Aqueous Pools Inc.

Are Swimming Pool Owners Energy Hogs? According to a New Study, They Are

Posted on: August 6th, 2012 by Dave No Comments

In a recent blog post by Outlier, which tracks energy trends by consumers in the United States, it would seem that those who own swimming pool owners are often guilty of using more power than those that don’t have such a backyard oasis – and this energy use well above and beyond just what is being consumed by the swimming pool. Here are some of the key findings:

It’s been estimated that 9-14 billion kilowatt hours of electricity are consumed each year just to maintain these 5.4 million swimming pools. That’s more electricity than is used each year in 11 individual US states and Washington DC.  

While that sounds bad and some pool owners may be doing the walk of shame, it gets worse if you go by their findings:

A pattern emerged: pool homes annually consume 49% more electricity and 19% more natural gas than their non-pool neighbors. The result for a pool owner is approximately $500 per year in higher energy bills – and nearly double that in states with higher electric and gas prices.

In reading this, it felt like pool owners are energy hogs (and maybe I was guilty as charged as well for having a pool!).

Underlying Reasons: Equipment Choices and Lifestyle Philosophy

After first feeling guilty, I thought I would read on to see what they said were the reasons – and it comes down to the equipment used in and around the house as well as how people choose to live:

  • With a swimming pool, it’s the equipment you have that can be the energy hog – that is the pump, filter, and choice of heating system.
  • The study found that the homes with pools tend to be larger in terms of square footage, which means there is more area to heat, cool, and light. There may even be more people in these homes, which lead to further energy consumption.
  • For some reason, they found that many pool owners are also lax when it comes to being green in their lifestyles with poor habits about what they do in terms of using energy to fuel their activities.

Energy Conservation Strategy

Along with the advice in the blog post, which recommended the use of solar pool covers and the installation of a variable speed pump, you can also opt for solar power for your pool heating system as well as ensure that you regularly maintain your pool’s chemistry so that the equipment does not have to work overtime.

When it comes to your lifestyle, those are things that you can also change by investing in a solar system for your home, changing out fixtures and appliances for ones that are more energy efficient, and being more prudent when it comes to lights, heating, cooling, and water use.

What I did not necessarily agree with in terms of the blog’s advice was that it suggested you should drastically reduce how long your pump runs every day to maintain the pool. While it might be work in cooler areas, places like the Antelope Valley where it regularly stays at triple digits for the majority of summer will have many green pools if the pool is only run for three hours a day.

This is because the water must continue to circulate in hot weather where chlorine can be quickly used up thanks to the solar intensity. By switching to an energy-efficient pump, you can use less energy but keep the pool running for a good amount of time in order to keep it clean and ready to use.

And, I do practice what I preach in terms of all the advice provided here – we use a solar blanket to heat the water, have an energy-efficient pool pump, limit our energy use through lifestyle changes and are having a solar system for our house installed to green our lifestyle. See, not every pool owner is an energy hog!

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