I often get asked this question by my customers. After all, they have had their single speed pump for years, possibly even the entire life of their pool. Sometimes they have the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. Well, the pump may not be broken, but you as the homeowner could be going for broke with unnecessary energy consumption which leads to oh-so-high electric bills. The simplest way I answer them is by actually asking a question, “Do you like saving money?”. If their (or your) answer is “yes”, then a variable speed pump (VSP) just might be the right pump for you. Especially if it is used as your main circulation pump. And extra especially if it is required by law, like it is here where I am in California.
What is a Variable Speed Pump?
Variable speed swimming pool pumps do just that: run at varying speeds. What do I mean by “speeds”? Well, your old single speed pump runs on 3,450 revolutions per minute (RPMs) every time it is running. We will call this a super high speed. These pumps draw more power than is needed and waste energy. With a variable speed pump (VSP), it can be programmed to run at a variety of RPMs, much lower than that of a single speed pump. Lower RPMs=Less Energy=Less Money. Ca-ching!
Technology is always advancing. From smartphones to smart cars to smart homes. It seems everything is becoming better functioning, more intelligent and can save us time and money. Think of a VSP as a “smart swimming pool pump”. Single speed swimming pool pumps are old technology. They use an inefficient induction motor which guzzles lots of energy. In a variable speed pool pump, it uses a permanent magnet motor. These types of electric motors use permanent magnets in addition to windings which allow for a more efficient machine.
If it is important to you to keep up with the times, you most likely already have a variable speed pool pump and are reaping the savings, among its other features and benefits. Let’s talk about some of those features and benefits.
More Peace and Quiet
A single speed pump operating at full speed, since this is the only option for a single speed pump, emits a noise level of 65-90 decibels. This would be approximately from 2-3 feet away. To put things into perspective, some other things with 90 decibels are heavy traffic, a window air conditioner, shouted subway conversation and a power lawn mower! May I have some ear plugs, please?
Because of the totally enclosed, fan cooled motor design (TEFC) of a VSP it will run dramatically quieter. The sound can be reduced to 45 decibels. Did you know that light rainfall has an approximate decibel level for 50? Ahhhh…the tranquility of it all.
Because we are running the VSP longer on a lower speed, our water health will improve. Our chemicals will work longer, not only keeping the swimming pool safe, but helping the water stay clear. Speaking of clear, the water is filtered better, which also catches more dirt and debris from your swimming pool. Since single speed pump owners tend NOT to run their swimming pool pump long enough to attempt to save money, they are more likely to develop problems with their swimming pool, such as algae. This is less likely to happen the more circulation you have.
Longer Lasting Equipment
Because of the reduction in flow rate (the gallons per minute running through your equipment lines), we also have a reduction in pressure. This puts less strain on your plumbing, filter and any other pieces of equipment you may have. Variable speed pumps tend to need less maintenance because the magnetic motor converts the voltage into 3-phase power. More power at less energy (force).
Dollar, Dollar Bills, Ya’ll
To me, the most important part is the increase in the pocket book. A colleague of mine had a Sta Rite Maxi Glass. This is a single speed, medium head pump. He used to run it 6 hours a day on a 30,000 gallon pool. He replaced it with a VSP which he now runs 10 hours a day. Guess how much his electric bill dropped? $70 a month! Your savings may vary, but this is a classic example of the efficiency of these pumps.
Ok, so what are some of the rebuttals I get when it comes to upgrading one's swimming pool pump pump?
“ But I Have Solar”- Great! You are obviously interested in having an energy efficient home. Why not extend it to your swimming pool equipment? We still want to save energy. Some power companies even buy back unused power, putting money in your pocket.
“But My Pump works fine”- Does it though? Even though it may be running, it does not mean it is running “fine”. It is costing you a fortune, or , you have a yucky looking pool. Doesn’t sound fine to me.
“But Variable Speed Pumps are SO Expensive”- This is probably the biggest complaint I get from my guests. And they are not wrong. If you were to go to your local swimming pool supply store and ask for a quote on a variable speed pump, your jaw would drop. They are over $1,500 …just for the pump. This does not include installation. Even your friendly pool guy who offers to give you his discount will still have you well over a grand. What if I told you that you could have a name brand–an American made name brand–Variable Speed Pool Pump delivered to your door for under $900? Well, with the newest technology made by the household name Black & Decker Variable Speed Pool Pump, you can have it all. Quality, efficiency, money savings and peace of mind. The Black & Decker VSP is not only affordable, but has an unprecedented warranty of 5 years! The other guys only offer 3 if professionally installed.
Still unsure? Check out the awesome variable speed pool pumps at Pool Parts To Go for under $1,000, including my personal favorite pump Black & Decker 2 HP Inground Variable Speed Pump here. If you have an above ground pool, they now offer an above ground variable speed pump.
I hope I have sufficiently answered your question. I will end by asking the same question I started with. “ Should you buy a Variable Speed Pool Pump?” My response, “Do you like saving money?” See you poolside!