Electric Bill HUGE - our pump is always on

LoraMae

Active member
May 23, 2010
32
Marion, Iowa
Please let me know if this topic is addressed elsewhere and I'll read how others have adjusted their pump. In the summer, our electric bill is outrageous. I just paid our June bill at $364. I asked my husband why he thinks our water still looks good and he said it's because he runs the pump 24 hours a day and never turns it off. We had trouble the first few years we lived here and someone told us that the longer he runs the pump, the better his water will look. Whenever he turns the pump off and then re-starts it, dirt and debris is forced into the pool. I've watched this with him and it looks awful. I found some information at this site about how to calculate the length of time to leave the pump running, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. Any ideas?
 

diverman57

LifeTime Supporter
May 22, 2009
92
i run my pump 24/7 and hot tub runs 8 hrs. per day and elec bill is usually
between 150 and 200 dollars a month. and that includes cooling a 3000
sq. ft house. pool pump doesn't seem to really add that much cost, but
maybe our elec. rates are lower.
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
Beyond some point, additional pump run time stops making any difference. Where that point is, ie how many hours you need to run the pump, varies dramatically from pool to pool. The ideal pump run time depends mostly on the relative size of the pump and the pool, and to some extent on the water temperature and the quality of your circulation pattern.

The best way to figure this out is through trial and error. You know what the water looks like with the pump running 24/7. Try switching to running the pump 12 hours a day and see how the water looks after a week. If it looks just as good after a week, try lowering the pump run time further.
 

lborne

Well-known member
Jun 29, 2009
462
Vero Beach, FL
You've got a big pool and a big, single speed pump, so running it 24/7 is not going to be cheap. I agree with Butterfly - cut your run time to 12 hrs and cut the cost in half. There is no reason to run 24/7 unless you have an algae problem or such. Keep your water balanced and 12 hrs should be sufficient.

The dirt coming back out when the pump turns off means your filter needs attention.

Jason - with a 44,000 gallon pool and a 2.5 hp pump, assuming aprox 100 gpm, that's still over 7 hrs for one turnover. I'd not go much lower than 12 hrs. What do you think?
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
lborne, a 2.5 HP pump is huge, much larger than is needed. With a large pump, the GPM is going to be very sensitive to the size and configuration of the pipes. With large pipes, say 3", it might be possible to run the pump quite a bit less than 12 hours, while with 1.5" pipes and lots of fittings, it might need more than 12 hours a day.

12 hours a day is a great starting place, but the true ideal run time depends on so many things that it is best to figure it out with trial and error, rather than depending on calculations.
 

momov2

Well-known member
Aug 13, 2009
84
Hattiesburg, MS
Whoah!! That's a big pool and way above my gallon size. Not really a pro at this but we only run ours 8 hours/day on low speed in two time segments. We run ours in the morning from 6-10 and in the eve from 6-10. Our pool gets full sun from 10-4 too. I have not run mine on high just to circulate, but my electric has only increased about $26.00/month. I cool 1500 sf of my home 24/7, a 1500 sf workshop/4hrs and run the pool 8 hrs/day on about $170-180/month. You may want to look into lowering your pump hp when it's time to replace and going with a dual speed pump. The HP you are pulling will make that meter spin....
 

LoraMae

Active member
May 23, 2010
32
Marion, Iowa
Wow.. thank you to everyone willing to help. I won't let my husband read the last post because he REALLY is begging for a shop. We talked about your posts and he said maybe he's due to back flush the filter. We had the sand replaced last summer, so he doesn't think that's the problem. We'll try to run the pump fewer hours in the day and see if there's any difference in the water. We also run air-conditioning inside for most of the summer and our house is about 7000 sq ft.

Someone mentioned the pump seems large. I've said this before, so I hate to sound like I'm constantly repeating myself, but most professional pool people have no idea what's going on with our set up (neither do we). We have a separate spa adjoining the pool. They share water but there's a divider. The spa has jets with "spa" type balls which control the output. We've removed the spa jets because there's no reason to have them in. The kids pull them out and play with them anyway. There's no power coming through the jets. It would seem someone would have set it up so the spa feels like a real spa with jets to work on your back. The professionals look at it and say "gee, I guess you could do something with another pump but I just don't really know." When we installed our gas heater, we got a dual temperature control so we could heat the spa only at night for the adults. It just feels strange getting into a large hot spa with no jet action. Perhaps that is why they put on such a large pump. Maybe there's more to this large pump idea and we don't know how to divert all the pump to the small spa. I sold D-1 spas a few years ago and some had 4 hp pumps which produced wonderful jet flow.
 

bk406

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2009
2,690
Central Massachusetts
How much is your electricity per kW? 7000 sq ft is a BIG house to cool, plus a pool pump. Honestly, $364 doesnt seem all that bad. I have 3 zone AC with 5000 sq ft, and a 3/4 HP pool pump, and my bill last month was $347.
 

