With over 10 million residential pools in the United States, swimming is a favorite pastime of kids and adults alike.
As you perform routine pool maintenance, do you ever stop to wonder how your pool water is filtered and sanitized?
A single-speed pool pump works alongside other pool equipment to keep your water clean and sanitized. Single-speed pool pumps run continuously, constantly pumping and filtering the water.
While this might sound like a good thing, it's actually hurting both the environment and your wallet.
New legislation from the Department of Energy (DOE) will soon change the way your pool pump operates.
Keep reading to learn when and why you need to replace your single-speed pool pump before the summer heat arrives.
Hidden Pitfalls of a Single-Speed Pool Pump
Sometimes, too much of a good thing isn't good. That's the case when it comes to running your pool pump and equipment 24/7.
As the name suggests, single-speed pool pumps run at one single speed. Set to run using the motor's total horsepower (THP), single-speed pumps continuously filter, sanitize and heat your pool water.
The problem is, most pools can be sufficiently filtered and sanitized within 5 to 8 hours. Anything over that is just wasted money and energy.
Single-speed pool pumps also run very hot, burning excess energy. The motors emit a loud, high-pitched sound that's loud enough to wake the neighbors!
Your outside space is supposed to be an oasis; not a place where you have to yell over the constant humming of your pool pump.
Cost More Money to Run
While the sticker price of a single-speed pool pump might be low, the long-term cost is much greater than most pool owners realize.
Running a single-speed pool pump vs a variable-speed pump (more on these later) can increase your electric bill by as much as 72%.
Damages Plumbing and Other Pool Equipment
If you've ever seen the effects of water erosion in nature, you know how powerful it can be.
Imagine water rushing through your pipes and delicate pool equipment all day long. Over time, this high level of water pressure can wear away at the plumbing. It can also damage the internal mechanisms of your equipment.
Because single-speed pool pumps aren't adjustable, there's no way to control this steady stream of water.
This also negatively impacts the filtration process. As the water passes through at a high rate of speed, it's difficult for the filter to grab debris, particles, and other contaminants.
A slow flow rate is best for efficient filtration, which is something you can't achieve with a single-speed pool pump.
Why the DOE is Getting Involved
You might be wondering why the DOE cares about what type of pool pump you use.
In an effort to achieve more energy-efficient ways of doing just about everything, pool pumps are next on the list.
Starting on July 19, 2021, the DOE will require that all dedicated purpose pool pumps (DP3) meet certain energy-efficiency criteria. While this may not impact all single-speed pool pumps, you'll need to check yours to remain compliant.
Pool Pump Requirements Explained
This new standard affects all pool pumps that use hydraulic horsepower (HHP) and have a rating of 2.5 or higher.
Not sure how to calculate your pump's HHP? It's 50% of the motor's total horsepower (THP).
For example, if you have a single-speed pool pump with a 5 horsepower motor, the HHP rating would be 2.5. This pump, and all others like it, will need to be replaced or upgraded.
Certain pool pumps are exempt from this new change. If your pool or spa run on any of the following pumps, you won't be directly impacted by the DOE's new guidelines.
- Pumps with 3-phase motors
- Rigid electric spa pumps
- Storable electric spa pumps
- Cartridge-filter and integral sand-filter pool pumps
- Waterfall pumps (if they operate 30 feet or above the head with a max RMP of 1,800)
If you can't determine whether or not your pool pumps outlawed, check with a professional.
Why Variable-Speed Pumps are Better
Now that you've determined your single-speed pump is illegal, you're probably curious about your options.
There are two upgrades you can make: a dual-speed pump and a variable-speed pump.
While dual-speed pool pumps are an improvement from single-speed, their still not the most efficient choice. Variable-speed pumps are hands-down the best option when it comes to cost and efficiency.
Adjustable and automated, variable-speed pool pumps are designed to run slowly, at different flow rates. The flow rate (how much water passes through the pump) is based on what type of pool equipment you have and the size of your pool.
