• Slowing Energy Loss from Pools and Spas

    During the summer, a typical backyard pool can use enough energy to power an entire home for three months making it a good reason to maintain and operate your pool or spa at peak efficiency.

    Apply these few tips to help save energy, water and the money you spend on utility bills.

    A pool filter can be one of the largest users of electrical energy in a home. If you reduce the amount of time you run the pump, you’ll save energy and money. Consider installing a high-efficiency, two speed pump for the pool. These pumps are set to run at lower speeds, for longer lengths of time, saving energy.

    Another way to reduce energy loss and costs from the pool or spa is to install a blanket or cover. A good pool cover can keep the water in your pool an average of 10 degrees warmer, which can cut your pool heating cost by up to 90 percent.

    Be sure to check the filter system periodically. Clogged filters can cause the pool to work harder, using more electricity. Additionally, check with a pool service technician to determine how long the filtration system for the pool or spa needs to run in order to effectively clean the pool. You may be able to shorten the length of the cleaning cycle. For example, run your pool for eight hours instead of 12 or 24 hours during non-swimming months.

    Pools or spas can use a large amount of energy to heat the water and operate the filtrations systems. The steps you take to conserve will save you money while you continue to enjoy that backyard swim or relaxation in the spa.

  • Creating Shade for Efficiency

    One of the greatest opportunities to conserve energy is shading your home by using trees, awnings or curtains.

    Planting trees around your home, known as “treescaping” can help save up to 25 percent of your household energy consumption for heating and cooling. When picking your tree, consult with your local agricultural extension agent or nursery for advice. For maximum energy savings, plant deciduous trees (those with seasonal leaves) to provide shade and block heat in the summertime while allowing sunlight in your home during the winter. Plant these on the west and south sides of your home. For energy efficiency in the winter, plant evergreens on the north and west sides of your home. Use the sun or a compass for determining the correct direction to place your trees.

    Awnings are also a popular option in sunny climates since they block solar heat before it gets to your windows. Awnings can cover a single window, a door or an entire patio. Awnings should be large and low enough to keep direct sun from entering windows. The cost of awnings varies widely, dependent on the material, and if they require professional installation.

    Curtains can be a less expensive way to keep the solar rays out of your home, and they offer help in the winter. Install insulated or “blackout” curtains in rooms where the sun light is most prevalent. The best way to use them is to close the curtain during the day to allow added heat into the home, and close them at night to help keep the heat in.

    Taking all these things into consideration will improve your home’s energy efficiency. Be sure to call 811 before you dig to determine the location of any underground utilities around your home. Additionally, be cautious about planting trees and other vegetation that may have the potential to tower near overhead power lines.