Here how to create an energy efficient swimming pool out of your backyard bathing pool - no matter what type of pool you already have!
If you are thinking of installing a new pool bear in mind energy efficiency at the outset as pools can demand quite a lot of energy and resources and add to your utility bills. This article mainly looks at what you can do to make your existing pool more energy efficient.
This is a guest post from Kaitlin Gardner of AnApplePerDay.com
You’ve just bought a new home, and the kids are so excited, because it has a pool in the back yard. But you’re energy conscious, so you’d like to find ways to make that pool more green and energy efficient. There are a number of solid options for making your pool use less energy, and here are some of the best:
Picture: Solar power pool lounger stocked by Amazon
When you’re not using the pool, it just sits there, exposed to the sun and wind. Water will evaporate from the surface of the water at a surprising rate. That is not just ordinary water, but water that has been sent through the heating and filtration system, to make it warm and clean enough for family swimming. A pool cover can substantially reduce evaporation. The cover also provides a natural heating method – it will raise the temperature of the water during the day, and reduce heat loss at night.
The most simple covers look like a giant sheet of bubble wrap, which manually spreads over the water like a bedspread. Covers* can be custom designed and deploy at the push of the button. The type will depend on your budget, but will pay for itself quickly.
*(See here for examples of pool covers. The one shown is a Blue Wave 16-Feet x 32-Feet Rectangular 12-mil Solar Blanket for In Ground Pools, Blue but there are plenty of other options available. A roller outfit (as shown in the sidebar) will help keep your solar pool cover easy to manage.)
The solar cover is great when the pool is not in use, but what about during times when the family will be using the pool frequently, and you don’t want to deploy a cover? Why not install a windbreak?
These are just like the barriers you see around tennis courts – which have the purpose of cutting down the wind. The constant evaporation from wind blowing across the pool can be tremendously reduced by using a windbreak. For families who have children, and have installed a fence around the pool, a windbreak will be an easy addition to cut down on energy costs.
The use of solar panels to heat homes is becoming increasingly popular. The same principle can be used to heat the family pool. Setting up a solar heating system can allow sun power to heat the pool, thus reducing energy costs. The best part is that the energy source is free, and though there will be some expense for setup and installation, over the long term, those expenses will be offset by the solar energy savings. Another eco-friendly advantage of solar power is that there are no gas or fuel emissions.
Many of the older models of pool pumps were larger than they needed to be, and sometimes much less efficient. A smaller pump with a variable speed option can work much more effectively.
The purpose of the pump is to control how well the water in the pool is circulated, and it doesn’t need to work hard to get that job done, with the right pump. The water only needs to be turned over once a day, and with a pump on a low setting, that can be easily accomplished, only running the pump a few hours longer than with a bigger, less efficient pump.
To gain even more energy savings from that pool pump, consider adding a timer. The pump may only need to run eight hours a day to effectively circulate the water, so the timer can be set to run the pump only that long. If there are price breaks for off-peak usage, the pump could be run during those hours, to save even more.
If the car has a clogged air filter, it runs less effectively. The same applies to pool equipment – if the pump filter basket is clogged with leaves and debris, the pump has to work harder to circulate water. Take time to clean the pump basket regularly.
To help even more, make sure leaves are cleaned from the pool, so they never get to the pool equipment. Regular maintenance will contribute to energy savings.
The parent who has taken the time to make his pool more energy efficient can smile as he watches his kids splash and play in the water, knowing they are having fun, but he is being eco-friendly at the same time.
Here are some great resources with more energy saving ideas for the pool:
Kaitlin Gardner started AnApplePerDay.com to further her passion for a family friendly, green living lifestyle. She is married to her college sweetheart and lives in Pennsylvania. She and her husband enjoy going for long hikes, to get out and enjoy nature. She is working on her first book about ways to live an eco-friendly, healthy, natural life.