Should I switch to a Variable Speed Pump?

Jbevilacqua

Member
Apr 11, 2019
5
New York
Just had a pool installed this past spring and completed our first pool season. At the recommendation of the builder, we had a single speed pump installed. It is a Hayward Superpump and from what I have come to realize, not very energy efficient. After seeing how much my electric bill went up for this last pool season, I am wondering if I may be better off replacing this pump with a Variable Speed pump. My main worry is if a variable speed pump will be able to chlorinate my pool adequately at the lower RPM's in order to provide actual savings. Would also appreciate some thoughts on which model(s) to look at. I would prefer to stay with Hayward as I have the Hayward Omnilogic Automation system.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
11,740
Northern NJ
Welcome to TFP.

A VS pump just needs to run fast enough to satisfy the flow switch in the SWG to keep it generating. That is typically 1500-1800 rpm and consumes 25% or less of the energy of a SS pump.

Get a Hayward TriStar VS pump that connects to your Omni system. Don't get an EcoStar VS pump as they are known to have reliability problems.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,382
Bedford, TX
J,

A VS or 2-speed pump, should reduce your pool's electrical usage by about 75%...

A VS pump cost about $800 to $1,200 bucks, if you self install.. How much extra does a single speed cost you per season vs. the cost of a new pump?

Jim R.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,874
Pleasanton, CA
Just had a pool installed this past spring and completed our first pool season. At the recommendation of the builder, we had a single speed pump installed. It is a Hayward Superpump and from what I have come to realize, not very energy efficient. After seeing how much my electric bill went up for this last pool season, I am wondering if I may be better off replacing this pump with a Variable Speed pump. My main worry is if a variable speed pump will be able to chlorinate my pool adequately at the lower RPM's in order to provide actual savings. Would also appreciate some thoughts on which model(s) to look at. I would prefer to stay with Hayward as I have the Hayward Omnilogic Automation system.
How long are you running the pump? Many PBs suggest run-times much longer than what you really need so you could save quite a bit by just shortening run-time.

Given your short swim season, I suspect it will take many years for a VS pump to pay for itself. How much do you pay for electricity?

 

Jbevilacqua

Member
Apr 11, 2019
5
New York
Thank you all for the responses. Sorry for the delay in getting back to this. My electric rates average 0.18/kwh. I am currently running the pump 8 hours per day as per the recommendation of the Pool Builder. Last season (Which was the first season), my electric bill increased by $600. I have seen that my electric utility has some rebates for VS Pumps, and if I can cut that $600 down to $200 or less, my thinking is that it won't take to long to recoup the money spent on the new pump. Additionally, since my current pump is only 1 season old, I'm thinking I should be able to sell this and get something back for it as well.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,874
Pleasanton, CA
The SuperPump 1.5 HP uses about 1400 watts and 8 hrs per day should cost only about $60/month. How did you get to the $600?

The Intelliflo VS will use about 150 watts at 1200 RPM or about $6/month (8 hrs/day).

If the cost of pump and installation is $1200, break even is about 24 months of operation.
 
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bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
5,569
Central MD
Some utilities (like mine) have rebates for VS pumps, or better rebates for VS vs. 2-speed. PSEG Long Island does. Not sure of your NY locale.
 

sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
1,453
Chapel Hill, NC
Most utility rebates require that the pump be supplied and installed by a licensed pool professional. That usually costs an arm and a leg, rendering the rebate is pretty much worthless!
 

Jbevilacqua

Member
Apr 11, 2019
5
New York
The $600 increase was the total my electric bill went up for the season. Now I know that there are other factors in that increase such as the pool lights and the automation panel, but these two items shouldn't be that significant on the bill.

Additionally, I double checked my pump schedule and I was mistaken, the pump was actually running for 12 hours/day. So for that time period at the 1400 watts for the pump, that brings the cost closer to $90/month with the 6 month total being around $540.

Thank you all for the responses, I appreciate it very much. My utility does have rebates, but as mentioned above I believe the pump needs to be professionally installed. So I am just working out the numbers to see what makes the most sense. Since the pool is only a year old and I don't have any plans of leaving the home, even if the break even point is a few years, it will still probably be worth it over the next 10 to 15 years.

Thank You all again for your help.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,874
Pleasanton, CA
In reality, you don't need to run a single speed pump or any pump for that matter 12 hours per day. Minimum would be about 2 hours per day but your SWG may require more run time than that. I said break even was 24 months of operation but that is not 2 years if your pool is only open for a few months per year.

If you can run 4 hours per day with the SS, then cost per month is $30 compared to $3 for the VS or a savings of $27/month. If the pool is open only 3 months per year, then payback is in almost 15 years.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
4,758
Central California
You can add this to your decision equation (but not the electricity math): Are you at all disturbed by the sound of your SS pump? VS pumps when dialed down are extremely quiet. That' a big factor for me while relaxing at my pool (and for my neighbors).
 

Fuldo

Silver Supporter
Nov 23, 2017
197
Port Orange, FL
Keep in mind that VS pumps are vulnerable to power surges and most people add surge protection to help avoid pump damage. The cost varies greatly depending on the level of protection and if professional installation is required. It should be considered and the cost taken into account. I decided to forgo upgrading to a VS pump, not only because the cost of the upgrade but largely because the single speed pumps are very robust and less subject to electrical damage. I tend to run mine 4-8 hours depending on the season and the cost is minimal, especially with the low cost Florida power.
 

Jbevilacqua

Member
Apr 11, 2019
5
New York
Thanks for all the information. Looks like I have some homework to do and some decisions to make. I am in the process of obtaining some quotes on a new VS pump (haven't received any back yet). As for the noise factor, although not obnoxious, it would definitely be nice to quiet it down. I am hoping that with the rebates and possibly selling the SS pump, I can recoup enough of the cost to bring down the break even point. If not, I will use this season to adjust the run times and still have enough chlorination from the SWG.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
4,758
Central California
Many areas are outlawing some SS pumps. Yours may or may not have been prohibited already, or may be about to. They'll be extinct in this country at some point. Check on that before you count those eggs. Or maybe you could "cross state lines." I had a two speed, and a booster pump, both replaced by my VS. I think I got $50 for the 2S, and had to throw away the booster. (Granted, I didn't try very hard to max sales.)
 

Neemer

Gold Supporter
Oct 10, 2017
211
Mid-Atlantic
When you are running your pump, what % setting are you using on your SWCG? 12 hrs is a lot of run time for a T-15 cell. Although my pool has 18% less volume than yours, I’ve calculated I could cut run time to 4 hrs at 100% if I upgraded to a T-15.
 

BowserB

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
183
Katy, Texas
As a choice for a new pool or replacing a failed pump, a variable speed pump is almost a no-brainer. I think the OP's pool builder did a him disservice by not explaining the differences in pumps. Cost-benefit of replacing a working pump depends on electricity cost. Always run the numbers! My cost of electricity (total bill divided by kwh) averages about 9 cents. At that rate, I can't make the numbers work for solar panels or for replacing a working AC system. If I had a working single speed pump, I don't think the breakeven would work there either. Luckily my pool builder showed me the difference in initial cost vs operating cost up front.

I have read that the DOE is requiring variable speed pumps beginning in 2021, and some places they're already mandated.