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There are more than 500 000 domestic swimming pools in South Africa, and practically all of them are fitted with filtering equipment designed for the pre-2008 era when electricity consumption was a secondary consideration. For many home-owners this means that the cost of maintaining a clear pool can exceed the cost of hot water production.
For Eskom it represents a big slice of the supply to such households, and little has been done to tap this potential source of electricity savings to ease their precarious supply margin.
In addition a growing number of people are being driven by a need not only to save cost, but to make their pools more eco-friendly. This includes reducing both its carbon footprint and the use of harmful chemicals to sanitise the water.
The loose existing guidelines for pump motor size and operating periods (e.g. 8 hours/day in winter, 16 hours/day in summer) are the main cause of costly wastage of electrical energy, and with some basic know-how significant improvements can be made.
In addition, a new variable speed DC pump motors are available, which offers new possibilities for energy-efficient water filtering. These highly efficient DC pumps can be powered directly from a solar panel array and can thus not only be more efficient and last longer, but also drastically reduce electricity consumption from the grid.
On swimming pools with solar water heating installed, the day-time operating hours cant be lowered that easilly as that will reduce the heating capability. In this case a solar DC pump will make a significant difference. The efficient pump will be able to run throughout the day and use no electricity from the grid and have a very quick return on investment.