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I have been hearing a lot of talk about new Pool Cover Legislation that is supposed to be coming out next year (2012). I haven't been able to find anything concrete myself, and I'm not sure if it will be regional, but the rumors seem to indicate that there will be some legislation that says you MUST use a pool cover OR have at least 70-odd % of your energy coming from solar.

 

Does anyone know where this is coming from, or have any official information about this (or anything that sounds similar)?

 

I would love your help and feedback! Thanks in advance!

 

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I believe you are referring to the 2012 International Swimming Pool and Spa Code where in Section 303 on Energy in sub-section 303.4 Covers it says

 

303.4 Covers.  Heated pools and inground permanently installed spas shall be provided with a vapor retardant cover.

Exception: Where more than 70 percent of the energy for heating, computed over an operating season, is from site-recovered energy such as from a heat pump or solar energy source.

 

You can read more about this in this article.  Note that a cover does not mean only a safety cover and can be a solar cover (e.g. clear or blue bubble-type) or a thermal cover (e.g. thin or insulating opaque).

 

I think that they are basically just trying to avoid the wasted energy of gas heating uncovered pools in cooler areas.  Note that in places like Arizona, the pool heating comes from the sun without the need for additional heating systems (not even solar panels) so would meet the exception clause.  Any pool with solar panels or even using a heat pump for most heating would be exempt.

Richard, 

Thank you! This is exactly what I was looking for...at least I'm pretty sure it is. 

I think it is a great idea and it will make a BIG difference in the energy and water consumption for pools everywhere. Thanks again!



Richard A. Falk said:

I believe you are referring to the 2012 International Swimming Pool and Spa Code where in Section 303 on Energy in sub-section 303.4 Covers it says

 

303.4 Covers.  Heated pools and inground permanently installed spas shall be provided with a vapor retardant cover.

Exception: Where more than 70 percent of the energy for heating, computed over an operating season, is from site-recovered energy such as from a heat pump or solar energy source.

 

You can read more about this in this article.  Note that a cover does not mean only a safety cover and can be a solar cover (e.g. clear or blue bubble-type) or a thermal cover (e.g. thin or insulating opaque).

 

I think that they are basically just trying to avoid the wasted energy of gas heating uncovered pools in cooler areas.  Note that in places like Arizona, the pool heating comes from the sun without the need for additional heating systems (not even solar panels) so would meet the exception clause.  Any pool with solar panels or even using a heat pump for most heating would be exempt.

How does a heat pump quality.  They consume a lot of electrical energy!

Richard A. Falk said:

I believe you are referring to the 2012 International Swimming Pool and Spa Code where in Section 303 on Energy in sub-section 303.4 Covers it says

 

303.4 Covers.  Heated pools and inground permanently installed spas shall be provided with a vapor retardant cover.

Exception: Where more than 70 percent of the energy for heating, computed over an operating season, is from site-recovered energy such as from a heat pump or solar energy source.

 

You can read more about this in this article.  Note that a cover does not mean only a safety cover and can be a solar cover (e.g. clear or blue bubble-type) or a thermal cover (e.g. thin or insulating opaque).

 

I think that they are basically just trying to avoid the wasted energy of gas heating uncovered pools in cooler areas.  Note that in places like Arizona, the pool heating comes from the sun without the need for additional heating systems (not even solar panels) so would meet the exception clause.  Any pool with solar panels or even using a heat pump for most heating would be exempt.

John T. Salvo said:

How does a heat pump quality.  They consume a lot of electrical energy!

 

That is a good point, but heating from gas or direct electric heating is less efficient than a heat pump depending on the coefficient of performance (COP).  The COP is the factor by which the heat pump is more efficient than direct heating and usually this is around 3-4 though depends on temperature of the heat sink (air or ground).  So a heat pump will usually heat a pool with 1/3rd the amount of energy compared to direct heating.  Also, solar panels are not free energy since they require a minimum flow rate so a large number of panels and long runs requires a larger pump (or higher speed on a variable speed pump) and that uses more energy.  So they probably figure that on average, solar and heat pumps are both much better than direct heating so would relieve the requirement for a cover.

 

Where electricity is a lot more expensive than gas for the same energy content, then a heat pump isn't as economical, but it still technically uses a lot less energy.

 

I would think that a solar cover should be used whenever ANY external heating is done to the pool regardless of source (except for direct sunlight on the pool itself) since it will always be more efficient regardless of the type of heating that is used.

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