Pool maintenance and renovations company Pool Busters notes that monitoring pool pumps can lead to greater savings.
“Using a pool pump that is popular in the market and readily available doesn’t guarantee savings or effective use. If a pool pump is selected on its availability at a lower price, then homeowners who have pools should be prepared to discard it when it fails, rather than repairing it,” says Pool Busters MD Brian Scheckle.
He explains that effective use in terms of saving power depends on when and for how long the pool pump is used, which will affect the energy consumption and durability of the pumps.
“Most pool chemicals suppliers recommend that the pump be used 12 h/d in summer. At a typical 1 kW input, the pump equates to 12 kWh/d, which costs about R360/m. After maintaining about 400 swimming pools of varying sizes over the past 12 years, our experiences of how to optimise the use of pumps do differ.”
He points out that a pool pump has two primary functions – vacuuming the pool floor to keep it free of debris and filtering the water. “In our experience, these functions can be adequately achieved by running the pump for as little as 4 h/d.”
However, a pool in a residential complex with high traffic in users will require additional filtering and additional chemicals, which, in turn, will result in more regular use of the single-phase pump, he explains.
Scheckle notes that, in terms of traffic, the average domestic swimming pool is very different. “Many of our clients use their swimming pools only on weekends, with as few as two to four swimmers using the pool.”
He emphasises, however, that maintaining pools only once they are in a bad condition will result in excessive use of chemicals and energy to filter cloudy water, as well as water to vacuum the waste when necessary.
Moreover, Scheckle asserts that, in winter, many pools remain crystal clear when the pump has been switched off, owing to chemicals being added regularly, which results in silt accumulating on the pool floor, which can be vacuumed at the appropriate time. He reiterates that monitoring the pool eliminates the need to run the pool pumps during a period where little to no swimming takes place.
He explains that, as a result of sufficient chemical use during periods, such as winter, a pool pump set to vacuum can be used to clear the silt waste and return the pool to a clean condition when spring has returned. “This results in a 100% energy saving for four months a year and no need for 2 000 ℓ backwashes. The vacuum of waste, if done efficiently, will, moreover, use 1 000 ℓ of water and the pumps will last longer,” he stresses.
It is important to note that the secondary functions of a pool pump can change if the pool is equipped with a salt chlorinator or solar heating, as the pump is required to produce chlorine through the chlorinator or heat the water through the solar heating panels.
“The time of running the pool pump will then have to be decided based on the results obtained, compared with what is desired,” he highlights.
Scheckle concludes that the user will, through trial and error, be able to determine the minimum requirement for running the pool pump based on results. Larger pools will require longer periods of filtering because of the volume of water and size of the pool floor, but if monitored and used when necessary, the pool will remain cleaner for longer without the pumps being overused, also resulting in energy savings.