It’s Only Natural
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, as well as other methods you can employ to reduce the negative impact your pool can have 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 methods to cut 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 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 the surface of the water is always free of debris.
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 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 designs have emerged for natural pools. One has murky water that creates a pondlike aesthetic, which will blend perfectly into a surrounding natural landscape and add visual appeal to your space. This style also allows for the addition of fish, which will enhance the pond aesthetic and keep the pool clean. The other option features the usual clear-blue water to which we are accustomed, and is located next to a pond. The pond 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 located in concealed sections outside of the pool. The pond acts as a fantastic water feature that quietly maintains the hygiene of the pool.
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 located 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 surplus cash in more ecologically sound products.
Water wastage is a common financial and ecological problem that 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 that can be hard to spot. A suction leak can occur when the pump is turned off, while a pressure leak can arise 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.
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 (natural or otherwise) 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. The 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 your pool water easy.
Out With the Old
Chemicals such as chlorine have long been used to sanitise pools. While they are extremely efficient in 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, pet, or 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 a saltwater or an ozone filter. This will not only 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 large 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 world’s current energy crisis, which has developed from the rapid burning of fossil fuels and other non-renewable energy sources. Finding products with good energy-saving ratings is a great start; LED lighting and variable-speed pumps with low energy ratings are fantastic 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 water 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 warmth from the sun.
Another great economical addition to a pool is simply tiling it in a darker colour, which will absorb and retain heat from the sun. Most pools with dark tiles are three 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 reduce environmental impact and improve 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 enjoying a sustainable and healthy lifestyle – through your pool!