With hydro rates only increasing, one thing on the mind of many swim spa owners is how to save money on the energy costs of their swim spa. While swim spas from reputable manufacturers are generally quite energy efficient, cheaper or improperly set-up swim spas can still end up costing quite a bit to run. With that in mind, here are 6 ways you can make your swim spa more energy efficient and reduce your running costs.
1. Fixing Leaks
Most swim spas today are insulated with spray foam. Although spray foam does provide good insulation, it has a major weakness; water.
Spray foam insulation works by trapping heat in the air bubbles that make up the insulation. While air is a great insulator, water is not. If the foam gets wet and those air bubbles fill with water, the insulation loses most of its effectiveness.
If you notice a leak in your swim spa be sure to have it fixed as soon as possible. Even minor leaks can, over time, cause your swim spa to lose a ton of insulating value by slowly saturating its insulation.
Spray foam insulation also holds onto water that it has trapped and will not dry out on its own. Once the leak has been fixed, be sure to remove all the wet foam and replace it with fresh, dry insulation to restore the energy efficiency of your swim spa.
2. Replacing Your Old Swim Spa Cover
Worn out swim spa covers are one of the largest sources of heat loss for swim spas. Much like swim spas themselves, swim spa covers utilize foam to provide insulation. This foam is covered in a plastic vapour barrier that prevents it from becoming waterlogged by the water in the swim spa. Over time, the cover will begin to take on water as the vapour barrier slowly break down; greatly reducing its energy efficiency.
You will know your cover is starting to take on water when it begins to feel heavier than normal. This added weight is water that is trapped in the foam. You should consider buying a new cover as soon as you notice a significant change in the weight of your swim spa cover.
When purchasing a new swim spa cover, make sure to look over all of your options. It’s no secret that standard swim spa covers are not the best. They’re hard to handle, are prone to damage that reduces their lifespan, and don’t provide the best insulating value.
Fortunately, there are alternatives. The best one that we’ve come across is the Rollaway Cover from Hydropool. Not only are Rollaway Covers easier to handle and longer lasting, they also come in one piece to for a complete seal around the swim spa. This greatly increases the energy efficiency of the cover. For more information on the Rollaway Cover, contact us.
3. Programming Your Filtration
One of the easiest ways to save on the energy costs of your swim spa is to program its filtration cycles.
All swim spas need to filter their water to remove contaminants and keep the water clear and safe to swim in. To do this, swim spas turn on one of their pumps to cycle the water through the filter for multiple hours per day. This adds up to a significant part of the monthly hydro cost of a swim spa.
Fortunately, most swim spas allow for some degree of control over their filtration, although they do so in different ways. For exact instructions on how to program your swim spa’s filtration cycle, consult your swim spa owner’s manual.
Once you know how to change your filtration cycles, program them to run during off-peak or mid-peak hours whenever possible to spend less without sacrificing water quality. To maximize your savings some swim spas, like Hydropool’s Self Cleaning swim spas, even allow you to program different run times on different days. Use this to run your swim spa less on days where you don’t typically use the swim spa.
4. Adding Extra Insulation
Most modern swim spas are very well insulated. That being said, you can generally still do better. Adding insulation around the cabinet of your swim spa allows you both to trap the waste heat created by the pumps and heater and help protect the pumps and heater in case of a power outage during the winter.
While this does improve the energy efficiency of the swim spa, you don’t want to completely stuff the swim spa with insulation. Keep in mind that the pumps need air to cool themselves. If they don’t get enough fresh air they can overheat and potentially break. For this reason you will want to leave any cabinet vents unobstructed and remove any added insulation in the summer to avoid this.
Canadian made Hydropool swim spas take care of this for you. Not only do they insulate both the shell and the cabinet of the swim spa, Hydropool also include variable vents. These vents allow you to add fresh air in the summer to keep your pumps cool and to close them up in the winter for maximum energy efficiency.
5. Proper Filter Maintenance
Maintaining a regular filter cleaning schedule will not only give you better, clearer water to swim in, it can also help you save money!
Water cannot pass through a dirty filter as easily as it can through a clean filter. This causes the pumps to work harder in order to properly filter the water. For that reason, constantly pulling water through a dirty filter will increase the power consumption of the pump and reduce its lifespan.
To keep your filters clean, rinse them under running water to clean off large dirt and debris ever 1-2 weeks. To clean off oils and lotions that build up over time, soak your filter in a chemical solution every 3-4 months.
Cleaning filters only goes so far however. Over time, the filter media will begin to loosen and the filters will begin to lose effectiveness. To keep your filters running at peak efficiency, replace them every 12-16 months.
6. Lower Your Water Temperature
One of the easiest, and best, ways to spend less to run your swim spa is simply to lower the temperature of the water. Depending on the outside temperature, lowering the temperature of your swim spa water by only 1 degree can lower your energy bill by as much as 10-15%!
This does not mean that you should be constantly changing your swim spa temperature though. Often times, the cost of heating the water back up to temperature can be more than what you saved by lowering the temperature in the first place. Instead, try setting your swim spa 1-2 degrees cooler than you normally would. If you don’t notice a big difference, keep the temperature lower and enjoy the savings!
- If your swim spa uses spray foam insulation, keep it dry to ensure that its working at peak efficiency. If your swim spa leaks, get it fixed as soon as possible and replace the wet insulation.
- Swim spa covers can be a major source of heat loss. Replacing worn out covers are a great way to keep your swim spas energy costs low.
- Rollaway covers are a great alternative to traditional swim spa covers; providing better insulation while also being easier to handle.
- Program your filtration cycles to run during off peak hours while still ensuring that the swim spa is running long enough to keep the water clean and clear.
- Adding insulation around the cabinet of your swim spa traps waste heat generated from the pumps and heaters; greatly improving the energy efficiency of the swim spa during the colder months.
- Along with regular rinsing, you’ll want to chemically clean your filters every 3-4 months and replace them every 12-16 months to ensure that your pumps run smoothly and efficiently.