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Tiffany Spence

About "Ask the Energy Expert"

Tiffany Spence is an energy expert at Florida Power & Light Company. She’s conducted thousands of energy audits at homes and businesses, helping customers find new ways to make their bills even lower.

Your questions on energy-related topics can be submitted anytime to our Ask the Energy Expert blog. Just click here to submit your question, and if chosen, it will be answered here

Dive into savings – how to save on your pool costs

By Tiffany Spence

Asked on: April 27, 2017 by Adam C., Boca Raton

How much does it cost to run my pool each month?

Hey Adam, did you know that your pool is your home’s second largest energy user? Yup, right behind your air conditioner. On average, the monthly cost of operating a pool can range from $15 to $57. However, your costs could up by more than $150 depending on whether you have a pool heater and/or extra pool lighting, and how frequently you use them. When determining the costs of maintaining a pool, there are a number of things to consider. For example: the size of your pool, what type of pool pump you have, how long you run your pump, if you use a heater, and if so, what type?

Let’s break down the costs:

Heating your pool can cost you a lot
Heating a pool can be expensive and can quickly impact your energy bill – especially if you like to do the backstroke in warmer water. The warmer you maintain the water, the higher your heating costs, and ultimately your energy usage.

Per the US Department of Energy’s Heat Pump Swimming Pool Heaters, an electric heater can cost you from $215 to $1,845 on an annual basis or about $18 to $154 per month.

A myth we often hear is that it takes more energy to heat a pool back up to a desired temperature once it’s been turned down or off. Well we’re here to bust that myth. You can actually save energy and money by turning the temperature down or turning the heat off whenever your pool won't be used for several days.  

A great way to help keep your pool warm without using an expensive heater is to use a pool cover. Not only does a cover keep your pool clean, it can also reduce evaporation from the pool by more than 90 percent, which saves a lot of water. Without a cover, every single gallon in your pool can evaporate each year and refilling the water can be costly. Furthermore, replacing all that water can easily increase your water bill.

Pool pump costs
The type of pool pump you have plays a big part in your energy bill. Many older pools have what is called a single speed pool pump, which means the pump runs at one speed the entire time it’s on. This type of pump is the least energy efficient, because it has to run at higher speeds to filter your pool. If you currently have a single speed pool pump and it’s running well, continue using it until it no longer works. Just keep in mind the cost to run it and try to minimize the run time when you can. Now, just like replacing older appliances inside your home, the same applies to your pool pump. When you are ready to upgrade your pool pump, we recommend a dual speed or variable speed pump.

Investing in a new variable speed pool pump may cost more initially but it can help you save. New pumps can pay for themselves in as little as eight months. Make sure you look for the ENERGY STAR® label when shopping. Often times ENERGY STAR pool pumps can use up to 70 percent less energy than standard pool pumps, which could save you as much as $340 each year. Definitely, consult a professional to handle the installation, as the pump’s settings will be programmed based on a number of variables, including the size and location of the pool.

A variable speed pump will cost about $175 per year or about $15 monthly to operate, while a single speed pump will cost about $682 annually or $57 monthly.

Additional costs to consider
We’ve touched on the big costs of having a pool, but there are a couple of other items that can add additional dollars to your energy bill - motorized cleaners and pool lighting. On average, motorized cleaners operate for about three hours a day and can cost $24 per year, or $2 a month. Now, we know not all pools have motorized cleaners. Some of you have a “pool guy” or service which probably adds to your monthly budget.

If your pool has underwater lighting, you can assume an annual cost from $3.50 – $88 with the average monthly costs ranging from $0.30 to $7.30, which assumes four hours of usage per day. 

More tools to help pool owners save
You can also take the Online Home Energy Survey at FPL.com/OHES to get even more detailed information on the cost of your pool and potential savings.

Thanks again, Adam. We love it when our customers ask us for the ins and outs of how much it actually costs to power appliances in their homes. Helping you find ways to save is important to us.

*Source: ESource 2017

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