Should I upgrade to a variable speed pump?

Tina Sage

Member
Jul 1, 2016
6
Valley Village
We have a 10 year old pool, the pump is 10 years old. There is a rebate of $1000 available in my city for changing to a variable speed pump, and we're thinking of taking advantage of it, but I have a couple of questions that maybe someone could answer?

1/ What are the advantages of the Variable speed pump? I've heard it saves energy but I run my dual speed pump on low 95% of the time anyway so would it be any different?

2/ Should I be looking to keep to the same manufacturer for the new pump, I have mostly Jandy equipment, are there any compatibility issues providing the HP is approximately the same?( I'm thinking about this primarily with reference to the salt cell and filter ?)

3/ How long does a pump usually last? I'm thinking that after 10 years the pump might not have many years left and the rebate program is not guaranteed to be around after December this year, so if the pump is likely to fail soon it's probably worthwhile.

Thank you in advance for any information.
 

Meadow

Well-known member
Jun 10, 2016
477
Temecula, CA
That's an awesome rebates on pool pump and so far the highest I've seen. I'm jealous, because my local electric company is cheap.
Suggest you pick the eligible pump from their list and if you're planning to automate in the future, go with the same brand.
You said you have an existing 2 speed. You may want to read the qualifications, though.

https://www.ladwp.com/ladwp/faces/w...l-state=gjhtawo7s_42&_afrLoop=586817776530735

Program Qualifications

  • Residence must have an existing in-ground swimming pool (new pool construction, ponds, decorative fountains, and spas do not qualify).
    • Swimming pool must be filtered with a single-speed pool pump that is replaced with a qualifying variable-speed pool pump and motor. Qualifying Pool Pump and Motor List
    • Must provide photographs showing the pre-existing installed single-speed pool pump before changing it out to a variable-speed pool pump.
  • The qualifying pool pump must be installed and calibrated by a certified aquatic equipment installer. Application must be submitted within 12 months of certified installation and postmarked no later than December 31, 2018.
  • The installer must be certified. Proof of certification must be submitted with your application or your application will not be considered for the CPPR offer.
  • Run only during 8:00 p.m. to 9:59 a.m. (off-peak electric demand hours)
  • Run for the minimum time necessary to maintain the water in the condition required by applicable public health standards and comply with California Energy Code calibration, low-speed default, and maximum flow rate requirements
  • Pool pump must be programmed to:
As to your others questions, I'll let that alone to others. Btw, Welcome to TFP :wave:
 
Last edited:

PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
4,885
Damascus, MD
$1000 rebate? Run, don't walk......

Actually just read the rebate details above. Sounds like if you go from the worst to the best and have it all professionally done is when you get the $1000. I wonder what is actually available for you? My guess is that installers know about this rebate and will jack up their installation costs accordingly.
 

PoolguyinCT

In The Industry
Jul 21, 2014
3,077
Connecticut
PoolGATE:
Of course installers know about the incentives, it takes tremendous industry engagement to bring these rebates to life.

“Jacking rates” for rebate work only creates a sales hurdle, I don’t see that happening - it makes zero cent$.
 

PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
4,885
Damascus, MD
PoolGATE:
Of course installers know about the incentives, it takes tremendous industry engagement to bring these rebates to life.

“Jacking rates” for rebate work only creates a sales hurdle, I don’t see that happening - it makes zero cent$.
Perhaps it is just my area but most installers would salivate at the chance to jack rates to get most, if not all of that rebate. But they are so busy around here that they just don't care.
 

Arizonarob

Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
TFP Guide
Mar 25, 2018
4,035
Chandler Arizona
$1000.00 rebate? :shock:
Like PG said above, RUN don’t walk and take advantage of that rebate. Your install (depending on set-up) should run you $150 to $350 to have it put in. If they try to scam you, tell them to take a hike!!
 

PoolguyinCT

In The Industry
Jul 21, 2014
3,077
Connecticut
Perhaps it is just my area but most installers would salivate at the chance to jack rates to get most, if not all of that rebate. But they are so busy around here that they just don't care.
Those are just fast buck hustlers... a wise contractor sees the big picture... the rebate provider is basically buying a gift for the end user.
Why would anybody want to rock that boat, everybody wins..
 

