Swimming Pool Blog
by Sean Griffin, December 7, 2011
Energy Saving Pool Pumps
When it’s time to swap out that old pool pump or you’re just fed up with paying high energy bills to operate your swimming pool, consider two-speed and variable speed pump replacement options that can save you big bucks! You will want to examine your options to most effectively reduce the power consumption from your swimming pool pump. With advanced motor drive technology and local mandates dictating energy consumption being consistently updated, you will want to make sure your new pool pump meets your expectations as well as local regulations. Even single speed pumps with energy-efficient motors will draw fewer Amps than a “Standard” motor which directly affects the monthly bill. Upgrading your swimming pool pump and adjusting run times can be a simple method of saving some money at the pool equipment. The original cost of any energy efficient option will be slightly higher in price but you could see a return on your investment in as little as one pool season!
When determining the best replacement pool pump you will want to review the current horsepower, desired/necessary flow rate, electrical restrictions, and the water returns the pump will be supplying. A variable flow pump capable of 3HP high flow rates might not be suitable for a stand-alone pool structure under 20K gallons with 1.5” piping. If you have multiple pumps that have multiple functions on a pool and spa combination you are a better candidate for variable flow or variable speed pumps.
2 Speed Pool Pumps
A two speed pump will have two different horsepower capabilities. One high speed horsepower and one low speed that usually operates at 1/8 of a horsepower. On low speed the workload on the motor will be significantly less and the amp draw required to turn the motor will be far lower. The resistance, or friction, against moving the water at a lower flow rate, as well as hydraulic pressure, decreases which reduces friction loss and also reduces operating noise. To ensure the water quality remains crystal clear make sure to lengthen the run time of a 2 peed pump so the entire body of water is turned over and filtered daily. Every pool is slightly different but in some cases the higher more energy consuming horsepower can be reserved for only Backwashing or vacuuming procedures. The goal is to run your pump as little as possible while still filtering every gallon daily. Some 2 speed pumps will have a toggle switch on the end cap of the motor to allow the user to go from high to low. You can also wire any two speed pool pump to a mechanical or digital time clock or incorporate it into an automated system. Certain control boards may need a 2 speed relay and an additional common line (white) which will be needed to accompany 2 hot lines and the grounding line when wiring up the electrical. To better gauge if you would benefit from having a duel speed pump you may want to consider some of the following:
Do you have a pool cleaner that relies on the main pool pump?
If you have a swimming pool cleaner that does not run off of a booster pump and solely depends on the suction or pressure supplied by the main pool pump it may need the higher horsepower to operate. If you rely heavily on one of these pool cleaners you will want to ensure optimal control of the pump through a time-clock or automated system.
Do you use a pool heater for the purpose of maintaining a desired temperature?
All pool heaters need the correct water pressure/water flow to operate. When the pump is on low speed the heater will not operate. If you mainly use your pool heater for “on-command” needs you still might be a candidate for a 2 speed pump.
Do you use or planning on using Solar Panels?
The lift needed to force water up through the solar paneling may not be sufficient when your pool pump is on low speed. Optimal use of solar paneling will require water be circulated through the paneling when temperature sensors determine it is best. Solar paneling is best controlled through automation.
Variable Speed Pool Pumps
Variable speed pool pumps and Variable Flow pool pumps have the highest capabilities of reducing energy consumption. Many of these state of the art pumps will have programmable controls mounted directly to the motor itself and all multi-speed pumps can be tied into a timer or automated control system. Variable Speed pumps will have multiple Speeds…the most common in the pool industry have 4 different operating speeds for pool, spa, solar heating, or water feature application. Variable Flo can fine tune the RPM’s to achieve a specific Flow rate. Using only the necessary power to move only the necessary amount of water at an optimal speed can save up to 90% on your annual energy bill. You can get an actual price figure using a pool pump savings calculator.
Even if you determine that your pool is not a good candidate for a multi-speed or two speed pool pump newer model pumps will also be offered with an energy efficient motor. The internal design will draw less Amps and you can expect a return the price difference in 2-3 pool seasons.