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Turning off your Pool Equipment in Winter? Don’t! It will it cost you more than any savings on electricity.

July 3rd, 2018

The operating time of pool equipment required to maintain pool water in a good quality state can be reduced in winter as biological activity declines with the decline in water temperature and solar radiation.

Some people even go so far as to turn their pool equipment off in winter because of concerns about the high cost of energy. While this reduces the energy cost for your home across winter, pool remediation costs to get the pool cleaned up for summer can be considerably more than any apparent energy saving because although biological activity of algae is reduced in winter it doesn’t stop. Algae can become well established in difficult to access locations such as pool corners and tile grouting exacerbating the effort and costs in removing them when the summer swimming season rolls around.

And while you may not be swimming in it, a pool often plays a key visual role in your home and an unsightly pool with poor water quality can certainly impact how your home looks and feels.

As an example a trend of the daily power consumption in winter of 60,000 litre salt water pool with a 1.5KW rated consumption Filter pump, a 1.8KW rated consumption pressure cleaner and a 285 Watt rated consumption salt water chlorinator controlled by Pooled Energy is shown below.

This pool is controlled by a Pooled Energy automation system to minimise energy consumption. The energy consumption of conventional pools will typically be ~ 3 times more. This is because the filter pump is controlled to automatically provide the lowest possible optimal speed for each operation for filtration/circulation runs or chlorination or pressure cleaning rather than the typically single speed operation of standard fixed speed pumps or the manual adjustments required for “settable speed” pumps.

For example, during filtration/circulation the Filter pump only consumes ~500 Watts or 1/3 of its rated power. You can also see that the chlorinator in a Pooled Energy system only runs briefly in winter (& on some cloudy days not all), as the chlorinator is only operated when the level of chlorination in the pool is below minimal requirements. The chlorinator is permitted to run up to four hours a day in the example, but, on this day, it has only run for less than three hours. Such sensor-based, intelligent operation, further reduces energy consumption.

The chlorinator power as shown in the graph, oscillates as part of its cleaning operation to minimise plate calcification.

The pressure cleaner is scheduled to operate for one hour commencing at midnight to benefit from lower cost off peak power. There are also a couple of brief circulation pulses to maintain water quality.

The Pooled Energy system automatically synchronises the operation of the pool equipment so each item works together correctly. If other items of equipment such as pool cleaners (or heaters for the highly committed swimmer) are required to operate, they will always be correctly synchronised with the filter pump and/or other equipment such as automatic valves that their operation requires.

The electricity consumption cost of a pool over a typical winter’s day is less than $1/day (~92 cents at Pooled Energy’s current Time of Use Tariff rates) which is around a third or less than a conventional system. Over the approximately four months of the “winter season” this works out at ~ $100 for a Pooled Energy solution to operate your pool across winter.

Compare this to the cost of a “pool boy” with remediation chemicals and biocides and the (at least) several hours of labour as well as the requirement to have extended (sometimes multi-day) filtration at high power.   The overall energy, chemical and labour costs to remediate a pool at the start of the swimming season are more than the cost of running the pool through the winter. We have seen costs ranging from $400 to $1000 or even more for extreme cases of pool “infections.”

Turning off the pool equipment in winter makes no financial sense at all. It’s always best to let your Pooled Energy system monitor and manage your pool and have it in sparkling condition for the summer swimming season.


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