Aqueous Pools Inc.

Archive for the ‘Energy Efficiency’ Category

Springing into Pool Season

Posted on: March 19th, 2013 by Dave No Comments

Recently, temperatures in the Antelope Valley finally hit the 80s although this week the temperature is trickling back down into the 70s. While it may not quite be time for a big splash, it’s just around the corner.

That means getting your pool in shape (while you get yourself in shape to fit into that swim suit or those swim trunks!).

As soon as that temperature does change, you will want to be ready, so here are some tips on getting your swimming pool up and running again after the harsh winter that is hopefully behind us.

Clean-Up

  • Your first step is to get the swimming pool cleaned up if you haven’t continued to use a professional pool cleaning service all winter. Whether you have kept it covered or the pool surface has been exposed to the elements, it is time to give the swimming pool a good clean, including skimming the surface, vacuuming the bottom and side walls, and scrubbing the tile.
  • Don’t forget to do a filter clean or ask your pool professional to do it for you! This will make it easier to enjoy clean, filtered water as well as cut down on the time it takes to clean the pool each week.
  • Spring is very windy in Palmdale, Lancaster, and Acton, so you will need to keep at the leaves and debris that often finds its way into your swimming pool.
  • The area around your swimming pool should also get a good clean, including vacuuming out debris in the concrete crevices and cleaning out leaves and debris around the equipment area. Don’t forget to get rid of all those cobwebs, too!
  • Any patio furniture and barbecues should also be wiped down. After all, this is all part of enjoying your backyard oasis for the spring and summer seasons.

Spruce-Up

  • This is the time of the year where you might think about any upgrades to your swimming pool, including grab rails, slide, water feature, new lights or anything else that makes it more personalized that didn’t fit in your budget when you originally had it built.
  • It may also be time to spruce up the swimming pool treasure chest of water toys and gadgets for the pool. This could mean getting rid of those water toys that the kids have outgrown and upgrading to some super cool water launchers or underwater games to a floatable card table and chairs for the weekly poker game with the guys to a new lounge chair with drink holder for mom.
  • You might also think about an outdoor sound system to enjoy music or even a new outdoor kitchen and entertainment pagoda if you want to kick the party season into high gear.

Check-Up

  • Before something breaks down during those critical weeks and months where a cool pool is a must to beat the heat, it’s time to do an equipment check. Look at worn parts or the general condition of all your equipment.
  • If anything looks like it needs to be replaced, then this would be the time to do it. Also, if you did not have an energy-efficient pump or heater, you may want to upgrade. There may still be some rebates available for making your pool equipment more energy efficient.

Top-Up

  • This is the time of year to ensure the chemicals are now equalized and ready to go for warmer weather. Think about topping up anything that is not in balance with the water chemistry. Also, pool professionals typically add conditioner to the water at this time of year to compensate for the necessary change in chemicals as the seasons change.
  • If you don’t have an auto-fill valve that brings your water up to its proper level, you may need to manually add water to the pool. If it’s been three to five years, this may actually be the best time to empty the pool and refill it with new water. This is important to do on a regular basis to keep the water chemistry balance.

Other Tips

  • Other things to consider to spring into pool action would be to invest in solar heating for your pool and spa. While the upfront cost is significant, it offers a fairly fast return on investment. And, you will love not getting electric bills that put you at risk for a heart attack.
  • For a lower budget investment to get your water warm, purchase a solar blanket from your pool professional. It takes the chill off the water and even keeps most of the debris out.
  • Make sure you are using an automatic pool cleaner to keep it free of bugs and debris so you can start swimming every day.
  • Check on your safety and security measures so that all kids and visitors are not at risk of drowning. This means safety fencing, safety alarms, and door alarms as well as a floatation device nearby.

Call Us!

We’re here to get your swimming pool up and running for the season. Contact us today at 661.400.7624 or dave@aqueouspools.com.

Green Swimming Pool Construction: Is it a Reality?

Posted on: September 5th, 2012 by Dave 1 Comment

Recently Aqua Magazine featured an extensive and somewhat technical article about how the actual swimming pool construction process could – and should – be more environmentally sensitive.

Building and creating green swimming pools does not sound like an easy process primarily because the idea is still somewhat new and the technology and know-how have yet to catch up. From engineering principles to equipment to placement, there are so many high-intensity energy consumers that go into building a swimming pool let alone lead to high amounts of water and chemical usage.

For the swimming pool industry professional, the article offers a lot of good tips on the technical level. More swimming pool contractors are looking at how they build, including how to make smarter choices when it comes to energy use, transportation of materials, use of water, waste materials and other processes that could be greener.

However, the part of the article that has the most relevance for readers are measures that mean something to them in terms of energy efficiency:

  • Stop heat loss by using solar covers or other types of automatic safety covers. This will stop heat and water evaporation. While solar covers are good, they do float and blow off the wind. Automatic covers are more effective, but that comes with a price tag.
  • To reduce heat loss with an infinity, or vanishing edge, swimming pool, they can be designed with no sheeting and what is called a low wet wall effect.
  • Add a passive solar system or incorporate photovoltaics rather than relying on electricity to heat your swimming pool.
  • Get by with a reduced temperature for your water as even a few degrees will help to reduce your heating bill.
  • Install LED lighting fixtures for measurable energy savings. They also add more interesting lighting effects and last a lot longer than other types of lights.
  • Use high-efficiency swimming pool equipment like heat pumps, exchangers, and pool pumps.
  • Consider switching to a salt system versus a chlorine-based swimming pool maintenance process.

Need more information or prices on installation? Give us a call and we’ll be glad to help green your swimming pool.

