For many decades, a very large portion of the first world population has been swimming in debt. This financial problem has been amplified due to recent lockdowns. For many of us, cutting costs has become a necessity if we want to keep paying the bills. If you’re a pool owner that is looking to save some of your hard-earned cash, these money-saving tips will be just what you need. Some of these tips will be obvious, and some of them will require some explanation. We’ll do our best to make everything crystal clear.
Make a cheap investment to buy a pool cover. The benefits and ultimate savings will vary depending on the type and quality of the pool cover. However, even cheap ones will almost always be worth the money.
According to our research, the average swimming pool will lose 25,000 to 50,000 gallons of water per year. On average, the price of city water is roughly $.003 per gallon. That doesn’t seem like much, but that translates to $75 to $150 per year.
It could be more or it could be less. It depends on your pool size and its location. The potential savings vary wildly from location to location, and that is due to the local weather conditions: heat, wind, and humidity. You can eliminate most of the evaporation with a simple tarp.
According to Energy.Gov, an average pool cover will reduce pool heating costs by 50% to 70%. Of course, the amount saved will change with environmental factors and which pool cover is purchased. Great savings from heat retention can be had regardless if the pool is an indoor pool or an outdoor pool.
If you are being a responsible pool owner, you probably know that your pool chemicals require constant rebalancing. As contaminants are introduced into the pool, the chemicals neutralize those contaminants by binding to them. When you use a pool cover, you limit how many of those potential contaminants are introduced to the pool. You also reduce how much direct sunlight which slows down chlorine evaporation. Once again, according to Evergy.Gov, you can expect chemical consumption to be reduced by 35% to 60%.
If you don’t want to buy a regular pool cover, you might be interested in a liquid pool cover. Liquid pool covers won’t keep debris out of the pool, but they do make measurable differences in slowing down water evaporation and increasing heat retention.
As with most major appliances, there are energy-efficient options. The higher costs of these products can make them less accessible, but that’s where government rebates and tax incentives come in handy. There are federal energy incentives, but don’t forget to check incentives that are available to your specific state. Sites such as DsireUSA.org keep searchable databases of these incentives, so click on over and see what you can find.
Even if you can’t find an applicable rebate, these products can save you a lot of money over time. You already know about pool covers for water evaporation and heat retention, so we’ll skip over that. Some other helpful products include:
The best money-saving tip is to lower monthly maintenance costs. Swapping out a single-speed pump for a variable-speed pump can be one of the best ways to cut those costs. The savings will be situationally dependent, but most can expect an average improved efficiency of 90%. Most of the time, this equates to a cost reduction of $20 to $30.
There are two ways that variable-speed pumps improve upon single-speed efficiency.
One, the motors used in variable-speed pool pumps are different than single-speed pumps. Single-speed motors are built cheaply and inefficiently relative to variable-speed pumps. Variable-speed pumps are powered by the same type of permanent magnet motors that power the famously energy-efficient electric cars. These quiet motors run smoother and produce less excess energy-wasting heat which makes them less prone to breaking.
Two, pools come in many shapes and sizes. These dimensional differences have different filtration requirements. Single-speed pumps cannot tune themselves to the exact needs of the pool. For many pools, their pumps will either waste energy by using more power than necessary. Variable-speed pumps can provide a custom amount of power to fulfill filtration needs while reducing power and water resistance as much as possible.
Rather than buying a more energy-efficient water pump, you could find an alternative energy source; AKA, the sun. Solar power products have become more efficient over the last couple of decades, but there is still a lot of development that needs to be done to improve their viability.
That said, they are still great investments for many people.
Solar power water pumps will cut your monthly bill. Homeowners with pools often attribute that 20 percent of their monthly energy costs are directly caused by their pools’ water pumps.
Right now is a great time to invest in one of these systems since the government is actively encouraging through subsidies and tax rebates. This encouragement is primarily encouraged on the federal level which means that you can find money-saving incentives in any of the 50 states. If you switch out your old system for something that is powered independently from your city’s electrical grid, it will save you money month-to-month and might lower the burden of your annual tax filing.
Rather than channeling electricity into a heater, there is a type of pool water heater that embraces the natural heat of the sun’s rays. Because these heaters rely on direct sunlight, this type of heater won’t work so well in cloudy climates.
There are variations in designs. However, the shared concept between these designs is to funnel cold water into a collection of tubes. Those tubes are set outside of the pool and heating in direct sunlight. The tubes are also coated in sunray-absorbing colors and materials and often placed in a container to focus additional sunlight upon the tubes.
There are step-by-step DIY projects that walk you through constructing one of these heaters. If you pay for a manufactured version of these heaters, the tubes can become more sophisticated. They’ll use double-paned glass around the tubes to insulate the collected heat while simultaneously letting additional sunlight/heat into the pipe. The light enters, it is absorbed, and the heat remains trapped.
Most pool heaters can heat a pool by 20 degrees over one to three days. Depending on how long it takes to reheat your pool and how often you use it, it might be worth lowering the thermostat on the days that you don’t expect to use it. Even if the pool is uncomfortably cold, it’s probably going to be healthier anyway.
