When it’s summertime and the sun is shining, it’s hard to beat the feeling of going for a swim. But even though swimming pools are delightful in hot weather, they can also increase your energy expenses.
What fun is going for a dip in the backyard if all you can think about is the cost? Here, we’ve put together a list of swimming pool energy savings tips — that way you can enjoy yourself without having to worry about a dramatic spike in your monthly energy bill.
Between purchasing chemicals and replacing parts, the costs of owning a swimming pool can quickly add up. However, there are some ways you can reduce your pool’s energy usage and limit your overall operating expenses.
Pool covers are extremely useful for limiting how much electricity your pool uses. They help to retain the heat that’s created by your pool heater, as well as prevent evaporation, which helps to reduce your home’s water usage in the summer. Without a pool cover, your heater will have to work overtime in order to keep your pool warm, meaning it will use more energy in the process. Additionally, a white pool cover is a cost-friendly and energy-efficient way to help keep your pool from overheating in particularly hot climates.
There are several types of pool covers to choose from. Solar covers are one of the more common (and cost-effective) choices. Vinyl and insulated vinyl covers offer more durability, though at a higher price point. But no matter which you use, covering your pool when it isn’t in use could reduce your pool heating expenses by as much as 50%-70%.
If you’re trying to figure out how much a pool costs per month in electricity, don’t forget to factor in the pump. The larger your pool pump is, the more energy it’s going to consume. That’s why it’s important to get the smallest pump that will work for your pool’s size.
In general, a pump with 0.75 horsepower or less will be sufficient for most residential pools. But there’s a chance you may need a more powerful one, depending on your pool’s dimensions. Ask your pool supplier for a design chart to help you calculate the pool pump energy usage necessary for the job.
If your pool pump is causing a high electric bill, you can also consider switching to a more energy-efficient model. If you do this, in addition to running your pump less frequently, Energy.gov suggests that you could save as much as 75% of your original pump bill, as outlined in the chart below:
Besides making sure you have an appropriately sized pool pump, there are some other things you can do to make your pump operate more efficiently and cost-effectively:
The average pool’s temperature falls between 78 degrees and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it’s best to keep your pool closer to 78 degrees whenever possible. This is because raising your pool’s temperature by just one degree Fahrenheit can increase your energy costs by 10%-30%, depending on your location. To conserve energy, you can lower the temperature further or even shut off your heater if you plan on being away for an extended period of time.
In warmer climates, you may have the opposite challenge of keeping your water from getting too hot. Tips for lowering your pool’s temperature include:
One of the most expensive pool energy costs stems from keeping the water at your desired temperature. Analyzing energy-efficient pool heaters, then, is among the most important swimming pool energy savings tips. But what exactly are your pool heating options? And which will be best at conserving energy?
Gas-fired pool heaters remain the most popular pool heaters, according to Energy.gov. As their name suggests, these heaters use natural gas or propane to help warm the water. In contrast, heat pump, or electric, pool heaters don’t generate heat; they simply capture it and move it from one place to another using electricity.
Gas pool heaters heat pools quickly and are most efficient if used infrequently or for short periods of time. If the pool is used every day, however, an electric pool heater might make the most sense. Electric heat pump pool heaters initially cost more than gas heaters. However, they have lower annual operating costs because of their higher efficiencies. Assuming they are properly maintained, they typically last longer as well. It’s worth noting, though, that electric heaters may not work as well in temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, as opposed to gas heaters that work in any weather.
Solar swimming pool heaters are a valid alternative to traditional gas heaters, with similar upfront costs and potentially lower operating costs, depending on where you live. Solar pool heaters also tend to last longer than gas models. Installing a solar pool heating system costs $3,000-$4,000, but that can be paid back in fuel savings within 18 months to seven years, depending on local fuel prices.
There are also different types of solar pool heating systems for different situations, which will have an affect on your total costs. For example, unglazed collector systems are cost-effective and suitable for use when outside temperatures are above freezing. Conversely, glazed collector systems cost more to install but capture solar heat more effectively and can be utilized year-round in most climates.
A dirty filter will not only be less effective but also cause your cleaning system to work harder and draw more energy than needed. It’s wise to get into the habit of performing routine maintenance tasks on your pool, such as cleaning your filter, backwashing your drain systems and balancing and adding chemicals. This will ensure your system runs at peak performance and reduce your pool energy usage.
Another way you can save energy in the summer is by upgrading to energy-efficient lighting for your pool area. Outdoor solar lights can be a great option: They’re simple to set up and require essentially no maintenance once installed.
That said, different models can require different amounts of sunlight to function. You’ll want to make sure the area around your pool receives enough light to meet your model’s specific light requirements.
There are a variety of outdoor automation ideas that can help lighten your maintenance workload as well as reduce your energy consumption over the summer. For example, you can invest in automatic pool covers that close with the push of a button. You can also set up timers to limit your filtration system’s usage. And robotic pool cleaners help maximize your cleaning efficiency.
The amount of electricity your pool consumes can have a substantial impact on both your average home power usage and expenses. For example, it can cost over $450 to run a single conventional pool pump for a year. And that’s without factoring in the costs of the energy you’ll use to heat your pool’s water.
How much electricity your particular swimming pool uses will depend on a number of factors (see below). But with some basic energy conservation practices in place, you can expect to spend between $110-$349 on powering and maintaining your pool each year.
There are several factors that help to determine your pool’s energy consumption. Some of them may be beyond your control. But with others, there are changes you can make to see improved efficiency and cost savings. The factors include:
When trying to understand your energy costs, it’s important to know how operating a swimming pool factors in. When the hot weather hits, you should be able to relax and enjoy your investment, not worry about your energy expenses. These pool energy savings tips are a great start to a worry-free summer. And they’re just a few of the ways to save energy in your home!
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