Looking for energy-efficient options for your inground swimming pool?

Looking for energy-efficient options for your inground swimming pool?

Energy-Saving Pool Equipment Choices

While the pump is usually the center of conversations about pool equipment energy savings, other equipment choices also play important roles.

By Jeff Farlow

Program Manager – Energy Initiatives

Excerpt from an article that appeared in The Edge., via pentairpool.com

Filter types, for example, have an impact on energy consumption because they place different levels of resistance on the system. Resistance is related to energy efficiency because of its impact on flow. Of the three types of filters (cartridge, DE and sand), cartridge filtration offers the least (i.e., most favorable) resistance to flow. This is partially because cartridge filters do not require a valve, while filters that are routinely backwashed do need them. Multiport valves create so much resistance to flow that California’s Title 24 has banned 1.5-inch multiport valves. (Newer backwash valves have been designed to add less resistance to the system.) On a related note, backwashing consumes water, so using a filter that does not require backwashing conserves water and the chemicals in that water.

However, it is important to recognize that some pool owners will prioritize the easy maintenance of sand filtration. And some will want the polished water you get with DE and the ease of maintenance you get with the multiport valve for backwashing. The key is to weigh all the benefits and decide on a filter that will best meet your needs and reduce energy costs.

Digital automation systems should also be part of any discussion of green retrofits. Today’s systems allow pool owners to schedule cleaning and filtration cycles, so equipment will not be left on accidentally or run at a higher flow rate than necessary. Home owners can use these systems to take advantage of off-peak or seasonal utility rates. Some will even track usage history and inform ways to reduce energy consumption. Further energy ROI comes from sophisticated controls by enabling home owners and service professionals to monitor and adjust equipment settings from their laptops, in-home remote controls, special LCD touch screens, some PDAs, iPhones, iPads, etc.

Heaters also present opportunities for conservation. Gas pool heaters must meet minimum energy requirements as established by the U.S. Department of Energy (78 percent) and some building codes also prohibit continuously burning pilot lights. Further, heat pumps, geothermal heat exchangers, and solar heating systems are also environmentally-friendly heating options. And pool covers are critical for conserving heat and water.

One other product category that presents energy savings potential is lighting. LED underwater pool and spa lights are much more energy efficient than traditional incandescent and halogen pool lights. Designs differ, but Pentair’s LED pool lights use only 37 watts to create the same light output as its halogen pool light does at 161 watts. In addition, LEDs are more durable, so they last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs — up to 10 times longer.

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