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Dive into efficiency: Pool, cool, conserve


Many of the COOLmob households audited in Darwin have a swimming pool. At the time of these audits the majority of pools were set to operate their pumps for 8 hours a day. This equates to electricity costs between $3,500 and $5,500 over a 5 year period, and creates between 12 and 19 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over the same period. The good news is that there are plenty of opportunities and ways to cut costs on your pool pumping. There are savings opportunities for both ‘salt’ and ‘chlorine’ pools, though each may require different changes.

Money saving tips

Reduce pump operating times

The first and easiest solution to the high electricity costs involved in pool pumping is to reduce the operating times of your pump. Reductions of 2 hours for ‘salt’ pools and 3-4 hours for ‘chlorine’ pools can be achieved, however these changes can vary between pools because of:

  • pump size and characteristics
  • filter type
  • water quality management
  • pool environment and usage.

Savings of about $900 and $1,600 over 5 years are achievable for a 1kW motor for the ‘salt’ and ‘chlorine’ pools respectively. This equates to greenhouse gas emission reductions of 3 and 5 tonnes in the same period.

When reducing times make sure the water quality is checked periodically.

Use a pool cover

The next savings option to use a pool cover. A pool cover will not only prevent water evaporation, but it will protect the pool when it is not in use, meaning you won’t need to pump as much!

The fitting of a pool cover for approximately 3 months of the year will achieve significant savings of nearly $700 over 5 years, and reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by a further 2 tonnes of CO2 (based on the operation of a 1kW pump motor).

In addition to the electricity savings in reduced pumping costs as a result of a pool cover, one COOLmob household found that they didn’t require the 9,000 litres of ‘top up’ water while the pool was covered during the dry season.

Use an energy efficient pool pump system

There are energy efficient pool pumps and controllers now on the market. These have been developed to use automated variable speed drive technology to achieve significant power savings on pumping. There are two main forms:

  • a variable speed pump motor that replaces any existing pool pump and is available in 2 sizes for large or standard pools; or
  • a controller that is installed by a simple plug-in action into an existing pool pump

Both items achieve savings of 65-70% operating power costs and greenhouse gas emissions compared to standard pool pumps, and are much quieter to run. Claims are also made regarding increased effectiveness of filtering and longer pump life because of the lower operating speeds. Pumps may need to be run for a little longer than your present pump settings in order to turn over the same amount of water, due to the slightly slower flow rates. The savings have been verified by COOLmob and the reduction in noise level is an added bonus.

The automatic speed controller can be fitted to any size pool pump.