Choosing the right energy efficient variable speed pool pump.

5 minute read

Pool pumps are not sexy pieces of equipment, trendy robotic pool cleaners usually stand high on the podium for their “features”. But money talks and the costs that can be saved with upgrading to an energy efficient variable speed pump are considerable!

In this article we will cover -

  1. What is a variable speed pool pump?
  2. Different types of pool pumps
  3. Cost savings
  4. Energy consumption
  5. Reducing noise
  6. Summary

If your building a new pool, or it's literally a ringing sound from the back shed screaming for an upgrade, choosing an energy efficient pump that will serve as the heart of your pool’s circulation and filtration system should be one of your most important decisions. Try and avoid the cheapest pumps as these are usually “entry level” with little to no energy efficiency features.

Tip: Make the upfront investment for the more expensive pump and reap the savings down the track in reduced energy costs!

Ask the pool builder for a sharp price to upgrade to a variable speed pump when constructing your new pool, or drop down to your local pool shop to see one and understand the true savings to be made, while standard pumps are nearly a third of the price, their extra features and long-term energy savings often make variable pumps a much better option. Pool automation can also work closely with variable speed pumps to get the most efficiency!

What is a variable speed pump and why should we consider one?

While this guide is primarily about variable speed pumps, it’s important to understand the alternatives. When considering a new pool or even replacing your existing pool pump, you're probably wondering which type pool pump will best meet your needs. Great question! Here are a few points to consider when choosing the right energy efficient variable speed pool pump.

Single Speed Pumps, the no-frills option!

Single speed pumps are your traditional pool pump and have been in use for decades. Once turned on, it runs at a constant speed. These style of pumps are easily the best priced in the market but are heavily inefficient. Single speed pumps are known as the most expensive appliance in most Australian homes! Wow!

Fact: While also running at that high speed, comes noise These also have a tendency to be significantly louder than variable or even two-speed pumps.

Dual Speed, slightly better efficiency, still not the best option.

Dual (or two speed) pumps are the middle of the range with pool pump efficiency, the two speeds can be manually chosen to suit the demand. Low speed would be for the daily operation of the pool, while high speed for more demanding requirements such as running a pool cleaner, backwashing or vacuuming the pool

The lower speed on a dual pump can save you a bit of electricity because you won’t always have to have your water moving at a high rate of circulation, but each application is different and many pools will have different hydraulic requirements, so the two presets may not be the best option, either too little or too much power, which defeats the principal.

Dual Speed Pool Pump

Variable Speed Pumps, the new kid on the block!

Unlike the inefficient single and two-speed pumps, variable speed pumps allow the user to "adjust and set" the exact flow rate they need for their pool allowing them to capitalize on the golden rule of pool circulation: slower is better. Variable speed pumps are an entirely different product compared to their power-hungry cousins.

Having that control over your pumps performance and efficiency is a huge advantage to the operating costs and makes it a much more economical choice. while the variable speed pumps have only been out for a few years now, but they typically outclass both single and double speed pumps.

Tip: The facts are proven and the return on investment is significant!

Variable speed pump

 

Types of Pool Pumps

Single Speed Pumps

These pumps are typically made with an induction style electric motor and are capable of only a single speed.

Dual Speed

These pumps are typically made with an induction style electric motor and are capable of only two speeds.

Multiple Speed

Generally, these pumps are made with an induction style electric motor but are capable of a number of fixed speeds. During installation, the installer will set the pump to a preferred speed often taking into consideration the recommended speed in the manufacturers brochure.

Variable Speed

These pumps are generally made with permanent electric magnet motors allowing them capability to operate at any number of speeds within their range. This capability is provided through the attachment of a variable speed drive controller and allows the pump owner to customise the programming of speed and flow for different applications of use.

 

Where the savings count!

Because variable speed pumps offer a much wider array of settings, they allow you to run your pool at optimum speed or the lowest speed to get the job done. This, in turn, creates less friction on your piping, filter, and accessories allowing your pool to run at a much lower energy level, as well as, less wear and tear, saving you money and increasing the lifespan of your equipment. This type of customization also allows you to program your pump to take advantage of lower rates through your electricity company when you are on off peak hours.

