Reduce Your Swimming Pool Costs This Summer

If you have a swimming pool, the odds are that you’ll be using it this summer. However, pools can be costly to operate and maintain. Below are some tips on how to reduce your swimming pool’s consumption of energy and water this summer and year-round. Prevent water evaporation and heat loss with a pool cover. Evaporation rates for outdoor pools are the highest in the summer when pool temperatures are high. Using a solar or vinyl pool cover helps prevent water loss through evaporation by 20 to 50 percent. Pool covers also help save on heating costs. A pool cover keeps your water temperature about 10 degrees warmer and can reduce your summertime pool heating costs by up to 90 percent! Using a cover also helps keep out debris, thereby reducing your chemical usage and filtration costs. Consider installing a solar pool heating system. Even if you don’t heat your pool during the summer months, it’s good to think ahead to the coming cooler season if you use your pool year-round. Installing a solar heating system for your pool can significantly reduce energy consumption and annual operating costs. Learn more about solar swimming pool heaters using this U.S. Department of Energy resource. Install a smaller pool pump, and run it less. The larger your swimming pool pump is, the higher your energy and maintenance costs will be. Therefore, use the smallest possible pump that will work for your pool. A 0.75 horsepower pump will typically suffice for residential pools. You can use an even smaller pump if you reduce your pool circulation system’s hydraulic resistance by using a larger filter or increasing the diameter of the pipes. You can also save energy costs during the summer swimming season by reducing your pump’s filtration time to six or fewer hours per day. Hope these tips help! Find further information on making your swimming pool more energy-efficient.

Protect your air conditioner from thieves

Although most people are not aware of how often it happens, copper theft from air conditioning units is a growing problem for homeowners. A/C units contain a large amount of this valuable metal, which experienced thieves can strip and make off with in minutes, leaving you with costly repair costs and a hot, stuffy house. As copper prices have risen in recent months, so has copper theft. This type of theft is especially inconveniencing for homeowners if it happens in the summer, breaking your A/C system when you most need it. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to prevent your expensive air conditioning system parts from being sold by thieves for scrap metal. Camouflage Your Unit – If you have the option, you might be able to prevent thieves from accessing your air conditioner by moving it to a less-visible or less-accessible area. You can use landscaping or even a small fence to hide your unit from thieving eyes, or you can put it in a place where someone would have to do a lot of additional work to get to it. Install a Cage – Air conditioning manufacturers, as well as welding companies and online suppliers, can provide you with a specially designed, well-enforced steel cage to product your air conditioning unit from theft. This option is highly effective and only costs a few hundred dollars (as opposed to much pricier alarm systems or surveillance options). However, these cages are not very attractive to look at. For this reason, some homeowners prefer other options to protect their A/C unit. Install an Alarm System – An alarm system for your air conditioning unit can help scare off would-be thieves. While not much of a visual deterrent (other than the sticker announcing that the unit is protected by an alarm), an air conditioning alarm system is a good way to ward off burglars without having to install an unsightly enclosure. Alternatively, some people buy and affix fake alarm stickers to their air conditioning unit, which can also produce a deterrent effect without requiring the purchase of an expensive alarm system. Use a Surveillance Camera – A home surveillance system can be a useful tool for monitoring areas around the home. If you already have such a system in place, you might consider installing an additional motion-activated camera near your air conditioning unit. As with alarm systems, a prominently displayed sign announcing the protection of a surveillance camera will also act as a deterrent. Lighting the area near your unit with motion-activated lights or floodlights will help your surveillance system work even better. While the above options provide varying degrees of protection from copper thieves, even a minor deterrent, such as a security alarm sticker or having a well-lit yard, can be enough to convince a burglar that your property is not an easy target. Also keep in mind the areas of access where someone could potentially break into your yard, and try to make these more secure as well.