Growing up in the 70s backyard barbeque block parties and spending all day and evening in your backyard was the thing to do. Groups of friends and neighbors would migrate from home to home weekly Almost everyone had a swimming pool, everyone brought something their wives cooked. Everyone knew their neighbors, we all got along. We mowed our own laws, we cleaned our own pools. Life moved a little slower back then. Believe it or not there was a time before cable television, iPhones, iPads, x-box’s and hanging out at Starbucks on your laptop. The humble backyard was once thought of as a concrete landing pad for a barbeque and a tranquil patch of grass where the kids could run freely and busy themselves playing all day while the parents had a family or neighborhood barbeque and adult time.
Fast forward 3 decades. Oh how times have changed, backyards are beginning to reflect one’s dedication to the environment again. Today’s backyard is now expected to serve as a playground, waterpark, gourmet kitchen for the family chef, dining facility, and the much needed meditative retreat. The sounds of flowing water and the warmth of the sun.
A beautiful backyard is of little value if guests have no place to sit. I have noticed a resurgence in cushioned plush backyard patio furnishings, lounges, even floating armada’s. Light blue’s and red’s and oranges have become popular colors. Many backyard oasis I’ve run into possess reclaimed wood and eco-friendly pieces such as coffee tables, side tables and planter boxes full of fresh homegrown vegetables. I think HGTV has been influential for many homeowners in this aspect. Repurposed and reclaimed items transformed to their new purpose.
What would a backyard oasis be without the ever popular grill or outdoor kitchen. Everyone these days is somewhat of a barbeque enthusiast and the backyard typically reflects that primary purpose. No well-dressed backyard can go without the perfect barbeque grill. Many homeowners are switching to pellet grills, these typically heat up faster than typical charcoal gas and wood grills. Many homeowners that build an outdoor kitchen don’t stop at the gas grill, many accessories come along with it, Gas side burners, mood Lighting, electrical outlets, wine and beer chillers, sinks with running water, (hot and cold) warming trays, storage drawers, refrigerators, and lots of counter space for prep work, a recent popular choice for counters has been polished concrete.
I attribute this desire for outdoor kitchens to homeowners desires to create a complete outdoor living experience a place where they can cook, eat, play, relax, read, watch tv or movies, or the game, and soak in the spa, a major extension of their home.
One can-not simply complete their backyard oasis without Shade, structures, and bar top counters, a place for everyone to get together and hang out a place for family and friends to sit and relax with drinks after a barbeque or swim party. Spring and summer make up the prime season for backyard enjoyment. These seasons also bring high temperatures, lots of sun and potential for sunburn.
Many homeowners are investing in elaborate equipment to bring shade to their oasis. Not only to beat the heat but also to add to the design element of the house and backyard. Some choose a simple but elaborate umbrella, cantilever umbrellas are a popular favorite to remove the pole from line of site between guests. Shade sails are another trending popular choice among backyards. These premade canvas covers can be tensioned between structures such as trees and home walls and fences. My favorite shade structure is the Pergola. A shade structure that offers more than just shade, it offers style and aesthetics. Modern pergolas are not even wood anymore, they are Aluma-wood, aluminum that looks like real wood but fairs better in the outdoor elements and is less maintenance and upkeep does not require annual staining and waterproofing. The most elaborate of all shade structures is to build out the roof of your house into a covered patio. A shingled structure running the entire length of the house adds shade and value to your home.
Last but certainly not least we come to lighting, the element that makes things pop, the ahhhhhhhhh factor. LED lighting gives homeowners unlimited abilities with color and ambiance of which most LED lights are now “smart” lights and can be controlled from smart devices such as your smart phone or home automation device. Dimmable and programmable these are a favorite among homeowners with pre-programmed automation “dusk” settings. Many homeowners are also adding gas and electric space heaters to their backyard to be able to enjoy year round when the temperatures start to drop.
The bottom line is homeowners are putting an awful lot of time and money into creating the perfect backyard oasis, so it’s no surprise that they are willing to go great lengths to get as much bang for their buck and utilize as much space as possible at the same time increasing the value and appeal of their backyard.
Let’s make a big splash with energy savings.
