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Make your pool eco-friendly

June 19, 2009|For METRO SOURCE

The idea of a green pool may make some people cringe. That's certainly a respectable reaction if the green you're talking about is unclean, algae-filled water. But when green means eco-friendly, a green pool is something homeowners should aspire to have in their yards.

Residential pools are a large part of suburban living. It is estimated that there are 7 million private swimming pools in America today. Factor in the number of pools at swim clubs, resorts and other recreational facilities, and it's easy to see how the country is swimming in pools.

If you stop to consider the environmental impact of a pool, you may realize that it has quite an effect.

1. Pools require a lot of water to be filled, and water is also required for maintenance and cleaning. The average 4- to 6-foot-deep pool could use 7,000 to 10,000 gallons of water initially.

2. That water is bound to evaporate when exposed to constant sun, requiring periodic refilling.

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3. Pools operate with a host of chemicals to keep the water safe and clean.

4. Significant electrical power is used to filter a pool. Even more is required if you heat your pool.

These are just a few of the impacts of a private pool. While it may have some negative impact, it's possible to make your pool more eco-friendly.

o Install a pool cover - Depending on where you live, a reflective pool cover can help direct sun rays away from the pool and keep the temperature cooler. A dark cover can absorb the sun and warm up the water, requiring less dependence upon a pool heater. Covers also limit the amount of water that will evaporate.

o Maintain the filter and cleaning equipment -Equipment that is not operating optimally tends to be less efficient. This, in turn, could eat up more energy and cause a rise in your utility bills. Consider water-saving filters and other energy efficient equipment, especially if your equipment could use an update.

o Run the filter during off-peak hours - Pool filters will compete with air conditioners and other electronics during hot summer afternoons. This causes a drain on the electrical grid, and energy companies may have to resort to back-up power. Instead, run the filter at night or early morning when there's less of a power demand.

o Consider switching to greener cleaning methods - Pool companies can advise you about what products are safer for the environment. There are even saltwater pools that require little to no chemical usage.

o Create windbreaks. Windbreaks around the pool will prevent higher water evaporation rates.

o Choose a concrete pool. A concrete pool could be more eco-friendly than a steel-framed pool with a vinyl liner. It negates the need for a plastic-based liner, which may leache CFC's and nay repairs to that liner.

o Install a fence around the perimeter of your pool. Not only is this a safety feature that is often required, it could help prevent unsuspecting animals from venturing by the edge of the pool and drowning.

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