Two children swimming underwater in a pool


While having a pool can be great, it can be one of the biggest silent energy suckers of all. Follow our tips to help you stop your pool being a real drain on your finances.

Energy saving tips

  1. Connect your pool pump to an economy tariff - this could cut your future running costs by around 28%1.
  2. Upgrade to an energy efficient pool pump and save up to 80% on your future pool running costs2.
  3. Regularly clear the water inlet to the pool pump to remove leaves and other objects which can impact water flow and require the pump to work harder.
  4. Keep your pool cool - the warmer your pool is the more energy and chemicals needed to combat algae growth.
  5. Use a pool cover to reduce evaporation, keep leaves and other debris out and minimise the energy needed to clean your pool.
  6. Check the running time for your pool pump with your local pool shop. Reducing its running time by just one hour a day could save up to $100 a year3.
  7. Cover a heated pool or spa with an insulated cover to reduce heating costs.
  8. Switch off the heater if you're not going to be using your pool or spa for an extended period of time.

Connect to economy Tariff 33

As pool pumps use a lot of electricity, connecting them to a cheaper tariff can help reduce the cost of running the pool.  Economy tariffs, often called Tariff 33 are cheaper than the standard flat rate residential tariffs because the power can be turned off temporarily when there is increased demand on the network. In residential areas this generally occurs between 4pm and 8pm. You’re always guaranteed a minimum of 18 hours power each day. To make sure you minimise any lost time in running your pool pump on Tariff 33 we recommend setting your timer to avoid the daily hours of 4pm and 8pm.

Pool pumps running filtration and sanitation can be connected to Tariff 33 via a standard socket outlet which makes switching easy. Your electrician will install a power point that's connected to an economy rate electricity meter. Other pool equipment such as pool heating, lights and water features can be connected to tariff 33 also but must be hardwired, rather than connected via a standard socket outlet.

To move your pool to tariff 33, contact a licensed electrician to ask them to advise what electrical and metering changes are required. If you don't already have a secondary tariff meter, a separate meter may need to be installed – your retailer will advise of any costs involved. All tariff 33 charges are listed separately on your bill so you can see how much energy your connected appliances use on that tariff.

Types of pool pumps

Swimming pool pumps work by circulating water through the pool's filtering system, mixing chemicals and sanitizing the water to keep it free of contaminants and debris like algae and bugs.

Pool pumps are available in single speed, dual speed, multi speed and variable speed models, however it's important to note that this is not an indication of the pump's energy efficiency.

Whichever type you choose, it's important to make sure your pool pump is the appropriate size for your pool so it can cycle the water and clean your pool efficiently.

  • Single speed pumps are the simplest pumps available, and often the most affordable to purchase. However, by running at a constantly high speed, they can require a lot of energy and can be relatively noisy.
  • Dual speed or multi speed pumps can be set to run at different output levels but this has to be done manually. Running the pool pump at lower speeds can mean you need less energy to run it, but it may need to run for a longer period.
  • Variable speed pumps can also run at different output levels, but can alter their speed automatically in order to deliver the greatest energy efficiency. You also have the option to adjust the speed levels manually, however please understand that if you set your variable speed pump to constantly run on high speed it will use more electricity.

While variable speed pumps are commonly considered to be the most energy efficient, there are several models of single speed and dual speed pumps available which are also highly energy efficient.

Pool pump star ratings

When buying a new pool pump, check the energy rating label. These labels provide a comparative assessment of the appliance's energy efficiency and typical annual energy usage (in kilowatt hours per year).  From this, you can calculate the annual running cost by multiplying the energy consumption on the label by the tariff rate.

Ratings are currently only applied to pool pumps on a voluntary basis, which means pool pump suppliers can register their pool pump models and attach an energy rating label if they pass the testing requirements.

For more information, visit the Energy Rating website.

Start saving energy and money with the right pool temperature

Generally, the hotter your pool is the more cleaning and chemicals are needed due to increased algae growth.

By monitoring your pool's temperature, you can save energy and money. Set your pool heating system to the lowest temperature that is comfortable. Lowering the water temperature will reduce the running time of the heating system and save you money. As a guide, exercise or fun activities in the pool are comfortable at 24-28°C degrees.  If you have a spa, is recommended that you set your temperature at 34-38°C

If you have a heat pump or gas fired heating system, set your thermostat to a lower setting to save even more.

Turn the temperature down or turn the heater off completely when you know your pool won't be used for several days or if you're going away on holidays. It's a myth that it takes more energy to heat a pool back up to a desired temperature than you save by lowering the temperature or turning off the heater.

Solar pool heating

The sun's energy is the most cost-effective way of heating your swimming pool at home as the heat source is free.

However, solar pool heating requires a pump to circulate the water from your pool via the pool heating pipes (generally installed on your roof) and then back into your pool. Also, heating your water can increase your filtration needs, further increasing running costs.

Heating your pool with solar can raise the temperature of your pool by around 6°C, depending on the climate and other factors.

It's best to use a pool cover with solar pool heating to minimise heat loss and help your solar operate more efficiently. This is especially the case in the cooler winter months.

Talk to a professional

Speak to your swimming pool professional to help you find the best solution to save energy and reduce your pool electricity costs. Contact the Swimming Pool and Spa Association (SPASA).

To find a registered pool technician or learn more about energy efficiency and pools, contact a pool industry association.

Important information

  1. Based on comparing notified prices for Tariff 11 with Tariff 33, effective 1 July 2021.  Refer to your retailer for pricing differences between standard tariff and economy tariffs.
  2. Based on a 350W 8-Star rated pool pump compared to a 1.1kW fixed speed rated pump running 6 hours per day for 365 days per year.
  3. Based on a 1 kW pool filter on notified prices for Tariff 11, effective 1 July 2021.