Pool Your Resources!

HAMILTON— Pool owners know the pleasures of having an oasis of family fun as close as the backyard. Today, your pool has the potential to make you smile in even more ways, through savings in both financial and energy resources. Best of all, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to save.

According to the Northeast Spa and Pool Association (NESPA), an organization representing the pool and spa industry in the Mid-Atlantic and Southern New England regions, there are many low-cost, practical ideas that can make a real difference in your energy usage. For maximum energy and dollar savings, you may have to invest in more expensive equipment upgrades. But, you can expect an excellent return on investment in years to come.

According to NESPA member Sheryl Heather, owner of Spring and Summer Activities on Long Island, N.Y., many pool owners choose a phased approach.

“Adding one or two new savings ideas a year can help spread out your initial expenditures,” Heather notes. “You may also quality for energy rebates from the government or local energy providers. That can provide an immediate payback.”

Whatever your savings goals, here are the products and technologies than can offer the greatest return in energy and dollar savings.

Solar Covers
Solar covers are easy to use, and can offer significant savings by preventing evaporation and heat loss. A solar cover can reduce heating costs by 50% – 70% and, by decreasing water loss, a cover can reduce the amount of chemical treatment required.

Wind Barriers
To keep pool heat from evaporating while in use, create a barrier around your pool with shrubs. Or choose a solid style fence.

LED Lighting
Replace incandescent pool lighting with LED lighting. You’ll save money and energy, and gain many decorative options with a variety of color possibilities.

Pool Opening and Closing
Don’t open your pool too early, or close it too late in the season. In cooler spring and fall temperatures, it will cost more to heat your pool.

Avoid running your pump and filter system longer than what is necessary to maintain water quality. Consider running it every other day instead of daily. If you have a single-speed pump, upgrade to a two-speed or variable speed pump. These can be set to run at different speeds for various pool functions, saving energy and dollars. For additional savings, you can also set the pump to run during off-peak hours.

A larger filter will catch more dirt and particles. This means your pool water will be cleaner, and the pump will not need to circulate the water as often. For added savings, consider a cartridge filter. These are designed to run at lower pressures than sand or diatomaceous earth filters, and will require less pump energy.

If you have a standing-pilot heater, replace it with an energy-efficient electronic ignition model. While a heat pump is considered the most energy efficient type of pool heater for pools in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern U.S., you may also consider a gas, oil or propane heater. Check the yellow and black Energy Guide label on the heater to see the relative energy efficiency.

Safety Features
When thinking about pool upgrades, be sure to think about improving safety as well. NESPA stresses that a fun pool is a safe pool, and recommends adding layers of protection appropriate for your family.

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