If you think a little bit outside of the box and plan ahead, you can save quite a bit of money on your pool chemicals.
Marketing is a powerful tool. It can influence us to favor one product over another. Even if the products are exactly the same, the product with better marketing will achieve better sales. That product with better marketing can even cost more, and we will still choose it most of the time.
Look beyond your initial impulses, and you will find alternative products. Instead of buying chlorine with a pool on the label, just buy some cheap bleach from Walmart. Do you need to alkalize your pool? Baking Soda is super cheap and works quite well. Do you need to raise your water’s pH? Try some inexpensive borax. We have an article related to this topic. If you want to find some more alternatives, you might want to check out the article Household Products to Clean Your Pool.
This is self-explanatory, so we won’t go into a heavy description. Make a quick search engine query for “bulk pool chemicals” if you want to save some money. Bigger amounts equal bigger discounts. Keep in mind that dry pool chemicals often last years, but liquid pool chemicals often have a much shorter expiration date.
If you buy in bulk, waiting for price-cutting sales becomes easier. Naturally, those sales will happen when people aren’t using their pools or during seasonal events. Don’t wait until you run out of chemicals. Wait until webmasters and shop owners are lowering prices to draw in customers.
We’re going to assume that your pool has already been built. If it hasn’t, you should look into the benefits and disadvantages of salt water pools vs chlorine pools. While the initial costs of a saltwater pool outweigh a chlorine pool, the annual upkeep costs of chlorine pools are much lower. We’re talking about $70 to $100 for saltwater pools vs $300 to $800 for chlorine pools. For many, that can be the difference between a small expense and a paycheck.
It goes without saying, so we are going to say it quickly. Pool chemicals must be constantly balanced if you don’t want to burn through a wad of cash. When one chemical goes out of balance, your pool’s sterilizing ecosystem goes out of whack. This is shown brilliantly in the example of Chlorine and Cyanuric Acid. If there isn’t enough Cyanuric Acid, Chlorine will evaporate in minutes. If there is too much, the Chlorine becomes almost useless. That balance will naturally shift out of balance over time, so it needs to be monitored and corrected.
An advanced oxidation system is a great way to save money over time. However, initially, it will not feel that way because it will cost you a pretty penny to purchase and install. If you want to invest in a good system, you can expect to spend around $700 to $1,900 just for the system. That doesn’t include the installation costs.
The initial investment will put a dent in your wallet, but your savings will begin immediately. These are highly efficient systems that demand very minimal maintenance and drastically reduce your pool’s chemical consumption. This has a staggering effect on chlorine specifically. If you have a quality system, you can expect about an 80% reduction in chlorine consumption. If you have an average-sized chlorine pool, one of these systems will bring you an average annual savings of $240 to $640.
On top of those savings, you can generally count on an advanced oxidation system to cleanse a pool of contamination better and more consistently than you could hope to achieve by manually balancing your chlorination levels. According to the self-reported claims of one of these products, your pool will receive three times the chlorination level.
As far as optimal filtration is concerned and without considering the negatives, we would love to run our water pumps 24/7. That said, doing that isn’t a financially-responsible option for many of us. Many people run the water pump for about 8 hours and shut it off until the next day. If this is what you do, you should do a quick search for “peak hours electricity ‘your power company’s name.’”
Many electrical power companies, especially with dense populations, encourage non-essential electrical use to be delayed until night. This encouragement is regulated by increasing the price of electricity during “peak hours.” When night time arrives, the price of electricity is reduced. We highly recommend that you look up the schedule that applies to you, so you can adjust your pool pump’s schedule to fit within that time frame.
If You Live in a Cold Climate, You Might Be Able to Shorten Pool Pump Run Time
Colder climates have a reduced algae problem. This won’t be a hard rule recommendation and it is based on a default pool pump runtime of 8 hours per day:
Depending on the quality and maintenance, pool covers can often last anywhere from 1 to 10 years. Debris and water that pile on top of a pool cover are the main factors that reduce the pool cover’s integrity and lifespan. If you want to push your cover’s lifespan to the 10-year mark, you should consider investing in a pool cover pump
Whether you have a pool cover or not, it is recommended that you sweep its surface periodically. Of course, when we say sweep, we aren’t saying to stand on a weak pool cover surface.
Everything falls apart eventually. Whether pool tools and brushes break down quickly or over a lifetime will largely be dependent upon how you store them. This is an inaccurate generalization, but you will half the lifespan of your tools if their storage does not meet the following criteria:
Backwashing your pool is necessary, but you should limit it as much as possible. A single minute of backwashing typically expels about 100 gallons of water. In America, that is going to cost a rough $.15 per minute. It’s not a lot, but it does add up. If you have to do backwash more than once per week, it will add up quickly. Here’s how to keep your pool clean, so you can limit the backwashing:
This is an expanding list, so we will keep adding as we keep thinking of more tips. If you have any tips that you think should be added to this list, we would love to hear from you. Send us an email with those tips so we can help our fellow pool owners.