It’s My Backyard and I’ll Splash If I Want to: Smart, Sustainable Pool Tips


In the heat of summer, there’s nothing like a refreshing dip in a cool swimming pool. Between the chemicals, energy-hogging electric filter, and the regular water refills it takes to keep evaporation at bay, sometimes pools can be more harmful to the environment than they are soothing to the soul.

Before you drain your pool and turn it into a sunken garden, here are five things to can do to lessen the impact it has on the environment without sacrificing your daily dip.

Harness the sun – Choosing solar panel heating equipment over an electric heater will save you bundles of money and cut down on the amount of energy it takes to maintain your pool. Solar paneling can carry a hefty up-front cost, but they quickly pay off with reduced energy costs and consumption. Toss a solar pool cover over the water when you’re not swimming for even greater savings.

Choose the right filter – One area of pool maintenance where you can’t skimp is the pool filter, unless you like swimming in green-tinted slimy water. A good pool filter cleans out the crud and keeps the water sparkling. Choose an eco-friendly model with large-capacity filters to cut down on how often they need to replaced or cleaned. Avoid sand-based filters that use a ton of water to get the job done and choose a cartridge model instead. Also, look for filters with low pump speeds to minimize energy use.

Cut the chemicals – The typical swimming pool is so chemical-laden you can often smell the chlorine before you even get in. New pool maintenance systems use ionization to keep the water clean and clear. Installation can run up to $5,000 in some cases, but it beats swimming in bleach water. Some folks swear by salt water pools but beware, you’re still exposing yourself to chlorine emitted by the salt system – just in lower quantities.

Go au natural – If you’re in the planning stages of investing in a new swimming pool, give some thought to building a natural pool in place of a traditional concrete model. Instead of cement, filters, and chemicals, natural pools are made of gravel or clay and stay clean thanks to the natural filtration power of strategically-placed plants. Besides being simply gorgeous, it’s a fairly self-maintaining ecosystem that costs a fraction of what it costs to build a standard pool.

Timing is everything – Make sure all your pool maintenance equipment is on timers so they run at maximum efficiency. Set your heater and filter to run overnight when the overall demand for energy isn’t as high. Timers are also important so your equipment will shut off after a period of time in case you get busy and forget to do it yourself.

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