Pool pumps are a vital part of your pool water circulation system, keeping the water flowing through filters, skimmers, heaters, and other accessories. When it comes to pumps, the variable-speed option is a smart investment for any pool owner. Not only will you save on energy costs, you may actually be required by your town to use one because it is an energy efficient, environmentally friendly option.
How do they work?
Variable-speed pumps allow you to choose your own pump speed depending on the task at hand. They are powered by a permanent magnet motor, the same efficient motor used in electric cars and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines.
For comparison, single-speed motors are loud and inefficient, running on only one constant speed when they are turned on. Dual-speed motors are considered an induction style motor. These pumps can run at low or high speeds and are certainly a step up from the single-speed motors, but do not offer all of the benefits of a variable-speed option.
Why are variable-speed pumps a better option?
While purchasing a variable-speed pump does require a larger initial investment, pool owners see significant savings in energy costs when upgrading from a single-speed or dual-speed pump. It will pay for itself in 2-3 years and consume up to 90% less energy.
Cost savings are an obvious perk to making the switch, but saving energy is a wonderful by-product and the environment will thank you. You may even be entitled to a utility rebate for upgrading your pool pump. Check with the U.S. Department of Energy and your local power company for potential tax credits and rebates.
As of July 19, 2021, the new United States Department of Energy’s (DOE) Dedicated Purpose Pool Pump (DPPP) regulations go into effect. Most in-ground, single-speed pool pumps will fall out of federal compliance as they will not meet the minimum energy efficiency requirements of pool pumps. >>Learn more
Variable-speed pumps can be run at lower speeds and will filter more effectively than single or dual-speed pumps. They are much quieter and have programmable timers so your pump is running when it makes the most sense for you. Run your pump on a low setting at night for even less noise pollution and a better night’s sleep. The flexibility of the variable-speed pump allows you to run just the right amount of power to accomplish a particular task like running spa jets or a water feature, maximizing your energy savings. The best part is that the automated pump takes the guesswork out of the process.
The best way to lower the cost of running your hot tub is to first understand what is costing you the most money. The most expensive part of running a hot tub is powering up the heating element. Almost all hot tubs are heated using an electrical resistance coil. As electrical energy is run through the heating element, the resistance causes heat, which is absorbed by the water running through the heater. Secondary electrical costs come from running the pump(s).
The best thing you can do for your wallet is to be sure your hot tub is running as efficiently as possible. Read on for our tips to lower the cost of running your hot tub, in order of impact and ease of implementation.
Cover condition and the quality of the cover makes the biggest impact on energy savings and heat retention. A water logged or otherwise damaged cover has a significantly
reduced thermal rating and can be difficult to move. The cost of a new higher quality cover quickly pays for itself in
electrical savings, as the heating element is used much less.
Turning down the temperature of your hot tub between uses makes a huge impact. Lowering the temperature from 104 to 100 (or even less) saves a lot in electrical costs because the heating element is powered up less frequently. The lower you set the temperature, the more you’ll save, but it will take longer to heat back up before use.
Closing air jets while the hot tub is not in use will help to
reduce heat loss. Most hot tubs have valves that allow air to be sucked into the return jets when opened, causing
bubbling action in the water. This is nice when you’re using the hot tub, but the turbulence at the surface allows heat to rise and escape much quicker. Especially in the winter, the air being introduced is much cooler than the water temperature, causing a rapid temperature drop.
Maintaining a clean filter cartridge will reduce the cost of running the circulation pump. A dirty filter will restrict water flow and force the pump to work harder, drawing more
energy and thus costing more money to operate. Regularly cleaning the filter cartridge ensures that not only will the
water quality remain high, but the efficiency of the pump can be maximized.
A thermal or solar blanket can be cut to size and floated on top of the water surface. The “heavy-duty bubble wrap” can serve as a lighter, secondary cover to further reduce heat evaporation up and out of the hot tub.
If a hot tub is consistently buffeted by wind, the air flow around the tub will whisk away heat and maintain lower
temperatures around the unit, speeding up heat loss. Having a simple wind break can make a big difference and will also increase privacy and comfort for bathers when in use.
LED lights are all the rage now as their energy consumption is much lower than standard incandescent lights. Hot tubs can upgrade to this technology to save a little, but making sure that the lights are turned off when done using the hot tub is the best way to save on lighting costs.
