While your swimming pool or hot tub can be a great place to unwind, you may tense up again when you get your power bill. There are a few things you can do to keep bills in check…starting with regular maintenance.

For pools, keep the pump and strainer baskets clean and backwash the filter according to the manufacturer’s recommended specifications. For hot tubs or spas, be sure to change old or dirty filter cartridges.

Take a look at the pool pump and how you operate it. Make sure the pump is properly sized by a pool professional. And remember, it’s more economical to keep the pool clean by manually removing most debris and keeping the chemistry at the right level than by constantly recirculating water. Experts suggest using a timer to operate the pump six hours a day and gradually increase the run time if needed. Heating can extend the pool season as well so if you do decide to heat your pool, consider an energy-efficient heater such as a heat pump water heater or solar pool heater. The cooler you set the temperature, the less energy you use.

To reduce the cost of operating a hot tub or spa, start with an energy-efficient model. Make sure your insulated cover is still in good condition and isn’t waterlogged. Adding a floating blanket can
decrease the amount of heat lost and for energy efficiency, set the thermostat to 96 degrees Fahrenheit during warm weather, and no higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit when it’s colder.