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!

Get Pumped Up with Energy Efficiency and Rebates with Variable-Speed Swimming Pool Pumps

Posted on: June 27th, 2012 by Dave No Comments

It’s all about saving money – and energy to boot! That’s what an energy-efficient, variable-speed swimming pool pump can do whether you choose it as part of new swimming pool construction, a swimming pool remodel, or an upgrade to your existing in-ground swimming pool’s equipment set.  And, a side note to the savings is the fact that these variable-speed pumps are SO quiet.

Rebate Information

In Antelope Valley, most of you are most likely Southern California Edison (SCE) customers so here’s what they are offering in terms of a rebate on qualifying variable-speed swimming pool pump models as part of their overall Home Energy Efficiency Rebate Program.

Right now, the rebate is up to $200 back when you buy one between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012 and install it by February 28, 2013. http://www.sce.com/residential/rebates-savings/pool/pool-products.htm.

The rebates are only for single-family residences and their website notes that funds are limited, so it is best to purchase one now before they tell us all they ran out of money. It’s easy to apply by either an online form on the SCE website or through snail mail through their form, your purchase, and your SCE account number. If you opt to mail it in, your rebate request must be postmarked by February 28, 2013. Of course, we are glad to help with equipment purchase and installation as well as assistance with rebate applications.

Your Return on Investment

You will start receiving a return on your investment in a variable-speed swimming pool pump by the second year after installing it. This will come even faster thanks to the $200 rebate you can take advantage of right now!

How Do Variable-Speed Pumps Save Energy Anyways?

One of the premier manufacturers of swimming pool equipment, Pentair Pool, offered some great information about just how variable-speed swimming pool pumps save energy, which can often reduce the energy costs of running your pool by up to 90 percent!

Here are some excerpts from an article from Pentair:

Most variable-speed pumps can be programmed to operate at set speeds to deliver the correct flow for each task they perform, such as operating a suction-side pool cleaner, waterfalls or spa jets. Some pumps have built-in constant-flow software, which maximizes the advantages of variable-speed technology; constant-flow pumps automatically adjust their speed and deliver the required flow for each programmed task.For example, an arcing laminar water feature may need 40 gallons per minute (gpm) to produce a smooth 6-ft arc of water. A constant-flow pump can sense the resistance being added to the system as the filter collects dirt and will automatically speed up so the water feature continues to get the amount of water it needs. With other types of pumps, including some variable-speed pumps, the water feature will gradually throw a shorter arc of water as the filter gets dirtier; it will only be restored to its original appearance after the filter is cleaned.

The article from Pentair also delivers some significant quantitative examples of just how money can be saved:

If a pool uses a single-speed pump, it may cost $900 per year to run that pump. (Numbers will vary by region.) After five years, the owners will have spent $4500 running that pump. Meanwhile, in a well-designed system with a variable-speed pump, the comparable operational costs may be as little as $200 per year. So at the end of five years, the dollars spent running the pump will be about $1000, less than 1/4 what would have been spent running the old single-speed pump. The cost savings continue to multiply the longer the new pump is used.

Summer’s Heating Up with Solar Heating Solutions for Your Swimming Pool

Posted on: May 23rd, 2012 by Dave No Comments

With the weather heating up, it might seem that the killer temps might have enough strength to heat that swimming pool to the right level, but those rays don’t necessarily reach all the way to the deep end nor do they make that in-ground spa work its magic on those sore muscles.

That’s when a pool heater could really do the trick – except for the fact that, by using it, you end up with an electric bill that could break the bank. It’s time to look to solar pool heaters for an economic solution that can keep your swimming pool and spa at just the right temperature while keeping a few dollars in your pocket – not to mention, you will be doing your part to help the environmental initiatives.

Solar Pool Heater Systems

Solar pool heater systems can provide a perfectly heated swimming pool and spa the whole year round without the utility bill that goes with it. Although there is a considerable investment that must be made upfront, the return on investment pays significant dividends because it relies on the free heat that comes from the sun. Although the pool pump must be running in order for the system to work, this is minimal, especially if you install an energy-efficient pool pump or solar pool pump.

The solar pool heater system works through solar panels that are usually placed on the roof. It is important to ensure the right size, number of panels, and placement to get the best possible performance from this system.

These pool heater systems can last between ten and twenty years and usually have a ten-year warranty on the solar panels. They are low maintenance and offer a smart alternative to regular pool heaters.

 

Solar Pool Blankets

Just like that toasty blanket you most likely wrap yourself up in on those chilly nights, a solar pool blanket covers the top of your pool and helps collect the warmth from those sun rays, radiating the heat into the water below the blanket. It can even raise the pool water temperature by 15 degrees.

Not only is this solution very cost effective, but it also provides a way to minimize heat loss by reducing evaporation and conduction as well as keep a lot of that debris out that seems to be around all year round thanks to the winds of the Antelope Valley!

These are available for aboveground and in-ground swimming pools and come in a wide variety of sizes. The solar blankets are easy to cut to fit to the size and shape of your pool. Plus, they can easily be installed and removed as needed. These blankets can also be placed on a reel for even more convenient use.

A solar pool blanket will pay for itself quickly and provide you many enjoyable days and nights in the swimming pool because there are no utility costs to re-coop. Just remember though that it may not necessarily provide the heat that you would need to get that in-ground spa hot like you like it! So, there is still the need to have a gas pool heater, a heat pump pool heater, or that solar pool heater I mentioned above.

We’re Here to Set the Pool Temp

Whatever you decide, our professional pool techs can install it and get you set up with just the right temperature for your swimming pool and spa enjoyment!