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Water-Saving Tips for Pools and Spas

Water Conservation Tips for Your Residential Pool

A typical backyard swimming pool (about 15,000 gallons) can use an average of between 5,000 to 7,000 gallons each month in the summer. Add up all the residential pools in hampton-roads, and that’s a lot of quality drinking water used for swimming pools.

It’s important to reduce and control water losses from your pool as much as possible. How?

Track your water consumption -- regularly monitor your utility bills. Any change in the water bills can signal a potential problem.

Turn off unnecessary fountains and waterfalls. Use timers to automatically shut off fountains, waterfalls, and pool filters when not needed. You’ll save energy by turning off the pumps, and reduce the amount of water that’s lost to aeration and evaporation.

Maintain proper chemical levels and adequate circulation time. Not only will your pool water be safer and cleaner, but you’ll avoid the need to drain your pool or use excessive water or chemicals to correct problems caused by neglect.

Discourage extreme splashing and boisterous play.


If your pool or spa is equipped with an overflow line, plug it whenever you swim. This prevents water loss through the line when the pool is in use.

When you are topping off your pool, be sure to keep an eye on the water level!! Forgetting to shut off the water can be costly – You can use a hose timer if you like, to limit the amount of water you use. Hose timers are available at most hardware and garden centers for only a couple of bucks.

Keep your pool filled.
Add a few inches of water while you clean to save time and trouble. If you wait for the water level to drop substantially, it can take several hours to refill.

Use shrubs and fences to reduce losses by wind evaporation. Cutting down on the amount of wind going across the pool will cut down on evaporation.

The more water is lost to splashing, the more frequently you’ll need to refill your pool.

Use pool covers whenever possible. Safety covers can be used during the winter to keep out debris and reduce evaporation. Lightweight bubble covers, which will also help keep the pool warm, can be used in spring and fall, although it is generally to hot to use covers or “blankets” in the summer. Lightweight covers may be a safety concern with pets or children. Consult your pool professional.


Reduce the amount of water used to backwash pool filters.
Only backwash as needed and just long enough for the water in the sight glass to run clean. Backwashing too often will reduce the effectiveness of the filters. Consult your owner’s manual or a service professional for details on when and how to backwash your system.

Repair any swimming pool leaks. Even a small leak in either the pool equipment or the pool’s structure represents a substantial waste. In fact, an inch a day leak in a 15 x 30-foot pool can waste approximately 102,000 gallons per year. To test for a leak, place a bucket of water on the top step in the pool. Match the water level in the bucket to that of the pool and mark the level on the bucket. Wait 24 hours with the pool filter system off. If the level in the pool dropped significantly lower than the bucket, the pool shell may have a leak. Refill the bucket to the pool level, and run the filter system for 24 hours. If the pool level has dropped significantly, the pool recirculation equipment may be leaking.

Look for signs that might indicate a leak. Recurring algae can be a sign of chemical imbalances due to fluctuating water levels. Loose tiles or cracks in the pool deck or cracks and gaps in the bond beam may indicate leaks; water-saturated soils in the area around the pool, pumps or plumbing are also likely signs.

If you determine your pool is losing water, turn off the filtration system and note where the water stops dropping. If the water stops at the skimmer, the leak is probably in the filtration system. The plumbing may crack at vulnerable elbows and fittings that are under stress from shifting soils. If the water stops at the light fixture, the leak is probably at the light. If the water drops below the light, then there may be a leak in the drain at the bottom of the pool. Contact your pool professional to repair the leak.

Drain your pool or spa only when needed. How often you drain your pool depends on how much use it receives and how well the water quality has been maintained. In many cases, you may not have to drain it completely, or as frequently as you think. A pool may not need to be drained for up to three years, depending on its use and location. For spas, it is recommended that you drain all the water about every three months, depending on use.

When adding any large amounts of fill water to your pool or spa, always make sure you follow the recommended “start-up” procedures.

During the spring or fall is the best time to fill your pool completely, or partially. Filling at this time will not put a strain on the public water system. In the summer, only top off your pool when necessary to help conserve water during the hot season.





Additional energy saving tips:

¨ Use a timer to manage the daily operating period of the circulation pump and of the pool cleaner booster pump.
¨ Reduce filtration time to six hours per day. Depending on previous usage, this can save 50% or more of the energy used for filtration.
¨ Establish a minimum cleaning time of 2-4 hours daily(automatic cleaner). Be sure to run the cleaner only when the filter is running.


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