A New Wave Hits California Swimming Pools

September/October 2004
A version of this article appears in the September/October 2004 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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September 01, 2004
Operating pool pumps for longer periods at slower flow rates can adequately filter the water while cutting the energy use in half.
        A commonly held view in the pool and spa industry is that since September 11, 2001, homeowners have reduced their spending on vacation travel and are putting the hardearned dollars that they would have spent on airfare and motels into their homes instead.A large portion of this spending has gone to improving their backyards. “The backyard is now becoming the safe haven for those who previously traveled to exotic places. The swimming pool is usually the center focus of the ‘total backyard,’” says Phil Gelhaus of General Pool Supply, in Rancho Cordova, California. The total backyard typically consists of a swimming pool, spa, patio, built-in barbecue center, entertainment system, and sometimes a pond, fountain, and waterfall.         While the total backyard may offer an easily accessible pleasant retreat, it is expensive to operate and maintain. Swimming pools, spas, fountains, ponds, and waterfalls all require the use of electric pumps to keep the water flowing. With current electric rates reaching almost $0.24/kWh for large residential energy consumers in California, the typical backyard paradise can cost $150–$200 per month, not counting lighting and natural gas for the barbecue. ...

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