Enjoying your new home with the pool in the backyard, but concerned about keeping it green?
What steps can a homeowner take to keep that pool as eco-friendly and energy efficient as possible?
Here are 10 great options to green your pool:
1) Energy efficient pump. Replace an older model pump, which may have been less efficient, and larger than it needed to be, with a smaller pump that will be more energy efficient. If you choose a variable speed pump, you can better control how quickly the water gets circulated, using less energy in the process.
2) A windbreak. One of the biggest sources of water loss for a pool is through evaporation. In addition to the water that is lost is the energy used to heat and circulate that water through the pool. A windbreak—added to the fence around the pool—reduces that water loss by cutting down on the evaporation.
3) Solar pool cover. When the pool sits idle and exposed, evaporation occurs, even with a windbreak. A solar pool cover, which lays on top of the water, will greatly reduce that evaporation, and help warm the water as well. Choices range from a simple cover that deploys like a giant sheet of bubble wrap, to sophisticated models which unfold at the push of a button.
4) Pump timer. The water in a home swimming pool can generally be circulated properly by running the pump only a portion of the day. A timer on that pump system allows the pool owner to run the pump only the amount of time needed to circulate the water, and then the pump shuts down, saving energy.
5) Solar heating. An alternative to traditional pool heaters is to install an eco-friendly solar heater. By capturing and concentrating the energy of the sun, these heaters allow the pool to stay warm enough for the family to be comfortable, but without gas or fuel being used.
6) Ultraviolet pool cleaners. These cleaners use ultraviolet light to remove contaminating particles as the water flows through them. Though they don’t completely eliminate the need for some chlorine use, they are much more eco-friendly because they use so much less of the traditional pool chemicals. While chlorine is the most common form of pool cleaner, because it has potential toxicity issues, it is a source of health risks for humans.
7) LED Pool lights. LED bulbs use a sophisticated technology to more efficiently light the pool. They last for up to 40,000 hours, whereas an incandescent bulb lasts about 5,000 hours. The LED bulbs create light without the high heat extremes of the more traditional options, using less energy to operate.
8) A heat pump. These pumps are an eco-friendly option that draw thermal energy from the surrounding air to heat the water in the pool. They don’t actually generate heat—they just transfer it. These pumps are typically best in climates with a moderate need for heating, and warm weather outside.
9) Robotic pool cleaner. It is easy to postpone pool maintenance, only to discover buildups of algae or stains, that require a lot more effort to clean up. For the busy pool owner who might forget, a robotic pool cleaner will make maintenance a lot more steady, thus reducing the need for things like a chlorine blast to address problems that have developed.
10) Salt water pools. This option uses a chlorine generator to naturally create chlorine, thus greatly reducing the amount of regular chlorine needed for the pool. While it doesn’t eliminate the need for the use of traditional chlorine for sanitizing purposes, the amount used is much less, making a salt water pool a very eco-friendly choice.