Pool owners are all-too-familiar with the continuous cost of maintaining a swimming pool. Many of us accept the high pool maintenance costs of outdated pool equipment because an existing pump or heater still perform, as they should.
And some of us just accept higher energy bills in the summer. Take a look at the big picture to spotlight some opportunities to save some money on pool expenses by spending a little more on pool equipment and accessories that could potentially pay for themselves!
SOLAR POOL HEATERS
Inground and above ground pool owners can take advantage of surprisingly affordable solar panel heating for their pools. If you have a sunny southern exposure for 6 hours of daily sun, each 100 sq. ft. of solar panels can add 10 degrees to the pool, without burning fossil fuels.
Swimming pool solar panels absorb heat from the sun as the pool water passes through a series of coils or tubes and transfer the heat to your pool water. Solar panels are daisy- chained, modular, so you can add as much as you need. A small solar system can cut your pool heating costs in half, and a larger solar pool heater can replace the need for gas or electric pool heaters.
Solar blankets, for both inground and above ground pool owners, can work all on their own or in tandem with your pool heater or solar panel heaters. During the day, they help collect the sun’s energy to heat your pool (up to 10°!), but their best use is to stop heat loss when the sun goes down. Warm pool water coupled with nighttime temperatures accelerates evaporation, which can be reduced by over 90% when you use a solar blanket.
Solar blanket covers are a little bit of effort when you don’t have a solar reel, but when you pay to heat a pool, solar covers pay for themselves in just a month or two, by reducing heating costs and stopping pool evaporation, which also saves money.
VARIABLE SPEED PUMPS
The biggest return on investment on our list could be Variable Speed Pumps. The Variable Speed model of Hayward’s Super Pump can use 70% less energy and as cliché as it may sound, spending a few hundred dollars more on a variable speed pump as opposed to a single speed pump can literally pay for itself!
Running a pool pump at half speed doesn’t use half as much energy, it uses 1/8 as much energy! You’ll notice this efficiency on your very first electricity bill of the season. Many VS pumps qualify for a green energy tax rebate making it that much smarter of investment.
POOL HEAT PUMPS
Heat pumps work like a reverse air conditioner, they capture heat from the outside air and transfer it to your pool water. Heat pumps only work if the air temperature is over 50 degrees which may not be an issue for most fair-weather swimmers.
A pool heat pump can reduce your pool heating costs by up to 50% or more when compared to gas pool heaters, and also tend to require less repairs. They are more expensive to buy than gas pool heaters, but can pay for themselves after just a few seasons. Heat Pumps often qualify for green energy tax rebates as well!
GOOD WATER CHEMISTRY
There are less obvious, less costly ways to invest in your pool that can save you money in the long run. By spending a little more on the top-of-the-line Taylor K-2005 Test Kit you can expect commercial grade test results.
Improper pool testing practices can lead to a domino effect of unbalanced water and algae, and a pool chemical spending spree to restore well-balanced pool chemistry. Spending $80 on a test kit can directly lead to saving hundreds on pool chemicals. It’s pool ownership 101 but it’s a lesson that is time tested.
POOL SAFETY COVERS
Investing in a high quality pool safety cover is not only a wise investment from a safety perspective, safety covers can save money on a much grander scale. Mesh safety covers save water (the pool refills), they save electricity (no cover pump needed), they reduce cover and water bag trash (good for landfills), and they save you time and effort in not having to pump and clean a slimy solid pool cover.
Since safety covers are made of interconnected squares, the cost for rectangular safety covers is quite low, and a quick payback is assured. And for custom shaped pools too, the benefits of a safety pool cover for winter far outweigh the cost savings of the alternative.
Pool Caulking is used in the expansion joint between inground pool coping and a concrete pool deck. It’s important for two reasons; the first being that the joint needs to remain clear of grit and dirt, to allow room for expansion of the pool deck, without hitting the pool. The second reason to caulk your pool is to prevent water from freezing during winter. Ice can be very powerful as it expands, and over time this can damage your pool.
Vulkem Pool Caulk, is pool owner friendly pool caulk. Put backer rod foam in the expansion joint, and then squeeze in the self-leveling caulk to seal up the expansion joint on the back of the coping stones, all the way around the pool. It’s a small step that could save you thousands in repairs to tile and coping.
Filter cleaner, last and least costly on our list of money saving investments for your swimming pool is again, back-to-basics. An optimized pool filter is everyone’s friend, requiring less pump run time, and fewer sanitizers or clarifiers, and it makes you work less by effectively filtering larger quantities of smaller debris.
It’s a small investment to to use a Pool Filter Cleaner to deep clean your cartridge, DE, or sand media. Like well-balanced pool water, a clean pool filter creates a positive domino effect, making water management much easier.
From small investments like filter cleaner to big ticket investments like a pool heat pump, technology and modern chemistry is leading the way to more eco- and wallet-friendly ways for pool owners to save money for the more important pool accessories like giant inflatable slices of pizza and ride-on Pegasus floats.
Do you have a money-saving pool investment that we missed? We love you hear from our pool community and welcome your comments or emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
InTheSwim Staff Blogger