When most people hear of “green” pools, an unpleasant image of algae-infected, unclean water comes to mind that sends a shiver down the spine. Nowadays, green means eco-friendly, something that many people now aspire to in order to reduce the impact their pool has on the environment.
Here’s five ways you can make your swimming pool more environmentally friendly in order to sustain a healthier environment for our future generations.
1. Alternative Sanitizers in Pools
Chlorine can have an environmental impact on the air we breathe and surrounding soil. A great way to reduce chlorine use is to install an ionizer. This sanitation method relies on copper and silver ions [and what's more natural than that?] to kill algae, bacteria, and viruses in your pool water. Daily use of chlorine can be greatly reduced, or completely stopped when an ionization system is in place, but it is recommended to occasionally shock the pool to assist in breaking down organic matter. The benefits of using an ionizer include:
- No more chemical odor to the water
- Skin and hair won’t dry out, as with chlorine
- Pool liners and swimsuits retain color longer
- No chance of polluting your local watershed
2. Natural swimming pool heat
If you’re going to maintain a heated pool, invest in eco-friendly solar heating panels instead of the traditional gas or propane models. Solar heating panels are just as effective as other heaters at warming up the water, but there are no gas or fuel emissions that would otherwise help contribute to the Greenhouse effect. Solar panels for pools are designed to capture and concentrate the sun’s energy, so the pool remains warm even after the sun sets. Solar heaters are definitely the more efficient and environmentally superior method to heating a pool, and after your initial purchase the cost associated with these heating systems is $0.00.
3. Cover Your Pool
In order to maximize the benefits of solar heaters, consider a solar blanket; up to 70 percent of a pool’s heat loss is due to evaporation. Solar blankets are relatively inexpensive and can make a big environmental difference. These covers also absorb the sun’s rays so they will keep your pool warmer longer (just remember to keep it bubble-side down).
Pools also use a lot of water to fill, and even more to maintain. However, did you know that an uncovered pool in Arizona can lose 4-6 feet of water a year because of evaporation? A solar cover would help prevent that water from evaporating, which is a great way to help conserve water. Even pool chemicals evaporate at an alarming rate, again adding to pollution. According to this article by Energysavers.gov, use a pool cover and reduce evaporation by 30 to 50 percent, while reducing chemical consumption by 35 to 60 percent. Just think what a huge difference that makes! If you’re looking into buying one of these handy products, Jackie recently did a helpful solar pool cover buyers-guide.
4. Time Your Pool Pumps
Many people have the tendency to let their pool pump and filter run 24/7, which is totally unnecessary. Instead of letting yourself forget to turn off the pump before you tuck in for the night, why not invest in a time clock/ pool controller that will automatically regulate that for you?
Using a timeclock on your pool pump:
- Saves electricity, as you experiment with lower run times
- Extends the life of your pump and filter equipment
- Reduces cost per kilowatt, when you operate during off-peak hours
5. Relight Your Way
The latest innovation in swimming pool lighting technology is the use of LED lights to create awe-inspiring colors under the water while keeping a focus on energy efficiency. LED lights are much preferable to traditional incandescent bulbs, as a typical incandescent bulb lasts only about 5,000 hours whereas an LED light will last 30,000+ hours.
LEDs create light without reaching the high heat extremes that traditional light bulbs do. With less heat, they require less juice to operate, and less energy is wasted. Not to mention, LED lights have a color changing capability that allows you to have a personalized light show in your backyard. Even though incandescent light might seem cheaper initially, you’ll be getting much more use out of the LED while having a lower impact on the environment.
If you choose to use any of these alternate and natural methods and utilize more efficient products, you can rest easy knowing that you’ve decreased your carbon footprint by lowering the amount of harmful substances that can enter the natural ecosystems.
Any one of these suggestions is a step toward reducing dependency on unnatural substances, and as such is another step towards a greener home and healthier environment. Even with the threat of increased pollution and global warming, it’s never too late to get started on the path of environmentalism. Every little bit counts!
InTheSwim Staff Blogger