Pools are expensive. Between heating, treating, cleaning, and staffing, it can cost a lot! The good news is there are a few steps that you can take to lower your monthly expenses, but here's a few tips to help with your pool’s energy bill.
Your Pools Energy Usage
When it comes to what your pool costs you on a monthly basis, there are many factors. In terms of it’s energy consumptions, there are two main areas that cost you the most every month. Before we can get into ways to save you money on your energy bill though, we need to recognize the areas of your pool operation that use the most energy.
Heating your pool is typically the most expensive user of energy when it comes to pool operations. There are many factors to consider in determining how much your boiler or heating system is costing you. Things such as pool size, desired temperature, and the efficiency of the heater are all contributing factors as well as bather-loads and water loss can contribute to higher costs. But no matter what, heating your water will cost you. The best thing you can do it try to diminish the impact.
The other big energy hog in your pump room is likely your circulation pumps. Depending on the size of your pool, if you have any play features, and bather-load, your circulation system could be costing you more than it should.
So we have our main culprits for where your money spent on energy goes in your pool. Let’s look at a few ways to lower your pools energy bill. Keep in mind that some of these methods will cost money upfront, but the energy savings will always make up for the investment, eventually.
Lower Your Temperature Set-Point (FREE!)
It may seem a bit obvious, but truly one of the most effective ways to lower the monthly cost of your energy bill is to lower your pool temperature. Of course, this isn’t always an option. Depending on the type of pool you’re operating (lap pool, family oriented feature and play pool, or a therapeutic pool) the temperature you keep it at will vary. And of course so will your patrons preferences.
Most lap pools are kept between 79-82 degrees Fahrenheit. Most family activity pools are kept between 84-88 degrees, and most therapeutic use pools are kept even warmer (between 89-95 degrees). Regardless of the pool type, even if you are only talking about adjusting the set point by a single degree, you can expect to see savings.
Of course the savings may not be worth the possible complaints about the lower temperatures, so make changes gradually so as not to shock your patrons.
Eliminate Other Factors of Energy Waste (FREE!)
Aside from turning the temperature down, you can take a look at other factors that can affect the energy usage and ways in which you may be wasting energy. There are a number of different areas that you can improve efficiency at your pool, but almost all of them have to do with the two main energy hogs of heating and circulating. Here are a few ways you may be able to lower your energy usage without spending.
Improving circulation/pump efficiency:
Regular cleaning and maintenance of pumps and circulation equipment to ensure efficiency.
Clean your filters before they become too dirty to circulate efficiently.
Adjust flow so that you are maximizing filtration against the energy costs.
Stagger turning on multiple pumps when turning on play features.
Don’t run features when not necessary.
Improving heating efficiency:
- Adjust air temperatures to be closer to your desired pool temperature (indoor pools only).
- Increase air humidity to reduce evaporation (indoor pools only).
- Perform regular maintenance on your pool boiler to ensure it is operating at peak efficiency.
If you’ve tried these two cheaper methods and are still looking to save even more on your energy costs, you may be looking at doing some spending in other areas to decrease your energy usage.
Install Thermal Pool Tarps ($)
When you’re looking for ways to more dramatically reduce your energy bill, you’re most likely going to be spending money in other areas to make that happen. One of the more cost-effective options is to install and use thermal pool covers, or tarps during hours when you’re closed.
Depending on the brand and variety, tarps are made up of layers of plastic and foam that are stitched together and pulled out over the surface of your pool when you’re closed.
Though they can be expensive, pricing depends on size and shape of the pool. Even if you’re operating an indoor pool where the ambient temperatures are stable, the benefits of using pool tarps or “blankets” can be in the range of 50-70%!
If you’re saving 50-70% of your heating bill each month, tarps can clearly cover the initial investment quickly. Aside from retaining heat, pool tarps also serve other functions that can go towards saving you money in other areas. Pool tarps also reduce evaporation during closed hours. Less evaporation means less spent on heating, but it also means less money spent on replacing evaporated water and also on chemicals that are used to treat the replaced water.
Consider Green Energy Retrofits ($)
Unless you’re building a brand new pool, chances are you don’t have the most cutting-edge, ultra high-efficiency equipment on the market right now. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still improve your efficiency!
There are a number of areas in particular that you can save money. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Upgrade Old Equipment to Newer Higher Efficiency Models
Depending on the age of your pool equipment, your pump and/or heater may be well below the efficient models out today. And while it can still be costly to upgrade, the savings, can offset the price over time. There are also rebates on high efficiency equipment that you can take advantage of to further lower the upfront cost.
Retrofit Your Facility
Green energy is "in" these days. So if you’ve got the money, there are green energy consultants who can help you make the most efficient changes to your operation to improve your efficiency and lower your energy bills. With everything from heat reclamation systems that pair with ice skating rinks, to electricity generation systems that fit onto your existing systems, there are exciting opportunities to “go green” and save green in doing so. There are often government grants, at both the state, and federal level, that can help with retrofitting projects.
Aside from saving you money, going green can be an exciting way to improve your organization's image!
These are some of the best ways you can lower your pool’s energy bill. If you’re looking to lower your monthly overhead, you may also examine other aspects of your operation and try to develop ways to eliminate waste and improve efficiency. No matter what you’re trying to improve, always look to either reduce your expenses or maximize your revenue!
For more energy saving information visit www.energysavers.gov.
Do you have any other tips or methods you’ve used to lower your monthly energy bill? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!