A refreshing swim is essential for summer fun—and for surviving searing temps. But your backyard oasis may be soaking up your energy budget and money. Luckily, there are several ways to save energy, water, and chemicals for a backyard pool. Let’s dive in.
The average annual cost of heating an uncovered pool to 80 degrees in Phoenix is $875, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Add a cover, and that cost plunges to $85. That’s because evaporation causes 70 percent of a pool’s energy loss. “Evaporation loss can be significant in a hot, dry climate, and our desert surrounds create a lot of airborne dirt that ends up in the pool,” notes Kim Elliott, program representative at Salt River Project, an Arizona utilities company.
Covering your pool reduces energy waste, water consumption, chemical use, and cleaning time. It also adds an extra layer of safety to prevent children or animals from drowning. The Department of Energy recommends either bubble (a.k.a. solar) or vinyl covers. Bubble covers are reasonably priced and transparent, so they naturally warm your pool, but they wear out quickly in sun-drenched areas. Vinyl covers are more expensive, but they last longer and reduce solar energy absorption by 20 to 40 percent, so they may be preferable in hotter locales.
Don’t forget to cover your equipment. “Pool owners can add years of life to pumps, valves, and filters by shading them since most components are plastic or fiberglass, which degrades in UV light,” Elliott adds.