Ask the General: How do I reduce my pool operating costs?
Dear General; Our whole family loves our new inground fiberglass pool. We’re wondering though, do you have any tips and tricks for ways to reduce my pool operating costs? — Frugal in Franklin
Dear Frugal; That’s a great question. The top tricks to saving money on your pool’s operating costs in the long run are keeping a regular eye on maintenance and being vigilant about water and electricity conservation, all while enjoying your pool to the max! Let’s take a look at a few money-saving tips:
- Test it. Check your pool’s water chemistry regularly with a test kit and periodically take a water sample to a pool store testing center that will do a complete analysis of your water chemistry. At best, most of us only test for chlorine and PH with a test kit, or dip strips, and for some reason, the colors never seem to exactly match the comparison colors on the kit, or bottle. So sometimes you just need a professional’s opinion to know you’re in good shape. Keeping a good eye on your water chemistry will alert you if there’s a balance issue that could cause more trouble (aka cost you money) in the future.
- Wait ‘til the sun goes down. Add disinfectants and other chemicals in the evening hours when possible. The sun’s hot rays will dissipate your chemicals more quickly, making them slightly less effective, which could result in your needing to use more.
- Keep it clean. Regularly vacuum and clean the water line to get rid of the “bathtub ring” and brush the side walls. Clean the steps and empty the skimmers. Keep the deck areas clean, and remove dirt and debris, washing it away from the pool to reduce filtering. Clean water is easier on your pool’s systems, making operation more efficient. (If you can get the kids to help keep the pool clean, like I did, you’ll save even more money on maintenance!)
- Routinely check pool equipment. Regularly inspect the pump, filter, heater, automatic cleaners, and chlorinator. Check your return water flow and pressure gauges. Backwash or clean filters when needed. Keeping your equipment running at its prime will help it operate more efficiently and save potential repair costs down the line.
- Save water. Water is expensive, so once you get it in the pool, you should try to KEEP as much of it as possible. There are actually several ways you can do this:
- Time Out. Kids love to play and splash in the pool. But if they’re splashing all the water OUT of the pool, it’s going to cost you to replace it. In our family, we invested in a whistle, just like the lifeguards at the beach use. It gets the kids’ attention so you can remind them that the water is supposed to remain IN the pool.
- Backwash properly. Filter backwashing can use 300 or more gallons of water. Read and implement the instructions for backwashing/rinsing as required by the filter manufacturer.
- Cover your pool. You can reduce water loss with an automatic cover or solar blanket. It can reduce evaporation by nearly 90%.
- Watch the thermostat. We’ve discussed controlling heating costs before, but it bears repeating: Keep your pool temperature between 78-82 degrees. You’ll be much happier when your electric bill arrives if you do.
- Keep the Pump Operating at its prime. There are a couple of things to consider here:
- 220v vs. 110v. Some electricians will tell you that it’s better to have 220V than 110V on pump motors. Others will say it doesn’t matter. I tend to fall in the 220v camp, but I’m not an electrician, so you can ask yours what they recommend.
- Timer or no? One school of thought is that installing a timer that turns the pump on and off at regular intervals will save you money, while others feel that the cost savings is minimal enough that it doesn’t warrant the trouble of getting the timer. I’m in the pro-timer camp. It certainly can’t hurt to try it. You can also consult your local power company for more information on this.
Here’s what I know for sure: it’s not a good cost saving habit to leave the pool light on all night after you’ve covered the pool. Yes, I have done this. I have also taken a phone call while backwashing only to realize that I had forgotten what I was doing until I noticed that the water level in the pool had fallen below the second step. It not only costs to fill the pool back up, but also costs to heat the new water, and chemically treat it. Don’t tell my wife I did that, okay? We’ll just keep that between us.
Now grab a float and enjoy the pool.
Until next time…
Who is The General?
The man, the myth, the legend….we just call him The General. His organized, systematic approach to pool installations over the years had his crew members calling him “The General” and it stuck. The General has over 30 years’ experience in the pool and spa industry, working for one of Pool and Spa News’ “Top 50 Pool Builders.”
Over that time, he designed, sold, project-managed and installed over a thousand inground swimming pools. As a pool owner himself, he’s the perfect authority to give you the inside scoop, with amazing tips and tricks to make pool ownership a breeze!
About Thursday Pools
Thursday Pools designs and manufactures fiberglass pool shells that are handcrafted with the highest standards and craftsmanship. Our one-piece, inground fiberglass swimming pool manufacturing facility is based out of Fortville, Indiana. At Thursday Pools, we aspire to be the world’s most respected fiberglass pool manufacturer. Our innovations, commitment to quality and beautiful designs set us apart. Thursday Pools is the creator of the world’s first beach entry (or zero entry) fiberglass pool. Get a free estimate on the fiberglass pool of your dreams today. With Thursday Pools, your weekend starts early!