I don’t know how many times I have fielded calls from customers regarding some life hack that they saw on TikTok regarding their swimming pool. Some are interesting, and workable. Most are not. The latest one is regarding a hack to prevent algae from forming in swimming pools.
Supposedly, if you put a 3” piece of copper pipe in your swimming pool skimmer basket, the pipe will prevent algae from forming.
The myth may have started here. While some algaecides have a form of copper in their ingredients, it is far different from a piece of copper pipe. Pool Time Algicide and Clarifier is such a product. It contains copper sulfite. Copper sulfate is a result of the reaction of copper oxide to sulphuric acid. I’m no chemist, but that doesn’t sound like a copper pipe to me. Copper sulfate is water soluble and works by inhibiting photosynthesis in the algae, thus killing it.
Many water pipes are copper because copper is antimicrobial making it impossible for bacteria and viruses to grow inside the pipe. This has made copper pipes ideal for home water systems, where there will be long periods of standing water int he pipes. So, while a 3” piece of copper pipe placed in your swimming pool filter basket will not grow algae inside the pipe, it will not prevent the growth of algae elsewhere in the pool.
I’m not a swimming pool chemist. However, I do have a swimming pool. And I did have an algae problem this summer. I treated it the tried and trusted way. Test and balance the water. Add a pool shock. Use a pool brush to vigorously scrub the surfaces. Vacuum the pool. Apply a mustard algaecide (for green algae) following label instructions. I used Pool Time Algicide and Clarifier. Stay out of the pool and allow water to circulate for 24 hours. Clean filters. Vacuum and brush again. Test and balance pool chemicals again. Algae gone. Problem solved.
To avoid an algae outbreak in the future, keep the pool chemistry balanced. Make sure your filters are clean. Consider a new variable speed pool pump which can circulate more water and will be more energy efficient at the same time, saving money. Or, add a Bioshield swimming pool EV sanitizer.
By Frank Scotti – Solarponics – June, 2023 5 MINUTE READ
Being a swimming pool owner should be an enjoyable experience. You should not have to think of your pool as a money sink hole. That’s why I am sharing four relatively simple and cost-effective steps a swimming pool owner can take to reduce energy, save money, and add comfort. Those four things include; setting your pump to run during the cheapest energy hours, install a variable speed swimming pool pump, install a heat pump water heater, and switch to a salt-water chlorinator. Sound complicated or expensive? It’s not. Start here.
Be aware of the cost of energy at different times of day. Typically, there will be a peak time where energy costs are extremely high. For PG&E customers, peak rates are between 4PM and 9PM. Energy costs at peak hours costs $0.50 per kWh as of June 2023. Non-peak energy rates are $.36 per kWh. Running your pump during only non-peak hours is a solid strategy. For example, set your pool pump timers to start at 8AM and stop at 4PM, for an 8-hour pool pump run time. For a 12-hour run time, set the start time to 4AM and stop time at 4PM.
The next thing you can do is invest in a variable speed pool pump vs. an older single speed pool pump. A pool pump is your main source of ongoing energy costs, so it is important to maximize efficiency.
A single speed pool pump is an induction motor that runs at a single speed, typically at a high start-up speed, more than is necessary once the pump is primed. A variable speed pump is a permanent magnetic motor that has a high efficiency rating. Shown at right is the Pentair Intelliflo3 Variable Speed and Flow Pool Pump. I saw about an 80% savings after I installed the Intelleflow3.
A variable speed pump can ramp up to 3450 RPMs at startup, and power down to as low as 500 RPM for continuous operation, saving on average of 80% in energy use, with annual energy savings of about 75% on average.
Variable speed pool pumps are also quieter, as low as 45 decibels, about four times quieter than traditional pumps, an added bonus.
The Pentair IntelliFlo also comes pre-programmed with eight speed settings and a build-in timer to ensure the pump runs at optimum speed and duration.
When it comes to pool heating, electric heaters are the most expensive and inefficient. Gas pool heaters are more efficient over electric. However, with skyrocketing gas costs, gas-powered pool heating is becoming less popular. In addition, gas is not a sustainable resource.
A heat pump water heater is currently the most energy efficient, cost-efficient, and resource-efficient pool heater on the market. A heat pump pool water heater is about the size of a home air conditioning unit. The unit extracts heat from the air to heat water, with cold air as a by-product, making them four to seven times more efficient over gas water heating. The energy needed to run a heat pump pool heater can also be 100% offset with solar energy. Heat pumps also last longer.