Not all pool functions require the same level of flow rate or energy. Filtration, heating, sanitizing, and running water features all require a different level of power.
A variable-speed pump lets you adjust the speed of the water and how long it runs.
While the initial cost of a variable-speed pump might cause sticker shock, the long-term savings are well worth it.
Making the switch could save you upwards of $20 per month on your electric bill.
The Benefits of Outlawing Single-Speed Pool Pumps
Replacing a single-speed pool pump with a variable-speed pump might seem like a nuisance, but the truth is, it's a worthwhile investment for pool owners.
Here are just a few of the long-term benefits of making the switch.
Single-Speed Pool Pumps are Illegal
Not breaking the law seems as good a reason as any to replace your pool pump!
As of July 19, 2021, homeowners and manufacturers that refuse to comply with the DOE's regulations could face hefty fines.
These new guidelines apply to all existing pools and new installations. If you plan to upgrade your pool or install a new one at any time, inspectors will be checking for a pool pump that meets efficiency standards.
Hanging onto your outlawed pool pump comes with other disadvantages. In the event that your pump breaks or needs a replacement part, you'll be hard-pressed to find help.
While manufacturers are permitted to sell single-speed pumps and parts they have in stock, once the inventory is gone, it's gone for good.
That means if your single-speed pool pump breaks, you'll eventually need to upgrade to a more efficient design.
One major complaint homeowners (and their neighbors) have about single-speed pumps is how loud they are.
These outdated machines run hot and are notoriously noisy. Thanks to an enclosed motor, variable-speed pumps are virtually silent.
Variable-speed pumps take the guesswork out of running and maintaining your pool's filtration system.
As single-speed pumps run continuously, they're increasing wasted energy and your electric bill.
Variable-speed pumps automatically adjust to keep your pool filtered, sanitized, and heated with minimum effort and cost.
Many of these newer models allow homeowners to control their pool equipment through an app or digital device in the home. Now, you can choose when and for how long to run your waterfall, spa, and other water features.
Upgrade Your Pool Pump Today
With summer right around the corner, there's no time like the present to replace your single-speed pool pump.
Once you determine that your current pool pump doesn't meet the DOE's energy-efficient standards, it's time to start shopping for a variable-speed pump.
Not sure where to start?
Here are a few tips for choosing the best pool pump replacement.
Calculate the Size of Your Pool
This is the biggest determining factor when buying a pool pump. You need a pump that's large enough to handle the volume of water in your pool.
While this information is probably listed somewhere in your pool's manual, there's an easy way to figure it out.
Take the length of your pool multiplied by the width. Multiply this number by the depth of your pool and then again by 7.5. This will give you the volume in gallons.
Calculate the Flow Rate
Next, you have to calculate the flow rate of your pool, which is the volume of water that passes through the pump.
Ideally, your pump will filter the entire volume of your pool once every 24-hours.
The minimum flow rate is the volume of your pool in gallons multiplied by 1,440, which is the number of minutes in a day.
The maximum flow rate is determined by the size of your pipes. Count how many intake pipes your pool has.
For every 1.5-inch intake line, the max flow rate is 42 GPM (gallons per minute). The maximum flow rate for 2-inch pipes is 73 GPM.
Choose the Right Size Pump from the Right Distributor
Now that you have a better understanding of what your pool and plumbing can handle, you can choose a variable-speed pump.
If you need guidance, contact a professional to help determine the right size pump and horsepower for your size pool.
Consider Energy-Star Certified products that come with a 2-year warranty. Most reputable pool companies will also offer their own warranty on products and installation.
Out with the Old In with the New
The days of noisy, energy-sucking single-speed pool pumps are gone. Not only are these pumps inefficient but they're costly to both you and the environment.
By July 19, 2021, most homeowners will need to replace their single-speed pool pump with a variable-speed model.
Check out all of our pool pumps here and weigh your options.
Don't let the initial price scare you. Think of this upgrade as a long-term investment and savings.
We also carry cleaning equipment, heaters, and filter cartridges to help keep your pool clean, beautiful, and efficient.