Over the past few years, I’ve been working on programs with the utilities industry and, as a pool-industry educator, I have seen many opportunities for skilled technicians and energy-conscious homeowners to become educated and prosper.

I foresee changes in how pool water will be cleaned and sanitized in the future. With these changes, new thinking in the pool and spa industry will be required. The question is: “Why is water pumped from the pool to clean and sanitize it?” I see a single-body-of-water backyard swimming pool holding between 17,000 and 25,000 gallons with a single-speed pump generating approximately $1,200* in electricity costs per year. For a booster-pump automatic pressure cleaner, add another $569* a year.

Emerging in our industry is another line of thinking that goes like this: “Put the pool filter inside a robotic pool cleaner and perhaps add the cleaner’s buddy, a solar-powered surface skimmer with a built-in chlorine dispenser.” This system results in annual electricity costs of less than $60.* It runs four hours a day and not only sweeps up debris, filters the water and skims the surface, but also sanitizes the water. This type of system may not be right for every setup or pool, but evidence shows a huge market for a low-cost pool maintenance system.

Energy saving can be part of a smart technician’s future -- a technician who is trained to perform services for robot pool cleaners, such as selling them, cleaning their filters, repairing them when needed, replacing them at the end of their life cycles, and saving valued customers money on utility bills.

Send your thoughts to [email protected].

* Note: The financial information discussed above was taken from the PG&E study of residential pools for the Title 20 small-appliance study, leading to the regulations to lower energy use by pool electrical systems.