Pool Design with Efficiency in Mind
Well we made it thru another great summer and swimming season. To many the season may not feel over and it’s hard to blame them when on this September day is 102 degrees down here in South Texas. But school has started and that usually signals the slow down in the pool world. Most folks at this time begin looking forward to a little cool down and the Holidays that lie ahead.
It’s the point of looking ahead that I wanted to touch on. The changes in technology are coming faster in the swimming pool industry. Many of these changes not only apply to unique designs and changes in the way a pool is built but technology is also bringing many cost saving concepts to the operation and maintenance of a pool. Whether you are currently a satisfied pool owner, a pool owner considering the remodel or a just considerating the purchase of a pool, here are some thoughts to consider that can save you money in the operation and ownership of your pool.
- Flow rates (gallons per minute) – acquiring true efficiency starts with knowing the flow rates of every feature your existing or new pool has. All future design is based on this knowledge. Most pool owners have no clue what their flow rates are and sadly, far too many pool builders have no clue either. Pick your pool builder or remodel company carefully or if you have and existing pool, have an analysis done by a pool professional.
- Pressure (feet of head) – this is the next step is designing efficiency. Once you know your flow rates and pressures required, friction losses can be analyzed and this will determine the pipe sizing required. Hamlin Pools uses 5 feet per second on the vacuum side in our designs which is far more strict than industry standards. We certainly consider industry standards but in our opinion we want to build a better pool than just a standard pool. Once a pool is installed in a back yard and the landscaping, sprinklers and those backyard kitchens are installed, they are not well suited for just “trading in” and getting a new one.
- Power (pump) – With the information obtained from the gpm and head analysis, the pool builder can determine the mechanical horse power needed to operate the pool. Unfortunately there is a tendency towards “bigger is better” and if you don’t really know how to properly size equipment then many will simply oversize to cover their inadequacies in design knowledge. These short commings cost the consumer money.
- Energy efficient motors/Variable speed motors – technology has come a long way in the pool industry regarding motors that operate the pumps we use. The energy efficient motors were the first to come along and were certainly better than the original motors available. The newest player in the motor arena is the VSD ( variable speed drive) motors. This new technology clearly saves energy and operating cost of running a pool. Most studies suggest a 2 to 3 paybacks.
- Heat loss – heat loss in the fall, winter and early spring require the use of a heater to keep the pools enjoyable. Heat pumps are another innovation and improvement that has come to the industry. Solar is making some headway and offers affordable options in certain applications
- Photovoltaics – using the sun to generate energy is a great idea if its cost effective. Innovations coming from our NASA program has created the development of roofing tiles with built in photovoltaic cells to supply energy to the home and pool. I can’t say its fully cost effective right now but we are very close.
- LED lighting – LED has already proven to be more energy efficient and longer life than incandescents. LED’s are a great choice for pool lights. Use them in your new pool or remodel plans are replaced the ones in your existing pool.
- Ozone – It is a great oxidizer and sanitizer. It’s 2nd only to chlorine. Most folks report the ability to use fewer tabs and still maintain a 2.0 FAC. Another benefit of using Ozone is to reduce your Tri-Chlor usage. A benefit of that besides saving money, is that it will reduce the amount of CYA you are adding to your pool. High CYA causes several problems and the only way to resolve it is to drain your pool. The less you have to drain your pool, the more you save so alternative systems that can be installed to assure your pool is operated properly and reduce this expense should be considered. Not all pools are set up ideally for the use of Ozone. The best method to introduce Ozone is through an injection system after the filter. This method raises your filter pressure and if you are a single pump operation and have a floor system then this method is not suitable. There are ways around that, so if great water management with a great back up oxidizer like Ozone is your desire, be sure and check out this technology.
The “off season” is a great time to consider making changes to your pool or having a pool built. So I hope these tips have been of some benefit.