In the dog days of an East Coast summer, there is nothing better than having a pool in your backyard. Instead of packing up bathing suits, towels, and an entire medicine cabinet’s worth of sunscreen into a bag and driving to the community pool, you can just walk out into your backyard and take a refreshing dip.
Unfortunately, aside from the initial costs of building a pool, the ongoing costs of operating and maintaining the pool can add up rather quickly. One of the largest expenses of operating a pool is the energy costs involved in heating and pumping the water. In fact, the National Resources Defense Council estimates that the average pool owner spends $356 in energy costs per pool season.
Installing An Efficient Pump
A pool water pump is necessary to maintain healthy circulation in the water. The circulation filters debris, mixes chemicals, and prevents the growth of algae. However, the pump also costs a lot of money.
To save money, the Department of Energy recommends installing a pump that is as small as possible while still providing adequate circulation. Smaller pumps use less energy, and can usually save a pool owner up to 40% on energy costs compared to the average pool pump.
You can also reduce the time the pump operates per day to reduce energy costs. Most people will be happy with the quality of the water even after reducing the operating time of the pump to 3 to 6 hours per day.
A good way to reduce operating time and still keep the pool free of debris is to install a timer. By setting the timer to operate the pump in several short cycles throughout the day, you can keep operating time down while avoiding long stretches where the water is standing still.
Modern variable speed pumps are also a good way to reduce energy costs because they can be set to operate at low power settings and then ramp up for short bursts as needed.
Preventing Heat Loss
Evaporation of water from the surface of the pool is responsible for the majority of the heat loss. Heating the water in the pool makes up a large portion of the energy costs of operating a pool. Evaporating water takes a tremendous amount of heat out of the pool, heat that must be replaced by the pool heaters.
Installing a UV-stabilized polyethylene, polypropylene, or vinyl pool cover will provide a vapor barrier that prevents surface water evaporation, and as an added bonus, keeps out debris.