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Hooray For Earth Day!

Globe floating in pool

Earth Day is an annual celebration that more than 1 billion people celebrate each year. So, why not join in the effort to be a bit kinder to the earth? Since, many utility companies and municipalities offer rebates and other incentives for adopting “greener” practices, it’s a great time to do a little research on what’s available in your particular area.

Energy efficiency isn’t just for your home, it’s also for your pool. Did you know that if an old, single-speed pool pump is replaced by an energy efficient, variable speed pump the cost savings is an average of $753 per year? And with nearly 6 million swimming pools in the U.S. alone, even the smallest step towards energy efficiency goes a long way.

Start by giving your entire system a thorough checkup. Are your daily operations as efficient as they can be? Keep current on maintenance and don’t delay until next year what should be addressed today. This includes checking your entire system for things like leaks or excess run times. The sooner you address any of these issues, the more efficient your pool will be.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) provides recommendations and a wealth of information through its website. The ENERGY STAR website provides list of ENERGY STAR certified products and tips on how to save energy around your home.

Here are a few tips for making your pool more energy efficient:

Cool It!

Keep tabs on the pool heater and dial it down when no one is using it. If water that is 78°F or 80°F gets no complaints, why go any warmer? Believe it or not, an increase of even 1°F can mean a heating bill that’s 10%–25% higher, depending on local rates.

Fenced In

In some climates, warmer water, higher wind speed and lower humidity combine to equal more rapid evaporation. Fight back by installing or planting appropriate windbreaks to limit evaporation. The DOE notes that even a seven miles per hour  breeze across the surface of your pool can result in increased energy use. Suddenly, a fence or row of tall, lush shrubs sounds even more enticing, doesn’t it?

Take Cover

The DOE further estimates that nearly three-fourths of lost energy can be attributed to weekly evaporation of 1 to 1.5 inches of water that has already been heated. Look at it this way: Once you’ve paid to heat the water in your pool, why not take steps to keep it there?

Covering your pool when it’s not in use hinders evaporation and is the simplest step to reducing pool heating costs by as much as 50%. And, when deciding on a pool cover, don’t disregard the free heat the sun can provide. A transparent bubble cover, for example, will let in a lot more sun than will a completely opaque cover. Pool covers may also cut the amount of make-up water and chemicals needed by half and drastically reduce the time it takes to clean your pool by keeping dirt out of the water.

Conventional pool pumps use the same high pump speed regardless of the task assigned, which includes filtration, cleaning and any features your pool may have. ENERGY STAR certified pool pumps can run at different speeds and can be programmed to match the pool operation required with its appropriate pump speed. Not only will this save thousands of dollars, but it will also prolong the life of your system.

ENERGY STAR pump fact: If all pool pumps sold in the United States were ENERGY STAR certified, the energy cost savings would grow to about $155 million each year and 2.5 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented, equivalent to the emission from nearly 260,000 vehicles.

Give It a Rest

Additionally, if you have a waterfall, fountain or other water feature, only operate it when people are there to enjoy it. The same thinking goes for lighting, and you might consider motion-activated lighting for an added safety measure. Replace incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs, which use far less energy and last much longer. This Earth Day, take a few smaller steps in your own back yard to make the world a better place!