A swimming pool is a lot of fun in the summer, but the downside is that they use a load of water and energy. Luckily there are a number of things the homeowner can do to make the family pool operate more energy efficiently and to save on energy bills.
Install a pool pump timer
While replacing a pool pump might be a task for a pool pro, installing a pool timer is well within the ability of many pool owners. The timer, which you can get at most pool supply stores, allows the pool pump to be run intermittently, so that water can be properly circulated without the pump having to run constantly. An owner can find out how much the pump needs to run for their sized pool, and set the timer to run in intervals to meet the need. The timer can also let the pump run at times when electricity prices are lower, thus doubling the advantage of the timer.
Install a windbreak
One of the biggest sources of energy loss is evaporation. You send water through the heating and filtration system of the pool, and when it evaporates, all the energy used to process that water is lost, plus more water has to be added to the pool to counter the evaporation. If the pool has a fence around it, which is a great idea for safety, get double use out of that fence by installing a windbreak. This is a relatively simple process of getting the screening material—similar to the windscreen material on tennis courts—and attaching it to the fence. It might take a little discussion with experts, but this is a task that can definitely be handled by the homeowner.
Get a pool cover
The pool gets a lot of use during the summer, but over the winter, it’s not used very much, is it? If exposed to the weather, the pool can use a lot more energy than necessary. Some pool covers are as simple as a large plastic sheet that lays on top of the water. The more skilled pool owner can install a pool cover that attaches to fittings on the side of the pool. Regardless of the type preferred, this cover can provide substantial energy savings by not allowing the pool to be exposed to water loss due to evaporation.
Attend to maintenance
Just like a clogged air filter will make a car run rough, a clogged pool filter will make the pool equipment work harder and use more energy to keep the pool in order. Take care of the filter by cleaning it regularly and backwash the pool system to clear out all the debris that may have built up. Both of these tasks aren’t complicated, and when properly attended to, can reduce energy expenditure as well as allowing the pool equipment to last longer.
Turn off lights when possible
A lot of decorative lights can make a pool look really nice, but if they are on and burning through an evening when everyone is gone from the house, that is an energy drain that can easily be avoided. Just as with turning off lights in empty rooms in the house, turning off pool lights can provide significant energy savings. Consider adding a timer to turn off the lights in the pool area in case you’re the type of person who forgets.
[box]When Carol Atkins gets home from a run, she feels invigorated and ready to take on a new assignment for Pool Center. She just ran her first 10K, and would like to work her way up to running a full marathon—some day.[/box]