8 Ways to Make Your Pool More Energy Efficient

People may be deterred from investing in a pool at home because they worry about all of the costs to run it. The energy it takes to operate the pool pumps, heaters, and to keep it chemically balanced can seem like a huge drain on time and resources. Lucky for you, we know all the insider tricks and tips that will help you get a more energy efficient pool.

1) Build Smart

When constructing a pool, try to pick the sunniest part in your yard as this will naturally help keep your water heated. If you can make the investment, heating your pool with solar energy is above and beyond the most energy-efficient method. There is enough solar energy in all parts of the US and parts of Canada to make the use of a solar pool heater viable.

Another important part of the build is protecting your pool from wind. Either place it in a part of your yard where it is protected from prevailing winds by the house, a shed, or build a windbreak fence. Something as little as a 7-MPH wind at the surface of the pool can increase your energy consumption by 300%! Plan the construction of your pool with this in mind.

2) Utilize Automatic Timers

There is great value in getting automatic timers for your pool heater as well as your pump (Pentair SolarTouch Control System pictured left). This allows you to run them in short cycles instead of having equipment run continuously for long periods of time throughout the day. You can time the pool’s filtration system to run during off-peak hours when electricity demand is lower (and therefore cheaper) like at night between 8:00 PM and 10:00 AM.

3) Cover Your Pool

When a pool loses heat, 95% of the time it’s through the surface. If you cover your pool, not only will you prevent water loss via evaporation, but you’ll insulate the heat you’re paying for and the water won’t need to be treated as frequently.

Another step in saving energy is to utilize a solar cover. Solar swimming pool covers, also known as “pool blankets” or “solar blankets” are a less expensive option that keeps evaporation to a minimum, protects the water from debris, and reduces chemical consumption. It helps to heat your pool water, ultimately reducing your heating costs by 50-70%. It also lowers evaporation by 30-50% and reduces your chemical usage by 35-60%, not to mention saving YOU energy when cleaning the pool.

4) Get an Efficient Pump

Maybe the biggest change you could make for the better is investing in a variable speed pump. Depending on your local utility rates, pool characteristics, and existing equipment, your savings can be significant. People typically make up the difference of a more expensive pump in the overall savings after operation in as little as a year. A system with an energy efficient pump, filtration system, and heater can save a pool owner up to $900 over the course of a year relative to your average setup.

What you should look for in a pump is whether it’s energy efficient and has multiple speeds—this can lower your overall power consumption by 65%. Pumps are typically now available in two-speed, four-speed, and a variable-speed model. This enables the owner to turn the speed down for regular daily use so that the pump isn’t running all the time at one high speed.

Energy efficient pumps also move water more efficiently. Pumps are used to circulate water in your pool in order to keep it clean and the better the pump operates, the less work the filter has to do. A good example of some efficient pumps are the Pentair Intelliflo models (pictured right) as well as Speck Pumps Badu pool pumps. Although they may be a bit more of an investment initially, it will save you tons of energy and ultimately, $$$.

5) Invest in an Energy Efficient Heater

If you buy either a gas or an electric heater, check the yellow-and-black Energy Guide on the appliance. It will show you the US Federal Trade Commission’s relative energy-efficiency. Also be sure to practice efficient habits like turning down your pool heater when it’s not in use and turning off your pool heater if you leave on vacation. Many modern pool heaters have a “comfort setting” on the thermostat dial. Utilize that in order to avoid accidental overheating that will waste money and energy.

6) Maintain an Energy Friendly Temperature

Keeping your water at a consistent temperature is an important factor in saving energy. Approximately 78° is the ideal temperature for outdoor pools being used for exercise or recreation. The energy consumption for each degree rise in temperature in a pool will cost 10-30% more in energy costs so keep that in mind. Also remember that the temperature you pick will affect the size of the pool heater you need.

If you only use your pool on the weekends, turn it down 8-10° during the week.

7) Maintain Your Equipment and Water Chemistry

It’s important to make sure all of your equipment is kept in top working condition. This includes your pump, filter, heater, as well as your water chemistry. All of this will cut down on energy waste, save water, and limit the amount of money you’ll spend on repairs and unnecessary usage.

A few good maintenance practices you should be utilizing:

  • Backwash your pool filter only as necessary to avoid wasting water/energy.
  • Keep the drain systems clear to allow water to flow freely. Clogged drains require your pump to work harder than is necessary.
  • Circulate the water through a filter once per day—additional cycles are likely unnecessary and they waste energy.
  • Clean your filter regularly to ensure energy efficiency and maximum filtration.

8) Stay Informed

Many states offer tax incentives or even rebates based on how energy efficient your equipment is. Make sure you check out this interactive map from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency that will tell you, state by state, what is available to you. They may even offer to reward you for using something as simple as energy efficient LED lights in your pool or utilizing solar powered pool accessories.

So if you want to both do your part to use less energy while spending less money on what could be mammoth electric bills, be sure you utilize the 8 tips on this list. You may be spending more initially, but you’ll be saving money for years to come. It’s all about using valuable pool equipment like a variable speed pump or making sure to cover your pool all while establishing good maintenance habits. A little time and a lot of knowledge will always pay off in the end. Sometimes literally.

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