Long gone are the days when operating a pool, spa or hot tub could cost as much as running your air-conditioning during the summer.

An experienced pool and hot tub professional can help ensure your backyard oasis is both cost effective and energy efficient with these 10 tips.

1. Look for an energy-efficient pool pump that uses less power — up to 30 percent — and can lower your energy bill. Your pool pro can help you choose the right one.

2. Automate your pump. Manually operated systems use more energy than needed. An automated system can reduce operation time as well as simplify pool maintenance.

3. Consider a solar cover for your pool, spa or hot tub that increases water temperature by absorbing and transmitting solar radiation. In addition to preventing windborne debris from entering the water, it also reduces evaporation. An uncovered pool, spa or hot tub can lose about an inch from the water level a week. Depending on size, that could be as much as 7,000 gallons of water a year!

4. Maintain a hot tub or spa temperature of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Just a few extra degrees can really save energy and money over time.

5. Clean and replace filters often for maximum energy efficiency. Dirty filters can strain your equipment and cause your pool, hot tub or spa to use excess energy.

6. Opt for a digital control system for your hot tub or spa that allows you to heat the water to a specific temperature during preset time periods. For example, set controls to 102 degrees Fahrenheit between 6 pm and 9 pm, and preset a lower temperature during the remaining hours.

7. To conserve water, have your pool tested for leaks, and fix them no matter how small they are.

8. If you have a fountain or waterfall, keep them on timers. Never run them when you aren’t around to enjoy them. This can cut both your water and energy usage.

9. Choose LED lighting over incandescent lights. Residential LEDs use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

10. Consider energy-efficient design choices, like a more shallow pool that requires less water or darker finishes and materials that heat the water faster.

Ready to be inspired? Check out this spa packed with green features.

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