Gas pool heating pumps cost around $200 to $400 per month to operate vs. $100 to $200 per month for a heat pump pool heater with the same results. A heat pump pool heater’s 10-year energy savings can exceed $13K.
As with anything, however, there are some tradeoffs. Heat pump pool heaters heat slower. They typically need a 40 to 50 amp power source. Heat pump water heaters do not work well in low temperatures (<45 degrees). However, to be fair, heating a swimming pool when it is 45 degrees outside will cost a bundle using any energy source. So, typically homeowners winterize their pools in the colder months, turning off heaters and reducing pump run time, saving energy and money.
A lesser-known way to reduce costs, and add comfort is to install a salt water chlorinator. A salt water chlorinator uses salt to make pure chlorine, eliminating the need for harsh chemicals. After the chlorine has disinfected your pool, it reverts back into salt and the cycle repeats. Salt water pools don’t irritate the eyes or skin and there is no smell or odor. Swimsuits and towels will not get bleached out by the natural chlorine. Salt water chlorinators are also affordable and easy to install.
The average sized swimming pool uses about 100lbs. of chlorine (tablets or granular) every year, costing roughly $700 per year. The payback is about four years. However, the added comfort is priceless.
Rebates and incentives seem to come into and out of play throughout the year for heat pump water heaters and variable speed pumps. Always search available rebates before making any purchase decision. Several sites track and list existing rebates. They include; theswitchison.org, pge.com, energy.gov, sce.com, energycenter.org.
If you live on California’s central coast and one of these technologies makes sense for your situation, visit solarponics.com or call Solarponics at (805) 466-5595 for more details and to get a free quote. Until then, have a happy and safe swim season.
By DOMO REMAX Estate Properties –
Swimming is a great activity that is enjoyed by many across the country. Whether it’s at home, the beach, or the lake, swimming is a great way to cool off during hot weather or to remain comfortable in warm climates. Swimming also comes with a number of possible dangers that people must keep in mind before they engage in the activity.
Water is everywhere, and that can make people think that it all functions more or less the same. Although people can drown in something as simple as a bathtub or hot tub given the right conditions, each body of water has its own risks and safety recommendations. Any water source can be a source of injury or even death if people do not take it seriously, particularly for infants and young children.
READ FULL ARTICLE: It could save your life, or help you save a life.
Article by Terry Arko, Pool & Spa News, May 22, 2015
Pool Techs Must Practice Drought Diligence
Pool professionals need to consider not only what they’re putting in the water, but also what they’re leaving behind. In drought times, the mantra needs to be “Remove more, add less.” This refers to how the water should be treated. In short, we should aim to remove more organics while adding less solid byproducts, reducing the need to drain and refill.
When the practice of draining and refilling pools is under increased scrutiny by water districts, particularly in California, pool professionals should carefully consider what chemicals they’re using and ask themselves: What is this leaving behind in the water that may increase the need to drain and refill?
Here’s an example: Over half of a tri-chlor tablet is made up of cyan uric acid. Consider that for every part per million of chlorine from a try-chlor tablet, 0.6 ppm of cyan uric acid is being added. High cyan uric acid contributes to high total dissolved solids (TDS), which creates more demand for chlorine and eventually could lead to having to drain the pool.
Continual use and shocking with a cyan uric or calcium-based chlorine should be carefully considered. These lead to an increased need for sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate – again something that puts more dissolved solids in the water.
Also avoid cleaners and metal products that contain phosphates, another contributor to TDS.
TDS leads to the water becoming over saturated, increasing the likelihood of having to drain the pool.
Think of adding sugar to a glass of tea. Initially there is enough tea to absorb the sugar, but keep adding sugar and it will begin to drop to the bottom of the glass. The tea is saturated and cannot absorb any more sugar solids. This same scenario goes for pools when chemicals leave byproducts behind: they stack up until the water simply can no longer absorb the solids. This leads to the formation of scale and cloudy water as this dissolved material is forced out of solution.
Th preserve precious water, we need to be aware of how chemicals affect water balance and choose products that are more neutral, such as oxidizers, clarifiers and phosphate removers. These products remove contaminants while leaving far fewer undesirables behind.
And let’s not overlook evaporation. Average-sized pools in warm weather states, such as California, can lose their entire contents to evaporation in one year. Pool covers can help maintain healthy water levels, and save thousands of gallons of water.
Article by Terry Arko, Pool & Spa News, May 22, 2015
Solarponics installs solar pool heating systems for swimming pools on the central coast in California. We encourage water conservation and smart pool chemical use.