Thursday, 06 July 2017 22:24

The Sustainable Swim

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The Sustainable Swim
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Eco swimming pools are the newest trend in eco-friendly outdoor design. These innovative pools can be enjoyed by the whole family (including the dog!) without the potentially harmful effects of chemicals. Bhria Vellnagel explores the remarkable developments in environmentally friendly pools, and other methods you can employ to reduce the negative impact of your pool on the earth.

Miraculously, eco swimming pools require no chemicals whatsoever. This new type of pool is swiftly gaining popularity as they function remarkably well, with relatively little upkeep.

Brand new eco-friendly ways of cutting back on pool maintenance costs, power usage, chemicals and water consumption are now easily available, all in the name of a healthy household and environment. Read on to discover the ways you can make your own pool more ecologically and economically sound.

THE OPTIONS

The new trend in eco swimming pools allows for the complete eradication of chemicals by returning to natural cleaning options. Two different types of eco swimming pools exist that use separate cleaning methods but are equally eco-friendly and organic. Both include a submerged pump house, in which water flows naturally before being slowly exported by the pump into the pool using pressure lines. A motionless skimmer removes impurities before they can make their way back into the pool water, which ensures that the surface of the water is always free of debris.

Natural Pools

Natural pools are designed to filter water through aquatic plants, with the help of some water insects and amphibians. In the ‘regeneration area’ – which is kept separate from the swimming area by a submerged wall – a combination of floating and oxygenating plants like water lilies and algae are found. These plants provide a great natural look to the pool while absorbing nitrates and phosphates to cleanse the water. Biological filters in the roots of plants also remove contaminants and excess nutrients from the water. A carbonator is added to supply carbon dioxide to the plants, while regulating the water’s pH levels.

Two different types of designs have emerged for natural pools. One has murky water that creates a pond-like aesthetic, which will blend perfectly into a surrounding natural landscape and add visual appeal to your space. This style also allows the addition of fish, which will enhance the pond aesthetic and keep the pool clean. The other option features the usual clear-blue water we are accustomed to, and is located next to a pond. The pond area acts as the regeneration area, and will be the only part of the pool to develop any type of aquatic life because of the skimmer and water pump, which are in concealed sections outside of the pool. The pond acts as a fantastic water feature, which quietly maintains the hygiene of the pool.

Living Pools

Living pools are the most eco-friendly option for those who want a normal-looking pool without the hassle of installing live flora and fauna. A phosphate remover placed out of sight will keep the water crystal-clear by stopping the growth of algae, while the biological filter will remove impurities through a natural filtering system. A living pool will allow you to observe eco-friendly practices without needing to compromise on the design you want.

A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY

If installing a brand new filtration system in your pool seems too much of a hassle, then there are many little things you can do to make it more eco- friendly. Many of the options discussed below are also economical, and will allow you to invest the extra cash in more ecologically sound products.

Use Rainwater

Water wastage is a common financial and ecological problem, and has been a necessary evil in the past. To remedy this issue, fill your pool using rainwater from a tank. Installing a rainwater tank can be pricey, but the overall savings will usually outweigh the initial cost. Gathering rainwater from your roof will also help reduce stormwater drainage, which can cause flooding and pollute waterways. The water from the tank can also be used within the home, which will make your whole property more eco-friendly.

Check For Leaks

Pools can develop leaks over time, which can result in thousands of litres of water being lost. Sealing leaks is a necessity, especially in drought-prone areas. Suction and pressure leaks are among some of the more common forms of pump-related leaks and can be hard to spot. A suction leak is only caused with the pump turned off, however a pressure leak will only be an issue when the pump is on. Cracks in the concrete, tiling or acrylic of the pool also cause leaks; these can be sealed with a readily available leak sealer from any pool store. Professional leak detectors are available if you can’t find or fix the leak yourself.

Cover Up

Conserving water with a pool cover can be a cheaper alternative to investing in a water tank. Pool covers reduce evaporation, keep out dirt to shorten cleaning times, and can prevent heat and chemicals from escaping. Solar pool covers maintain heat with small air bubbles that insulate the top of the pool, and are also one of the cheapest options for water conservation.

Thermal pool covers can be more expensive but they offer better heat retention, are effective in stopping the growth of algae, and will last longer than solar covers.

For those who don’t use their pool in the colder months, a winter pool cover will protect against debris and frost. This cover will also prevent the need to drain the water and intensely clean the pool again when it gets warmer. Automatic covers are available to make protecting pool water easy.

OUT WITH THE OLD

Chemicals such as chlorine have long been used in the sanitation of pools, and while they work fantastically for killing bacteria, pool water will become overly acidic and poisonous if too much is used. Apart from causing costly erosion to pool surfaces and equipment, over-exposure to chlorine can also cause serious damage to any living organism it makes contact with, whether it’s a person, a pet or a plant. When a chlorinated pool is flushed out, the chemicals are carried through drains and may affect wildlife until the chemical becomes diluted.

Cutting back on chlorine and other chemicals can be as easy as replacing your pool’s filtration system with either saltwater or an ozone filter. This not only will save your hair and skin from drying out, but will have countless environmental benefits. In the spirit of saving water and keeping your pool clean, the less water-wasting products like water features that are placed around the home, the better. Removing water-wasting features will also save you money on water and electricity costs.

BRIGHT SKIES AHEAD

Keeping electricity costs low will aid the environment by lowering your effect on the energy crisis, which has developed from the rapid burning of fossil fuels and other sources of non-renewable energy. Finding products with good energy-saving ratings is a great start; LED lighting and variable-speed pumps with low energy ratings are great options that won’t risk the visual appeal of your pool.

Heating a pool can require an excessive amount of energy, especially when heaters are left activated to ensure the pool is always warm. Finding a timed heating mechanism for your pool will greatly reduce the amount of energy it consumes. Or better yet, invest in a solar-powered heater that allows the pool to get all of its heat from the sun.

Another great economical addition to a pool is simply tiling it in a darker colour, which will absorb heat from the sun and retain it. Most pools with dark tiles are five degrees warmer than lighter pools, which will reduce the amount of electricity that’s required for heating in the summer months.

Whether you decide on an aesthetically pleasing natural pool, or choose to simply replace your current pool accessories with eco- friendly alternatives, the smallest change can help improve the environment and your own wellbeing. The growing trend of eco swimming pools reflects the awareness people have of the damaging effects of pool chemicals on the environment. Discover which option is best for you by speaking to a professional and start living a sustainable and healthy life, through you pool!

 

Read 62 times Last modified on Wednesday, 12 July 2017 00:23