Temperatures are rising, summer is rolling in, and those with some extra cash lying around may be eager to purchase their very own swimming pool. Although pools are a fun way to cool off and relax, they often require a lot of maintenance and money to remain in pristine condition.
Knowing the right products and common issues helps owners make the smartest and most cost-efficient decisions. Here are three tips every pool owner should pay attention to:
1 – Energy Saving Methods
Steve Gutai, product manager at Zodiac Pool Systems, said the most important component of an eco-friendly and economical pool is a variable speed pump. Variable speed pumps are able to run at low flows and can be programmed to custom flow rates for various pool features.
“A typical pool pump will run anywhere from 6 to 8 hours daily and can cost a lot to operate on an annual basis,” he said. “Changing your pool pump from a single-speed pump to a two-speed or variable speed pump can save you hundreds of dollars on your power bill.”
Gutai said upgrading a pump can save up to 90 percent in energy costs. Utility companies in some locations even offer rebates for two-speed or variable speed pumps.
Automating pool controls assures that equipment will not be left on accidentally and waste money, he said. Control systems allow for easy pool temperature adjustment when the weather is hot, turning lights on and off, and adjusting sanitizer generation.
Gutai said some web apps, like Zodiac’s iAquaLink, let owners use the web to monitor and adjust their AquaLink pool controllers. An example of a benefit of this is wirelessly turning on a spa heater before driving home from work so the water is warm upon arrival.
Switching to underwater LED lighting from halogen or incandescent is another method that saves money, he said. LED lighting lasts up to ten times longer than incandescent bulbs and uses less wattage.
“In addition to its energy savings, LED lighting can bring a palette of primary and blended colors to your backyard paradise for a truly unique atmosphere,” he said. “Whether you are night-swimming or just lighting up the yard, you’ll enjoy an endless display of brilliant, beautiful color.”
Lastly, Gutai said not to forget a pool cover. If owners are using heaters to keep pool water at 78 degrees, the recommended setting, a pool cover will cut heating costs by more than half.
A cover will capture heat and maintain that heat in the pool overnight, he said. They also reduce chemical evaporation and keep dirt and debris out of the pool, saving money and effort.
2 – Keep Concrete Like New
Bill Leys, a concrete pool deck restoration contractor, said he repairs pool decks that have begun spalling or failing mostly because of chlorine attacking the concrete. Chlorine can damage concrete in as little as a few years or over a period of 10 or more years depending on the pool usage, chlorine content, and type of concrete.
He said if the deck or finishes are not sealed properly, chlorine will attack and eventually cause failure. On plain concrete, the smooth surface finish will wear through and expose the gravel and sand underneath.
On stained concrete pool decks, a wear pattern usually is seen where people enter or leave the pool from a ladder or at the shallow end where runoff water sits on the concrete, he said.
“I recommend new concrete be sealed and thereafter maintained with a sealer every 2-3 years to maintain the concrete,” he said. “Penetrating and film forming sealers are available and depending on condition of the concrete, either could be used.”
3 – Pool Safety
Todd Mattson, owner and president of DCS Pool Barriers and DCS Industries, said pool safety is everyone’s responsibility. He often hears about drownings that could have been prevented with pool barriers and proper supervision.
“Not only are children at risk and important consideration for pool safety, but safety for beloved pets is important as well,” he said.
According to the American Institute for Preventative Medicine, drowning is the fourth leading cause of accidental death in the Unites States. It claims about 4,000 lives each year.
In the case of children, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional, injury-related death among children younger than 15 years old, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
Mattson said pool barriers include pool safety nets, door alarms, iron gates and fencing for property and pools, and self-latching hinged doors to pool areas. In many locations, one being Arizona, pool barriers are required by law and thus part of the building plans.
“Our goal and mission is to provide protective pool barrier products that add additional safety, but nothing can take the place of constant adult supervision,” he said.
Photo credit: Enrique Gómez