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Tips for an Energy-Efficient Swimming Pool                             

 

    If you're like most pool owners, you want to keep your swimming pool looking great,
but you don't want to spend a fortune to do it.
This is a quick guide to reducing pool maintenance and energy costs.
You can also get substancial energy-savings with our TightWatt Digital Pool Timer Products
 
Your pool REQUIRES money in three areas: electricity, chemicals, and equipment.
There are plenty of optional costs, but we will focus on areas where you will definitely spend money, but can save if you want to.
 
Electric: Your pool pump uses electricity - lots of it (it is one of the largest consumers of energy in your entire home - second only to air conditioning)! In order to save money, you want to run your pump only as much as needed. If you can reduce the run time, you will save money. But watch out! If you don't run your pump enough, you will have to shock your pool, which will cause you to run your pump even more and increase your electrical and chemical cost.
 
Chemicals: The cost of chlorine and other chemicals add up. There are some simple things that you can do to reduce your chemical usage - and save money.
 
Equipment: Inevitably, things wear out and need to be replaced. With proper care, you can extend the life of your pool components. This will keep your pool looking great and save on equipment costs.

Now, let's look at ways to save:

Electric:
 Most pools use electricity for one thing - to run the pool pump. The pump circulates the water through a filter to clean the water. The less you run your pump, the more money you save, but you have to run it enough to keep your pool clean.
 
If you have a good filter, you won't have to run your pump as long. There are different filter technologies available, such as cartridge, sand, DE, Zeolyte, etc. A good filtering system will be more effective at removing debris and requires less pump run time.
 
Filtering Systems:
Filter Type Pros Cons
Sand • Easy to maintain
• Doesn't lose filter medium during backwash
• Inexpensive
• Does not filter as well as other mediums
• Sand should be replaced every 5-6 years
Cartridge • Doesn't lose filter medium during backflush
• Filters reasonably well
• Some report short life of the filter
• Cleaning procedure is not as effective as a backflush procedure
DE
(Diatomaceous Earth)
• Excellent filter medium • Delicate screens inside filter
• Backflush removes much of the filter medium
• Hazardous to lungs when adding to filter
Zeolyte • Very effective filtration
• Doesn't lose filter medium during backflush
• Can be put into existing sand filters
• Hazardous to lungs when adding to filter
All filters require some type of maintenance. Backflushing your filter on a regular basis will decrease the resistance to water flow, allowing more water to be filtered. A plugged filter does not allow water to flow through it and does not filter effectively.




Energy-Saving Swimming Pool Filtration Tips:

Another adjustment you can make to the pool filtration pump system involves how long the system runs. Reducing filtration run time is a big energy saver. Run time varies according to pool size, use and other factors like the amount of debris in the water, but a general rule of thumb is to filter the water once every 24 hours. If you use a pool maintenance service, make sure you consult them about reducing the filtration time.

The California Swimming Pool Industry Energy Conservation Task Force recommends:
• Reduce filter operating times to no fewer than four hours per day during the summer and two to three hours per day during the winter. This reduces annual electric consumption by 40 percent to 50 percent.
• Normal and heavier use may require more hours of filtration per day.
• Should water clarity or chemical imbalance indicate inadequate filtration, immediately operate the filter until acceptable water clarity has again been established.
• If additional imbalance is still indicated, increase filter operating time in one-half hour increments until the water remains clear and properly balanced chemically.
• When the pool is heavily used, it is recommended that the pool be operated manually and that the filtration system be run longer under such conditions.
 
Seasonal Savings: Another way that you can save money is by taking advantage of seasonal changes in temperature. When your pool water is cold, algae and bacteria do not multiply as fast. This means that you may be able to get away with running your pool pump significantly less during the winter months than during the summer months.
 
Pool Controls:
 
Smart Year-round controls: Patented TightWatt digital pool timers & TightWatt2 Digital Two-Speed Pool Controllers take advantage of seasonal temperature changes by automatically adjusting your pool filter run-time year-round, running your pump more in the summer and less in the winter. TightWatt pool timers and TightWatt2 two-speed pool controllers both employ this intelligent, year-round algorithm.
 
24-hour time clock (mechanical time switch): If you have a standard 24-hour mechanical time switch, it is suggested that you turn it down in the winter and back up in the summer. This is not optimum, but will produce savings over a pump
which is not on a timer.

Pool Pumps:

Two-Speed Pool Pumps: A Two-speed pool pump is a standard pump with an additional low-speed winding. The low-speed mode allows filtration at a cheaper cost per gallon, dramatically reducing the energy cost of a pool. As the two-speed pool pump runs slower, friction and pressure are decreased. We recommend the TightWatt2 two-speed pool controller for two-speed pool pump applications. California is mandating 2-/multi-speed pumps beginning in 2008.
 
