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Thread: Pool Pump Electricity Usage - Is this normal?

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    j_m_min's Avatar
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    Talking Pool Pump Electricity Usage - Is this normal?

    Bought a house last April. My best estimate for my energy costs per month to run the pool pump is $110 per month. It is a hayward pump single speed. I could post the brand and model and hp but I don't know how relevant that is to thisi post. I don't have any details on it as to how old it is but think it is 7-10 years old. This does not include the booster pump for the Polaris that barely seems to work. If I run the booster pump, electricty use doubles. I get a graph of my weekly usage. It jumps from .5 kwh to 3 with pump to 7 with booster.

    I have had yellow algae problems, been reading your site for help and just orderded the pool testing kit. For a 25,000 I run the pump from 10 am to 8 pm every day.

    Doesn't $110 a month in electricity a month seem high for a pump running 10 hours per day? I am sure there are more efficient pumps, but I don't know really how to get started to see if my pump is just powerful because the pool size or what to do to figure out if I should just get a new variable speed pump. The Pentair intelliflo's come up as around $900. Maybe I could install it myself. THe advertisements say those pumps cost $110 a year to run. I have no idea how true this is.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Pump Electricity Usage - Is this normal?

    Welcome to TFP!

    If your pump is drawing 2.5KW, that says it's about a 2HP pump. Depending on your pool details, that may be insanely oversized. Maybe if you have a waterfall and spa you might need that large of a pump.

    For the booster to use 4KW, it would have to be close to 5HP. Something isn't right.

    Post your pool and equipment details for advice.
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Pump Electricity Usage - Is this normal?

    Ten hours a day is almost certainly way too much pump run time. You can cut your electric bill due to the pump in half by cutting that back to something more like 4 hours a day.

    A pump like the IntelliFlo is not generally worth it unless your electrical rates are very high, typically greater than $0.20/kwh, though it varies a bit depending on several things. For lower rate areas a two speed pump is generally a better bet.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Pool Pump Electricity Usage - Is this normal?

    Does the Polaris booster pump make any strange noises? You stated that the Polaris barley works. I'm wondering if it has bad bearings causing more of an amp draw. Its also possible someone put too big of a capacitor on the Polaris.
    28k gal/raised spa, IG quartzscape, WhistperFlo 2 speed B2984T,DEV60 filter,Lxi400 NG heater, Polaris 280 cleaner, DIY Chlorine injection, Build completion 7/2013

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    j_m_min's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Pump Electricity Usage - Is this normal?

    I will get the equipment details.

    But I do have a slate wall water feature. I was running it 10 hours a day to help with the yellow algae. It didn't help.

    The polaris doesn't seem to work well because it goes too fast and seems like it is always popping a wheelie. I can't slow it down. It does pick up leaves eventually ,but it more than not just blows by them. I don't know how to slow it down.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Pump Electricity Usage - Is this normal?

    The adapter that connects between the wall fixture and the polaris hose is supposed to have and adjustable vent that can be opened to let some water into the pool and slow down the Polaris to the correct speed. How this fitting is adjusted should be described in the manual.
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Pump Electricity Usage - Is this normal?

    Welcome to TFP!!

    Quote Originally Posted by j_m_min View Post
    I was running it 10 hours a day to help with the yellow algae. It didn't help.
    That is because algae is not a result of the pump running or filtration. Algae is a result of insufficient chlorine levels, which is a function of your stabilizer (CYA) level. If you are seeing algae, you need to follow the ShockLevelAndMAINTAIN Process using one of the Recommended Test Kits.

    Can you post up a full set of test results?
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    Re: Pool Pump Electricity Usage - Is this normal?

    you certainly could benefit from at least a 2 speed pump at minimum.
    Pumps are easy DIY install too. No real need to hire someone to do it if you you just a little bit handy.
    A little PVC work, and just reverse disconnecting/ connecting the wires from the old pump to the new.

    Two speed pumps generally run at 3750 RPM and 1250 RPM if I recall. Not sure your waterfall would work well at 1250 RPM. Dont know enough about your whole system to determine that.

    So, if you like your waterfall running just because you want to, and 1250 RPM wont do the trick for the waterfall, then a intelliflo or other VS pump might work well since you can adjust the flow in small increments as needed without having to go full out and sucking up the juice.

    I have a intelliflo and economically it makes no sense for me to have it, but it sure is a nice quite pump and I like the flexibility it gives me just to change the water current in the pool for visual effect. I like the scheduling features too. I circulate my pool roughly 10-12 hours a day because a lot of stuff in the air get in and I like my water clean, so I skim at 1000 rpm all that time, and in a month, that costs me about 30$ I reckon.