257WbyMag

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Feb 23, 2008
5,061
Denton, TX
Because you replaced the sand in the filter last year, it makes me wonder if it is sand that is coming out of the returns when you start the pump. This is the result of a broken lateral within the filter and the lateral would need to be replaced. They are easy to damage when manipulating the sand and stuff inside the filter.

You can confirm whether it is sand or not by catching some of what is coming out of the returns with a knee-high or a sock when the pump is powered up. If you get sand, you are probably going to have to replace a broken lateral in the filter.
 

LoraMae

Active member
May 23, 2010
32
Marion, Iowa
bk406, our elec cost is .0255. My husband said both sand and dirt come through when he re-starts the pump. He agrees, he may need to replace a lateral but he isn't sure. We'll try the knee-high nylon idea He reminded me that the spas I used to sell each had 2 2 1/2 hp pumps, which did produce a lot of jet action. Our pump has a valve or something that allows air to come in but it doesn't work. He thinks perhaps that's what they used when they wanted the spa to work. He can make the pump work with the pool, the spa, or both but it doesn't really make a big difference when he switches it up a bit.

For now, he'll need to decide what to do about the amount of time the pump runs. Figure out what to do about the sand and dirt that comes back into the pool when he turns it back on. Could it be something other than a broken lateral arm? He doesn't feel comfortable replacing the lateral on his own and we'll need to call the pool store.
 

Sparkmaster

In The Industry
Aug 2, 2008
110
Conway SC
LoraMae said:
bk406, our elec cost is .0255. My husband said both sand and dirt come through when he re-starts the pump. He agrees, he may need to replace a lateral but he isn't sure. We'll try the knee-high nylon idea He reminded me that the spas I used to sell each had 2 2 1/2 hp pumps, which did produce a lot of jet action. Our pump has a valve or something that allows air to come in but it doesn't work. He thinks perhaps that's what they used when they wanted the spa to work. He can make the pump work with the pool, the spa, or both but it doesn't really make a big difference when he switches it up a bit.

For now, he'll need to decide what to do about the amount of time the pump runs. Figure out what to do about the sand and dirt that comes back into the pool when he turns it back on. Could it be something other than a broken lateral arm? He doesn't feel comfortable replacing the lateral on his own and we'll need to call the pool store.

I looked up the utility there and only found linn country utility.. Now I think you only seen a section of the bill because 2 cents is tooooooooooo cheap.. I think its about .10 MIN not including taxes and fees but I went with 10 cents to make things easy and used 16 amps to further make it ease considering its a 2 1/2 hp pump that draws more than that.

So, my calculations at a low ball figure would be $138. So in reality, it should be $150.00 extra unless you really do have 2 cents a kilo and Ill be moving there in a heart beat.. :party:
 

LoraMae

Active member
May 23, 2010
32
Marion, Iowa
.10 is probably right. I've never looked at our utility bill in detail until today. $150/extra per month sounds right. It's pretty realistic in the winter.
 

poolgirl22

Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 14, 2010
595
Stephens City, VA
I used to run my pump 24 hours pre-TFP. Now that my water is in good shape, about 12-13 is all I need unless I want to keep ahead of crud, such as last night when 2.5 inches of rain fell in 2 hrs time...so make sure your chemistry is right on and you should be good. I swear my 24 hr run times, while a waste of money is what kept us from being green rather than just cloudy in past years.

I also have a freestanding hot tub that runs all year.
I do sacrifice some coolness in summer and run the AC at 78 or 80 during the day (hey, I'm in the pool anyway!) then allow 75-76 at night to compensate for the extra juice the pool stuff draws.

