When the summer heat arrives, backyard barbecues and lounging by the pool become favorite pastimes. But continuously running waterfalls and pool heaters don’t exactly scream efficiency. Interestingly, today’s technology has improved the conservation rating of pumps, filters and other gadgets, so homeowners can enjoy the benefits of their backyard oasis with a clearer conscious.
DAVE WHITE AND WAYNE GEORGE
• Solar blankets are lightweight floating covers that sit on top of the pool to eliminate evaporation and capture the heat. If you keep the cover on as much as possible, you won’t have to renew the water source as often.
• Use a cartridge filter as opposed to a sand filter, which backwashes into wherever is convenient, like a sewer. You’re not only dumping waste, but you have to refill the pool. The new ones are maintenance-free for about three months, when you just have to rinse them off.
• A chlorine generator is a much safer and more efficient way to add chlorine (rather than buying it). After it’s installed, you just add salt to the water, which the device uses to generate chlorine on its own.
Baker Pool & Spa
• One of the biggest changes is in the efficiency gains of filter pumps. High-efficiency pumps save considerable amounts in terms of electricity. They have a variable speed capability that allows you to program them to operate at a minimal rate at different times during the day.
• Sometimes you want your waterfall looking like Niagra Falls, and sometimes you just want a quiet trickle. A variable-speed pump allows an efficient flow rate control.
n There are heat pumps that transfer heat from the outside air to the pool, instead of using a natural gas heater. They are more expensive, but over the long term, they will save you money—about 80 percent a season.