Pool Pump Timers

The time of year is right for this post. Many people are opening their pools to get them ready for the summer. Depending on were you live they could have been open for a few months already and using up energy  running the pumps and heaters if you have one. In the province of Ontario, Canada, the government run electrical utility has just implemented Peak, Mid Peak and Off Peak billing for electricity rates. The objective that has been stated is they are trying to push consumer electrical usage from peak hours to off peak hours, which means they will be better able to supply electricity during peak times and perhaps build fewer electrical  generation plants. Habits are difficult to change and many expect that the government will reap significant increased revenues through this initiative.

Peak rates are 9.9 cents / KWH while off peak rates are 5.1 cents / KWH, a significant difference. Running the pump fewer hours and at off peak times can make a huge difference in charges to your hydro bill each month.

How Long Should the Pump Run

This initiative has caused many people to rethink how they use electricity and they are examining how they can arrange to use less electricity. Everything from florescent light use, lights on timers and many more initiatives are being examined with the idea of reducing the electricity bills that we are all receiving.

One large consumer of electricity  is the electric pool pump which runs all day along and evening to keep the water circulating and the chemicals properly mixed so that algae does not build up and cause cloudy water or worse green water. Installing a timer between the pump and the electrical supply is one way to cut down on the usage. As with many things there is a balance that must be struck between the usage of electricity in this case and the mixing and distribution of chemicals in the pool to keep it clear. Running the pump for perhaps a few hours in the early morning in off peak hours and again in the evening will make a huge difference in usage. Another approach is to run the pump a few hours over every six hours to reduce usage, while keeping the chemicals mixed. As the pool water heats up and chemicals decline in the pool the chance of algae forming increases. Circulating water is the only thing that reduces the chances of algae forming.

Pool Pump Timers

If your pump is connected to a 110 volt outlet, there are many timers that you can consider. On the other hand if your pump runs on a 220 volt circuit, there are fewer choices to chose from.  Either way this will be a good investment since the prices for pool pump timers  range from $35 to as high as $125 and we noticed from reviews that one consumer wrote, that he saved $157 in one year on his pool alone. this is prior to the introduction of peak rate billing in Ontario. Next year his saving should be even greater.

Installation of Pool Pump Timers

Installation of pool pump timers is pretty easy for most situations. The 110 volt variety just plugs into any outdoor electrical outlet and then you plug your poop pump into it, set the times you want it to be on and you are ready to go. You should mount the timer on a solid support so that is properly protected from the elements and is not lying on the ground.

If you need to connect the timer directly to an electrical circuit, you will need an electrician to make the wiring arrangements for you which will eat into your savings to some degree. Proper connection and grounding is important to avoid danger of electrical shock and possible fire.

A word of caution is required. If you also run a pool heater, it is very important that the pool pump is not shut off white the heater is running. This can be very dangerous potentially causing fire and pipes to melt. If you are unsure of how to make these connections, hire an expert to assist in the installation.

Most reviewers of timers that we have read about have excellent comments about them and most important how much money they are saving!

Alternatives to Installing a Pool Pump Timer

One friend of ours has never used a timer and he religiously turns his pump off at night and back on in the morning. He has been doing this for years to conserve electricity and reduce his electrical bill. While this is a very good initiative and he has to be congratulated for his perseverance, he will still be paying for electricity during the day at the highest rates.  He is now retired and probably will continue as his own timer, turning the pump off during peak times and turning it back on later in the day.

This works for him, however for many people with busy schedules and other priorities a manual approach just will not work for them. Purchasing and installing a timer will be the answer for them to deal with higher rates. Payback on their investment will be less than 6 months easily.

General Electrical Reduction

Although we have focused in this post on pool pump timers, with the rates going up as much as they are, and peak rates being so high, consumers should look at every opportunity to conserve and reduce energy usage. It only puts money in your pocket. Lights, dishwashers, electrical dryers, heaters, furnace, air conditioning and any other devices that consume energy are excellent candidates.

Monitor your electrical usage so that you can assess how much your costs are declining. You may want to keep track of the kwh’s used if rates are fluctuating. Your total bill could be increasing, even if you are reducing the amount of electricity you are using every day! Pay close attention to the amount of time you run your pump and air conditioning. These are heavy users of electricity.

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