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  • Kids splashing in pool

    The Energy Consumption of a Swimming Pool

June 2018

Thinking of putting a pool in the backyard? Get the low-down on pool electricity costs and see how you can create the most energy efficient pool in your street.

Backyard swimming pools could almost be considered Australian icons. With 1.2 million household swimming pools dotted around the country, Australia has more pools per capita than any other country1... yet just how much do we pay for the refreshing luxury of having a dip?

Looking beyond the initial cost of putting in a pool, the ongoing maintenance costs can quickly add up. Keeping your pool clean and maintaining a comfortable water temperature, can consume a significant amount of energy, which you have to pay for every year.

The good news is that there are plenty of energy-efficient pool pumps and heating solutions on the market today, which can bring down your maintenance costs significantly. While some of these can be costly upfront, they could help to reduce your ongoing operational costs.

Here, we look at the ongoing costs and how you can bring them down.

Pool electricity costs

The ongoing maintenance costs of a swimming pool can take some people by surprise. By knowing these costs upfront, you’re in a better position to budget for them – plus, you can then start to whittle them down.

So, what are you looking at?

The pool pump alone can use about 16% of your total annual household energy consumption2, with overall pool running costs typically between $660 and $1000 a year.3

Knowing where these costs come from is your first step in trying to reduce them.

How to reduce your swimming pool energy costs

The first thing to look at is the pool pump. Its running costs depend largely on the energy efficiency of the unit installed. Here are some quick tips to make your pool pump more energy efficient.

  • Choose a pool pump with a higher energy rating
  • Choose a multi- or variable-speed pump instead of a single-speed pump
  • Reduce the amount of time the pump is on (ask your local pool specialist for help here)
  • Skim your pool of debris regularly so the pump doesn’t get clogged

Then there’s the heating. Depending on how you heat your pool, you could face a significant spike in your energy bill whenever you dial up the water temperature. Here are ways you can reduce heating costs:

  • Consider solar heatingsolar heating kits are a great long-term investment if you love a warm pool. They aren’t cheap, but could pay off in the long run.
  • Swim in cooler water – by keeping the temperature down a few degrees, you’ll save significantly on your heating costs. Plus, your pool pump won’t have to work as hard (there’s less algae growth in cooler worker).
  • Trap in the heat with a cover – invest in a quality cover for your pool, and get in the habit of pulling it on whenever the pool is not in use. This helps to keep the heat in (and also saves water by preventing evaporation).

There are other things you can do to reduce your pool’s running costs and make it more energy efficient, particularly if you’re still in the planning phase before construction:

  • Choose your material – in general, fibreglass pools are easier to clean (hence, less demand on the pool pump) because algae and bacteria find it harder to grow on the super-smooth finish. A well-insulated fibreglass pool should retain heat for longer than concrete, too.
  • The darker the better – a darker coloured pool should absorb more warmth from the sun’s rays than a pale pool.
  • Check the plumbing – water moves more freely through larger pipes that have fewer bends in them. If you set your plumbing up with this in mind, your pool pump won’t have to work as hard to push the water around the pipes.
  • Choose energy efficient lighting – a well-lit pool looks spectacular at night time. The good news is that there are some beautiful LED energy-saving pool lights on the market today.

The final word

Whether you’re about to install a new swimming pool or want to improve your existing pool, there are plenty of things you can do to save on energy costs. Energy efficient pool pumps, smart heating strategies and regular maintenance will all help to look after your pool and your budget.

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