Make Your Pool Green!
Pool owners LOVE green pools. Crazy statement if the "green" you're thinking about is unclean, algae-filled water. But when "green" means eco-friendly, a "green" pool is something homeowners should aspire to have in their yards.
Energy Efficiency - Why?
Why should I build or upgrade to an energy efficient pool?
- 1) Reduce Costs: You'll save money. Energy-efficient pool appliances always pay for themselves in reduced electric bills, and then continue to save money for years to come. By choosing pool equipment such a variable speed pump or pool cover, and by establishing good habits like lowering the pool heater when not in use and proper preventative maintenance, costs to a pool owner can be greatly decreased.
- 2) Cuts down on energy waste and saves water: Almost all of a pool's heat loss-about 95 percent-occurs at the surface, mostly through evaporation to the air and radiation to the sky. By using a pool cover to prevent heat and water loss, the amount of chemical water treatment will also be reduced. A multispeed or energy efficient pool pump can also significantly reduce the power consumption of a swimming pool by over 65%.
- 3) Tax incentives and rebates: Did you know that some states offer tax incentives and rebates for homeowners that purchase energy efficient pool appliances? Check to see what incentives or rebates are available in your state..
Energy Efficiency - How?
With a combination of pool products and good preventative maintenance habits, you can improve the heating and energy efficiency of your swimming pool.
- Pump Efficiency- You can save energy and maintain a comfortable swimming pool temperature by using a smaller, higher efficiency pump and by operating it less. On average, an energy efficient pump will use 30-45% less energy than that of a standard pump. The difference over a season can be immense. Pumps now come in two-speed, four-speed, and variable-speed models, so you can turn the speed down for regular daily use saving a lot of energy, and use higher settings for more thorough, less frequent cleanings. New energy-efficient pumps also move the water more efficiently for further savings. Since pumps circulate the water to keep it clean, the better they work, the less a filter has to work.
- The Pentair IntelliFlo® High Performance Pump is the world's smartest swimming pool pump. Its onboard computer and intelligent software automatically calculate and program the minimum flow requirements for every pool task - filtering, heating, cleaning, spa jets, water features and more - to optimize performance and minimize energy use. As functions/tasks change, IntelliFlo® self-adjusts to maintain optimal flow rates for further energy savings.
- With the Hayward EcoStar family of pumps, money flows back into your pocket. EcoStar is the industry's most energy efficient variable speed pump, thanks to a super-efficient permanent magnet, totally enclosed fan cooled (TEFC) motor and industry leading hydraulic design. Tests prove that EcoStar can save you up to 90% on energy costs compared to ordinary single speed pumps. EcoStar matches pump flow to a pool's needs, versus running at full power 100% of the time. It's fully programmable with a self-contained 24-hour clock and up to 8 custom speed and timer functions that allow EcoStar to manage flow throughout the day. Whether used in new construction or aftermarket applications, EcoStar is the perfect choice.
- Pentair has a calculator that you can use to calculate your energy savings using an energy efficient pool pump.
- Pool Covers- A good pool cover will save energy and water. It can keep the water in your pool an average of 10 degrees warmer, which can cut summertime pool heating costs by up to 90 percent. A cover reduces water and chemical evaporation by up to 70 percent, saving nearly a thousand gallons of water per month. A cover also helps keep your pool clean, which means you'll have to run your filter pump less often, saving even more energy.
- Water temperature efficiency- In addition to a pool cover, there are other ways to help keep the cost of heating your pool to a minimum while you still enjoy a comfortable water temperature. Make use of solar energy by locating your pool in the sunniest part of your yard. If possible, screen it from the cooling, prevailing wind with existing structures such as the house or garage, or add a solidly built fence as a windbreak. The water temperature you desire for your swimming pool not only affects the size of the pool's heater, but also your heating costs if use a gas or heat pump pool heater. Heating your pool with solar energy is by far the most energy-efficient method. If you buy a gas or electric heater, check the yellow-and-black Energy Guide label on the appliance. It shows relative energy-efficiency according to tests by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Pool water temperatures typically range from 78ºF to 82ºF. The energy consumption for each degree rise in temperature will cost 10%-30% more in energy costs, depending on your location. In warmer climates, this percentage is higher because of the relatively low cost of heating a pool at 78ºF.
- Timers- Buy automatic timers for both your pool heater and pump. This will allow you to run them in several short cycles during the day, which is more effective than running them once continuously for several hours a day.
- Preventative Maintenance- Maintain efficient daily operations. Turn down the pool heater when the pool is not in use and maintain appropriate water temperatures when in use (78°-80° for active swimming, 82°-84° for recreational use). Raising the water temperature just 1°F can costs an additional 10 - 30%, depending on your location. Keep a thermometer in the pool to help determine the temperature that is best for your pool and mark the "comfort settings" on the thermostat dial to avoid accidental overheating. Backwash the pool filter only as much as necessary to avoid wasting water and energy and be sure to keep drain systems clear to allow the free flow of water. By far, the most energy efficient lights you can get for the pool are LED or solar powered.
Energy Efficiency - Not just for pools!
It is also possible to make your spa energy efficient. Portable spas are more energy efficient than in-the-ground spas because they are better insulated and usually have covers. If you have a typical portable spa, your heater will heat water 10 degrees in about 8 hours. If you use your spa once a week, lowering the temperature 3 degrees when not in use will save you approximately 5-10% of your spa heating costs; if you use the spa less often, your savings could be even greater. Don't run the jets unless you are using your spa. The mixture of water and air is great for relaxing the muscles, but it cools the water quickly. Spa covers are important. Be sure to leave the cover on until you are ready to use your spa and replace when you're finished. Remember that the heat that escapes is the heat you must pay to replace.