If you like money, please keep reading! Owning and operating a pool can have a huge impact on your homes electrical consumption. In My lifetime I have never witnessed energy rates go down and I don’t expect them to every go down. What I do expect is the utility rates to increase annually. The old Standard single speed pool pump is a thing of the past, although they have been in use in the pool and spa industry for decades, being the least expensive of pumps, they are also the loudest and cost the most amount of money to run every day averaging in some cases $2000 dollars a year to run 8 to 12 hours every day on a single speed. Imagine driving your car everywhere you go with the gas pedal smashed to the floorboard. You are going to waste a lot of gas.
A single speed pool pump is the gas guzzler of pool equipment consuming huge amounts of electricity every day. It only has one speed, pedal smashed to the floorboard. Although you and your car might be in a hurry to get somewhere, your pools water is in no hurry to get thru the filtration cycle. This is what we pool professionals call a turnover rate. The turnover rate is defined as the amount of time it takes all of the water in your pool to go thru the filter. However not all of the water is passed thru the filter in a single turnover. The filtered water is returned to the pool where it mixes with unfiltered water. This substantially increases the time and number of turnovers needed to filter ALL the water in your pool. FOUR turnovers per day are what is required by many local health codes on commercial pools. Weather you get there in 6 hours or 16 hours the results are the same, so why rush it.
The Variable Speed pool pump is a modern marvel. It was introduced to the pool and spa industry in the early 2000’s. Unlike the old induction motors of single speed pump motors, variable speed pumps use a TEFC (totally enclosed fan cooled permanent magnet motor. This is the very same type of motor used in today’s modern electric vehicles. These new motors are computer controlled and allow the user to dial in the most efficient speed and flow rate for the pools application. As you may have read in prior blogs no two pools are the same, no two pools have the same hydraulic characteristics. By running the pump at a lower speed, you are reducing the work the motor does, reducing the amount of electricity it consumes.
The golden rule of hydraulics is “slower is better”. Running the pump at a lower speed allows the hydraulic system to run more efficiently, produce less friction, runs quieter, the pump lasts longer. In most cases you will see an annual savings of 75%-90% on your pool pumps electrical consumption. A variable speed pump will greatly improve your pools filtration. The performance of your pool filter improves when water flows thru it more slowly, this increases the opportunity for particle removal. This will translate into less filtration time even at a lower speed leading to even more energy savings. We achieve this determining factor by performing an energy audit to show you exactly how much money you are going to save by installing a variable speed pool pump on your pool. Your average return on investment is above 400% over 5 years.
In many states as it is the case in California they have adopted energy-efficiency regulations regarding the sale and installation of inefficient, costly-to-operate pumps and motors. The California Energy Commissions “Appliance Efficiency Regulations” (Title 20) prohibit the sale and installation of singles speed residential pool filtration pumps or replacement motors with a capacity of one total horsepower or above.
To the homeowner this means basically if you have more than ½ horsepower pump it’s now become illegal to replace that motor or pump with an equal rated replacement motor or pump. You are required to replace the pump or motor with a new energy efficient variable speed pump. Federal regulations are set to start in the year 2020 that all pool pumps must be variable speed. A single speed motor or pump is a dying breed.
If you need a new pump, and if you don’t already have a variable speed pump believe me when I say YOU NEED THIS PUMP, or simply want to reduce your energy costs, this is a great time to purchase a variable-speed pump or motor. Qualifying products can yield large rebates from utility companies of up to $1000 dollar, also a large majority of manufactures of these variable speed pumps are also offering homeowners of residential pools that purchase a new variable speed pump additional consumer rebates of up to $100 dollars.
Key benefits of installing a variable speed pump
Tips for Installing a variable speed pump:
Call a professional! Professional pool technicians are trained and understand your pools hydraulic system, they know the best settings and programming for the most energy efficiency, replacing an existing pool pump with a variable speed requires electrical and hydraulic knowledge, this is not something you want to try and do yourself. These are expensive highly complex pieces of equipment and in most cases in order to qualify for manufacturer's warranty and utility rebates these pumps must be installed by a licensed certified aquatic equipment installer. Need a hand? Want more info? Give us a call today.
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