Swimming Pool Water Conservation Methods

Swimming pools can put a strain on restricted water supplies in drought-prone areas of the country. Even if you live in wet regions of the country, saving pool water just makes sense.

In drought situations where water restrictions are in place, some communities prohibit draining (well, filling) a pool, while others limit new pool construction, to manage supply and demand for our most precious natural resource - water.

Today we look at 3 ways to conserve pool water - reducing evaporation water loss, reducing backwash water loss, and fixing pool water leaks.

Reduce Evaporative Water Loss

saving water - image from istockphoto

In warm weather, a pool can lose up to 1/4" of water per day from evaporation. Windy areas can lose even more water as warm air whips across the pool surface, absorbing your moist pool water. Here's 5 ways to reduce pool evaporation:

  1. Solar pool covers, aka solar blankets, will lower pool evaporation by 95%.
  2. Liquid solar blankets - invisible monolayer cuts heat / water loss by 40%.
  3. Wind blocks, like hedges and fences, help reduce water loss further.
  4. Limiting use of fountains and water features curbs evaporation.
  5. Lowering the thermostat on heated pools makes a big impact!

Reduce Backwash Water Loss

saving water - image from istockphoto

Sand filters and DE filters reverse the flow of water inside the filter tank to back-flush out dirt and restore proper flow rates. Each backwash can use hundreds of gallons of water. There are 9 ways to reduce backwash waste water:

  1. Bump your DE filter - a short 15-second backwash, 'bumping' mixes dirt and DE powder to extend filter cycles, delaying a full backwash by 3-6 weeks.
  2. Sand Filter Cleaner - Filter Cleaners remove oil and scale that cause filter pressure to rise rapidly, for a more effective and longer lasting backwash.
  3. Robot Pool Cleaners - remove dirt and debris before it reaches the filter, plus some pool robots can filter the water down below 5 microns.
  4. Separation Tanks - Sep Tanks are primarily used on DE filters, but sand filters can use them as well to clean your backflush waste water, returning fresh water to the pool.
  5. Larger Pool Filters - a big pool filter needs less backwashing than smaller pool filters.
  6. Cartridge Pool Filters - don't need backflushing at all, cartridge filters are hosed clean.
  7. Secondary Pool Filters - like the Slime Bag, reduce the amount of solids in the pool, to lower your backwash frequency.
  8. Don't Backwash Too Much - wait until the pressure gauge reads 10 psi higher than the clean pressure, or water flow rates are noticeably diminished.
  9. Don't Backwash Too Long - two minutes is usually sufficient for most filters.

Find and Fix Water Leaks

saving water - image from istockphoto

Leak detection and leak repair is a topic discussed at length on this blog, here, and also here. Swimming pools can leak water from almost anywhere in the pool or plumbing, but there are no less than 9 ways your pool could be leaking:

  1. Skimmers: On concrete pools, pool putty fixes cracks between the skimmer and the pool wall, and new skimmer gaskets to repair vinyl pools leaks.
  2. Returns: On concrete pools, leaks can occur alongside a return pipe. On vinyl and fiberglass pools, leaks from bad return gaskets, on either side of the wall.
  3. Lights: Underwater pool lights can leak through the light cord conduit, which connects to the upper rear of the light niche. Fix with Light Cord Stoppers.
  4. Drains: If not winterized correctly, or vinyl drains can leak around the gasket. Some drains have an automatic hydrostat valve, with a leaking o-ring.
  5. Auto-Fills: automatic pool fillers can leak from auto fill valves, or anywhere along the feed line. Auto-Fills can also mask other pool leaks from notice.
  6. Filter Drips: Many pool systems ooze or drip water from time to time, but slow drips are hardly noticeable in pool water level, yet every drop counts!
  7. Pool Cracks: Gunite pools may leak through cracks in the shell, but more often it's a horizontal crack behind the pool tile; use pool leak dye to verify.
  8. Vinyl Liners: Small pinholes or large tears in pool liners can be fixed with a patch kit, or use Anderson Flexible Sealer for easier underwater liner repairs.
  9. Backwash Line: When multiport valve spider gaskets or springs fail, or when slide valves lose an o-ring, water can continuously leak out of the waste or backwash port.

To those that say you cannot really 'waste water' - it is true that every drop of water that has ever been on the earth, is still on the earth - but water resources are limited in arid regions, forcing pool owners (and others) to employ water conservation methods.

If you are interested in saving pool water, I hope you can find at least one or two of these 23 ways to save pool water to be a workable solution for you.

In The Swim makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and In The Swim assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. In The Swim assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.