Rob Cox July 20, 2015
In many parts of the country, swimming pools have become outlaws, on the run against an army of water conservationists. Don't let your pool be attacked by a mob with Pitchforks and Torches, take a look at the many ways that you can reduce your pool water usage, and conserve pool water!
Swimming pools can be water wasters, but they don't have to be. With some simple practices like turning down the heat, and prohibiting cannonballs (Good luck with that!), your pol needn't be a water hog.
Reducing your swimming pool water needs is easy, but it can cost a few dollars. With some simple steps, you can conserve pool water and be able to tell anyone who asks how your pool actually saves water!
Cartridge Filters: A cartridge filter doesn't use backwashing for cleaning, which can use 500 gallons of water each time it needs cleaning. Cartridge filters are removed for cleaning with a garden hose nozzle, using only about 50 gallons of water. An oversized cartridge filter also offers the benefit of operating an entire season without a need for cleaning, until pool closing time, saving even more pool water.
Backwash Less: Many pool owners backwash too often, every week for example. Let your pressure gauge be your guide - backwash when the pressure is 9-10 lbs above the clean pressure. Bumping a DE Filter (backwashing only for 10 seconds), will extend the time between backwashing. Using a Sand Filter Cleaner will help to extend sand filter cycles, or time between backwashes. Another tip is to backwash only for 2-3 minutes, tops. For DE filters, I like to do a 90 second Backwash, then back to Filter for 15 seconds, and then another 90 second Backwash (or 60/15/60/15/60 seconds of Backwash/Filter).
Use Pool Covers: Any type of pool cover will reduce evaporation, heat loss and will save pool water. Even mesh safety covers reduce evaporation water loss by nearly 50%. Solar blankets are an easy way to both add heat to the pool (up to 10° for a sunny pool), and also reduce evaporation by over 80%. The best way to stop pool evaporative water loss is to use an automatic pool cover.
Fix Pool Leaks: An easy win for pool water conservation is to find and fix pool leaks. If your uncovered pool water level drops more than 1/4" per day, you may have a leak. It's not the small drip by the pool pump however; 1/4" of daily water loss in the pool equates to a fairly large leak. The most common pool leaks are around skimmers, steps and pool lights, and leaks out the backwash line.
Sun Shades: Adding some shade to your pool can drastically reduce the sun's evaporative effects; sorry Mr. Sun. Shade can come from installing a Pergola or pool house on one end, planting fast growing evergreens, or installing Sun Sail type shades to keep your water from evaporating so fast. Especially in the sunny south, shading the pool for at least a portion of the day is one way to conserve pool water.
Wind Blocks: Wind is the largest heat thief of your pool, and when it takes heat off the surface, it takes some water along with it. Hedges, fences, wind screens and such can make a big difference if you have prevailing winds, mostly coming from one direction. You can't completely shield your pool from wind, but every little bit will help to prevent pool water loss.
Water Recycling: If you have to drain your pool for repairs, or to change the water due to high levels of undesirables, recycle your pool water! In dry parts of the country, you can rent large vinyl bladders that can hold several thousand gallons. They don't have one big enough for your entire pool, unless you rent several 5000 gallon water trailers to store the water while you work on the pool. An option for poor water chemistry or neglected pools is to hire a mobile water recycling company to come to your pool. They pump your pool water through their reverse osmosis filters, and refill the pool with clean and clear, pure water.