Over the past few years, South African homeowners have had to get smart about pools, with various local crises necessitating a rethink on how pools are used and maintained. In a relatively short period, the new ‘normal’ has become a covered pool that consumes less water and power.
South Africa was a late adopter of pool covers compared to Europe but the drought that nearly brought some provinces to their knees in 2017/18 caused an almost overnight uptake with thousands of pools being covered on a weekly basis. The water crisis has eased but the need to conserve power on a daily basis is another reality that pool owners need to adapt to, according to PowerPlastics Pool Covers.
For the average domestic pool, 12% of the household’s electricity bill can be directly attributed to the pool pump.
“Pool pumps really are among the heaviest consumers of power in the domestic setting. Reducing your filtration times and running a pool pump in off peak hours may seem like less of a “life and death” scenario than the home running out of water, but if all pools scaled back filtration times, it would make a very big difference to how much power South Africa needs on a daily basis. The supply and demand equation is still not balanced and even when loadshedding is not happening, there is still a significant power crisis running in the background of the economy. Loadshedding is never far away!” says Carolyn Idas of PowerPlastics Pool Covers.
“When the first power crisis started in 2006 there wasn’t a pool cover on the market designed specifically to reduce power consumption. We saw the gap and decided to design a solution, and the result was the EnergyGuard GeoBubble cover and the Energy-saving Solid Safety Cover,” continues Idas.
Made from the technically advanced and highly durable GeoBubble material, the EnergyGuard cover uses a process of selective transmission to block out the specific rays from the sun that algae feeds on. By stopping algae growth, chemical input can be reduced and the improved water hygiene allows for a 50% reduction in filtration times. The EnergyGuard cover is also the only dual-purpose thermal cover on the market, offering natural heating as well as power savings. This ‘smart’ pool cover has gone on to be a global best seller, favored in markets such as Spain and Australia, and an award winner for technology and innovation. The EnergyGuard Selective Transmission cover was awarded the 2018 Institute of Physics Business Innovation Award, recognising excellence in innovation that delivers significant economical and societal impact through the application of physics.
“This was one of those ‘wow’ awards, underpinning all the performance figures and recognising how simple and effective it is to achieve a sustainable, naturally heated pool simply by adding a cover,” says Idas.
With the combined savings on water, power and chemicals, a GeoBubble pool cover has a short payback period. It also allows one to close the pool for the winter months when filtration times can be reduced even further than 50%.
“In terms of the country’s power outlook, it will be critical for all pools to be covered this winter and put into hibernation. It makes no sense to pour money (and power) into a pool that is not being used. Pool owners should be making winter plans now. In homes where child safety is of concern, the Energy-saving Solid Safety Cover is the alternative to a thermal cover and will also assist in reducing power consumption. Cover water and it stays cleaner – it’s that simple,” says Idas.
Loadshedding aside, there remains a critical need to save water. A pool cover instantly stops 98% evaporation. During the drought in the Western Cape, pool covers are what kept pools going, also allowing pools to act as emergency reservoirs.
There aren’t many people saying no to household savings at the moment. The economic downturn is forcing homeowners to find new ways to save in this first quarter of 2019.
“Take the current power tariffs coupled with high water tariffs and the pool’s running costs quickly add up. A pool cover is an effective and immediate way to rescue the average household budget. The majority of pools in South Africa are costing way more than they should,” says Idas.
Another upside of pool covers are that they can increase the value of a property. Given the local crises, even tenants are starting to expect pool covers as standard property fixtures supplied by the landlord.
“Pool covers make sense on every level and we have made it easier than ever to get covered. Aside from being practical, the aesthetics of a pool cover adds value to your home and the savings achieved also mount up, never mind the environmental concerns we all have. Get covered – loadshedding or not, it’s the right thing to do,” concludes Idas.