Nothing says summer and relaxation quite like the thought of lounging by a swimming pool. While we certainly don’t want to spoil the fun before it even begins by bringing up the environmental impact of pools, it is something you should consider when caring for yours. Not only do most swimming pools lead to high water and energy use, but they also require harsh chemicals to keep them clean.
We don’t deny the appeal of backyard pools, so how can you minimize the impact of maintaining yours? Here are a few useful tips on how you can make your pool more eco-friendly:
1. Use fewer chemicals to keep your pool clean, or convert to a natural swimming pool
Most pools use chlorine and other harsh chemicals to kill bacteria and algae, but these chemicals have significant transportation and manufacturing impacts. Chlorine’s manufacturing leads to mercury emissions, and, it may contribute to local ozone pollution once it’s been placed in a swimming pool.
A solution for avoiding chemicals altogether is to convert your pool into a natural swimming pool. A natural pool is chemical-free and uses all-natural organic matter to filter the water, completely purified.
If you don’t have a natural swimming pool and switching to one is not an option, there are several chlorine alternatives that are better for the environment, including:
- PHMB (polyhexamethylene biguanide): Also known as SoftSwim or Baquacil, this is a great option if you want to completely eliminate your dependence on chlorine. It uses safe bacteria that kill pathogens in the water by invading cell walls, causing them to burst and wrapping them in a gel, making them heavy, so they sink and get filtered out.
- Ozonator systems: Ozone systems provide your pool with clean, clear, safe water, while significantly reducing chlorine requirements (60-90%). Plus, Ozone also removes eye and skin irritants from pool water. The process inserts ozone gas into the pool which reacts with any impurities it comes into contact with in your pool. The corresponding reaction then cleans the pools and makes the water perfectly safe for swimming. There are two main types of ozonators: ultraviolet light (which uses a special lamp to kill bacteria) and corona discharge (which uses an electrical arc to create ozone inside the generator to kill pathogens inside the filtration system). Both types are designed with a highly reliable cell that can last up to 5 years before replacement is needed. An ozone sanitizer system is the ideal choice for residential pools if you’re looking for the most scientifically advanced pool water sanitation.
- Natural mineral sanitizers: An ancient water treatment is minerals: copper and silver, which have natural bacteriostatic properties. These sanitizers provide the water in your pool with a steady stream of metallic ions which react with algae and bacteria in the water to stop them in their tracks. Natural mineral sanitizers will help you reduce your dependence on artificial chemicals as a cleaning agent in your pool. Although this solution won’t eliminate the need for chlorine entirely, it’s still a great way to be much more environmentally conscious when caring for your pool.
2. Cover your pool
The easiest and most inexpensive way to conserve water and energy is to cover your pool when you’re not using it. Pool covers keep heat in and debris out, and also prevent water from evaporating. By sealing heat, you’ll need to use less energy in order to reheat your pool. You’ll also need less energy to filter your pool when you keep debris out of it, and by maintaining the water levels in your pool, you’ll use less water to refill it.
3. Use an automated pool cleaner
An automatic pool cleaner is a self-powered vacuum that moves around the bottom of your pool, picking up dirt and debris your filter doesn’t capture. By keeping your pool clean and algae-free, you won’t need to add extra chlorine or shock the pool as often.
4. Use LED lighting to illuminate your pool
If you haven’t upgraded ALL of the lighting your home to LED light bulbs, now is the perfect time to do so! This includes any lights inside your pool and in your outdoor space. LED light bulbs require about 75% less energy than the traditional incandescent bulb and they also last 25 times as long.
5. Consider installing an automated pool system
Automated pool systems can control everything from pool lights to sanitization from the touch on your phone or tablet. An automated system helps promote an environmentally friendly pool by allowing you to automate your pool chemistry to where it uses exactly what is needed (no more, no less), and by helping you use less energy for all your equipment by programming your pump, pool lights, heater, and pool vacuum to turn on only as needed, then shut off.
Sure, greening your pool might take some time and effort, but if it’s something you feel strongly about, it’s definitely worth it. Stay tuned on our blog if you’re interested in other ways you can help reduce your environmental impact.