Pump up your pool’s energy efficiency
How to keep pool water clean without draining your walletBy Kelly Trapnell
A swimming pool provides the perfect summer retreat. But who wants it to drain dollars? Soak up these pool efficiency tips to save money while maintaining your personal, pristine oasis.
Each pool is equipped with an energy guzzler: the pump. The bigger the pump, the higher the power bill. Make sure your pool uses the smallest pump possible. New products like variable-speed pumps offer a good way to save. A knowledgeable pool supply or service firm can help you choose a proper pump for your pool, taking into consideration its size, filter and piping.
Greater savings can come from decreasing pump operation time, no matter the pump size. Keep drains clear of debris, or your pump will work harder to circulate water. Also, find a proper balance for backwashing the filter. Too much backwashing — the process of filtering and disposing of dirty water — wastes water, while too little strains the pump.
Make sure your pool isn't draining energy dollars needlessly by adjusting pump time and investing a little legwork. You'll have a prime poolside spot to relax in afterward, and the relief you'll see on your power bill will be well worth the effort.
Common pool myths
These myths lead to extra pump time and wasted energy:
I need to run my pump to keep chemicals mixed — FALSE. Circulate water while adding chemicals, and they will stay mixed. There is no need to recirculate the water each day to "re-mix" the water.
My pool will be dirty if I don't run my pump to constantly clean debris — FALSE. Try running your pump for six hours or less a day, as suggested by the U.S. Department of Energy's website www.EnergySavers.gov. If the cleanliness is not to your liking, increase filtration time by 30-minute increments until you are satisfied. If six hours works well, try decreasing filtration time to find a balance with energy efficiency. To keep debris down without running your pump overtime, use a skimmer to manually clean the water. Also, try using a timer to run your filter for several short periods during the day rather than allowing debris to pile up after one long continuous filtration.
I need my pump to run continuously to keep algae at bay — FALSE. Proper chemical balance and brushing down pool walls are the best algae fighters.