When you buy a new house, and it has a swimming pool out back, it’s easy to imagine a lot of pleasurable times swimming with the kids, watching them enjoy fun times in the pool – can you say “Marco Polo?” But along with that fun, you want to stay energy efficient. So for those who might be new to a family swimming pool experience, here are 4 tips that can help cut down on the pool’s energy consumption:
Tips on Reducing Your Pool Energy Consumption
Use a Solar Cover
One of the biggest sources of heat loss from a pool is due to evaporation. Water runs through the pump and heating system to bring it to the proper temperature for your family to be comfortable, and then it evaporates. You’ve just wasted all that energy to process the water for your pool, not to mention the water itself. Solar pool covers work on a simple principle – by covering up the pool when it is not in use, the evaporation problem can be reduced by as much as 90%.
As well, a solar pool cover provides a natural heating method, raising the water temperature during the day, reducing heat loss at night. The simplest pool cover looks like a giant sheet of bubble wrap, and is manually spread over the water like a bedspread. Custom designed covers can be deployed at the push of a button. The type of pool cover you deploy will depend on your budget, but will substantially reduce energy costs.
Use an Energy Efficient Pool Pump
If your pump is about due for replacement, this is a perfect time to look into a better solution. The pump for the pool is like the engine for your car – you want both to be energy efficient. Consider asking a pool professional to give you suggestions for a pump that is rated for the size of your pool.
There are a staggering number of pool pump options, but making the correct choice when buying a new one will allow the pool owner to save energy for many years. Many times, older pumps were bigger than they needed to be – and less efficient. Replacement with a smaller and more efficiently operating pump can provide significant energy savings over time.
Install a Windbreak
You have a pool, and when the wind picks up, it blows across the family pool and water evaporates. It’s not time to deploy the solar cover, because the family wants to use the pool soon. Does the family pool have a fence around it? If you have small children, that was probably one of the first home improvement projects you undertook when you bought the home.
A windbreak can be easily installed on that fence, and over time it will greatly cut down water loss due to evaporation. We’ve all seen windbreaks on tennis courts – in that case they are keeping the wind from throwing off a tennis shot – but with the family pool, the goal is just to keep that wind from blowing across the face of the water, decrease evaporation and save energy.
Install a Pump Timer
Just like turning off the lights when you leave the room, a pump timer can provide tremendous energy savings. The concept is pretty simple – with an energy efficient pool pump, you don’t have to leave it running all the time. Typically the water in a pool can be circulated by running the pump only a portion of the day, and anything beyond that is just wasted energy.
A pool professional can help you determine how long each day the pool needs to run for proper circulation. Then a little experimentation will make sure you maximize that pump time. Set the pump to run for the rated amount of time for that size pool, then if the water stays clear and clean, cut the time down by about 30 minutes, then check to see if the water stays clean. In this way, you can make sure you’re getting the most out of that pool circulation.
As well, if there are price breaks for off peak hour usage of electricity, the pump can be set to run during those times. When the kids are indulging themselves in a “biggest splash” contest on the diving board, you can smile as you watch them, because you’re doing your part to keep that pool as energy efficient as possible.
Kaitlin Gardner started AnApplePerDay.com to further her passion for a family friendly, green living lifestyle.She is married to her college sweetheart and lives in Pennsylvania. She and her husband enjoy going for long hikes, to get out and enjoy nature. She is working on her first book about ways to live an eco-friendly, healthy, natural life.