Pool builders and water conservation
By taking a few simple steps, you can have a pool that conserves water and energy.
Pool builders know the importance of locating a pool in a full-sun position, as this allows for passive heating which minimises the need for solar, gas or electric heating. Pool builders also recommend positioning pools away from deciduous trees or plants that drop lots of leaves, pods or fruit as this will cause the pool filter to work overtime, meaning the use of more chemicals and electricity.
Pool builders suggest using evergreen trees, hardy shrubs, screens or fencing to create a windbreak to reduce water evaporation. Choosing plants that can tolerate being splashed with chemically treated water is also recommended by pool builders otherwise you will be engaged in a constant battle to help them survive.
Pool builders are also in favour of a free-form shape for pools, as this will encourage more efficient water circulation. This means that less time is spent filtering the pool, which in turn means using less electricity.
Solar heating has become the most popular form of pool heating. Some solar systems have gas or electric backup for times when you want more immediate results, but you can use GreenPower or buy carbon offsets to minimise your greenhouse gas impact.
Going for cover
To reduce water evaporation and the need for frequent topping up, pool builders recommend investing in a pool cover. Covers not only save water, but help keep the pool clean and cut energy costs by reducing heat loss. The availability of rollers for covers makes it a quick and easy way of lowering costs and saving water. Other options are pool blankets and liquid pool covers.
If you overfill your pool, it will reduce the effectiveness of the skimmer and waste water. As all pool builders know, to ensure the correct skimming action, and saving water in the process, make sure the water level is only half way up the skimmer opening.
Check for leaks
A pool that is 20-plus years old may be prone to leaking and if your pool is letting a steady trickle of water escape, it could waste many thousands of litres a year. Thoroughly check around the pool for damp spots and inspect the interior for cracks. And don’t forget to make sure there are no leaks from the plumbing, valves and pipe joiners.
By maintaining the correct chemical balance, you reduce the need to empty your pool. Correctly balancing your pool involves adjusting the total alkalinity level, the pH levels and the sanitiser. Pool builders can assist with this. To reduce your use of chlorine, you can opt for ozone or UVwater treatment systems. To eliminate the use of chlorine — and other chemicals — consider a “natural” bio-filtered pool.
Pool builders would also recommend you consider a natural bio-filter. These use a two-way pump system and a multi-layered gravel filtration zone to create an environment for “good” micro-organisms to flourish. The micro-organisms eat any organic matter or undesirable bacteria in the water.
To remove the dust and debris collected by the filter, it must be “backwashed”. This procedure reverses the water flow through the filter and flushes the dirt down the drain. Only backwash the filter until the drain or sight glass is clear, which should only take a minute or two. Excessive backwashing can waste up to 2000 litres of water a year.
You can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save on your electricity bill by running your pump during off-peak electricity periods. You can go one step further and use a solar pump. Pool builders can explain the various choices available to reduce greenhouse emissions.
Consider installing an underground rainwater tank while doing the pool excavation. This will provide you with a means of topping up the pool without relying on mains water — and it eliminates the problem of trying to integrate an aboveground tank into the landscaping.
If water restrictions are in force in your area, call your local water business to find out what you can and can’t do. The same applies if you intend to build a new pool – pool builders will be aware of what restrictions apply. Depending on the level of water restrictions and the size of your pool, you may find need written approval to fill a new pool or spa, or empty and refill an existing or renovated pool.
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