    EDIT: The 2 speed pump typically runs at 3750 Hi and 1725 Low respectively. Not the 1250 as I previously incorrectly mentioned. Hopefully this isn't too confusing.
    Divin Dave,
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    Re: Pool Pump Electricity Usage - Is this normal?

    At 1000 rpm my Intelliflo only uses 150 watts. At my current rate of 5.1c/Kwh it costs me an extra $6.91 per month to run the pump 24/7. My electric rate varies though, as I switch electric companies frequently because of the competitive rates in this area. Usually my summer rates are more along the lines of 8 or 9c kwh but even then it would take running the pump at 3000 rpm 24/7 to add $110 to the electric bill.
    14K Freeform Gunite w/60% Blue Quartz plaster, Quad DE filter, Intelliflo VS Pump + Booster for Cleaner, Aquacal Heat Pump

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Pump Electricity Usage - Is this normal?

    5.1c is super cheap!

    Here is how electricity math works for the kWh challenged. Took me quite a while to really understand it.

    A 3hp pump draws about 3000w x 24 = 72kWh per day x .10c = $7.20/day x 30 = $216/mo.

    1100rpm @ 150w x 24 = 3.6kWh/day x .10c = .36c/day x 30 = $10.80/mo.
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    Re: Pool Pump Electricity Usage - Is this normal?

    I did rough estimates of the cost to run our old Hayward single speed pump when the house was new to us three years ago.
    Because we heat the water and don't use a cover, we run it 24/7. It adds about $40/mo by our best guess. Since we like our (shaded) water warm and also need the circulation to manage the heavy debris load from the terrace plants/trees etc. that blow in, for our purposes running 24/7 was worth it.

    Something does sound askew, unless your rates in TX are triple ours.
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Pump Electricity Usage - Is this normal?

    pooldv, running the pump 24x7 is not recommended or useful, so that cost difference is more representative of an entire season using the pump than it is of a month. Good job with showing the math involved
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    Re: Pool Pump Electricity Usage - Is this normal?

    I have a Hayward pump that is run by an AO SMith Centurion Switchless Motor B130. It says total HP = 2.40.

    The Booster pump is also AO Smith. It says Hayward Booster PUmp Model 5060. HP 3/4. KW = 0.55. RPM 3450.

    I pay about 10 cents for electricity in Houston here. I just thought that $100 a month seemed like a lot. Especially when you guys pay $10 to $20 a month. I get a graph for electric usage and when the pool pump kicks on the line on the graph stays at 3 hourly kwh and when booster is on it jumps up to 5 or more. I don't really know how to interpret 3 kwh over 10 hours to calculate it at my 10 cents per kwh. It looks like those intelliflo pumps are about $900. So it would pay for itself in a year if it cuts my pool pump costs from $100 a month to $30.

    As for the water features, I never use them. As for the pool, I haven't used it since september, and even in the summer, we really don't use it that much. We don't have kids yet, so really maybe used it 5 times all year. The water temperature just gets too warm in the sumner. If I could empty it out and keep it in good shape I would, but it seems that could cause more problems.

    I bought that test kit you guys recommend but haven't used it yet. I did a remodel this summer and the idiot electrician failed inspection twice and power to the pool was shut down for almost 2 weeks. Turned super green. On top of that the Hayward cartridge filter I had, had a hole in it and it was not filtering. Thankfully home warranty covered pool and I have a new Pentair DE filter that works well. I have a pentair chlorinator that takes 10 tablets and doesn't seem to get my chlorine up to 1 for some reason. I also have a floating chlorinator with about 5 tablets in it and still couldn't get my chlorine above 1.

    I went to a pool supply place and they told me that that yellow out algae remover was preventing my pool from holding chlorine and that is why I was getting algae every 5 days. They put me on this rigourous shock treatment where I put 24 pounds of shock in on one day, and 3 pounds a day until my chlorine went up. I ended up putting about 70 pounds of shock in the pool over the couple weeks and eventually my chlorine went up and all the algae was gone. Also weekly was using that phos-free phosphate remover. Pool did real well for about a month and then the algae was all over the walls again. Still got algae with about 10 tablets in the chlorinator and 5 in the floater. Since it is winter i just said "forget it" since no one swims and I would deal with it in the spring. That is when I found your website. I don't know anything but that chlorine is around 2-3 and ph is a little low. With my two drops test kit. So I bought the taylor test kit and I will get you guys the results. I know that is my first step.