As technology in many industries advances, some of that
invariably finds its way into the pool and spa industry. Pumps, motors, lights and heaters are more efficient, more thought is put into the hydraulic design of the plumbing systems,
insulation has improved, control systems have more options, the list goes on. Older hot tubs were usually just a pump, heater, and a filter. That same system in a newer hot tub will be, by default, much more efficient. Newer hot tubs usually use a very small circulation pump or a two speed pump to significantly lower the cost of heating and filtering. They’ll also allow for a higher speed/stronger jet pumps to add the jet action that bathers desire when the hot tub is in use. Newer tubs generally have more design and equipment
options as well, allowing for more capabilities at a lower
operational cost. Eventually, it might be worth investing in an upgrade to a more efficient system.
One of the most common problems pool owners experience in the winter is rodent damage to their pool heaters. When the temperatures get colder, mice and other rodents look for warm places to take shelter from the elements. Unfortunately, your pool heater may look like a good home to them.
Whether the rodents are building nests, chewing wires, or using your pool heater as a bathroom, it is imperative that you keep them out to avoid damage.
Protect your pool heater with these easy steps
Remove leaves and debris from the pump and pool heater to prevent moisture. Moisture leads to corrosion and can seize your pump motor come spring. The debris also makes a good hiding place for rodents so this step is essential.
Plant mint around your pool heater. Mint deters rodents and will act as a natural barrier. Placing plastic snakes around your heater may also serve as a natural deterrent because mice don’t want to build their homes near predators.
Pick up some Mouse Busters, an all natural anti-rodent
inhibitor, at our retail store.
Contact us about a one-time installation of a Pentair or
Sta-Rite Heater Anti-Rodent Kit.
For more tips and tricks to prevent rodent damage, check out this helpful article from Swim Universityor call us anytime at (781) 383-3300.
Keeping your spa water fresh and clean is the #1 rule of spa ownership. Don’t let your spa water make you sick!
It is critical that you drain your spa as often as every three months. Aqua Magazinesays: “The average person brings 100 million bacteria into the water. These join other living organisms such as biofilm, parasites, virus, algae, mold, mildew and spores. Then we add swimmer waste such as blood, sweat and tears, urine, saliva, mucous and other bodily fluids. Finishing the soup are the man-made products that dissolve off the skin and hair, including creams, oils and lotion, soap, deodorants, makeup, hair products, perfumes and more.”
Drain your spa water to reduce the amount of bacteria, waste, products, etc. that build up. Yuck! It’s important to not only drain and replace the water, but to do a purge treatment to
remove biofilm buildup. That buildup collects in the plumbing and gives the bacteria a hospitable place to hide from sunlight, chemicals, and flourish in the nice hot water.
Hot tubs get really dirty, really fast, if not cared for properly. Think of it like sharing a bath tub with 5 of your friends. Then reusing that water over, and over, and over! Maintain a clean hot tub and you’ll be more likely to actually relax and enjoy it’s benefits.
Try Leisure Time’s Jet Clean or Ahh-Some, available at our retail store, or contact us to schedule Quarterly Hot Tub Maintenance service today!
Are your pool floats and toys ready for a pool party?!
Make sure your inflatables do not have any holes and are ready for use with this quick trick. Use an electric air pump to inflate your float or toy. Once inflated, hold it under water and if you see any bubbles, you’ve got a leak! Patch the leak with a repair kit or come into our retail store to find the perfect replacement for your favorite pool activities!
If you’re short on time, or just prefer to spend your time on more traditionally enjoyable activities, consider investing in a pool cleaner to handle some of your pool maintenance. When considering pool cleaners, you will want to investigate which type of cleaner is right for your situation. Let’s discuss the options.
1. Suction Side Pool Cleaners
Suction side cleaners attach to the main filtration pump in your pool and use the suction to move the cleaner around. These cleaners scrub the pool surface and remove unwanted dirt and debris. The debris is then returned to your pump basket through your pool’s filtration system. The cleaner’s hose is connected to either a dedicated suction line or directly to your skimmer. Suction cleaners utilize an internal turbine which is spun by the force of pump’s suction.
Pros: This kind of cleaner is great for pool owners on a budget as they generally cost less than the pressure side and robotic cleaners. Maintaining a suction side cleaner is relatively easy because it has fewer moving parts that have the potential to break. It will pick up medium debris but some will remove small debris as well.
Cons: You will find that this type of cleaner puts more stress on your pool filter. Debris goes directly into the pump strainer, reducing circulation. The pump basket needs to be emptied to keep the cleaner working. Fine dirt and debris go into the filter, leading to more frequent back washing/cleaning of the filter.
