Pool prep: What you need to know before taking the plunge

Memorial Day is just around the corner, marking the unofficial start of summer and the opening of most neighborhood pools.

Between barbecues and bike rides, take a moment ...

Tagged: pool, Energy Efficiency, summer safety

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Pool prep: What you need to know before taking the plunge

Little girl in sunglasses floats in a pool

Between barbecues and bike rides, take a moment to make sure you and your family are ready to take the plunge this summer.

Key Points

  • Pools are fun, but they use a lot of energy.
  • Use a pool cover to conserve water and save on pool-heating costs.
  • Keep safety top of mind while at the pool. 

Memorial Day is just around the corner, marking the unofficial start of summer and the opening of most neighborhood pools.

Between barbecues and bike rides, take a moment to make sure you and your family are ready to take the plunge this summer.

Consider the energy costs:

  • If your neighborhood watering hole is more than 10 years old, talk with the staff to make sure their systems are up to date. Updated pool pumps and filters turn off automatically if someone’s hair gets caught in it. These safer systems also tend to be much more energy efficient than the systems used a few decades ago.
  • If you have a pool at home, make sure to use a pool cover when you’re not using your pool to reduce water loss through evaporation and save up to 50-70 percent on your pool-heating costs. Also, consider installing an efficient swimming pool heater. Learn your options and estimate the costs for gas, heat pump or solar pool heaters.
  • Determine the best temperature for your pool to make sure you’re operating your pool for maximum efficiency. Most pools are kept at 78-82 degrees; each degree rise in temperature will cost 10-30 percent more in energy costs, depending on your location. If you have a pool at home, consider the energy costs when setting the water temp.

Keep safety top of mind:

  • Remember that electricity and water don’t mix. Never operate electrical equipment in or near the pool.
  • Never leave a child unattended in or near water, and teach children how to swim.
  • Install proper barriers, covers and alarms on and around your pool and spa.
  • Know how to perform CPR on children and adults.

Reapply sunscreen frequently and consider wearing sun protectant clothing. 


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned a degree in political science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the governor’s office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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Canon ball! How to save money and energy at the pool

We have an old-school neighborhood pool nearby. No fancy slides or fountains, just a bare spot where a diving board used to dare little ones to canon ball. It’s a small pool, the ...

Tagged: summer, pool, Energy, Energy.gov

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Canon ball! How to save money and energy at the pool

Cannon ball splash

As we splashed in the baby pool the other day, I started to wonder how much energy goes into maintaining it.

Key Points

  • Pools are fun, but use a lot of energy.
  • Use a pool cover to conserve water and save on pool heating costs.
  • Each degree rise in pool temperature costs 10-30% more in energy costs.

We have an old-school neighborhood pool nearby. No fancy slides or fountains, just a bare spot where a diving board used to dare little ones to canon ball. It’s a small pool, the kind of place where the lifeguards know me by name — “June’s mom.” 

As we splashed in the baby pool the other day, I started to wonder how much energy goes into maintaining it. So I asked. And yes, someday I’m sure June will be very embarrassed that I talk to all our friends, family and acquaintances about their energy use.

The pool’s staff explained to me that their main priority is safety. Some of the upgrades made with safety in mind have had an unintended bonus of also saving energy. One example is the pumping system. They updated the pool’s pumps and filters recently to meet safety standards. The new filters turn off automatically if someone’s hair gets caught in it, etc. These new systems also tend to be much more energy efficient than the systems installed a few decades ago.

They also recently installed motion detection lights for safety, but they help save on energy for lighting.

If you swim at an older pool (more than 10 years old), consider talking with the staff to make sure their systems are safe. Hopefully they can even save a little energy if they need to make upgrades.

If you have a private pool in your backyard, here are some tips from energy.gov to save some energy and money:

  • Use a pool cover when your pool is not in use to reduce water loss through evaporation and save up to 50 to 70 percent on your pool heating costs.
  • Determine the best temperature for your pool to ensure you are operating your pool for maximum efficiency. Most pools are kept at 78-82 degrees; each degree rise in temperature will cost 10 to 30 percent more in energy costs, depending on your location.
  • Install an efficient swimming pool heater. Learn your options and estimate the costs for gas, heat pump or solar pool heaters.
  • Install an energy-saving pool pump and operate it efficiently.

Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A.in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

Did you like this article? Here are some other articles that include: summer, pool, Energy, Energy.gov