Many of us are familiar with Kermit the Frog’s lamenting expression, “It’s not easy being green.” But when green means eco-friendly, it’s not quite as hard as one might think. Here are some super simple steps to put you on the path of creating a more environmentally friendly pool.
The easiest step a pool owner can take to help conserve the earth’s resources is to invest in a solar cover. Something as simple as this will cut the costs of chemicals you need as well as diminish having to refill your pool as a solar cover will help prevent water evaporation of up to 90%. The solar cover will also heat up your pool by absorbing the sun’s rays, so there is less need to operate a gas pool heater.
Speaking of water evaporation, double check to make sure that your pool does not have any leaks. Evaporation can account for 1/4 inch on a hot day, but more than that and you probably have a leak. Thousands of gallons of water can be lost to pool leaks. Our editor Davy wrote a post this summer on finding and fixing pool leaks.
Another great way to cut back on water use is to consider switching to a cartridge filtration system. Cartridge filters require no backwashing. D.E. and Sand Filters use hundreds of gallons of water with each backwash, which is the process of cleaning the system of debris. With a cartridge filter, you simply remove the cartridge and clean it off with a hose, using much less water in the process.
A great way to cut back on electricity is to opt for a variable speed or dual speed pumps instead of the traditional. With an eco-friendly pool pump, it controls how quickly the water in your pool gets turned over, and how hard it works to accomplish this goal – which translates directly to how much electricity you are using.
Even though running the pump on the slow cycle will take a bit longer, you only need to turn the water over once per day, so it makes no difference that it will take a couple more hours to cycle through all the water in your pool. Plus, the only time you will need to turn the pump on high speed is to backwash or vacuum, which is easily accomplished.
For an even larger eco-gain on your pool, update your underwater lights to LED pool lighting. LEDs are small semiconductors that convert electrical energy directly into a distinct color of light. LED pool lights combine this digital light source with a microprocessor, to finely tune your pool’s illumination. The results are amazing; crisp color, a bright yet dense saturation, and special effect capabilities.
LED pool 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 40,000+ hours. LEDs create light without reaching the high heat extremes that traditional light bulbs do. With less heat, they require less energy to operate, and less energy is wasted.
LED pool lights are brighter while using a lot less energy than traditional incandescent lighting.
LED pool lights achieve 80% efficiency, or rather – 80% of the energy used is useful as light energy. Only 20% is lost as heat energy. Comparatively, regular pool light bulbs operate at 20% efficiency, and 80% of their energy is lost as heat.
Pareto’s principle (the 80/20 rule) proves true once again! LED pool lights are a great way to pave the road towards an eco-friendly pool, while putting more money back in your wallet!
As mentioned above, pool covers are a great way to save on heat since they harvest solar energy, which translates into savings in terms of money and use of electricity because they greatly improve heat retention. If you leave a pool cover on your pool, the sun’s rays will add as much as 15 degrees. Cover it back up before it gets dark, it also keeps the heat in, preventing most overnight heat loss.
With solar covers, we have the traditional ones that you physical remove and place back on, but we also stock liquid solar blankets. The liquid solar chemical forms a transparent layer on your pool surface to help inhibit heat loss and evaporation. Liquid solar is less dense than water, which is how it conveniently floats to your pool surface. But no worries! You won’t feel it, taste it or see it. It’s completely invisible and harmless.
One easy way to save heat if you have a gas pool heater is to turn the dial down just a bit. Each 1-degree drop for an eight-hour period can reduce your fuel bill by about ten percent. So, try lowering it in the evenings when you know you won’t be going for a swim, and turning it back up to whatever temperature you prefer an hour or so before going for a dip in the pool!
If you’re going to heat your pool, go for an eco-friendly solar pool heater 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. Solar panels for pools are designed to capture and concentrate the sun’s energy, so the pool remains warm even after the sun sets. After your initial purchase the cost associated with these heating systems is absolutely FREE.
Another great option is a heat pump. These are slightly unique, as they transfer thermal energy to the pool water to heat it through a process of drawing in the air by its surrounding environment. They do not generate any heat; instead they capture it and move it from one place to another. Heat pumps use electricity to run, and are most efficient for climates that have moderate heating needs.
If you follow these tips, you will be well on your way to lowering your carbon footprint and creating a much more environmentally friendly pool during the summer time. And, you’ll save quite a few bucks in the process, making this a big win-win.
Being green isn’t nearly as hard as Kermit makes it out to be!
InTheSwim Staff Blogger