It's a hot topic, and one cannot avoid discussing it. It's in news feeds, Facebook groups, and the talk around the dinner table. The issue: how can Utahns conserve water? It may seem counterintuitive, but swimming pools and hot tubs can help.
How? A study by the City of Sacramento found that swimming pools use nearly 20% less water than a landscaped area of the same size. The longer a swimming pool is in use, the more water it saves. On average, a swimming pool conserves 12,000 gallons in one year and 30,000 gallons each additional year, according to the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA)
Why? Traditional landscaping requires regular watering. A properly maintained swimming pool requires one filling every few DECADES! An 18 by 36 swimming pool is roughly 22,000 gallons; a household uses the same amount of water or more on landscaping in two months or less! Figure based on the current water restrictions. During standard watering years, owners can use significantly more!
What additional steps can swimming pool and hot tub owners implement to conserve water?
Use a Cover
An automatic cover, solar blanket, or other insulated covers can prevent 95% of evaporation, 50% to 70% of heating costs, and reduce chemical use, according to the PHTA.
Check for and Repair Leaks
In an 18 x 36 swimming pool, ⅛ inch is roughly 50.5 gallons, the same amount of water a family of four uses brushing their teeth a day! If an owner loses more than ⅛ inch of water, typical evaporation, there could be a leak. A qualified swimming pool technician can help an owner determine and pinpoint a potential leak's location and repair it.
Switch from a Sand or D.E. to a Cartridge Filter
Sand and D.E. filters require backwashing to clean the filter. This process allows water from the swimming pool or spa to flow out the backwash line for an average of three to five minutes, requiring hundreds of gallons of water or more. Cartridge Filters do not require backwashing. Converting to a cartridge filter can also reduce chemical and energy costs.
Use an Automatic Vacuum Cleaner
Traditional cleaners use your swimming pool's filter to remove debris from the water. Advanced auto cleaners collect debris in the unit, reducing the cleaning or backwashing required to clean filter(s) or sand.
Limit the Use of Water Features
Deck jets, waterfalls, and other features add beauty and ambiance to a swimming pool or spa. However, water features also increase evaporation. Consider using water features later in the evenings and during special events only.
Dial in Water Chemistry
Proper water chemistry maintenance prevents the need to "start over" with fresh water to correct a chemistry problem. It also limits the water needed to clean filters.
Shelter From the Wind
"Sheltering the surface of a pool from the wind will reduce the energy losses associated with evaporation and convection," states the PHTA. Add moveable planters or wind blockers such as a privacy wall into a location that shelters water from the wind.
Lower the Temperature
Lower water temperature can help reduce evaporation, energy costs, and a heater's lifespan.
Limit Splash Out
Everyone deserves a little fun, but teaching kids to keep water in the swimming pool instead of splashing it out helps reduce the water needed to maintain a swimming pool properly.
Advice for Indoor Pool Owners?
Owners should keep air temperature two to five degrees above the water's temperature to reduce evaporation, according to the PHTA. Owners should also maintain a humidity level between 40% to 60% and use a cover.
What About Spas and Hot Tubs?
Spas and Hot tubs are an excellent way to conserve water. When draining, discharge water onto a lawn after letting the water cool and sit uncovered for 48-72 hours, which will break down the chemicals in the water that may harm plants. A swimming pool retail store can also provide chlorine and bromine neutralizers. It's a win-win! Reduce and Reuse.
Water from a swimming pool or hot tub is used for more than health and recreation. The CDC recommends that households store one gallon of water per person per day and have a two-week supply. A swimming pool or hot tub easily meets these storage guidelines.
Swimming pool owners can contribute to their communities by providing a mini reservoir that firefighters can quickly use. Owners should contact their local fire department and enter a fire protection agreement.
Collect rainwater to top off your swimming pool or hot tub.
For more information, please visit www.letspooltogher.com. The Swimming Pool and Spa Industry hope everyone can reduce the water we use. Implement any of these tips, and you are on your way to becoming water-wise. Happy swim season!