Are pool pumps AC or DC?

newpoolj

Well-known member
Oct 15, 2020
48
Sacramento, Ca
I'm planning a pool build along with a solar install, and trying to estimate how much energy a pump will use so I can estimate solar panels. It seems like a variable speed pump can run on a low speed and consume around 300 watts (for example, in this video). It's not clear to me if those are AC or DC watts though. Can anyone confirm?

Thanks!
 

Dirk

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AC. Keep in mind that a variable speed pump has a priming sequence when it first starts. It ramps up RPMs quite high, in order to start the flow of water and clear any air in the system. While the priming RPM is adjustable (on my pump, anyway), it does need a certain minimum to work, which means for a half minute or so your pump will require a significant current draw.
 
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Dirk

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I edited that first post after I first wrote it...
 

Dirk

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When you say "solar install"... Are you planning a normal PV installation, or something off the grid? If you're connected to PG&E, that setup can supply the occasional oomph your pump will need. If off the grid, your battery system will have to.
 

newpoolj

Well-known member
Oct 15, 2020
48
Sacramento, Ca
When you say "solar install"... Are you planning a normal PV installation, or something off the grid? If you're connected to PG&E, that setup can supply the occasional oomph your pump will need. If off the grid, your battery system will have to.
We're doing a PV install. The panels I'm planning will each generate around 460kwh a year. If the pump uses .3kw / hour, running 8 hours a day, 365 days a year, that's around 876kwh a year. So I'm estimating two panels will cover my pool's energy usage.
 

Dirk

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A lot of things govern runtime, RPM and watts needed (and not just for the pump). Will you be using a solar heater for the pool? Or a heat pump? What about a saltwater generator? How dirty will your pool get (affects runtime)? Will you be cleaning the pool with a suction-side vacuum, or a robot (big difference in watts used). Etc.

If you have room to expand your PV system, then this is mostly moot. Once you establish your pool's energy needs, you can always add another panel or two...
 

newpoolj

Well-known member
Oct 15, 2020
48
Sacramento, Ca
A lot of things govern runtime, RPM and watts needed (and not just for the pump). Will you be using a solar heater for the pool? Or a heat pump? What about a saltwater generator? How dirty will your pool get (affects runtime)? Will you be cleaning the pool with a suction-side vacuum, or a robot (big difference in watts used). Etc.

If you have room to expand your PV system, then this is mostly moot. Once you establish your pool's energy needs, you can always add another panel or two...
That's true. There will be a SWG, but no heating. Is SWG energy usage significant?
 

Dirk

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Not sure. They don't use a ton of electricity, but some. That would be easy enough to determine once you know the brand and the size of SWG needed (based on pool size). But SWGs also require pump runtime, at a minimum RPM. It's not a lot of watts. Mine works fine at about 1500 RPM, but I run mine for 8 hours a day. Vacuums and solar heaters require much higher RPMs (if either are in your future, mine run at about 2400RPM). And solar heaters need a lot of runtime.

And I'm not discouraging your efforts to plan for the pool's energy consumption. You have to, of course. Only pointing out there are a lot of variables. I had a similar situation, in that I was reconfiguring all my pool gear at the same time my PV was going in. So how to calc the # of panels? But I did have a pool prior to PV, so the previous year's PG&E bills provided at least some basis.

I had these types of discussions with my solar installer, and concluded the same as I shared. Get close, add panels if need be. There's room on my roof for several more panels, so I can always expand a fair bit. So far, my true-up bills have indicated I have a perfectly matched system to my usage ($0 to PG&E!). As the panels degrade, and I have to start paying PG&E, I'll add another panel or two. Maybe I'll need a few more for the electric car we'll all be driving. Maybe by then they'll be the size of a roof tile and provide twice the juice! ;)

But I did plan ahead. I mounted my pool solar heater on the north side of the roof, to save the south side for the PV. Something to consider if you think you might ever get a solar heater: you'll need space for the current PV system, any expansion of that, and another spot for the pool heater panels.
 

newpoolj

Well-known member
Oct 15, 2020
48
Sacramento, Ca
Thanks for the response. I have PG&E as well, so electric/gas pool heating would be too costly. All my good southern exposure will be taken by the PV panels though, and my HOA won't allow panels on my northern roof (facing street), so solar heating isn't an option. I'm seriously considering a Hotspot FPH, given that we run the AC for several months a year anyways :) I'm not sure how many hours a day I'd need to run the pump with it though.
 

Dirk

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Central California
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Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I don't know what an FPH is. It's illegal for an HOA to disallow PV panels (you might already know that). I wonder if the same law would apply to solar heating. I suspect it might. The law has some caveats that you might have to comply with, but they can't out and out deny your use of some types of solar. Though it might be a "pick your battles" dealio...

Speaking of gas prices... I've never turned my gas heater on. It came with the house. I'm too afraid of what that bill would look like!
 
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Dirk

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Nov 12, 2017
8,363
Central California
Pool Size
12300
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Plaster
Chlorine
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SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
OK, just looked up Hotspot. Cool. (Well, warm! ;) ) I read about a guy that put a big truck radiator in his attic and used that as a heat exchanger to move some of that excess attic heat to his pool. Where there's a will there's a way!

The problem might be: when you most need some extra heat in the pool (spring and fall), you're not needing the AC so much. When I need my AC, I usually have to turn the solar off or the pool will get to warm to enjoy on such a hot day...
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
8,363
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Coinkiedink? This thread started quite a while ago, but someone just posted to it. I haven't read it, but maybe it can be of some help to you: