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How to Make Your Swimming Pool More Efficient

Boosting the efficiency of your swimming pool is an important first step in reducing your carbon footprint and moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle. Here's how to make your swimming pool energy efficient so that when you add solar, you get the most bang for your buck:

  • Reduce bends in the piping: Sharp bends in the PVC piping slow down the flow and require more power to do the same job. Unfortunately, many pool installers completely fail this simple requirement. If your pipes are all over the place, rebuild the system. PVC is a cinch to work with.

  • Make sure that all valves are working properly: If you have gate valves, replace them with ball valves, which are more efficient. Make sure that all ball valves are completely open or closed.

  • Keep the filter clean: A dirty filter loads the pump, which costs a lot more power. If your filter is old, replace it. Cartridge filters are better than diatomaceous Earth.

  • Install a smaller, higher efficiency pump, and run it less each day: Use the smallest, most efficient pump possible — 3/4 horsepower is usually sufficient. If your pump is a few years old and wasn't designed with enough capacity for solar panel use, buying a new one will probably be economical. Most people will find that they can run their pool pump for much less time and still achieve satisfactory cleanliness. Give it a try.

    A large power pump filters your pool water faster, and some people like that because it means you can run the pump less (which means you listen to it less). But here's the problem: If you're planning on putting up solar panels, the amount of heat they put into the pool is a function of how much time water is flowing through them; the quantity of water isn't as important. So if you have a large pump that moves water quickly, you're not optimizing your solar panels.

  • Install windbreaks around your pool. Wind can increase evaporation 300 percent or more, which wastes a lot of energy, much more than you may think.

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