5 Pool Upgrades for an Energy-Efficient and Beautiful Pool
July 15, 2016 at 10:59 AM
From joining the smartphone revolution to using environmentally-friendly methods of maintenance and beauty, the swimming pool has modernized significantly with the times. Here are some ways to update your pool, technologically and aesthetically, to join the 21st century.
Want to take an evening swim before dinner, but need to heat the pool first? Yes, there's an app for that! You can connect your pool's systems – heating, lights, filtration, sanitation, and other functions – to your smartphone, tablet or computer. With the touch of a button, you can warm up the temperature, flip on the water features, start the hot tub, or turn on the lighting. And you can do so from your office, the store, or wherever else you may be. Not only is it convenient, but efficient, especially if you've forgotten to turn down the temperature or shut off a laminar jet while you're away.
You'll need to work with a pool technician who can help choose the interface you like and connect your phone to the swimming pool's control pad. You can even connect this to a control center that also manages your home's automation.
Put away the flood lights and the tiki torches and give your backyard an aesthetic touch with some modern lighting. Using energy efficient LED lights, you can easily turn your pool and water features into a light show of their own, but in a calm, soothing way. Underwater LED lighting in a wide array of colors turns your pool into a glowing, mood-lit oasis by night while saving you up to 90 percent on energy costs. Outside the water, there's also wet-area and landscape lighting to illuminate the backyard for evening entertaining, strategically placed to set a calm, relaxing atmosphere. Many of these can even be controlled by your smartphone app as well. You can work with a landscaper who specializes in lighting to determine the best placement for your lighting around your trees and garden. He or she will also help coordinate lights and colors within your pool area to complement the surrounding yard.
Natural sanitizing methods
No need to always add chlorine separately to keep your pool sparkling clean and sanitized. While a traditional sanitizing system requires chlorine to be added to pool water regularly, there are other ways to keep your pool clean.
A salt water chlorine generator can continuously create chlorine using salt. This method makes swimming water feel softer and silky smooth, while reducing the "pool smell" created by chloramines, a by-product created when chlorinated water reacts with organic material (sweat, skin particles). In some cases, the generator is a self-contained system that turns salt into a sanitizer and back into salt again to be re-used. The system can be programmed to work less when the pool is not in use, making it even more efficient.
Naturally occurring minerals, such as copper and silver, when properly utilized, can be also used with a pool's filtration system to fight bacteria and algae without traditional harsh chemicals. While these alternatives still require the use of chlorine to fully sanitize the pool, the minerals help reduce the amount of chlorine needed. The minerals are delivered through a cartridge that can be replaced regularly for full performance.
Even when the air is warm out, the water can still be chillier than you'd like. But it no longer needs to be an expensive and energy-heavy effort to warm up your pool. Now you can easily heat your pool using what's naturally available – the hot weather. An energy-efficient heat pump will capture the hot air outside and transfer it to pool water. No actual heating takes place, making it cost-efficient, resourceful and eco-friendly. Heat pumps will work as long as it's warm outside (at least 50 degrees) though they have to work a little harder when it's cooler out.
The size of a heat pump depends on several factors, including the size of your pool and the desired water temperature you want to maintain. (http://energy.gov/energysaver/heat-pump-swimming-pool-heaters). Adding a pool cover can make a huge difference in your energy savings as well. You'll want to consult with a pool professional to determine the best size for your pool.
Another easy way to warm the pool water is to install a pool cover. Not only does it keep debris and dirt out of the pool, but it acts as a solar blanket by absorbing the sun's rays and transferring the heat to the water. It also retains the existing heat already in the water. An automatic cover can open the pool with the touch of a button, and can be linked to your pool control panel and even your smartphone app.
A pool cover also helps prevent water from being lost to evaporation, and some automatic covers have the ability to communicate with your salt water chlorine generator to deliver less chlorine when the cover is closed. A cover is also one of many layers of protection to prevent children and animals from accidentally falling in.
These upgrades are a perfect way to introduce new technology and new looks to your backyard pool. Consult with a pool professional to determine what steps you need to take to make these changes, the best solutions for your pool, and to help install them.