Want to save money, energy and water while properly
maintaining your swimming pool? To help you, we've talked to local
experts and put together money-saving tips on these important topics:
pool covers, leaks, pumps and filter systems.
Using a pool cover regularly reduces evaporation
by 90 to 95 percent.
Without a cover, an average pool of 18 feet x 36
feet loses about 1 inch of water per week in the peak of summer.
This can add up to an annual water lossof 7,000 gallons.
One of the most important benefits of using a pool
cover can be enhanced safety.
You can cover a pool without being concerned about
gaseous exchange, unless you are using chlorine gas. If you are
using chlorine gas, you should let it air.
If you suspect your pool is leaking, there are several reliable ways
to check. Try one of these:
Use a grease pencil to mark the water level of the pool at the skimmer.
Check the mark 24 hours later. Your pool should lose no more than
1/4 inch per day. Otherwise, a leak is indicated.
Try the bucket test:
Place a bucket filled with pool water on a pool
step (weight it with a rock or brick).
Mark the water level on both the inside and
the outside of the bucket. The starting point levels should
be about the same.
Check the mark 24 hours later. If there's a
greater drop in the line on the outside of the bucket, a leak
in the pool is indicated.
Be a sleuth. Here are clues to look for:
Algae or other persistent water quality problems indicating imbalances
in the chemistry can occur when a leak prevents the water level
from staying constant.
Loose tiles or cracks in the pool deck can indicate a leak.
Cracks and gaps in the bond beam also can signify a leak.
Water-saturated soils in the area around the pool, pool pumps or
If you determine that your pool is losing water,
turn off the filtration system and note where the water stops dropping.
If the water stops at the skimmer, the leak
is probably in the filtration system. The lines may crack at
vulnerable elbows and fittings that are under stress from shifting
If the water stops at the light, the leak is
If the water drops below the light, then there
may be a leak in the drain at the bottom the pool.
If you suspect you have a leak in the filtration
system these clues may help you pinpoint the location:
If you see bubbles in the return water when
the pool's pump is running, it's likely there's a leak in the
suction side of the filtration system.
If the pool is losing more water while running
the pump, then water is being lost on the return side of the
Pumps, Filters and Water Quality
A pump should be able to circulate pool water at
least every 24 hours, but every 8 hours is preferred.
Most existing pool pumps are oversized for the size
of the pool and plumbing, which reduces filter effectiveness and
causes more wear and tear on plumbing.
For the average 1-1/4 inch to 1-1/2 inch plumbing
pipes, a pump of only 1/2 horsepower is necessary. Many pool owners
have bigger pumps, which dramatically increases electrical pumping
costs. For example, a 1/2 horsepower pump will cost about $300 per
year to run, while a 3/4 horsepower pump will cost $450.
Current cartridge filters are now almost as effective
as diatomaceous earth filters, are much easier and safer to maintain,
and require very little water for cleaning.
Each time you backwash sand and diatomaceous earth
filters you use about 500 gallons of water.
Proper chemical balancing can prevent and cure
most water clarity problems.
When is it appropriate to dump your pool water?
Not as often as you may think. Pools can often go 10 or more years
without draining and refilling. Here are some guidelines:
When the water that is being added to your pool
is consistently hard. This is more likely to happen during drought
years when the water is being drawn off the bottom of the reservoirs.
On the contrary, rainy years provide additional soft water.
When the total dissolved solids (tds) get too
Water quality problems often can be solved by
draining only a portion of the water.
If you have to drain your pool, make sure you take
steps to prevent the pool shell from popping out of the ground.
Using a hydrostatic valve or drilling holes in the bottom of the
pool can prevent this problem.
Dispose of your pool water properly. Contact your
local wastewater treatment plant for instructions before draining
your pool. For information for protecting local waterways visit