Conserve Energy: What changes when you put in an energy efficient pool pump?

This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Pools

I am very excited to save over $1,200 per year with my new energy-efficient pool pump. We have all heard about how expensive pools can be but it has usually been in reference to cost of chemicals. Many homeowners are not aware of just how expensive their pool pump is to operate.

It is very difficult to distinguish how much of your surging power bill is from the pool pump as opposed to your Air conditioner or perhaps from your elaborate outdoor lighting solutions. An energy monitor can accurately tell you how much each of these and all of your other appliances cost to operate. So when I say I am saving over $1,200 it is because my energy monitor proved it.

But what changes with the operation of your pool once you invest in an energy-efficient pool pump? To understand this we need to review what makes the pump energy-efficient. As you research different pool pumps you will find that each manufacturer has a claim to fame that makes their pool pump more efficient than any other energy-efficient pump. My goal today is not to do a technology comparison or say which one is better. I don’t care. Common to all energy-efficient pumps is Variable Speed (VS).

A traditional 1 horsepower pump has a maximum 3,450 RPMs and that is the only speed you can use. It doesn’t matter if you need 3,450 RPMs. Some smaller pools get a 3/4 HP and some larger pools get greater than 1 HP but they are all fixed at a set RPM. VS pumps allow you, the user, to adjust the RPMs down. Reducing the RPMs reduces the amps drawn which in turn means less watts used.

Why does this matter? Well, how low can you go? VS pumps can be dialed down to less than 1,000 RPMs. The real question is, “How low should you go?” I have heard a lot of opinions from pool service companies each with their own brand of energy-efficient pool pump to sell.

How low should you go is really driven by your required GPM to turn your pool over. A typical pool should turn its pool over 2 to 3 times a day. That means you should run all of the water in your pool thru the filter 2 to 3 times every day. Now it is a basic math problem of how big your pool is and how many GPM you need to achieve that turnover. For me, I need 55 GPM to turn my pool over 2.5 times a day.

Your manufacturer should provide a conversion chart/ sheet that tells you, for example, that 1,000 RPMs is around 50 GPM. Now you have all you need to figure out “How low should you go?” Think of this as your starting point.

Very Important point. You have just established your low setting which is going to save you a lot of money. Essentially, you are adopting a ‘minimalist’ approach which is good. However, turning your pool over the required amount of time is not sufficient to fill your skimmer baskets.

You will quickly notice that the pressure is down on the pool. Your skimmer baskets need more pressure in order to collect all the ‘stuff’ that likes to float around your pool. Ignoring that is going to make your pool much more difficult to keep clean.
Energy Efficient Pool pump cycle

Solution.  Set your timer, for example, to increase to 2,750 RPMs which should be plenty to fill the skimmer basket. My pool is set to increase for 15 minutes every 3 hours. This seems to work just fine. If that doesn’t work for your pool then play around with the frequency and duration of that higher RPM. Making it 20 minutes instead of 15 minutes is not going to dramatically increase your pool as long as you have figured out your low setting. Or increasing it from 2,750 to 3,000 RPMS for 15 minutes will have little impact as well.

Let us know if you have any specific questions.


Posted in DIY. How do I, Energy Star Investments, Monitor my home's consumption Tagged with: , , , , , ,

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