    IMG_4859.jpgIMG_4858.jpgIMG_4860.jpg

    - - - Updated - - -

    Is there any logic to my thinking that the slate water feature wall could be contributing to my algae problem? For example, that algae grows in between the slate pieces and I can't brush it out and it just spreads from there into the pool? I was thinking maybe I should drain the pool below all the slate and put a bunch of silicone in all the cracks. Or maybe just tile over the bottom of the slate wall to keep the water from having a place to go between the pieces.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Pump Electricity Usage - Is this normal?

    Your main pump should be drawing roughly 2 kw, which translates to roughly $60/month. The booster pump should be drawing roughly half that much, and presumably is run for fewer hours, so quite a bit less expensive. I'm not sure what is going on with your energy usage graph, but 3 kw isn't really plausible for that pump.

    You can easily save 60% of that right now with no equipment changes simply by cutting your pump run time down to 4 hours a day.

    If you get a two speed pump, you can cut your electrical costs in half (or better), on top of the 60% savings, resulting in paying 1/5th of what you are paying now for the main pump.


    What specific chemical did you use when you say "shock"? There are several that might have been used. If you used dichlor, one of the most likely possibilities, your CYA level will now be way way too high. If you used cal-hypo, another likely possibility, your CH level is likely to be too high at this point.

    The first step towards clearing up the pool is to do a complete set of water tests and see where you are right now. Trying to fight algae without knowing your current levels is very hit or miss.
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    Re: Pool Pump Electricity Usage - Is this normal?

    Hey J M Min,

    We can show you how to kill, and keep that Alage gone from here out with ease. If you can get a full set of results as Jason mentioned, we can help determine what all is needed right now. If you want to learn to do this on your own, and take the guess work out of buying and adding that shock it's really pretty easy.
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    Re: Pool Pump Electricity Usage - Is this normal?

    When the water is too warm, try leaving all your water features running and see if that helps. Aeration is a common and the most cheapest way to reduce water temperature.

    If you know how many watts a device is using you can calculate how many kilowatt hours it uses by multiplying the wattage by the # of hours you are running the device and then divide that by 1000. Example, if my pump is using 150 watts and I run it for 12 hours, then 150 * 12 / 1000 = 1.8 kilowatt hours. Now just take that and multiply it by your electricity rate of .10 and the cost is 18 cents. Voila. Sounds cheap, right? Now multiply that by 30 to get your monthly rate and it's not so cheap anymore heheh. At 1000 rpm my pump only moves water at about 15 gallons per minute. Of course I can't run my pump at 1000 rpm all the time. I need to increase that to use the heater and water features. But that is just an example for you. My bill will be much higher in the summer but still more than reasonable considering my kids and I will be using the pool every day from April 1 until the end of October. I plan on getting the most for my money!

    Very nice pool by the way.
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    Re: Pool Pump Electricity Usage - Is this normal?

    I second what JasonLion and Brushpup both says.

    there is no reason whatsoever for the pool to be unenjoyable for you. Keeping it econominally feasible and sparkling clean is super easy,... you just need to know what to do and we can help you with that. Thats why we are here!

    And when you get it easy and economical to keep clean, then I bet you a cold one you will use that really nice pool more than 5 times in a summer.

    Congratulations on getting that test kit. That is the first step to a Trouble Free Pool.
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
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    j_m_min's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Pump Electricity Usage - Is this normal?

    OK guys. I am ready to get serious about getting rid of this yellow algae as the weather in houston is warming up.

    I used my test kit and here are my numbers. How bad am I?

    Free Chlorine = 2.4
    Combined Chlorine = .6
    PH 7.1
    -in the book table to raise PH it says if your base demand test took 10 drops for a 20,000 gallon pool to use 6.4 pounds of soda ash. My pool is 25,000 gallons and took 12 drops.

    My alkalinity is 120

    My calcium is 870

    My cyanuric acid I couldn't even read because the water got too cloudy before I got to the numbers on the side of the tester. at the 1.8 fill line I couldn't see the dot. at the 4.5 fill line the reading was 80. Not sure what this means.

    So any help and what my next step is?

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    j_m_min's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Pump Electricity Usage - Is this normal?

    I think looking at your site, I may need to drain my pool to get the cyanuirc aid levels down. It is significantly more than 100. How did this happen?

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Pump Electricity Usage - Is this normal?

    Are you chlorinating with pucks? That is how the CYA is getting elevated, they add a little CYA every time. Yes, you will need to drain the pool to bring down the CYA.

    More info here How to Chlorinate Your Pool
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