2. Pressure Side Pool Cleaners
Pressure side cleaners are very popular among pool owners. They use an existing pressure side line to move the cleaner around. The water returned back into your pool fuels the cleaner, but often requires an additional booster pump to push water through the cleaner to create a jet stream. Not all pools are built with the plumbing to accommodate this type of cleaner. Pressure side cleaners don’t use your pool’s filtration system to filter out debris like the side suction cleaners. Instead, they use a filtration bag to catch the debris, so you don’t have to empty the pump basket or backwash/clean the filter to maintain circulation. Your pool pump will push water through a hose to jets that move the cleaner around your pool, loosening dirt and guiding it into the filter bag.
Pros: This type of cleaner is also less expensive than robotic cleaners and does not stress your pool filtration system as much. They are also generally easy to maintain. They’re great at picking up medium and heavy debris. Fine particles will flow through the filter bag and get cleaned out in the pool filtration system.
Cons: You will need a booster pump to run these cleaners and many pools are not plumbed for that. There are also additional electricity costs to run the second pump.
3. Robotic Pool Cleaners
Robotic pool cleaners are in a category all by themselves. They run off of power from your home and do not use your pool equipment to operate. These cleaners are top of the line and improving every day with new technology. They are excellent cleaners and have a built-in filtration system with a filter bag or built-in cartridge to collect debris. Robotic cleaners are able to remove both large and small debris (and everything in between) from your pool floor, walls, steps and water line. Simply plug your pool robot in and let it do all the work!
Pros: Robotic cleaners do not cause wear and tear on your pool equipment and are energy efficient, reducing overall power usage and costs. They virtually eliminate the need to clean your pool walls with a brush, saving you the hassle and time. The maintenance-free design make robotic pool cleaners very popular.
Cons: These cleaners are the most expensive of the three options and have a higher up-front cost. Robotic cleaners also are a bit heavier and it is slightly more difficult to empty the filter.
Which pool cleaner is best suited for your pool? Stop by our Retail Store for assistance in choosing and purchasing your new pool cleaner.
Whether you are new to pool ownership or are just looking for a refresher course, balancing your pool chemistry doesn’t have to be a daunting task. The key to a clean and clear swimming pool is to ensure your pool water is both balanced and sanitized.
Check out our quick guide, followed by a more detailed chemistry lesson on pool water balance and sanitation.
80 – 150 ppm (concrete and gunite pools)
100 – 150 ppm (painted, vinyl & fiberglass pools)
pH: 7.4 – 7.6
175 – 225 ppm
225 – 275 ppm (plaster pools)
Chlorine: 1.0 – 3.0 ppm
25 – 50 ppm
50 – 80 ppm (pools using salt water Chlorine generators)
Total Dissolved Solids: 500 – 5000 ppm
Total Alkalinity (TA)
Total alkalinity refers to the quantity of alkaline material in the water (bicarbonates, carbonates and hydroxides). Ideally your swimming pool should maintain proper total alkalinity levels between 100-150 parts per million.
“Alkalinity is a pH buffer, meaning it helps to keep the pH from drastically moving up and down the pH scale by absorbing major changes to the waters before affecting the pH.”
– Swim University
Adjusting your pool’s alkalinity is the first step. Alkalinity is defined as the ability of the water to resist changes in pH. It acts as a buffer to pH and makes it more stable.
Add an alkalinity increaser if your TA is too low. Add sodium bisulfate to decrease alkalinity if your TA is too high.
The pH refers to the relative acidity of the water. Maintaining water at a pH between 7.4 and 7.6 (a little above neutral on the pH scale) is key to balancing your pool water. This pH range is most suitable for swimming because it is less irritable to the eyes and generally more comfortable for swimmers. Chlorine is also most effective in this range. If your pH is too high or too low, the chlorine isn’t able to do it’s job.
Precipitation, swimmers, and pool debris can all change your pool’s pH. Low pH means your water is acidic. High pH means your water is basic. Keep your pH balanced to avoid equipment and structural damage.
The biggest change to pH comes from products used for sanitation, like chlorine tabs. Chlorine tabs have a very low pH, often requiring you to add a pH increaser. Pools using a salt water chlorine generator (SWCG) often have a higher pH level. For this reason, you will need to add more pH decreaser or muriatic acid to a SWCG pool than you would in a traditional chlorine pool.
It is wise to keep both a bottle of pH Increaser (sodium carbonate) and pH decreaser (sodium bisulfate) on hand to deal with pH fluctuations that can frequently occur.
3. Calcium Hardness
Calcium hardness may not technically be part of balancing your water, but without paying attention to dissolved calcium levels, your water will pursue other avenues to find it. The proper calcium hardness level is between 175 – 225 ppm or 225 – 275 ppm for plaster pools.
Monitor the calcium levels in your pool to avoid damage to your pool walls and equipment. Protect your pool by adding calcium hardness to your water. Measure carefully, as too much calcium can lead to scaling (calcium carbonate depositing itself on surfaces) among other problems.
