CLEVER TIPS TO MAKE YOUR SWIMMING POOL MORE ENERGY EFFICIENT (AND ECO-FRIENDLY).
Everyone knows that electricity costs are going through the roof (depending on where you are in Australia, it could be anywhere between 12% and 20%), and that obviously includes the cost of running a pool. But there are many things you can do to reduce this cost and save yourself hundreds of dollars a year.
Leading pool equipment manufacturer Waterco has urged pool owners to consider replacing their single speed pumps with a multi-speed (or variable) pump – and thus make significant savings on their energy costs. Such pumps have been engineered to significantly reduce high electricity consumption and CO2 emissions.
Waterco’s Bryan Goh explains: “Conventional fixed-speed pumps are set and sized to cater for a pool’s maximum water flow requirements, which may either be the sand filter’s backwash water flow or to provide sufficient water flow to operate suction cleaners.
“However, effective pool filtration does not need to be set at a pump’s maximum water flow rate. In fact, your pool’s filtration efficiency improves at lower flow rates. Not only that, running a pump at a low flow rate reduces water flow resistance in pool equipment and plumbing and even enhances the clarity of the swimming pool water.”
Waterco’s 6-star rated Hydrostorm Eco has a three speed motor which allows pool owners to set the pump at a low, energy saving flow rate for every day filtration. This compares with conventional pumps, which are limited to one set high flow rate speed. And the Hydrostorm Eco uses almost 70% less energy than when operating at a standard high flow rate speed.
Simply put, by setting the pump on the lowest speed setting and operating it during off peak periods, this simple change alone can save you up to $575 a year. And that means it won’t take long before the pump well and truly pays for itself.
“As a pool’s filtration cycle occupies 99% of the run time of a pool pump, you can operate the Hydrostorm Eco on its low speed setting for the majority of its running time,” Goh explains.
Other tips to save money and achieve an energy efficient and eco-friendly pool include:
- Replace halogen lights with LED pool lights: LEDs use 85% less power and have an impressive life span of over 70,000 hours
- Use a pool cover: This will reduce water loss by up to 97% and save up to 50% on heating costs
- Use a pool pump timer and reduce run times in winter and colder months: When it’s cooler there’s less chemical demand so less chlorination is required
- Use a robotic cleaner in combination with a multi-speed pump: Robotic cleaners are self powered and unlike suction cleaners, do not require the suction power of the filtration pump allowing the pool skimmer to concentrate on skimming the surface of the pool while the robotic cleaner gets to work on the bottom of the pool
- Ensure your skimmer and filter are kept clean: It means your pool can effectively filter and sanitise the water without straining the pump
- If having a new pool built, make sure your builder understands hydraulics:Properly sized piping efficiently circulates water in a way that reduces wear and tear on the pump
- Use solar or heat pump heating: Solar heating is the most cost-effective way of warming pool and spa water – and also the most environmentally friendly. The key energy source? The sun! And heat pumps are starting to become increasingly popular in Australia. The great thing about heat pumps is that they’re not weather dependent, and can be operated throughout the year. They work like a reverse cycle air conditioner by extracting heat from the atmosphere, which is then transferred to the pool water.
Employ these solutions and relax and enjoy your pool without having to worry about your back pocket.
TURN UP THE HEAT!
Installing the right pool heater can extend your swimming season by up to four months and beyond, below are some options for heating your pool.
Undeniably the most environmentally friendly option of all, solar pool heating operates by using the energy of the sun.
The principals involved in solar pool heating are very simple. Imagine a garden hose that has been lying in the sun for several hours. When you turn on the tap, out comes hot water. The sun’s energy has been absorbed by the hose and transmitted as heat to the water inside it. Basically the hose acts as a solar collector, which is the process of solar heating.
Unlike other pool heaters on the market, solar pays for itself in just a few years. After the initial setup cost, the ongoing running expenses are minimal as heat is provided free from the sun. This enables you to increase the amount of time you spend in your pool without worrying about expensive energy bills.
Solar systems are a low cost method to heat up your pool and have virtually no operating costs, just the cost of electricity to pump the pool water through the solar absorber on the roof. Solar heating systems are also simple to maintain.
The amount of heat absorbed and the subsequent increase in temperature depends on three key criteria:
- The size or area for the collector and the number of tubes per square metre
- The location of the collector
- The quality of the collector system
Ultimately, the biggest influence is the exposure to the sun. This gives this system the advantage of being very cost effective in terms of running costs; savings that can keep coming for the whole 20 years a properly installed system may last.
However, if you live in an area that does not get a great deal of sunlight or your roof is under a lot of shade, or you don’t have sufficient roof space, then a solar system is not a viable option.
Reliable, highly efficient and economical to run, heat pumps extract heat from the air (similar to a reverse cycle air conditioner), and use that heat to produce hot water.
Compared to gas and electric element heating, heat pumps use just a fraction of the energy to generate the same amount of heat.
Benefits of heat pumps include their high energy efficiency and lower running costs. As a guide, you can save up to 80% over LPG, 50% over natural gas fuelled heaters and 500% over electric heaters.
One of the disadvantages of this type of system is that they can lose their high energy efficiency slightly once the weather really cools down, as the pump has to work harder to heat the water against the outside temperature. However, unless you live in an area that experiences very low winter temperature, this is not a concern.
Gas heaters are the fastest method for heating your pool, providing a comfortable temperature for swimming on demand. Put simply, they could extend your swimming season all year round. Gas heating systems use natural gas or LPG, heating the pool water by pumping it through a heating unit.
A key advantage of a gas heater is it can heat pool water much faster than a solar or heat pump system can, and will heat the pool water up to 40oC, no matter how cold the climate is. Gas heaters are also able to maintain any desired temperature regardless of the weather.
Selecting the right size gas heater depends on three key factors:
- The amount of water to be heated
- How long you are prepared to wait for your pool to heat up
- Your preferred swimming temperature
Many offer dual controls which are ideal for spas, which are heated to higher temperatures than pools.