How can we run our swimming pool more efficiently?

“After our tour of your house you mentioned that you could tell us how to run our swimming pool more efficiently and cheaply. 

We have a pool which guzzles electricity 75,000 Ltrs approx.

However, our total roof area is 220Sq Mtrs   Its not all usable.

North Facing – 52.5 Sq Mtrs

West Roof – 85.0 Sq Mtrs and 15.0 Sq Mtrs

East Facing – 34.1 Sq Mtrs

Usable for Solar approx. 186.6 Sq Mtrs North and West Facing.

Occupants in the house – 4/5

4 Bedrooms

Average daily kWh use – 33.33"

Some observations

My house gets 1270 mm of rain a year, or about 1270 litres a square metre of roof.  All that’s safe to drink and is used for drinking, cooking, showers and the house is disconnected from mains water and I’m free of fixed water and sewer charges

If yours also gets 1270 mm of rain a year the total water harvestable from your roofs is about 220 x 1270 = 280,000 litres of water a year.  Dividing that total by your current pool water consumption of 70,000 litres, your roof offers your pool – for free, every year - four times what you pay to put into it from mains water.


  • Turn your pool into a pond and ditch the pump, chlorine
  • Replace existing pump with a variable speed pump or other more efficient pump
  • Direct the rainwater straight to the pool from the downpipe(s) after a first flush device to exclude roof dust, debris

As for the pool to pond option this is strongly promoted by Ku-ring-gai Council which has a pools to ponds program. The Council’s website says:

“If you have an unwanted or unused swimming pool sitting in your backyard this could be the program for you. Why not join the more than fifty other Pool to Pond converts and go with an eco-friendly, cost-effective alternative that promotes biodiversity?

We have been assisting local residents to convert their unwanted swimming pools into ponds since 2007 by supplying native fish, aquatic plants and technical advice for the conversion.”


01 Save up to $1,000 on your electricity bill by switching off the pool pump and filter.

02 Enhance your household sustainability by reducing toxic chemical use and providing a source of clean water for garden irrigation.

03 Free up your time because maintaining a pond, unlike a swimming pool, is not expensive or time-consuming.

04 Be a useful educational resource for kids - eg. dip netting to collect a range of aquatic wildlife.

05 Promote biodiversity in your own backyard.

06 Potentially become the custodian of a species of threatened native fish by using your pond as a biobank.

The conversion is reversible.

·       A converted swimming pool is essentially a rainwater tank without a lid

·       Switching off the pool pump and filter can easily save you up to $1,000 annually on your electricity bills

·       The conversion is reversible

·       A pond enhances household sustainability by reducing toxic chemical use while providing a source of water for garden irrigation

·       Water quality is well within government-mandated recreational standards

·       Mosquitoes are not a problem

·       Maintaining a pond is not expensive or time-consuming

·       You can promote biodiversity in your own backyard

Contact us for more information P 9424 0000 E W

There is a useful fact sheet, too.

There are companies which offer pool to pond services such as this one in Victoria, Natural Swim Pools.  The website says:

“The water is treated biologically, without the use of chlorine and chemicals. The water passes thought the sand filter beds, where aerobic and anaerobic bacteria live ready to attack single cell algae. The regeneration zone has plants that feed on the nutrients, starving the food source that algae live off. Algae is not harmful and is a naturally occurring fact, just like in nature.”

And there’s another, BioNova, which is referred to in my fact sheet about ponds, here.

As for the pumps and first flush device: you saw those on the tour and information is in my book, Sustainable House.

A good, established pump business will have good advice on energy efficient pumps and there are many around Sydney.

Good swimming.

Oh, and low bills, too!

Do stay in touch and let us know how you go, please.