Why You Should Have a Pool Energy Audit
September 12, 2016 at 12:19 PM
A swimming pool is always one of the most enjoyed additions to a home – for its recreation and entertainment, its beauty, its health benefits, and general enjoyment. But like anything in the home, it requires energy to maintain. While performing an energy audit of the home, often times the pool can be easily overlooked, even though it contributes its fair share to the energy bill.
Why You Need a Pool Energy Audit
For one, to make sure your pool is compliant with today's regulations. Thanks to standards set by California, and encouragement to use Energy Star certified products, nowadays, it's becoming increasingly popular to run an energy audit of the pool. In fact, it's sometimes offered for free by pool companies. It's a great way to review all the equipment used to run the pool, the age of each item, and whether it's worth it to upgrade the equipment for more efficient models.
What Happens During An Audit
Typically, a pool specialist follows a checklist and examines your entire swimming pool, this includes equipment, plumbing and electrical. He or she inspects filtration, lighting, heating, circulation, controls, rates their condition and performance, and whether they meet minimum regulation compliance.
The inspector will also verify proper pipe, valve and fitting placement along with adequate sizing to maximize efficiency.
Your inspector should review the findings with you, and suggest ways to conserve energy. These suggestions can be simple "Best Practice" ideas or full system upgrades.
Benefits of a Pool Energy Audit
It saves you money. You'll find out what parts of your pool are real energy hogs and running up your gas and electricity bill – fast. Older equipment often has to work harder to do the job that a newer counterpart can complete easily. An audit can see how much life is left in a piece of equipment, whether it's worth replacing now or in a year, and if that replacement will make a difference. For example, your pool may have come with a single-speed pump, but it wastes so much more energy than a variable-speed pump, which can be set at lower levels when it's nighttime or when it doesn't require as much filtration. An old, single-speed pump can cost nearly $8,000 to operate in one year, compared to the latest variable-speed pump which can cost only $3,170. Similarly, if you like to light up your pool often, you may want to exchange your traditional white incandescent lights for some far more efficient LED lighting, which are almost 3-4 times more efficient.
It enforces regulation compliance. From heaters and filtration down to valves and pipes, the inspector will make sure the pool was installed correctly, especially if you inherited it from a previous homeowner. The wrong-sized valve can produce the wrong amount of pressure, making your equipment less efficient, or a pump that's too small will work twice as hard to maintain a pool that's far too big for it. There's also a checklist of products and equipment that are Energy Star certified or meet the APSP/ICC/ANSI 15 Efficiency Standard for Swimming Pool & Spas for reference. These will help make sure your swimming pool is at least meeting the minimum requirements for compliance.
It identifies easy-to-fix areas. Do you leave the heat on all the time, or only when you're planning to swim? Do you forget to put the cover on at night? How much lighting do you use at once? The audit can point out simple ways to help reduce energy consumption, from taking advantage of low-peak energy times, when rates are lower, to adjusting timer settings for the different seasons in a year-round pool.
It finds ways to keep your pool updated and clean. By performing a simple audit, you can work with a pool company to do what's most important – keeping your pool safe and clean, while also being environmentally compliant.
How to Get an Energy Audit
Call your pool company to request a pool energy audit, and in many cases, they may gladly do one for free. Ask questions about the best ways to improve the energy efficiency of your swimming pool. In the long run, it will help you save money and energy, and give you peace of mind that your pool is up to date.