Pool Chemicals:

Quite simply, chemicals are designed to kill the bacteria and algae that grow in your pool. Chlorine is the most common chemical used to treat pool water, and is very effective. The easiest way to save on pool chemicals is to eliminate the food sources for bacteria and algae. If you have a plant which is constantly dumping matter (a.k.a. algae food) into your swimming pool, you may want to think about cutting it back or getting rid of it completely. Also, bacteria and algae require phosphate to survive and grow. There are a number of products which can remove the phosphate from your water. If you take the phosphates out of your water, it will be more difficult for bacteria and algae to grow.
 
Liquid chlorine: Dump it in at night with the filter running. This will allow it to do its work with a minimum amount being boiled off by the sun.
 
Salt Chlorinators: Salt chlorinators generate chlorine by separating the chlorine from the sodium in a Sodium Chloride molecule (Chloride = Chlorine). Generating chlorine with a salt chlorinator does not mean it's free - you're just paying for it with your electric bill. There is also increased equipment cost because the cathode will generally require replacement every few years. It's life can be extended through the use of a seasonally-adjusting pool timer such as the TightWatt.
 
Pool Equipment:

Common sense: The more your pool equipment is used, the quicker it wears out. Running your equipment on a 24-hour timer reduces wear-and-tear on your pool components, but running your equipment with a seasonally-adjusting timer, such as the TightWatt pool timer increases your savings substantially. An intelligent year-round controller provides optimum year-round efficiency, ensuring that your pool pump and components (salt chlorinator, pool sweep, pump motor, pop-ups, baskets, and other plumbing hardware) are only running as much as needed.
 
What's more important than saving money?  The safety of you and your family!
Please take a moment to look at your pool electrical system and ask yourself "Is this safe?" When you're wet and barefoot, you don't want to be near electricity. You should answer yes to all the following questions:
 
1)  Are all metal components of my pool electrical system grounded? 
 
2)  Are all voltage sources (wires, terminals) adequately insulated from contact? Pay special attention to your pump on/off switch. It may be sitting right next to exposed electrical connections.
 
3)  Are circuit breakers/ GFI's present prior to my pool electrical equipment?

 Other Helpful Pool Care Tips:

Shocking your pool: Turn on your filter for 24 hours and add chlorine. I prefer liquid because it is fast acting and dissipates quickly. This means that you can kill the algae and get back to swimming quicker than using some other shock treatments. Add the liquid chlorine in the evening for the best performance. Consult your local pool store to find out how much chlorine to add for your sized pool.
 
Converting a Sand filter to Zeolyte: 
1 Turn your pump off and ensure that it will not turn on by turning it off at the breaker.
2 Pull your backflush valve into the backflush position.
3 If you have a water drain plug at the bottom of your filter, open it to drain the excess water in your filter.
4  Make sure that your pressure gauge at the top of your filter is at zero, and remove the cap from the top of your filter.  **** IMPORTANT  ****  Do not attempt to remove the cap from the top of your filter if your filter is pressurized. Injury may result.
5 Looking into the top of your filter, you should see a vertical column coming up. If the vertical column is free of sand to it's sides, you should be able to rotate it on it's axis to gain better access to the sand filter.
6 Begin removing the sand from the filter. Many people recommend a shop vac to suck the sand from the filter, but a plastic cup may also work well. Do not remove too much sand at once as the shop vac or bucket may become too heavy to move. This is the stinky part of the job. As you get near to the bottom of the filter, you will notice radial plastic fins. **** BE VERY CAREFUL **** If you break these fins, they will need to be replaced. If you think that scooping sand out of your filter is no fun, just think about replacing the fins, or maybe even your entire filter. It is suggested to use a shop vac in this area to remove the sand from around the fins.
7 Now that the filter is free of sand, close the water drain plug.
8 Double-check that the backflush valve is in the backflush position.
9 Using a garden hose, fill the filter halfway with water.  This will ensure that will dumping in the Zeolyte, that the plastic fins will not be damaged.
10 Add the Zeolyte to the top of the filter. Use as much Zeolyte as recommended by your pool store professional.
11 Rotate the column back to it's vertical position.
12 Replace the cap on top of the filter.
13 Attach backwash hose and backflush for a few minutes until water looks clear. This removes small sediment pieces from the Zeolyte.
14 Stop backwash and return backflush valve to it's normal position.
 
Backflushing a sand/zeolyte filter: Attach your backflush hose, and then pull your backflush valve into the backflush position. Next, turn your pump on (TightWatt: tap on/off button). Let the filter backflush for a few minutes until the water comes out clear, then turn off your pump (TightWatt: tap on/off button). Then, return your backflush valve to its normal position.