3 Reasons To Get A Variable Speed Pump
This article is going to talk about three reasons why you should get a variable speed pool pump. Of course you could simplify this list simply by saying that you should get a variable speed pool pump because, well, you have to. Starting July 19, 2021 new energy efficiency standards are being introduced to the pool and spa industry that will affect every last pool from giant Olympic sized class A commercial pools all the way to simple backyard residential pools. This new protocol for "energy conservation standards for dedicated-purpose pool pumps" applies to all filtration pumps (not dedicated 1/2 RPM waterfall pumps or pressure cleaner pumps). This new ruling applies to pumps with a hydraulic horsepower rating of 0.711 and 2.5 are affected by this new law.
What is hydraulic horsepower? Hydraulic horsepower is a new unit of measurement being introduced to help make more direct comparisons between pool pumps which is something that has traditionally been difficult to do because of deceptive motor labeling practices. When converted to current motor power unit of measurements this new law will affect pumps between approximately one horsepower and five horsepower. Hydraulic horsepower can be calculated by using the formula of hydraulic horsepower (HHP) = flow (in GPM) x pressure (in PSI) divided by 1714 (conversion factor). By actually considering flow, and resistance to flow, the true potential of the pump can be known and compared to other models and brands of pool pumps. It is important to consider that this new energy conservation law does not actually stipulate that a variable speed pump be used, only that a pump meeting certain energy efficiency standards be used, and in between the lines the only pumps capable of meeting this new efficiency requirement are currently all variable speed.
So, yeah, you have to get a variable speed pump whether you want one or not. Fortunately there is a specific reason why laws are changing to require variable speed pumps and that is simply that they are such an improvement from the previous single speed design that everyone should have one. So what kind of benefits should you expect from getting a new variable speed pump? Below are the three biggest benefits that you will experience once you upgrade:
Reduced Energy Consumption - This is the heart of the matter. Variable speed pool pumps save you a ton of electricity versus single speed pumps due to the pump affinity laws which state that an electric motor turned down by half will experience a linear drop in flow rates however the amount of power the pump uses drops by eight times. This non-linear drop in power consumption versus flow means that you can turn down your motor RPM, still move an appreciable amount of water and meet the filtration requirements of your pool, while only using a fraction of the electricity that you used to use to run your old single speed pool pump. Even savvy pool owners who only ran their pump a few hours per day in order to reduce electricity costs would still save on electricity by switching to a variable speed pump. To see a video example of this you can check out this page about running a pool pump only 4 hours per day.
Quieter Operation - Single speed pool pumps are loud at the best of times due to the high speed that the motor operates. Once a pool pump starts failing it is quite common for the internal bearings to start to make noise. This takes an already loud motor and adds a high pitched screaming noise to it. If this is what you are used to from your pool pump then you are going to appreciate just how quiet new variable speed pumps are. Sure there will be times every day where your variable speed pump needs to run at high speed, or at least higher speeds, and so it will be comparable to a properly functioning single speed pump in terms of noise. However the vast majority of the day your variable speed pump should be running at lower speeds to get the most cost saving benefits. When your pump is running at lower speeds it is very quiet, and at lowest RPM speeds the pump is so quiet that you need to touch it to actually determine whether it is running or not.
Totally Enclosed Fan Cooled Motors (TEFC) - Possibly the biggest design flaw that has plagued electric pump motors is their air-cooled design. In order to dissipate the heat generated from running a large electric motor traditional pool pumps would draw air in from the bottom front of the motor and pass this ambient air over the motor windings. Unfortunately this is a major failure point for these pumps since they are susceptible to damage from dust, moisture and even things like pool chemicals in close proximity to the pump...even proximity to the ocean. Moisture, dust and salt in ambient air all contribute to early corrosion and failure of traditional pool pumps. Variable speed pumps, being totally enclosed fan cooled motors, means that ambient moisture, dust or salt will not be able to access the inside of the motor where they can cause damage and early failure.
The best reason to get a variable speed pool pump is because you have to...but you should also recognize that this is a benefit to you in the long run. Variable speed pumps run quieter than single speed pumps, they cost substantially less to filter your pool water, and they are likely to outlast single speed pool pumps due to the totally enclosed fan cooled design. In addition to all of these reasons, variable speed pumps are actually more efficient, even when running at the same RPM, when compared against traditional single speed pumps. If you are ready to start shopping for a variable speed pool pump you can start here by reading these variable speed pool pump reviews.
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