Swimming Pool Blog

Pool Pump and Portable Spa Energy Efficiency Standards

 Pool Pump and Portable Spa Energy Efficiency Standards
by Mike Selsor, December 02, 2010




Title 20: Pool Pump Energy Efficiency Standards 

Arizona Passes Title 20 for Swimming Pool Pump Energy Savings

                A recent bill passed by Arizona specifically targets pool pumps as the demon stealing power from the grid. The new “Pool Pump and Portable Spa Energy Efficiency Standards” will take effect Jan. 1, 2012, and will require two-speed, mulit-speed or variable-speed pumps on all residential installations with a pump size more than 1hp. What this means to the homeowner is that when they’re current pump fails they will have to buy a pump that is either energy efficient”, 2 speed or variable speed. The differences in power usage can be huge even between the same pump, one with a standard motor and one with an energy efficient motor.

On average an energy efficient pump will use about 30-45% LESS energy than that of a standard pump.  A 2 HP Pentair Whisperflo standard efficiency pump uses about 2.2 KW an hour. Depending on how much energy costs per KW hour in your area, it can cost as much as 5 dollars a day to run the pump. The energy efficient version uses about 40% less at around 1.3 KW per hour.  The difference over a season can be huge. Multiply this by the thousands of households that have pools and the reduction on the power grid becomes very clear.  Pentair has a calculator that you can use to calculate your energy savings using an energy efficient pool pump.          

Is your old pool pump, a power gremlin?

            be green!    It comes as no surprise that electricity is our number one utility that keeps us all well within the 21st century. The power grid is our only lifeline preventing us all from slipping back to the days of the horse and buggy, and candle chandeliers.  This is the main reason some states have been enacting power management ordinances and laws, namely California, Arizona, Texas and Florida. Electricity demands in these states in summer months can soar to levels that have been known to cause rolling brownouts and even blackouts. Reducing these energy demands on the grid by replacing old energy hogs with newer energy efficient technology is the main goal for most of these power hungry states. The 2 main energy consumers in a residential setting are the air conditioner, and the pool pump.

               Pool equipment manufacturer Pentair has taken strides to find technologies that will ensure their products will comply with the new energy usage standards. One of their major accomplishments recently, that can save a ton of cash per year, is the Pentair Intelliflo Pump. This being the only pump on the market to use permanent magnet technology, just like that used in the motors of a hybrid vehicle. What this means is the motor runs cooler, and uses up less electricity than the standard motors we have all known.  Different models of the Intelliflo also offer different safety and energy savings.  One model has a built in vacuum safety release system to prevent main drain entrapments. Another benefit of the Intelliflo pump is the controller that is built into the motor. It can regulate the exact GPM (Gallons per Minute) and power usage of the pump at all times. By controlling the GPM or effectively the speed of the motor you can run the pump longer, at a reduced GPM, and still filter the pool as effectively as before. While the pool or spa is in use the flow can be dialed back up to as much needed to run the spa, slides or other water features.

intelliflo energy efficient pool pump

               Variable speed pumps will use less electricity than that of a standard motor even at the same GPM output.  At 80 GPM the pump is using about 1.6 KW or 1600 watts. Dialing back the Intelliflo’s GPM’s is where you will see the true benefits of this type of pump. At 60 GPM it uses to as little as 800 Watts. That’s ¾ of the water originally pumped with a half reduction in the energy usage, this savings is due to the pump affinity laws governing the physics of hydraulics. Bringing the pump down to 40 GPM can bring the energy usage even lower to about 290 Watts.

Obviously the pool pump will need to be run for about 12-16 hours at this rate but you would still see energy savings versus running a normal energy efficient pump for 8 hours. You can even dial the Intelliflo pump way back to 20 GPM and the energy usage drops to just that of a 75 watt light bulb. Even running the system on a 24 hour basis will use up to 90% less electricity than the old induction type motors running at 8 hours using the normal 2.2 KW of a 2hp motor. Dropping the power usage from 2.2 KW of a normal efficiency pump to about 75 watts is very possible with the Intelliflo, and the savings can be as much as $1300 per year if run 365 days, even more if your pool season is short like most in the Snowbelt regions.  The benefits of this variable speed pump largely outweigh its hefty price tag, but with rebates in some states and the energy savings potential the pump could pay for itself in 1-2 years.

                Another available technology out right now has actually been out for a number of years. It is simply the 2 speed pool pump. It basically consists of a standard induction type motor that is able to be run on a lower speed and thus take advantage of pump affinity laws. They usually have a switch on the back of the motor that will control the 2 speeds, or a 2 speed timer can be installed to take advantage of the ability to lower the rpm and wattage draw of the 2-speed pump. The downside to these types of pumps is the fact that a standard motor is used in most cases, so the savings percentages are only based on a standard motors massive electrical draw. There are 2 speed energy efficient motors available, so make sure to ask for this. Using the two speed pump is going to be the cheapest option for compliance with Title 20, but it's not the pump with the most eco-gain.

California, Arizona and (coming soon) Texas pool owners must use a 2 speed, variable speed or multi-speed pump when replacing existing pumps or motors over 1 hp.

The energy savings is one key point in the war to going green, but the main and long-term benefit is the effect on the environment and greenhouse gasses. The states that mostly affect these power restrictions also have problems with pollution, a good portion of which comes from the production of electricity.  Replacing old equipment with newer green technologies is something that anyone can accomplish to do their part in cleaning up the environment. Going green at the moment is usually not a cheap prospect, but with the emergence of state energy bill rebates and as the technologies become widespread, the prices for going green will start to fall significantly. We all can do our part to ensure the oceans stay clear blue and the air we breathe fresh. How will you deal with the upcoming energy crunch? My advice is to start going green early; it can only save money in the long run.






If you would like to Guest Post on our Pool Blog ~ or for permission to repost our Pool Blog on
your website, please contact the author by the email link at the top of the page. Thank you!