Why should you care about making your swimming pool more energy-efficient in 2012 and beyond? Saving energy is one excellent reason, but saving money is another good one, too. Greening your pool means keeping more green in your wallet.
This series of posts on creating an energy-efficient pool has so far recommended Solar Pool Covers, Solar Pool Heaters, and the Pool Filter Timer as three sure-fire ways to cut energy consumption and costs. The last and final recommendation in this series is the Pool Pump.
4. Swimming Pool Pump
The fourth way to increase energy-efficiency in your swimming pool is to install and operate a swimming pool pump. You can conserve energy and sustain a comfortable swimming pool temperature by using a smaller, higher efficiency pump and by operating it less frequently. In a study of 120 pools by the Center for Energy Conservation at Florida Atlantic University, some pool owners saved as much as 75% of their original pumping bill when they used these energy conservation measures.
These aren’t the only four ways to increase energy-efficiency in your backyard swimming pool, but they do offer a variety of options for accomplishing the task. Whether you decide to take on these four recommendations one at a time, or choose to adopt them all at once, any steps you take toward greater energy-efficiency will make a positive difference for the environment and for your wallet.
Sometimes, the most simple of devices can increase energy-efficiency. Replace your incandescent light bulbs with CFL bulbs, for example, and the energy savings happen automatically. When it comes to swimming pools, one simple and inexpensive device that can decrease the amount of energy used and dollars wasted is the pool filter timer, the 3rd recommendation in my series of four on how to make your swimming pool more energy-efficient in 2012.
3. Pool Filter Timer
A third way to save energy is to use a Pool Filter Timer. Automating a pool’s filter operation pays for itself in energy savings within the first couple of months. Except during times of heavy use, most swimming pools only need to filter 12 hours per day. Pool filter timers can save you money on electricity and chemicals. Look for a pool filter timer that is weather proof, durable, and has multiple settings to give you ultimate control.
It’s the simple solutions, like this one, that can be the easiest ones to adopt first. On your journey to greater energy-efficiency and money savings, the pool filter timer is a good place to start. Once you start seeing your energy bills decrease, you can take on one or more of the other three recommendations in this series — Solar Pool Covers, Solar Pool Heaters, or the subject of my next post…coming soon.
Making your backyard swimming pool more energy-efficient isn’t just about being more environmentally friendly — although, that’s a pretty good reason in itself. Energy-efficiency is also about saving money. I don’t know many people who wouldn’t like to keep a little more green in their pockets, especially considering our current economic challenges.
The first post in this series of 4 posts recommended Solar Pool Covers as one way to increase your pool’s efficiency. In this second post, the subject is Solar Pool Heaters.
2. Solar Pool Heater
A second way to create an energy-efficient pool is to use a Solar Pool Heater. Solar heaters provide another way of taking advantage of the sun’s free energy. Solar Heaters are tremendously efficient, cheap to operate, and are the ultimate in environmental friendliness. When combined with a solar pool cover, a Solar Pool Heater will maintain a comfortable water temperature well into the cooler months.
Most solar pool heating systems include the following elements:
- A solar collector — Pool water is circulated through this device so that it can be heated by the sun;
- A filter — Debris is removed in the filter before water is pumped through the collector;
- A pump — Pool water is circulated through the filter and collector and back to the pool thanks to the pump;
- A flow control valve — Pool water is diverted through the solar collector through this automatic or manual device.
Solar Pool Heaters are much more affordable than you might expect, too. Of course, whatever money is spent on purchasing new equipment initially is quickly returned in energy savings.
Now is the best time to start thinking about how to improve the energy-efficiency of your backyard swimming pool. Operating and maintaining a pool using older, less efficient equipment sucks up energy and money, leaving your pockets empty at the end of each season.
Making your pool more energy-efficient really only requires a few changes to your existing set up. You can choose to implement all of suggestions offered here at one time, or you may find that changes are easier to swallow by taking them one at a time. Either way, this series of 4 posts will offer some helpful suggestions for how to make your pool more energy-efficient in 2012 and beyond:
1. Solar Pool Covers
First, use Solar Covers, also known as solar blankets, to cover your pool. Solar Pool Covers or Blankets resemble enormous sheets of bubble wrap. The bubbles trap heat from the sun and convey the heat to the pool, keeping the water temperature warm and comfortable. The solar cover also helps to trap the water’s heat and prevents heat loss in the cooler air at night or on cooler days.
Solar covers float freely on top of a pool without the need for tie-downs or anchors to hold them in place. Solar covers are usually folded and stored or rolled up in a large roll and wheeled out of the way. Solar Blankets are perfect for use in sunny climates because the more heat they can trap, the longer they can extend the swim season. Solar pool covers can increase water temperatures by as much as 10-15 degrees.
Besides offering energy savings, pool covers also do the following:
- Save water by decreasing the amount of make-up water needed by 30%-50%;
- Reduce the pool’s consumption of chemicals by 35%-60%;
- Reduce cleaning time by preventing dirt and other debris from entering the pool.
In my next post, I’ll offer a second suggestion for how to make your pool more energy-efficient in 2012. Remember, choosing to be more energy-efficient is not just about taking steps to reduce our negative environmental impact, it’s about saving money, too. Being green means saving green!
Indoor pools may offer water-lovers a welcome relief from cold or stormy weather, but maintaining an indoor pool can cause an unwelcome increase in energy costs. Heat loss through evaporation accounts for a whopping 70% of the energy consumed by an indoor pool, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). With evaporation left unchecked, other problems arise such as excess chemical consumption, an overabundance of humidity, and building maintenance problems related to humidity.
Dealing with the humidity from an indoor pool means installing a ventilation system that replaces indoor air with unconditioned air from outside. The cost of running such a ventilation system to keep humidity at bay can be steep. But all of the problems associated with water evaporation from an indoor pool can be significantly reduced with the use of pool covers.
Pool covers reduce evaporation dramatically, and as a result, energy costs can be lowered by as much as 70%, according to the DOE. Additionally, pool covers keep chemical consumption at a minimum, and humidity levels are kept in check. Lower humidity levels reduce the need to ventilate the air, which decreases energy costs even further.
Use pool covers only when the pool is not in use. Pool covers should be removed from a pool completely before swimmers enter the water.