Drowning in Electric Bills: How pools and hot tubs can drain your wallet

Summer can get hot, and for many, when the indoor air conditioning isn’t quite cutting it, going swimming is the solution. Aquatic fun in the sun is a staple during the hottest months of the year. Just like A/C units, however, pools can crank up an electric bill rather quickly. The same goes for hot tubs. While having outdoor water features can be quite fun, they end up costing much more than just the price tag they were purchased for. Pool pumps can cost a household as much as $2 a day, and the operation of a hot tub is basically the cost of running another hot water heater.

Just because these water features come with a bill doesn’t have to make them luxury items. Orange County REMC offers several solutions for keeping your electric bill down even as the temperatures outside, and in your hot tub, go up.

The first opportunity that will help members control cost is through the Energy Management Program. This program involves the installation of a switch that allows Orange County REMC to remotely operate a house’s pool pump during peak times when demand for energy is high (it can also be attached to a central air conditioner or a heat pump). The switch is used when a shortage of power during a long stretch of hot or cold weather, when many members are using large amounts of power, causes a peak energy time. This can cause Hoosier Energy, Orange County REMC’s energy provider, to have to purchase energy on the volatile energy market, raising costs for consumers. The switch sends a signal to the appliance, and for up to three hours, the appliances are either turned off, or are cycled for brief 15-30-minute periods each hour, depending on the appliance type, effectively reducing the energy demand during this period when it is the most costly for both members and the electric provider. Further details about how this system works, and how it can benefit your household, are available here.

Another way for members to lower their electric bills is by signing up for the Time of Use program. This involves using electricity when it is the least expensive, during off-peak hours of the day. By installing a time clock, you will be able to run a pool pump or heat a hot tub during off-peak hours, like at night, which will save you money. Learn more about this program here.201208GRAPHICPoolCover

Finally, Orange County REMC members qualify for free Energy Audits. This is where an energy auditor goes to a member’s house and performs multiple tests to determine how a household can save money. In terms of outdoor pools and hot tubs, some suggestions from the auditor might be to lower the setting on your pool heater (if applicable) or to purchase a solar cover to keep out bugs and keep in heat. Hot tubs can also be made more efficient at keeping in heat if they are well lined and insulated.

Some final tips that can be recommended for pools is to run the filters less during mild weather, as algae is more likely to grow during hot, sunny days.


Please contact Orange County REMC with any questions on how you can save money through any of these programs.


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