Summer time. Splashing in the pool. Splashing your wife in the pool (oops, she doesn’t like that!). And paying those pool bills. 8% or thereabouts of American homes have pools–and those pools use A LOT of energy. Let’s take a moment on some energy-saving, and dollar-saving tips center on pools and spas. Often swimming pools and hot tubs rank number one or two in biggest energy user in homes that have them.
A typical pool pump uses about the same amount of energy in an hour as window unit air conditioners. If you run the pump 24/7 throughout the season, that’s a lot of money! Some of the same principles we use when heating or cooling our homes apply here.
- Put a timer on your pool pump – most run longer than needed to keep pools clean.
- Install a highly efficient two-speed or variable speed pool pump. Using the lower speed as much as possible can cut your energy use and dollars in half.
- And bigger isn’t better. Bigger is needlessly expensive. Don’t buy a bigger pool pump than you need. Not only will it cost more upfront to buy, it will cost more to operate than one that is the right size.
Why do some people have such high summertime gas (or egads, electric) bills? The average pool heater can use as much as three times the energy that your home furnace uses. Evaporation is the biggest source of heat loss from hot tubs and pools. If you’re heating your pool—and you’re probably heating your hot tub—reducing evaporation saves big. Keeping your pool covered with a floating pool blanket when you’re not using it makes a big difference. And your hot tub? Use a well-insulated cover with 2” of foam insulation (about R10 to R12) to prevent heat loss and evaporation.
DOE has more information on this, and some numbers if you like crunching.
Enjoy your pool if you’ve got one. You’ll enjoy it more than, if you can slash you pool-related utility bills by 50-75%–or more!
(Bonus tip: if you’re reading this in the middle of your pool, don’t tip over. For some reason wireless reception seems impacted when the phone or computer is underwater.)