If you already have a pool or are considering taking the plunge into purchasing one, there are many ways to make your oasis sustainable. Here are some ways to make your pool eco-friendlier and more cost-effective.
Use Eco-Friendly Technologies
Using eco-friendly accessories, such as LED lighting instead of traditional halogen lights, is an alternative to make your backyard pool a little greener. LED lamps use less electricity than conventional halogen bulbs and last longer, saving you money on replacements. They are also easier to automate by setting the timer from your phone. While new and recent pools are becoming more standard with LED lights, you may need a licensed electrician to replace halogen lights on an old pool.
Harness the Sun
Solar energy is one of the most eco-friendly (and cost-effective) ways to heat your pool. Installing 2-3 kW of solar panels beyond your standard needs is enough to cover the cost of running a pool and accessories like a pump, filter, etc. If you put the pool pump on a timer, usually running between 10 am and 3 pm in the summer, you can ensure that you use your excess solar power and save more money.
Pool covers provide insulation and help retain heat, reduce evaporation, and maintain chemical balance. Another advantage of thermal covers is that they are UV resistant. They last longer and allow you to save on heating costs. When buying a thermal cover, look for the highest R-value (thermal resistance) you can afford.
On the other hand, solar covers have air pockets, absorbing heat from the sun. It transfers into the water, helping to heat the pool. An excellent solar cover can warm your pool by up to eight degrees. However, they are less effective at retaining heat overnight than thermal covers. Solar covers are typically less expensive than thermal covers but have a shorter lifespan.
In-Floor Cleaning Systems
In-floor cleaning systems circulate the water, helping keep swimming pools clean without regular hand vacuuming or other cleaning devices. In-floor cleaning systems also help to reduce chemical usage. Since the system returns treated water to the floor of your swimming pool, it greatly reduces the loss of heat and chemicals from the water’s surface. It reduces the time for maintenance and the running costs and excessive use of chemicals added to a pool.
Many systems are fully automated, switching off when the cleaning is complete. It also saves energy as you will only run your cleaning system for as long as needed.
Smart Pool System
Smart pool systems allow you to automate key functions of your pool, like pool pumps, cleaning systems, lights, heating, and even chlorine levels. Smart technology can help lower your energy bills by preventing excessive consumption caused by leaving the pump running for a long time or accidentally forgetting to turn off the lights.
For most pools, the ideal temperature is 77 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit. Each degree rises in temperature adds 10 to 30 percent in energy costs. Reducing the temperature or turning off the heater when the pool is unused can save energy costs.
Reduce Pump Usage
To reduce emissions and costs, use a timer to manage your pump’s run time and keep it at the lowest recommended speed during off-peak hours (to take advantage of cheaper power rates) to ensure proper pool hygiene.
To keep your pump running as efficiently as possible, experts also recommend cleaning the skimmer basket, pump basket, filter, and intake screens free of debris. Energy.gov also has a page with additional information about pool pumps and how much you can save.