Swimming pools are a great way to cool down under the scorching summer sun, and of course they’re tons of fun. But with the summer heat comes water shortages in many states, and saving water becomes crucial. Don’t feel guilty using your swimming pool — instead, follow these drought and environmentally friendly considerations to recycle, conserve and preserve pool water.
It would be a crime to suggest no splashing while in the pool. But unfortunately, pools lose a significant amount of water when you’re splashing around or jumping in with a cannonball. And when the water level is too low, the pool needs to be refilled. To reduce the amount of water you lose to splashing, under-fill your pool, leaving a foot or two at the top. This way you can play around all you want with less water ending up on the pool deck.
Use a Solar Pool Cover
A solar cover prevents water evaporation from the sun up to 90 percent, according to the In the Swim blog, and it acts as a heater as well — thus saving you the energy you’d spend on a pool heater. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates a pool cover can save up to 7,000 gallons of water each summer that would normally be evaporated. For the 10 percent that will evaporate regardless of your solar pool cover, use clean containers to collect rainwater that will replace the water lost in your pool due to evaporation or splashing.
Stop the Leaks
Inspect your pool for any cracks where water will leak. If you’re unsure about any leaks in your pool, mark the current water level with a grease pen and check the water level in 24 hours for any significant changes in water level. Thousands of gallons of water can be lost as a result of leaks in your pool, don’t let that precious water leak away.
Quench the Plants
If emptying your pool at the end of the summer is a must, recycle your pool water by using it on your plants. You should allow the water to sit for a week without adding chemicals before you use it on plants. This allows the pH level and chlorine content to fall. Use a pool testing kit to check that the chlorine content is less than one part per million, and consider adding neutralizers. Plants that are salt-tolerant such as rosemary, desert bloom, aloe and oleander, will thrive with old pool water.
If properly maintained, draining and refilling a pool is so rare and unusual (once per decade) that it usually requires a professional. For proper maintenance, clean the filters to ensure maximum efficiency. Certain filters, such as cartridge filters, don’t require any backwashing saving even more water. Remove debris such as leaves, bugs and trash immediately to keep the water in your pool clean.
Rinse off Before Swimming
Not rinsing before you enter the pool can negatively affect the quality of your pool water. Naturally our bodies have oils that will enter the pool, but rinsing before swimming removes these oils in addition to sweat, lotions, shampoo, conditioners, cosmetics and soaps on our skin and hair that affect the cleanliness of the pool. This includes your bathing suit, which should be cleaned with clear water instead of laundry soap. Residue from soaps and lotions are a major contributor to poor water quality, and not only will rinsing before swimming keep the pool water clean, it will keep it healthy by reducing the risk of waterborne illnesses, swimmer’s ear and skin infections.
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