How to Make Your Pool Energy-Efficient—And Cut Costs

Sure, your pool looks great. But is it energy efficient? Get ready for the main principle I try to tell all pool owners. 

For too long “energy efficiency” has only been spoken about by government arms and dedicated environmentalists. But all pool owners can benefit from this principle and save buckets of money. That’s right. Buckets.

With energy efficiency, you can minimize the monthly costs of operating your pool. And that’s all after installing top-of-the-line equipment. That’s right: make your pool energy efficient, get the best gear, and you’ll save much more than your friends with outdated, “cheapest” gear on the market.

Energy efficiency is lifechanging stuff. I’ll explain why you’re losing money (without knowing it!), how energy efficiency works, and how to take your pool there. Let’s dive in. 

Where’s All That Money Going? 

Nobody ever thought that owning a pool would come cheap. But that’s doesn’t mean you have to shrug your shoulders and accept your financial fate. 

As a pool owner, you call the shots. For example, you choose the equipment, how long you run your circulation system, whether to take a DIY approach or lean on a professional once in a while, the list goes on. 

Each of the choices you make will affect your bottom line to at least some extent. And the biggest average expense for most pool owners every year? That’s energy. 

What It Means to Be Energy Efficient 

Becoming energy-efficient doesn’t mean that you’ll feel better rested in the morning. Though now that I think about it, that could absolutely happen, too. 

Having an energy-efficient pool simply means that it generates the lowest possible energy bill every month. 

You already know that the biggest average expense for pool owners is energy. That means that it generally outweighs the cost of buying routine equipment or chemicals. In fact, one study found that homes with pools use 49% more electricity per year. Even during the winter, the average energy use of a home with a pool is estimated to be 33% higher than a home without a pool. 

All it takes is a few adjustments to reduce those costs dramatically for you and your home. And since energy is billed every month or every few months, you’ll be saving massive amounts of cash over time. Because when it comes to energy-efficiency, a little change goes a long way.

Heating your pool water can be notoriously expensive. To optimize efficiency, this heat pump is the answer for you: the Energy-Saving ComforTemp Pool Heat Pump 95,000 BTU to heat 18,000 Gallons. According to customer Steve, “Simple install and simple set up. Heated my pool from 66 to 82 degrees in about 2 complete days.” 

It’s About Cost and More

No man is an island (though drinking out of a coconut next to your pool is the next best thing to a tropical vacation). If you opt for energy-efficiency, you will absolutely save a ton of money. But the benefits go beyond that.

Although it might not be happening right in front of our eyes, it’s absolutely true that there are direct repercussions when we use energy. Minimizing your footprint reduces air and water pollution, and helps to conserve natural resources. 

We might not see the direct link between our energy use and the environment, but it’s there. When you make the switch to energy-efficiency, you’re helping out others as well as yourself. 

The Rise of Energy-Efficient Equipment 

This is going to be the easiest, one-and-done way to make your pool energy efficient. It’s by far the most cost-saving method—and it keeps saving you more every single month. 

It used to be that we had just a few energy-sucking options to make our circulation systems run. Sometimes, it seems like we’re supposed to still think they’re our only option. That is, according to the same three companies who have dominated the pool industry with outdated products, priced artificially high.

But those days are over. Now we’ve got the option to be energy-efficient. Even the US government is stepping in to make sure everyone knows it. 

Energy-Efficient Pool Pumps

The first thing every pool owner should do is switch to a variable-speed pump.  

Let me say it again. 

The best decision any pool owner can make, for the purposes of saving money and optimizing performance, is to get a variable-speed pump. Remember, your pump is the heart of your circulation system. It is the hub of its power. And a variable-speed pump can reduce energy use by up to 45%.

The effect of your pump is huge. An energy-efficient pump is the requisite for an energy-efficient pool. 

In the years since their invention, pool pumps have evolved big time. It used to be that only single-speed pumps were available, and they still remain the most basic type on the market. But in this case, simplicity is going to cost you. A single-speed pump’s motor works at one fixed velocity, which is determined by its horsepower—and most of the time, that’s way, way faster than your pool actually needs. 

Pool owners are fooled every day by the “low price” of single-speed pumps—and pay for that error through obscene energy bills every month. It’s gotten so bad for both pool owners and the environment that the US government has stepped in to virtually outlaw single-speed pumps.

Variable-speed pumps, on the other hand, adjust to your pool’s needs. As a result, they tend to pay themselves off in under a year in energy saved. Plus, they’re usually eligible for energy rebates. After that, they’re an investment that just keeps giving.

The earlier you get a variable-speed pump, the better. Without it, you can wave goodbye to your dreams of energy-efficiency. 

Another tip is to run you pump sometime between 8 p.m. and 10 a.m. That’s when electricity demand is typically lower. The lower the demand, the lower the cost to use energy.

Looking for the best variable-speed on the market? Look no further than the ultra-powerful Black & Decker 3 HP Variable-Speed Pump. It includes a warranty, qualifies for utility rebates, and pays itself off in up to 80% energy costs saved in all stages of operation. All by a brand you can trust. 

