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Homes With Swimming Pools Use 49% More Electricity Than Homes Without. But Is The Pool Really To Blame?

There are 5.4 million in-ground residential swimming pools in the Unites States, and, according to Opower, the homes with those pools use 49% more electricity each year than homes without. The increase in energy use amounts to about $500 per home per year.

Pools themselves are extremely energy intensive to maintain, they collectively use between 9 and 14 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, more than 11 states plus the District of Columbia , annually.

The average pool contains about 20,000 gallons of water, roughly 5,000 gallons more than the typical human will drink in a lifetime, and pool pumps use up to 2,500 KWh per year to circulate and filter it. Outside of the air conditioner, the pool pump is the largest electricity consumer in the average pool-containing home. According to the study, at the national average of 11.8 cents per KWh, a pool pump alone can add as much as $300 a year to an electric bill.

However, Opower’s investigation revealed that its not just the actual pool that accounts for the massive increase in energy consumption of homes with swimming pools.

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The average pool home is 21% larger than the average house without a swimming pool. Larger houses, by consequence of their size, are more energy intensive to heat, cool and maintain and this amounts to some of the increased energy usage. However, a comparison of similarly sized homes shows that the houses with pools still consume 42% more electricity than those without.

The main reason, it seems, is lifestyle. Homes with pools consume significantly more energy in all four seasons of the year, not just typical swimming months in the spring and summer.

Homes with pools also have 9% more children than homes without.

The most telling statistic however, is that the typical occupants of homes with pools have an income double the national average. With all this extra money, pool homes are much more likely to have extra televisions, refrigerators, and other appliances that non-pool residents can’t afford.

-Max Frankel