We have a home that was built as an energy efficiency model so the brick and double thick walls and good windows help us keep heating and cooling costs in check.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,421
Pleasanton, CA
LoraMae said:
We have a separate spa adjoining the pool. They share water but there's a divider. The spa has jets with "spa" type balls which control the output. We've removed the spa jets because there's no reason to have them in. The kids pull them out and play with them anyway. There's no power coming through the jets. It would seem someone would have set it up so the spa feels like a real spa with jets to work on your back. The professionals look at it and say "gee, I guess you could do something with another pump but I just don't really know." When we installed our gas heater, we got a dual temperature control so we could heat the spa only at night for the adults. It just feels strange getting into a large hot spa with no jet action. Perhaps that is why they put on such a large pump. Maybe there's more to this large pump idea and we don't know how to divert all the pump to the small spa. I sold D-1 spas a few years ago and some had 4 hp pumps which produced wonderful jet flow.
If you are interested in getting the jets working, there might be something you could do. First, it might help to know a bit more about your setup:

How many jets do you have and what kind are they?

What size pipe do you have running to a from the spa and about how long are the runs?

What is the model # of your pump?

Would it possible for you to post a picture of the pad equipment including valves?
 

douglee25

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2010
92
Philadelphia, PA
I'll trade you electric bills? My house is about a 1/3 of the size of yours and I have about a 23,000 gallon pool and I'm going to be about $400 this month I estimate.

Doug
 

LoraMae

Active member
May 23, 2010
32
Marion, Iowa
Doug,
Your electric bill is a lot. It seems just when we get out of the heating season with our natural gas prices we jump right into pool and A/C charges.
Mark...I'd love to get the jets working. You've asked questions that I know very little about, so I will take some time to research our set up and perhaps you'll be willing to offer advice.
 

Vandergraff

Well-known member
Jun 22, 2010
84
LoraMae said:
Doug,
Your electric bill is a lot. It seems just when we get out of the heating season with our natural gas prices we jump right into pool and A/C charges.
Mark...I'd love to get the jets working. You've asked questions that I know very little about, so I will take some time to research our set up and perhaps you'll be willing to offer advice.
I'll trade electric bills as well - 2200 sq ft house and 20,000 gal pool in NCAL averages ~ $350-400 in summer IF we don't run AC and run the pool pump for 5 hours a day. Last August we had a period of 10 days with temps at >100F so ran the AC and had a $750 bill! PG&E has tiered rates with much of our usage at $0.40 kWh - recently reduced from $0.48! In addition to the pool pump we have a well pump which probably adds some of our cost (but at least we have no water bill).

In the winter the electric bill is much cheaper - but with no natural gas here propane still can get expensive for heating.
 

douglee25

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2010
92
Philadelphia, PA
Vandergraff said:
LoraMae said:
Doug,
Your electric bill is a lot. It seems just when we get out of the heating season with our natural gas prices we jump right into pool and A/C charges.
Mark...I'd love to get the jets working. You've asked questions that I know very little about, so I will take some time to research our set up and perhaps you'll be willing to offer advice.
I'll trade electric bills as well - 2200 sq ft house and 20,000 gal pool in NCAL averages ~ $350-400 in summer IF we don't run AC and run the pool pump for 5 hours a day. Last August we had a period of 10 days with temps at >100F so ran the AC and had a $750 bill! PG&E has tiered rates with much of our usage at $0.40 kWh - recently reduced from $0.48! In addition to the pool pump we have a well pump which probably adds some of our cost (but at least we have no water bill).

In the winter the electric bill is much cheaper - but with no natural gas here propane still can get expensive for heating.
That is outrageous! It may be cheaper to run your own generator at that cost! lol

Doug
 

Vandergraff

Well-known member
Jun 22, 2010
84
douglee25 said:
Vandergraff said:
LoraMae said:
Doug,
Your electric bill is a lot. It seems just when we get out of the heating season with our natural gas prices we jump right into pool and A/C charges.
Mark...I'd love to get the jets working. You've asked questions that I know very little about, so I will take some time to research our set up and perhaps you'll be willing to offer advice.
I'll trade electric bills as well - 2200 sq ft house and 20,000 gal pool in NCAL averages ~ $350-400 in summer IF we don't run AC and run the pool pump for 5 hours a day. Last August we had a period of 10 days with temps at >100F so ran the AC and had a $750 bill! PG&E has tiered rates with much of our usage at $0.40 kWh - recently reduced from $0.48! In addition to the pool pump we have a well pump which probably adds some of our cost (but at least we have no water bill).

In the winter the electric bill is much cheaper - but with no natural gas here propane still can get expensive for heating.
That is outrageous! It may be cheaper to run your own generator at that cost! lol

Doug
Strange you say that. Not only is PG&E expensive - but not very reliable in the Santa Cruz Mountains. So yes we do have a 15kW Back Up Generator. I have sometimes wondered if the generator would be cheeper than PG&E.............
 

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