Do you ever feel conflicted about that pool in the back yard? You love to watch your kids out swimming and playing pool games. But do you cringe when you get the energy bill each month? Take heart. There are some things you can do which will greatly reduce your energy usage, and let you enjoy your pool even more.
A smaller pool pump. Sometimes older pumps were larger than they needed to be, and ran less efficiently. Check your pump, and see if it might be time for a replacement. You can now buy pumps that have variable speed adjustments, so you can run the pump where it will use less energy. As well, since the pump itself is smaller, it will use less energy just because of its size. Over time, this investment can lead to substantial savings. Here are some excellent resources with more information about pools and energy savings:
A pump timer. The purpose of the pump is to circulate the water, to make it comfortable for swimming. The pump doesn’t have to run 24 hours a day to accomplish that task. Normally the water in a pool can be turned over in around 8 hours. You can add a timer to your pump system, then only run the pump for as long as necessary. If there are price breaks for off peak usage of electricity, you can set the pump to run during those times, adding further savings.
Check the lights. Older traditional lights use greater energy than the newer LED technology. LEDs are small semiconductors, and they convert electrical energy into a particular light color. They can not only save energy, but give the pool a great effect. Older bulbs only last about 5,000 hours, and the LEDs last up to 40,000 hours. They create light without the high heat of the traditional bulbs, which translates to using less energy.
A solar pool cover. When the pool sits idle throughout the day and night, water is evaporating from its surface. Wind and sun will lead to substantial water loss – but it is water which has been through the heating and filtration system. So the water is lost, but also the energy used to prepare that water for the pool. When a solar pool cover is installed, it retains the heat of the water, as well as dramatically reducing evaporation – a double saving. There are a wide variety of covers – the simplest being manually deployed covers which look like a giant sheet of bubble wrap. Custom designed covers deploy at the push of a button. Either choice will lead to substantial energy savings.
A windbreak. What if the family plans to use the pool a lot, and you don’t want to deploy the solar cover? Consider installing a windbreak around the pool. If there is a fence around the pool anyway – a good idea if you have kids – just add the windbreak there. It looks like the fence barriers you see on tennis courts, to keep the wind from altering a shot. In this case, they keep the wind from sweeping across the water and causing evaporation. If you live in a windy area, a windbreak is a great addition which will cut down on energy costs.
Attend to maintenance. Time spent cleaning the filter basket on the pool pump will allow that pump to work less to filter and heat water. If you take the time to clean leaves from the pool, so they never get to the basket, that helps even more. It’s not a big item, but can be a small part of saving energy. You watch your kids splash in the pool, smiling because you have taken steps to minimize energy usage. Now you don’t have to hesitate to open your electric bill each month.
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.
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