Choosing and Installing an Efficient Inground Pool Pump

We all need a swimming pool pump if we own a swimming pool.  Think of the pool pump as the “heart” of your circulation system.  As the water is drawn from the skimmer and/or main drain, it gets pushed back through the system.  It will make multiple stops depending on what you have on your equipment pad.  Some swimming pool owners have a heater, salt system or in-line chlorinator.  All swimming pool owners also own a swimming pool filter.  This additional crucial piece of equipment is where the water gets cleaned. All the dirt and debris from our water gets captured here.

Proper circulation is super important for a clear, and more importantly, safe swimming pool.  This is because moving water is happy water.  This for a second about a swamp versus a stream.  A swamp is stagnant and therefore green and full of algae.  Whereas a flowing stream is clear.  The same concept goes for our swimming pools.  Did you know the chemicals only mix and work properly when the water is moving?  And when do we need our chemicals most? During the hottest part of the day.  

Those homeowners who try to “save money” by not running their pump long enough, or running it at night, actually find themselves spending more money on chemicals.  The main reason a homeowner might do this is because their pool pump is so expensive to run.  This tells me they have an old fashioned single speed pool pump.  Single speed pool pumps are not energy efficient.  They utilize a lot of electricity.  In fact, behind your air conditioner, a single speed pool pump is the most expensive thing to operate in your home.

The Solution

The modern technology in swimming pool pumps are variable speed pool pumps.  Unlike single speed pool pumps that operate at only 3,450 revolutions per minute (RPMs), a variable speed does just that–runs at varying speeds.  With an efficient variable speed pool pump, we run it longer on lower speeds (RPMs).  Even if we we were to run our variable speed pool pump on it’s highest setting of 3,450 RPMs, it would STILL consume less energy than your old single speed.

This is due to many factors in design.  For one, variable speed pool pumps have what is known as a permanent magnet motor instead of just using windings.  The motors are also totally enclosed and fan-cooled which helps the motor from getting hot.  Yes, friends, with a variable speed pool pump you will not only have clearer water, but save on average $50-$70 a month on your electric bill.

Choosing an Energy Efficient Pump

Energy efficient pumps all have a maximum horsepower.  This means if set to 3,450 RPMs, it would be the maximum horsepower.  Your pump size, meaning maximum horsepower, depends on a few factors.  The size of your plumbing is one.  The size of your swimming pool filter also comes into play.  Whether or not you have a spa that requires extra pressure for the jets.  If you have water features that require additional flow.  Solar panels on the roof also require a little more zoom from our pumps.  

A good rule of thumb is to oversize the pump, assuming that your plumbing and filter can handle it.  Then we dial it down. This means running the pump on a much lower speed, thus saving you money. How do we choose a variable speed pool pump with so many options out there?  Here are some things to take into consideration.

  • Brand- We want a name we know has a good reputation
  • Price- We don’t want to spend more than we have to
  • Quality- We want something that is made well and will last
  • Installation Ease- This is a factor if we are a DIY kind of person
  • Programming Ease- We obviously want to be able to operate our new pump
  • Warranty- Make sure you are covered in case there is a manufacturer defect

If you have been shopping around and think finding a pool pump with all of these features has to cost you a fortune, you have not looked in the right place.  If you were to go to your local swimming pool supply store, or even through your pool guy, don’t be surprised to see a price tag in the thousands.  But I am here to tell you that you don’t have to sacrifice quality for a great pump with all the aforementioned features we are looking for in a pool pump.  The American made, household name of Black & Decker has extended their expertise into the swimming pool industry.  You can get an energy efficient, brand name, quality pool pump for about half of what those other guys are charging. The best part?  It has ALL of the items on our list, including a bumper-to-bumper FIVE year warranty.  Check them out here.  

Installing Your New Energy Efficient Pool Pump

You will want to consult your owner’s manual, especially since we are dealing with electricity, but here are some basics for installing a new pump.

  • Make sure you have the right sized pool pump (including voltage)
  • Turn off power completely- do this at the breaker
  • Loosen the unions on your plumbing and remove the entire old pump
  • Disconnect electrical- Pay attention to where each color was connected
  • Connect new pump to power
  • Dop new pump into place
  • Connect the plumbing to the pump- Put on thread before gluing
  • Have as much straight pipe as possible in front of the pump- Leave 1.5” extra 
  • Use the programing interface to program your new pump to desired speeds, time of day and duration

Viola! You are now ready to start saving money and enjoy a crisper, cleaner swimming pool.  See you poolside!