In 2021, most standard pool pumps were phased out as obsolete equipment, in favor of the federally mandated variable speed pool pump. The new regulations went into effect on July 19, 2021.
If you need a new pool filter pump (over 1.0 Total Horsepower), after this date, you will be required to install a variable speed pump. But that’s good news! Variable speed pumps, or VS pumps as some call them, are packed with features and benefits. In fact, the financial savings alone can rapidly pay back your cost to purchase. But the incentives don’t stop there. These are the top 5 reasons to invest in a variable speed pool pump.
1. Huge Energy Savings
Studies by the Department of Energy have shown that swimming pool pumps are one of the largest energy consumers in the home. Saving energy is good for the environment, but it’s good for your wallet, as well! Variable speed pumps save money and energy because the motor spins at lower speeds, which requires fewer amps and watts. Compared to a single speed pump, you can save 50-80% just by running the pump for longer hours each day, but at lower speeds.
The great part about variable speed pumps is that you can program your pump to use the right speed needed for your unique pool setup. Fine tune the VS pump settings to power cleaners, heaters, water features, or even attached spas to maximize your energy savings (more on that below).
2. Whisper-Quiet Operation
The permanent magnet motor of a variable speed pump runs at lower speeds, which makes less sound. You may struggle to hear a VS pump at all when it’s running at lower speeds. Even when running at higher speeds, VS pumps are so much quieter than a standard pump. Due to a difference in motor design, variable speed pumps produce 25% less decibels, about 40-50 dB, compared to 60-70 dB for standard pool pumps, all else being equal.
Bad motor bearings are the most common cause of excessive motor noise. However, VS pumps use inverter duty bearings, which are more durable and longer lasting than standard pump motor bearings.
3. Optimum Flow for Specific Tasks
Variable speed pumps give you flexibility to find the best speed for filtering, heating, cleaning, or running spas and water features. With standard pool pump motors, you have only one speed (3450 RPM) for all the functions and features of your pool. One of the largest advantages to variable speed pumps is that you call “dial in” the correct speed for a variety of needs.
Water features work best at a specific flow rate range. Likewise, lower flow rates make heating more efficient (and economical) and pool cleaners more effective. Filtration flow rates are lower than other pump functions, with enough speed to have some skimmer suction. You can program a VS pump to match your needs, and you can easily override or re-program it whenever you want. Figuring out the perfect balance will help save a lot of money each month, which we talk about in a previous blog post: Optimizing Variable Speed Pumps.
4. Better Water Filtration
Water is filtered best at lower speeds. It is easier for filter media to trap and retain small particles when the flow rate is reduced. For pools using a standard pool pump that runs all the time at 3450 RPM, there can be some amount of filter bypass, or very fine particles returning to the pool unfiltered. Lower flow rates allow your filter to work more efficiently by reducing this effect. Reduced flow also helps to extend the life of your filter media, which wears out faster under the daily force of higher flow rates. With a VS pump running nearly 24 hours per day at low speeds, your pool stays cleaner, and your water is always circulating, never stagnant.
5. Advanced Control Systems
Most standard pool pumps are controlled by a time clock or perhaps a switch on a post next to the pump. Variable speed pumps, however, include an on-board computer that replaces the old mechanical time clock, allowing you to easily step through menus to program pump speed and operation times. Many VS pumps allow the interface to rotate, and Hayward VS pumps have an adapter kit available for wall mounting of the control panel. If you’re looking for next level technology, Jacuzzi JVX pumps have a Bluetooth app for smartphone or tablet control. One of the biggest benefits of VS pumps is their compatibility with automation systems, a.k.a. pool controllers, to allow truly remote operation and full control.
In addition to all these benefits, using a variable speed pump will soon become law and a federal mandate. For more information on these new regulations, check out our previous blog post: National Variable Speed Pool Pump Law. That said, a standard or single speed pool pump (over 1 THP) is hard to find after the summer of 2021.
Indeed, there are many benefits to owning a variable speed pool pump. Installation is basically the same as connecting a standard pump, as we discuss in our Installing a Variable Speed Pump post. The main difference is that you no longer need your old time clock.
If you’re ready to make the switch, take a look at In The Swim’s full lineup of variable speed pool pumps. This year we are offering ten different VS pump models from five manufacturers, suitable for every pool size and need.
And yes! Above ground pools can also use VS pumps!