Energy-Efficient Pool Heaters

Time for things to heat up a little. The next notorious device for energy inefficiency is the pool heater. As I’m sure anyone who has paid for an A/C system can vouch for, controlling temperature increase both comfort and energy bills. Fast. 

But like the case with pool pumps, the standard pool heater on the market is an energy guzzler. There are newer, better options. And more pool owners should know about them.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are typically three ways to heat your swimming pool: with a gas pool heater, a solar pool heater, and a heat pump. And these types are far from equal.

Solar heaters and pool heat pumps are the most efficient pool heaters on the market, and fairly similar in design. I usually recommend pool heat pumps because they don’t require the installation of solar panels. Though, that’s certainly one way to do energy efficiency!

The difference between gas heaters and heat pumps is major. A heat pump can save up to 80% in energy (!) compared to a gas heater. That’s because gas heaters work hard to create heat. Pool heat pumps, on the other hand, transfer and compress heat that already exists in the ambient air around them.  

That’s working smarter, not harder. 

The same goes for you: make the smart decision and get a pool heat pump like the Energy-Saving ComforTemp Pool Heat Pump, and you’ll generate $5 of heat for every $1 spent. No pool with a clunky, outdated gas heater can call itself energy-efficient.

Also, when you’re not using the pool, turn the pool heater off. It’ll actually cost you more to run the heat pump during weeks of non-use than to have it heat up your pool from scratch.

Use Your Pool Filter Efficiently 

If you chose the right pool filter for your pool, including size, then you’re already on your way. The best option you have now is to use your pool filter efficiently. This applies if you have a sand filter, which is the most popular filter type.

If you have a sand filter, switch out the sand for filter glass media. Glass is able to catch more particles and clean water more efficiently. Plus, it also tends to last twice as long, at around ten years. 

You Got This Covered!

After the cost of running equipment, water evaporation can reduce energy-efficiency. Big time. 

This is especially true if you have a heated pool. Up to 95% of a pool’s heat loss occurs because of surface evaporation. Think about it: on days with a high amount of wind, you could lose inches from your pool. As evaporation occurs, the surface of the water cools down. That means that your heat pump has to work even harder to maintain your pool’s temperature. And the cost of that operation adds up quick. 

Even for an unheated pool, evaporation is a serious issue. When water evaporates from your pool, it throws off your chemical balance and requires more time and chemicals to stay on track. Even the most relaxed pool DIYers don’t love the idea of spending extra money (35-60% more!) on chemicals and extra time on balancing them. It’s just not necessary. 

So how should you combat evaporation? Cover your pool up. A solar pool cover will even help your pool retain its heat—or make it even warmer. And reduce evaporation by 30-60%. Ahh... 

You can also install some windbreaks such as walls, hedges, trees, or whatever else floats your boat. Cut down on the access wind has to your pool, cut down on inefficient evaporation.

Say goodbye to that manual vacuum, and hello to a new, energy-efficient robotic cleaner to keep your pool safe. I recommend the Blue Torrent MyBot Inground Robotic Cleaner, which works powerfully on its own to keep your walls and floor sparkling clean. As customer David Lain says, “Very pleased. My wife loves it.”

Make It Automatic

We’re going back to gear for a second here. Whatever you use for your pool should be automatic. Not only will it save you money to keep everything on an ideal schedule, but it’ll save you time, too. And that’s just... priceless.

Automatic pool cleaners are more efficient than manual vacuums, because they can be scheduled for three to four hours a day in the summer and two to three hours a day in the winter. Start it 15 minutes after the filter pump runs and stop it 15 minutes before the filter pump stops. That’s how you do an optimal (and efficient!) clean. 

Your pool pump, and by extension your entire circulation system, should be on a timer. Again, try to set it during off-peak hours, so that the energy you use will be even cheaper.

Clean It Out!

Don’t like to put your hand in the skimmer basket, huh? I don’t blame you.

That being said, it’s important to clean all drains frequently, so as to not put additional stress on your circulation system. 

My advice? Get a good pair of gloves.

Light ‘er Up!

Make sure those pool lights are LED. They’ll use less energy, last longer, and come in color-changing options. Disco party in the pool, anyone?

No pool is energy-efficient without a variable-speed pump. The Blue Torrent 2 HP Variable-Speed Pump is the one to try—it’s ultra-powerful, allows for more thorough circulation, is eligible for rebates, and pays itself off in under a year in energy saved. As customer Dave Schmidt says, “My pool has never looked cleaner. I am pleased with my new pump!”  

A Little Energy Now, Savings Forever!

Congratulations for doing what all pool owners should do: make your pool energy efficient. You just completed the ultimate set-up. Now there’s not much else to do except get ready for lower energy bills every month to prove it. From here on out, every time you dive into those sparking clean waters under the ultra-quiet purr of your pump, you’ll feel a little lighter. Enjoy.

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