Apr 14

Variable speed pool pumps

When you want your pool to go green!

As the world goes green and the economy stays stagnate we are all looking for ways to be more energy efficient and save some money.

One common energy hog in the summer months is your swimming pool. If you have owned a pool for even one season you noticed the jump in your electric bill once that pool was opened. I want to dedicate a series of blog posts to cover energy efficiency for swimming pools and today we will start with the big one, your pool pump.

Pool Pumps

The biggest culprit eating up the kilowatts is obviously your pool pump, and changes to the pool motor can drastically affect your overall operating costs. Many customers were sold oversized pumps when they bought their pool and what seemed like a nice upgrade could be costing them hundreds of dollars a year. Pool manufacturers and retailers sometimes try to get an edge on the competition by offering 1 1/2hp and 2hp pumps in their quotes.  With these bigger pool pumps pushing more water it is pretty clear that they are going to spin that electric meter much faster as well.

One easy way to save some money on your operating costs is to put your pool pump on an automatic timer and only run it 12hrs a day.  For larger pools I do not recommend this as you will not be able to achieve to correct turnover rate to prevent algae growth and cloudy water, but for smaller pools this could be a viable option.

If you are going to run the pool only 12 hrs a day and those with large pumps usually do, you want to run the pool during the day not at night. Every year I have people who tell me they run their pool at night instead of during the day to try and save money with a lower electric rate. You need to be running your pump when the sun is on your pool and the water is warmer as this is when algae will take hold. The savings you get from the lower electric rate will be spent on additional chemicals to treat the algae sticking to your walls. Not the mention the time you will spend cleaning your pool. If you are running your pool only 12 hrs a day please run it during the day!

Variable Speed Pumps are the future


In the state of California oversized pool pumps have become such a strain on the grid that they now require by law any new pool install or pump replacement to be a 2 speed or variable speed pump. They also offer nice rebates to customers and pool builders for making the switch.

The annual savings from adding a variable speed pump to your pool are quite significant, but the higher upfront costs have made the transition from single speed motors slow for pool builders and consumers who are not bound by state law to make the upgrade.

The variable speed pumps run on a permanent magnetic motor like that of a hybrid car, as opposed to a standard induction motor that single speed pumps use. The magnetic motor design is much more energy efficient when compared to the standard induction motor. This magnetic motor allows the variable speed pump operating at the same gallons per minute (gpm) to run much more efficiently.

For some real world numbers a standard single speed induction pool pump running at 80gpm would draw approximately 2000watts or 2kW. Running a new magnetic drive motor at the same 80gpm (no performance loss) you would be drawing approximately 1.6kW! Already we are saving money without even utilizing the variable speed options.

Check out this video for a nice demonstration!

Now let’s say we operate the variable speed pump at 60gpm instead of 80gpm. Now basically what is happening is we are pushing the water through the plumbing slower which is creating less friction, less friction creates less back pressure and allows the pump motor to not work as hard thus drawing less power. So at 60gpm we are drawing about .8kW vs. the 2kW with the single speed motor. This is where the real savings come from!

So instead of getting real math heavy because really, who likes math? I am going to give you a link to a savings calculator provided by Pentair Pool Products. It will basically take your pool volume and your zip code and give you and average savings. You can also customize the numbers adding in your exact kW/hour rate, how many hours a day you run your pump, and how many months you run the pool. The savings are pretty drastic and the pump could end up paying for itself in as little as 2 seasons!

Check it out: Variable Speed Pump Savings Calculator

Pump costs

A standard single speed induction pump will cost around $500 vs. a variable speed pool pump will cost about $1500. Yes that is 3 times the upfront cost but, if you use the savings calculator you will see the average savings could be over $1,000 a year which makes it a smart investment.

So whether you are buying a new pool or upgrading an existing pool ask about a new variable speed pool pump and save some cash this summer!

Precision Pool Construction installs pool equipment by Pentair/Sta-rite Industries, as we feel it is the highest quality equipment out there. Therefore at Precision Pool this year we will be carrying the Pentair Intelliflo and Sta-rite Intellipro pumps. Click the links to learn more about these products.

Thanks for reading and once again if you have any questions you can ask in the comments below or contact me at [email protected]

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