost of Energy ($/year)
Energy Savings
Original
3000
240
----
Pump replacement (downsizing)
1800
140
40%
Reduced time (60%)
1200
100
60%
Combination of above
720
60
75%


Solar Pool Blanketsblog solar swatches

A solar pool blanket can not only heat the pool for free, but it will also insulate the pool and keep valuable heat, water and chemicals from evaporating.  Solar Pool Covers or Blankets resemble giant sheets of bubble wrap. The bubbles trap heat from the sun and transmit the heat to the pool, keeping the water temperature warm and inviting.  The solar cover also helps to trap the heat of the water and prevents its escape into the cool night time air.  
Solar covers float freely on top of a pool without tie-downs or anchors to hold them in place; therefore, removing a solar cover is easy, just pull it off and store it. This job can be a bit sloppy - imagine folding a giant wet blanket by yourself - but recruiting a helper or the aid of a solar pool cover reel makes the task much easier.  Solar coverssolar reels are usually folded and stored or rolled-up on a large reel and wheeled out of the way.
Solar Blankets are ideal for use in sunny climates because the more heat they can gather, the longer they can extend the swim season.  Solar pool covers can raise water temperature by as much as 10-15 degrees.   It is important to remember that, although any cover will reduce some of the debris that enters a pool, solar pool covers are not designed specifically for cleanliness, nor are they considered safety covers. 
Solar pool covers must be completely removed from the pool before swimmers enter the water. Solar Pool Covers work equally as well on both Above Ground and In Ground Swimming Pools. Click here for more information on solar blankets
 
 
Water Conservation

Here are some tips on swimming pool water conservation:

Ø Cover the pool when it is not in use to control evaporation and save energy from heat loss. Up to 95% of water loss from evaporation can be saved through the use of a pool cover
Ø Reduce the temperature if possible, particularly when the pool is not in use.
Ø Limit the frequency of pool refilling. Only refill pool when required for water quality reasons.
Ø Backwash pool filters only when necessary. If the backwash cycle is controlled by a timer, check and adjust the frequency of the cycle to ensure optimal efficiency. Use head loss to determine backwash frequency (8-10 psi loss).
Ø Where feasible, use filter backwash for irrigating lawns or plants and shrubs or for cooling towers.
Ø Lower the pool's water level as much as possible to reduce the amount of splash out.
Ø Check the pool regularly for cracks and leaks and make repairs promptly. If pool drops more than 1 inch per day then investigate for problems.
Ø Replace shower heads in the changing area to low flow fixtures and post signs to encourage pool users to limit the time in the shower.
Ø Add a fence, trees or shrubs to provide a wind break to reduce evaporation.

 

So there you have it - four ways to operate your pool more efficiently. With a little planning you can reduce your swimming pool's energy demand, and its "carbon footprint".

If you have other ideas to run your pool with Mother Nature in Mind - please let us know - in honor of Earth Day!