Buying a variable-speed pump may also qualify you for government incentives such as reduced utility rates. Power companies sometimes offer rebates to entice you to reduce your power consumption by using energy-efficient appliances and making smart choices. Local government may also offer after purchase rebates!

Tip: Check your local power company’s website for rebate information before you buy a new pool pump. You may be eligible for rebates, incentives and further information from your local council about cutting energy usage around your home - https://www.energy.gov.au/rebates

These pumps are very advantageous when it comes to savings, but one of the biggest complaints about variable speed pumps is their tendency to be much more expensive than the other types. It is important to note that the lower operating costs of the variable speed pump will greatly outweigh the energy expenses averted, a variable pump can save you minimum $400.00 annually!

Fact: Having the right pool pump can save you more than $50 a month, so it’s definitely worthwhile seeking a good variable speed pool pump!

Pool pump energy managementPool pump energy management

Lowering consumption = $$ saved!

Variable speed pumps are more efficient than both the single and dual speed pumps as they cannot adjust to the applications and requirements of each pool. With these pumps outputting maximum power all the time, it means maximum energy consumption and maximum costs!

Water filtration performs best at slower rates, the slower you can pass the water via a filter with less turbulence, the better the quality of filtration. 90% of pool operation can happen at the slowest rate (ensuring turnover is still maintained) the benefit of having a variable speed pump is that is can be adjusted in real time to meet the 10% or more requirements. Typically, pool owners who switch to variable-speed pumps recover the cost of the pump in energy savings in less than two years.

Fact: By dialing down output when high power isn’t required allows variable speed pumps to use up to 90% less energy than fixed-speed pumps.

Programming variable speed pumps can also ensure that water features, cleaners, jets and accessories are still operational while saving power when not required.

Tip: If you’re looking to lower your power costs, replacing the pool pump with a variable speed option is so much easier than convincing your family to spend less time binge-watching their favorite TV series!

Killing the noise

Single-speed and dual-speed pumps always operate at the preset programmed speed. And with higher speeds comes louder operating noise that can lead to be irritating guests and your neighbours.

However, a variable speed pool pump allows you to adjust the speed and power of the pump; thus, in turn, will also reduce your pump’s noise level, you can simply program a lower speed setting and the operation noise of the pump will also reduce creating a more enjoyable experience for all.

With a reduced noise this will also allow for quiet operation at night, during off-peak power, so you’ll save money, clean your pool, and avoid a confrontation with grumpy, sleep-deprived neighbors.

Fact: Variable-speed pumps can run as low as 600 RPM. The lower RPMs significantly reduce the operating noise of the motor, making the variable-speed pump a far quieter option than standard single-speed pumps!

Quiet Pool Pump

The Verdict

Obviously, when a person dives into a swimming pool, the swimmer expects the pool water to be clean and refreshing, but the gloss can wear thin quickly if the costs associated with the pool are sky high.

Industry leading variable speed pumps are -

https://www.astralpool.com.au/products/vironpumps/vironxt

https://www.zodiac.com.au/flopro-e3-10hp-pump

https://davey.com.au/powermaster-pool-pump.html

https://www.hayward-pool.com/shop/en/pools/ecostar-i-pheco--1

As many of the points above stated, its a smart change to a variable speed pump and that many eco pumps also have longer warranties, up to three years as standard for some brands, whereas many conventional pool pumps come with a standard one-year warranty. This offers some valuable piece of mind when investing in your backyard pool.

Tip: When choosing a pool pump, remember that the more stars on the label, the more efficient the pump.  

Energy efficient pool pump

Ultimately, having a swimming pool at your house is about fun and relaxation. If your pool pump, or any part of your pool system is adding financial stress to your life, then it's time to make a chance as quickly as possible!

Contact us for more information on Variable Speed pumps!

Post author:

Tom Hintze

Head of eCommerce & Operations at Mr Pool Man,
Co-Founder at Water TechniX

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