For some people, it’s a lifelong dream to have a backyard pool and hot tub to go for a swim and relax in some soothing water. There truly is something special about having your own private spot for water recreation at home, especially when you are entertaining guests or throwing a party. However, it can be a bit difficult to justify all that recreational water usage if you have committed to living an eco-friendly lifestyle and conserving resources as much as possible.
Fortunately, there are some ways to compromise and enjoy a little backyard fun without harming the environment quite as much. Here are some eco-friendly improvements that you can make on your property if you have a pool or hot tub.
The Problem with Pools and Hot Tubs
The most obvious problem with pools and hot tubs is water usage because these features lose water daily due to evaporation and need to continuously be refilled. The water waste becomes even worse if you have a leak in your pool or hot tub.
To heat or filter the water, requires running a pump that uses a good amount of energy. Meanwhile, pool and hot tub maintenance typically requires the use of chemicals, which can be harmful to humans over time and contribute to greenhouse gas production.
Cover It Up
One of the best ways to reduce water evaporation is to put an insulated cover over your pool or hot tub. This can also help reduce energy usage because it keeps heat in the water instead of letting it out in the open air.
Use Fewer Chemicals
Chlorine is typically necessary to keep away algae and reduce the spread of germs in a pool or hot tub. But you can use bromine along with chlorine to reduce the overall amount of chlorine that is necessary.
Incorporate Solar Power
To reduce the energy usage of your pool or hot tub, consider incorporating solar power. This will require a significant upfront investment but will often pay for itself within just a couple of years since you aren’t having to pay for electricity or gas to provide heat.
Change Your Pump Usage
Make sure that you are using an appropriately sized pump so that you aren’t using more energy than your pool or hot tub really needs. You can also try using a variable or dual-speed pump instead of a single-speed one to reduce energy consumption.
Rigid panel insulation can be placed around the structure of a pool to save on energy costs. This is a great first step to reducing energy usage and managing costs in the long-run.
Consider converting your pool into a Saltwater Pool
A saltwater pool cuts down on the amount of chlorine usage to a minimum. During 2021, when there was a nationwide chlorine shortage, you could have been able to maintain your saltwater pool without the need to purchase excess liquid or granular chlorine. This conversion can be done for under $1,000. Depending upon your pool’s capacity, you would add “x” lbs of salt in order to bring the pool’s salt concentration to approximately 300-500 ppm. This is a relatively low salinity level. It is much less irritating to your eyes and less destructive to your swimsuit than adding chlorine to your pool a couple of times a week during warm weather. More important, it reduces the chlorine fumes that you might breathe from a conventional pool to a minimum that you likely will not be able to detect.
A small electrical box called a chlorine generator is added inline to the pool’s piping, which serves to break the salt molecule (NaCl) into its components sodium and chlorine. The chlorine molecules that are released are at a much lower concentration than liquid chlorine, but still are effective at controlling bacteria and algae. Essentially this reaction is a closed loop, where the Na and Cl eventually recombine and become salt which goes through the chlorine generator over and over to repeat the process. Usually just once a year you may need to add a little bit of salt to the pool to bring the salinity back up to the level required.
Change the Location
Saving energy and water with your pool or hot tub may be as simple as changing its location. Put it in a place where it gets maximum sun and that is shielded from the wind. This will help with heat loss through evaporation.
Here are some additional suggestions to discuss with your family and pool or hot tub professional:
- Use a cartridge filter
- Set up a pump timer
- Keep pools filled all throughout the year
- Try an automatic pool cleaner
- Fix leaks as soon as you notice them
For more eco-friendly and natural lifestyle tips, check out the other articles on our blog.