by Rob Cox, March 13, 2010
5 ways to operate your pool in an Eco Friendly manner
Eco Friendly practices for operating swimming pools are becoming necessary as utility costs skyrocket in some parts of the country. Also, many communities are now stewarding the natural areas surrounding their homes, keeping natural areas natural by not allowing their pools or pool owners to discharge pollutants into the air or the ground.
Our customers have been demanding products that have less of an impact. Natural pool chemicals, solar pool heat and heat pumps, and variable speed pumps are asked for - and the major manufacturers have heard the call. This year, more eco friendly pool products have been released than ever before.
Here's 5 ways to operate your pool with less of an impact on the environment.
1. Install a Salt Water Chlorinator
Chlorine is a fine chemical, in fact without it, we would see an estimated 500,000 annual deaths from Cholera and other bacteria borne illness. Chlorine manufacturing however, is a messy process. Full of energy and toxic wastes. Packaging and transportation of Chlorine adds much more of an impact. By installing a Salt Pool System, you simply add salt to the pool water and the Salt Chlorine Generator converts this salt water into chlorine water. You never have to buy, transport, store or handle chlorine again. Long term costs are about the same as buying tablets and shock, however prices of Saltwater Generators have been coming down.
2. Install a Time Clock or a Controller
Did you know that some pool owners actually run their pool pump 24 hours per day? This is usually not necessary. Most pools are designed to turn over or recirculate all of the water in the pool within an 8 hour period. One turnover per day is usually sufficient to keep your pool water maintained, all else being constant. But if you try to manually turn on and turn off your pump each day, you may forget, and over filter or under filter your pool water. Pool Timeclocks range from $27 for a 115v model, to computerized pool controller systems that manage many functions or pieces of equipment.
3. Reduce Fossil Fuel Pool Heating
A natural gas or propane gas heater offers on demand heating - but it's benefits stop there. Thousands to install, and the operating cost can be several hundred dollars per month or more. Maintenance intensive and expensive to repair, gas pool heaters can be replaced or supplemented by solar pool heaters or electric pool heat pumps. Using a solar blanket can further reduce reliance on a gas pool heater and even add 10 degrees to your pool. Liquid solar blanket won't add heat to your pool - but will help to retain it. Any cover is a good idea to help retain the heat that a gas pool heater puts into the water. Wind blocks are also useful and will save you a great deal of fuel and money. If you are installing a new gas pool heater, consider buying a Low NOx pool heater, which are required in some areas with lower emission standards.
4. Install an Energy Efficient Pool Pump
Required in some states, 2 speed motors can drastically reduce energy demand and expense. Taken a step further, newer variable speed pumps adjust the flow rate and amperage draw, to deliver optimum performance at the lowest possible electrical cost. Most motors now are "energy efficient" - but if you really want to deliver impact, check out the new Intelliflo pumps by Pentair, the Hayward Tristar Energy Solution or the Jandy ePump. Speck is also a leader in this regard and even has solar powered pool pump available. New on the market are variable speed drives that allow a regular pool pump to become a variable speed pool pump.
5. Install a Cartridge Pool Filter
Cartridge pool filters have been redesigned in recent years, most notably made larger with greater dirt holding capacity. The environmental benefit of a cartridge pool filter is that it is not backwashed to clean the filters. This saves thousands of gallons of water per year. It also prevents DE filter powder and dirt from being discharged into nearby springs and watersheds. Also prevents the discharge of water treated with algaecides and algaestats, and high levels of chlorine or salt. Filter cartridges are manually cleaned with a garden hose, and if the filter is sized properly, this cleaning need take place only a few times per year.
Do you have other ways? Tell us below!