While having a pool can be great, it can be one of the biggest silent energy suckers of all. Follow our tips to help you stop your pool being a real drain on your finances.
Ah summer – the pool, an oasis. Home to fun and chilling out. And also home to one of the meanest, biggest-biting silent energy suckers of them all!
And this is it – the pool pump. Now this little guy might look pretty harmless, and hey, he even sounds kinda cute. But that is the sound of him sucking the cash right out of your pocket. So, I’m going to show you some ways to stop the pool being a real drain on your finances.
Hah, funny guy. First check your stars! Not in here – there. You know, an energy efficient pump could save you up to 80 per cent in future pool running costs. 80 per cent! You could get costs even lower by connecting your pool pump to a cheaper economy tariff. Now those savings have got me really pumped.
Now, another thing about pumps is… that blockages can waste a lot of power. So, give your pool’s skimmer box a regular clean to get rid of leaves and other things. Oh! Quackers, there you are!
If you’ve got a heated pool or spa, good for you! Invest in an insulated cover to keep things warm and lower your heating bill. Whoa.
Finally, spend some time getting to know your pump’s daily routine. Check with your local pool shop. You might be able to cut its running time by an hour a day, or more, without affecting your water quality. And it could save you… a bomb!
For more ways to save, check out my other videos. And there’s energy sense info and tools you can use right now at ergon.com.au
Energy sense tips
- Connect your pool pump to an economy tariff -Tariff 33 could cut your future running costs by up to 15%1.
- Upgrade to an energy efficient pool pump and save up to 80% on your future pool running costs2.
- Regularly clear the water inlet to the pool pump to remove leaves and other objects which can impact water flow and require the pump to work harder.
- Keep your pool cool - the warmer your pool is the more energy and chemicals needed to combat algae growth.
- Use a pool cover to reduce evaporation, keep leaves and other debris out and minimise the energy needed to clean your pool.
- Check the running time for your pool pump with your local pool shop. Reducing its running time by just one hour a day could save up to $100 a year.3
- Cover a heated pool or spa with an insulated cover to reduce heating costs.
- Switch off the heater if you're not going to be using your pool or spa for an extended period of time.
Connect to an economy tariff
Before you can take advantage of economy tariff savings, you need to arrange a connection. Contact a licensed electrician and ask them to connect your pool pump to an economy tariff. A separate meter may be installed for economy tariffs and is listed separately on your bill so you can see how much energy your connected appliances use on that tariff. Please note, you will be charged for the electrician's time and materials to connect your pool pump to an economy tariff.
Economy Tariff 33 provides electricity for up to 18 hours a day (outside peak times) at a discounted rate, and is cheaper than the General Supply usage tariff. Economy tariff 33 is designed to reward Queenslanders for using electricity outside daily peak demand times (around 4-8pm). View the times when power is not available on Tariff 33 to operate your pool pump.
Pool pumps running filtration and sanitation can be connected to the economy Tariff 33 via a standard socket outlet which makes switching easy. Your electrician will install a power point that's connected to an economy rate electricity meter.
Other pool equipment such as pool heating, lights and water features can be connected to the economy tariff 33 also but must be hardwired, rather than connected via a standard socket outlet.
If you don't already have an economy rate meter, a separate meter will be installed and charges are listed separately on your bill so you can see how much energy your connected appliances use on that tariff. You can also place several appliances on a dedicated circuit to supply power on an economy tariff.
About star ratings
The Energy Rating Labelling Scheme is a national program to support the development and supply of energy efficient appliances by providing clear and objective information.
This information is intended to help customers understand the energy requirements and running costs of different appliances and help them to choose an appliance which meets their needs.
When buying a new pool pump, check the energy rating label. These labels provide a comparative assessment of the appliance's energy efficiency and typical annual energy usage (in kilowatt hours per year).
Ratings are currently only applied to pool pumps on a voluntary basis, which means pool pump suppliers can register their pool pump models and attach an energy rating label if they pass the testing requirements.
For more information, visit the Energy Rating Labelling Scheme website.
Types of pool pumps
Swimming pool pumps work by circulating water through the pool's filtering system, mixing chemicals and sanitizing the water to keep it free of contaminants and debris like algae and bugs.
Pool pumps are available in single speed, dual speed, multi speed and variable speed models, however it's important to note that this is not an indication of the pump's energy efficiency.
Whichever type you choose, it's important to make sure your pool pump is the appropriate size for your pool so it can cycle the water and clean your pool efficiently.
Single speed pumps are the simplest pumps available, and often the most affordable to purchase. However, by running at a constantly high speed, they can require a lot of energy and can be relatively noisy.
Dual speed or multi speed pumps can be set to run at different output levels, but this has to be done manually. Running the pool pump at lower speeds can mean you need less energy to run it, but it may need to run for a longer period.
Variable speed pumps can also run at different output levels, but can alter their speed automatically in order to deliver the greatest energy efficiency. You also have the option to adjust the speed levels manually.
Energy efficient pool pumps
While variable speed pumps are commonly considered to be the most energy efficient, there are several models of single speed and dual speed pumps available which are also highly energy efficient. The energy rating website offers a list of pumps currently participating in the voluntary labelling program.
Start saving energy and money with the right pool temperature
Generally, the hotter your pool is the more cleaning and chemicals are needed due to increased algae growth.
By monitoring your pool's temperature you can save energy and money. Set your pool heating system to the lowest temperature that is comfortable. Lowering the water temperature will reduce the running time of the heating system and save you money.
If you have a heat pump or gas fired heating system, set your thermostat to a lower setting to save even more.
Turn the temperature down or turn the heater off completely when you know your pool won't be used for several days or if you're going away on holidays. It's a myth that it takes more energy to heat a pool back up to a desired temperature than you save by lowering the temperature or turning off the heater.
Solar pool heating
The sun's energy is the most cost effective way of heating your swimming pool at home as the heat source is free.
However, solar pool heating requires a pump to circulate the water from your pool via the pool heating pipes (generally installed on your roof) and then back into your pool. Also, heating your water can increase your filtration needs further increasing running costs.
Heating your pool with solar can raise the temperature of your pool by around 6°C, depending on the climate and other factors.
It's best to use a pool cover with solar pool heating to minimise heat loss and help your solar operate more efficiently. This is especially the case in the cooler winter months.
What temperature should I set my pool?
As a guide, exercise or fun activities in the pool are comfortable at 24-28°C degrees. Shade and exposure to wind can affect the heat losses and gains.
Remember, the warmer your pool, the more you may have to run a pool pump for sanitation purposes. Algae grows faster in warmer water. If you want a pool heating system, talk to a pool specialist about the most appropriate system for you.
What temperature should I set my spa?
For relaxing in a spa pool it is recommended that you set your temperature at 34-38°C.
Talk to a professional
Speak to your swimming pool professional to help you find the best solution to save energy and reduce your pool electricity costs. Contact the Swimming Pool and Spa Association (SPASA).
To find a registered pool technician or learn more about energy efficiency and pools, contact a pool industry association.
1. Based on comparing notified prices for Tariff 11 with Tariff 33, effective 1 July 2015. Supply on Tariff 33 will be available for a minimum of 18 hours per day, but the times when electricity supply is available may be subject to variation at the discretion of Ergon Energy.
2. Based on a 350W 8-Star rated pool pump compared to a 1.1kW fixed speed rated pump running 6 hours per day for 365 days per year.
3. Based on a 1 kW pool filter on Tariff 11 Domestic.