In this guide, we outline potential ways to have a more sustainable or eco friendly swimming pool at home.
We cover different aspects of swimming pools such as the type of pool, covers, filters, pumps, heating, chemicals used, and more.
Maintaining a more sustainable swimming pool may be one of multiple things that can be done at home to maintain a more sustainable home overall.
1. Consider The Sustainability Impact Of Getting A Swimming Pool
For people who don’t yet own a pool, they may first consider the potential sustainability impact of getting one compared to not.
There’s the materials that are used to make/build the pool (such as concrete or fibreglass), along with the water use, energy use and chemical use whilst the pool is in operation for it’s lifetime.
There’s also the cost and time investment of maintaining a pool to consider.
Some may decide that going without a pool, and/or using the beach instead is a better option for them.
2. Consider The Sustainability Impact Of The Different Types Of Swimming Pools
In Ground Pools
In this guide, we are mainly referring to the use of in ground pools, such as concrete and fibreglass in ground pools.
A concrete pool may last longer than a fibreglass pool (which may lose it’s shape and crack sooner) – so, the lifespan of these pools may have to be taken into account.
Other Types Of Pools
Beyond in ground types of pools, some people may choose to get some type of smaller above ground pool, or even a plastic inflatable pool.
These types of pools may have a lower sustainability impact across their lifetime because of the types of pools they are, and also their size.
Although, it’s worth mentioning that even inflatable pools have a waste footprint in the form of plastic when they eventually have to be disposed of, and they also have to be filled and emptied of water when they are used.
3. Consider Using A Pool Cover
Using a pool cover may lead to three key sustainability benefits:
– It may keep the surface of the pool slightly warmer (and reduce the need for running the electric pool heater)
This might especially be true if the cover is specifically designed to be a ‘thermal cover’ or a ‘solar cover’ that retains heat, and acts as an insulator
You might look for pool covers with good R values
– It may lead to less evaporation of the water in the pool, so less water in the pool has to be re-filled
– It may keep more debris out of the pool, so the pool doesn’t have to be cleaned as often
4. Consider The Energy Source That The Pool Draws Electricity From
Some houses may use mostly electricity from the grid for the energy requirements of the pool (for pumps, filters, heaters, and so on).
In some cities, this electricity may come from fossil fuel sources.
Other houses may have the benefit of drawing a certain % of electricity from a solar panel panel setup, or another renewable energy source that has potential sustainability benefits.
5. Consider A More Energy Efficient Pool Pump & Filter
Some pool pumps and filters may be more energy efficient in terms of the total amount of energy they use to perform their functions.
This may be because of the type of pump or filter used, but also because of factors like the technology used, the features used (like timers), the amount of the time the pump or filter has to run per day, the speed at which the pump runs, and more.
For example, some pumps may only run for a certain number of hours a day on a timer, and run at a slower speed.
Dual speed pumps (and variable speed pumps) may also use less energy than single speed pumps.
For filters, some reports indicate that cartridge filters might have to be cleaned less frequently than other filters, and might help save water.
Even some types glass media used for filters may have better filtering ability than some types of sand used in filtering systems.
Some filters or pumps may come with an energy efficiency rating, and/or indicate how much electricity they use whilst in operation.
6. Consider Self Cleaning Pool Systems
Because of the way they clean and the features they use, some self cleaning pool systems can help save on pool cleaning chemicals.
They may also work with a timer and switch off when cleaning is complete, which helps reduce energy usage.
A robotic pool cleaner may be an example of a self cleaning pool system.
7. Consider Whether You Need A Pool Heater
Using a pool heater will obviously increase the energy requirements of the pool.
Before making the decision to get a heater, consider whether it’s something that’s definitely needed.
Some people may make the decision to use the pool with just a thermal pool cover instead of a heater.
8. Consider A More Energy Efficient Pool Heater
For those using a pool heater, they may use one which is more energy efficient (i.e. has a good energy star rating, or, it uses energy efficiently in general)
There may also be consideration for:
– The total time the heater is run for
– The temperature the heater is set to
Some reports indicate that each additional degree of heat you set the heater to, the more energy the heater might use
9. Consider Using Rainwater To Top Up Pool Where Practical & Safe To Do So
Some people use water from their hose to refill/top up their pool water level.
Using rainwater as a water source to fill a pool (either partially or fully) can be more sustainable.
This might be done most easily by uncovering the pool when it rains.
It might also be done with either a general rainwater tank, or a dedicated rainwater system used to top up the pool.
However, check both the safety, and also the regulations and legislation in your area of doing this before you do it.
10. Fix Water Leaks Soon After They Occur
Sometimes, a drop in the water level of the pool is simply due to evaporation.
But, other times, it might be due to a leak in the pool.
When you think there might be a legitimate leak in the pool, addressing it sooner rather than later not only helps save water, but can also help prevent further costs and potential damage to the surrounding area.
11. Consider How The Use Of Chemicals Impacts The Sustainability Of Pools
Chemicals like chlorine are used to help keep pool water clean and safe, by killing certain bacteria and other hazards.
So, they can certainly play a critical and important role.
But, some pool supply companies offer eco alternatives to commonly used pool chemicals, such as some types of alternate minerals.
And, although not practical in all instances, some companies make natural pools or saltwater pools which have less dependence on chlorine based chemicals.
12. Consider More Sustainable Pool Lighting
For pool lights, consider if LED lights use energy more efficiently than halogen lighting and other types of lighting.
Most new pools these days might use LED lighting as standard.
13. Consider Other Methods & Features To Make The Pool More Sustainable
– Regularly cleaning the pool skimmer basket, pump basket and filter out
– Not draining the pool as often
Some people periodically drain their pool of water and replace it with completely new water
When you consider how much water pools hold, this can be a lot of water that is getting disposed of and used
Instead, keeping the same water cleaner and using it for longer might be more sustainable
For pumps, heaters, and lighting
– Smart systems
Smart systems include software systems that allow you to automate different activities and actions related to the maintenance of your pool, such as the pump, filter, heater, lighting and so on
This automation may lead to more efficiency
– Backwash minimisation systems
These systems may collect water, help remove dirt from it, and siphon clear water back into the pool
This may help use water more sustainably
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