If your home has a swimming pool, your pool pump may use more electricity than any other appliance in your home — as much as three times the electricity used by your refrigerator. Many residential pools in the U.S. have 1.5-horsepower or 2-horsepower pumps that draw 2,000 watts or more. If you’re not paying attention, you may be running your pool pump for 24 hours a day — even though your pool might be perfectly clean with only 6 hours of pump operation per day.
If your pool has one of these older single-speed pumps, installing a new variable-speed pump is one of the most cost-effective energy-saving measures you can take.
The main purpose of a pool pump is to circulate water from the swimming pool through a filter. In addition, a pool pump is sometimes used to circulate water through an artificial waterfall or other so-called “features.”
For years, pool installers have specified oversized single-speed pumps — a type of pump that is inexpensive to install but expensive to operate. Many swimming pool pumps perform multiple functions, and installers traditionally sized a pump that was big enough for the most demanding task — for example, circulating pool water through a heater, energizing spot jets, or vacuuming the pool. Most of the time, when the pump is merely circulating water though the filter, it’s oversized.
A two-speed pump or a variable-speed pump does a better job of matching the speed of the pump (and its watt draw) to the task being performed. Compared to a single-speed pump, a two-speed or variable-speed pump can save tremendous amounts of energy. According to one source, compared to a single-speed pump, a two-speed pump can yield 55% energy savings, while a variable-speed pump can yield 83% energy savings.
A useful document prepared by the U.S. Department of Energy, “Measure Guideline:…