Use calcium chloride to raise the calcium hardness of your pool water. If you are experiencing high calcium hardness levels, the only remedy is to drain at least some of your pool water to dilute it with fresh water.
Cyanuric Acid (CYA)
Cyanuric acid (CYA) is a water stabilizer and should be in the range of 25-50 ppm or 50–80 ppm for salt pools. Cyanuric acid is sold as either a pool stabilizer or pool conditioner and helps prevent destruction of chlorine from the sun’s UV rays. It is especially important to add cyanuric acid if you are starting with fresh water and need a stabilizer base. Chlorine tabs already contain cyanuric acid, so CYA is replenished if you’re using tabs. With a salt water chlorine generator however, CYA will need to be added separately.
Sanitation is imperative to disinfecting your pool water to prevent disease spreading organisms, as well as bacteria and algae growth. Environmental pollution from humans, animals, cosmetics, leaves, pollen, dirt and other debris are constantly affecting your pool water. When it comes to pool sanitation, chlorine is the most commonly used ingredient.
Chlorine is used as a water sanitizer. It works by disinfecting your water to rid it of any bacteria, algae, ammonia, and other contaminates. Your chlorine levels should ideally stay between 1.0 – 3.0 ppm.
Add Chlorine to yourwater with tablets or use a powdered or granular chlorine (we prefer tablets for ease of use). Tabs can be added to a chlorinator, floating dispenser, or skimmer basket(s) in your pool.
“When buying chlorine make sure you look for Trichloro or Dichloro as an active ingredient. These types of chlorine products are stabilized. UV rays from the sun eat up chlorine, but if it’s stabilized, it drastically slows down this process.”
Alternatives to Chlorine
Bromine, biguanide and the minerals silver and copper are sanitizer alternatives to chlorine. While they each have their pros and cons, chlorine remains the most popular and least expensive option. Using a mineral solution still requires small amounts of chlorine for complete sanitation. Contrary to popular belief, a SWCG creates chlorine. People often assume a salt water pool is better because it doesn’t use chlorine, but this is a misconception!
Super chlorination or “shocking” is also vital to maintaining a clean and healthy pool. When you shock your pool, you are essentially adding 3x the normal amount of chlorine you would regularly add. A shock treatment will burn organic materials out of the water and allow the sanitizer to work properly.
Shock your chlorine pool when any of the following occur:
Your pool is cloudy.
There is pool algae present.
The water temperature exceeds 84 degrees.
Your chlorine level is lower than 3 ppm.
When you have added all the necessary chemicals to your pool, let your pool pump run so your chemicals can circulate throughout. Balancing your pool water may seem tricky at first, but it will get easier with practice and patience.
Stop by our Retail Store for all of your pool chemicals needs and bring a sample of your pool water to receive a free professional water test!
Are you using a bubble solar cover to keep your pool water warm? If so, you may be wondering which side of your bubble cover should face up. We recommend covering your pool with the bubble side facing down for the best results in warming your pool in the summer sun. The sun’s UV rays will heat the bubbles and in turn, transfer heat to your pool water. With the bubbles facing down directly into the water, the heating process works more quickly and the bubbles help the cover float on the water’s surface.
Applying your bubble solar cover with the bubbles facing up can eventually damage the bubbles on the cover, due to direct exposure to the sun. The sun’s rays need to be able to flow through the cover before it can reach the water. Think of your solar cover as a thermal blanket or magnifying glass for your pool, intensifying the warming effect. Putting the cover on with the bubbles upward will take longer to heat your pool water and shorten the useful life of the cover.
When your pool turns green, your first assumption may be that algae is the offender. While this is often true, you could actually be dealing with increased heavy metals. Try these simple tests to determine the real cause of your green pool.
Test your chlorine levels. If there is free chlorine in the pool and it is green, copper is the likely culprit. If there is no free chlorine, suspect algae.
If your pool turns green after adding shock, copper is the likely cause. Other minerals, such as iron and manganese can turn the water brown, pink or purple. A metal remover will bind with the minerals in your pool water, allowing your pool filter to remove them.
If you add chlorine and your pool clears up? Hooray! Algae was the offender. Mystery solved!
Metal vs. Algae Tip: Metal stains won’t brush off the pool. Most algae will, with black algae as the exception.
Need a product recommendation? Stop by our RetailStore and talk to our team and get your free water test.
Humaflock is July 3rd! If you are participating in this awesome annual event and need a float, stop by our store between June 28th – July 3rd and mention “Humaflock” to receive 20% off your favorite rideable float!