Go Green, Save Green: Eco-Friendly Pool Tips
We live in a society that’s “going green.” Every single day, we’re finding more and more eco-friendly solutions for everyday scenarios. People want to do their part to contribute to a healthier, more sustainable environment. From saving energy and conserving water, to using earth-friendly products and recycling, even the smallest changes have a big impact on our world. The best part? Going green can also save you some serious green, too! Everyone can appreciate a little extra money in the bank each month. But what about eco-friendly pools?
One of the easiest places to get started on your eco-friendly journey is in your backyard — it’s the pool! We’ve gathered some of the best tips available to help you save money on pool maintenance. In the process, you’ll also be doing your part to reduce your household’s impact on the environment. It’s a win-win! Keep reading for the best eco-friendly pool solutions and tips. Highlights include:
Energy Efficient Pool Pumps
Solar Pool Covers
Water Conservation and Pool Filters
Variable Speed Pool Pumps
Variable speed pool pumps have been around for many years. They’ve steadily gained popularity in recent years, and for good reason. A variable speed pool pump is the most energy efficient piece of pool equipment money can buy. Compared to single speed pumps, variable speed pumps consume less energy over a longer period of time to accomplish the same (or better) outcome. The efficiency is so good, in fact, that you can essentially pay for your new variable speed pool pump with utility savings over the course of a couple of swimming seasons. Curious about how much money you can save with a variable speed pump? Take a look at our Jacuzzi Energy Calculator.
The benefits don’t stop with energy savings. Water typically circulates slower and longer with a variable speed pump. This means your filtration efficiency goes up, and your risk of an algae outbreak decreases. Flexible programming can allow you to find the perfect setting that works best for your pool and maximizes efficiency. Variable speed pumps are also significantly quieter than their single speed counterparts, which makes for a more relaxing backyard environment. (Your neighbors will thank you, too!)
BONUS TIP: Run your pool pump at night or early morning to avoid peak hour usage charges. It’s still important to circulate the water during the hottest parts of the day. This will help with chlorine burn-off and keep the water clean and clear. But with a bit of planning on how to split the pump run time, you'll save a little extra money on your utilities each month.
Solar Pool Covers
Evaporation is the leading cause of water and chemical loss in a pool. During spring and late summer, evaporation can also quickly suck the heat out of your water. Solar covers can solve all these problems, and then some. As an added bonus, solar covers can pay for themselves in as little as one season from the savings.
Solar covers, also called solar blankets, are basically a sheet of heavy-duty UV protected bubble wrap. They come in several colors and thicknesses to provide the right level of benefits for your pool. The thick plastic layer acts as a solid barrier, while the bubbles allow it to float on the surface. This barrier greatly reduces the amount of water vapor, chemicals, and heat lost to evaporation. At the same time, a solar cover prevents debris like leaves from entering the water, which reduces the time needed for daily cleaning, and reduces strain on your cleaner and filter.
A solar cover can also absorb and transfer heat from the sun’s powerful rays, increasing the water temperature by as much as 10–15 degrees Fahrenheit. For this reason, many pool owners use solar covers to help extend swimming season. The thicker the cover, the more heat it can transfer, and the longer it will last. If you use a pool heater, a solar cover is an absolute necessity. When the pool is not in use, leave the cover on to keep the heat in the water. This is just another eco-friendly pool benefit that will save you money over time.
If you’ve ever turned on a garden hose that’s been sitting out in the sun, you know the water coming out of that hose will be HOT! This is the same concept used for solar pool heaters. There are several types of solar heaters on the market. At the high end, there are complex rooftop assemblies that install on the roof of your home. There are also less expensive options, such as simple return valve accessories that connect to a dark garden hose. All solar heaters have an upfront purchase cost, but all use a free source of continuous natural energy — the sun.
Using a heat pump is an eco-friendly pool alternative to traditional gas or electric pool heaters. They are much more energy efficient, reduce your carbon and emissions footprint, and cost significantly less to operate than other types of gas or electric pool heating systems. Heat pumps work almost like an air conditioner, but in reverse. Air conditioners pull heat from a house to cool it, sending the warm air outside. Pool heat pumps pull heat from the outside air, and transfer it into the pool to warm the water. They work best in air temperatures over 50 degrees, making them a popular heating option for pool owners in the sunbelt.
No matter which type of pool filter you have, you can still do your part to conserve water. Cartridge filters tend to waste less water than DE and sand filters, because cartridge filters do not require backwashing. Using cartridge cleaner or spraying a cartridge uses significantly less water than a backwash cycle. However, if you do have a sand or DE filter, you can easily repurpose the backwash water to use around your yard. Water your trees, bushes and shrubs. You can even connect your backwash hose to a fountain that will broadcast the water evenly over your lawn.
BONUS TIP: To extend the life of your filter media and prolong the time between cleanings, get a robotic pool cleaner. Unlike a suction or pressure side pool cleaner, robotic cleaners are independent of your pool’s plumbing,. This puts less strain on your filter and pump. Robotic pool cleaners are also the most efficient type of cleaner. They provide superior cleaning performance, as well as added filtration and circulation throughout your pool.
Looking to cut down on chemical use in your pool? There are pros and cons to both standard chlorine pools and their alternative solutions. Both are highly efficient ways to sanitize water. It really comes down to what works best for your pool maintenance needs. If you're looking for alternatives, there are quite a few to choose from.
One popular option is to convert your pool to a saltwater system with a chlorine generator. This requires a bit more effort to get started, and will need some amount of ongoing maintenance to avoid the negative drawbacks. But many pool owners prefer this method of sanitation because of the numerous benefits. These include reduced chemical handling and storage, softer water, lower annual costs, and lack of a chlorine smell.
Another option is to supplement your chlorine’s sanitation power with mineral sanitizers. This method doesn’t require significant changes to your pool system. Your water will feel softer, and mineral systems can reduce the amount of chlorine added to the pool each week. Some pool owners also like using ozonators and UV light systems (or a combination of the two) to keep the water sanitary and reduce the need for chlorine. Unlike salt systems, none of these methods require massive changes beyond installation.
Ready to start your journey toward a cleaner, clearer, “greener” swimming pool? Leslie’s can help! Our knowledgeable team of experts is ready to help you find the most energy efficient, eco-friendly pool solutions to fit your unique needs. Browse our extensive online catalog, or stop by your local Leslie’s to get started.