Divin Dave

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 2, 2013
5,680
Longview, Texas
Go for that rebate. It will be worth it.

when it comes to VSP, the larger the pump, the less energy it takes to move the same amount of water as a smaller pump does.
Another big plus, is the VSPs are much quieter. They are super quiet.
If you have automation, then you need to keep the brand the same to avoid communication protocol issues between your pump and your controller.
 
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Meadow

Well-known member
Jun 10, 2016
477
Temecula, CA
True, that's an awesome rebate and hard to pass up. But hold your horses! Op stated they have an existing 2-speed pump. I can easily beat the below Program Qualifications but I'm picking my brain for OP.

Program Qualifications

  • Residence must have an existing in-ground swimming pool (new pool construction, ponds, decorative fountains, and spas do not qualify).
    • Swimming pool must be filtered with a single-speed pool pump that is replaced with a qualifying variable-speed pool pump and motor. Qualifying Pool Pump and Motor List
    • Must provide photographs showing the pre-existing installed single-speed pool pump before changing it out to a variable-speed pool pump.
However, I think the OP is still eligible for the $500 rebates just for purchasing a qualified Star Energy Certified pump. $250 for a branded VS pump is a no brainer!
 

Tina Sage

Member
Jul 1, 2016
6
Valley Village
Thank you for your feedback folks.
Yes $1000 is a great rebate, The same department gave us $7500 a few years ago to replace our lawn with drought resistant plants, sweet!
I did know that officially the program says only one speed pumps that have to run at night, but I have a friend who had the same pump replacement last year with the same issues and there wasn't a problem with her rebate. Apparently There is an exception from the night running if you have solar and our installer and her installer saw no problem with the two speed versus single speed.
All the same I have an email into the rebate program information desk, (of course impossible to reach on the phone) to ask these very questions for sure, and to get that in writing.
The installers do jack their prices, especially in LA, the only choice is to find the person who jacks the prices the least, after all a pump replaced with something more efficient for about $500 total including labor is quite a reasonable amount, even if they are overpaying themselves some.

Thank you Divin Dave, for the low down on Variable speed pumps. Very useful info!

Can anyone tell me if I should stick to Jandy, they don't seem to have the most reliable pumps (though my current one has been perfectly fine for 10 years) I think this installer recommends a pentair intelliflo, are there compatibility issues?

Thanks again folks!
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,904
Central California
The installers do jack their prices, especially in LA, the only choice is to find the person who jacks the prices the least, after all a pump replaced with something more efficient for about $500 total including labor is quite a reasonable amount, even if they are overpaying themselves some.
Might be worth a few extra calls... Some installers don't mind a drive, or at least find it worthwhile financially. And many from out of town are regularly in town for one reason or another (I just had work done by a guy 40 minutes away, because he was in town for another job). If you're looking for the best price, you might look farther out than your local area.
 

tstex

Silver Supporter
Aug 28, 2012
1,842
Houston, TX
Boy, some extra ca$h on the table and the buzzards all descend upon the pool owners...Sounds like a business opportunity for an honest person/installer...
 

bizzle

Well-known member
Aug 31, 2017
234
Santa Barbara, CA
I doubt you'd realize much monetary savings upgrading from a two speed pump to a variable speed pump-especially if you're almost always on the slower speed anyway. The variable speed will let you raise the RPMs to meet a demand that is in between the slower and faster speeds of your current pump, like for your solar for example, but that doesn't matter if you haven't found it necessary to switch to the faster speed historically.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,904
Central California
I doubt you'd realize much monetary savings upgrading from a two speed pump to a variable speed pump-especially if you're almost always on the slower speed anyway. The variable speed will let you raise the RPMs to meet a demand that is in between the slower and faster speeds of your current pump, like for your solar for example, but that doesn't matter if you haven't found it necessary to switch to the faster speed historically.
Can I expound on that a bit? You can get solar to produce some amount of heat at virtually any RPM. And there is a misconception about running solar: that a slower speed means the water in the panels will have a better chance to get hotter, so the the pool will get warmer. This myth is compounded by feeling the water at the return, all nice and hot from the panels. That's not how solar heat exchange works. A properly configured solar panel flow rate will move a lot of water, and only raise the temp by a small amount. That sounds counter productive, but that's the more efficient way to warm up a pool. My panels want 40GPM, that takes 2200RPM, which if I remember, is right about in the middle of what my two-speed could do.

So, if either speed of your two speed pump can achieve the flow that optimizes your panels' effective heating capability, then great. But if the RPM for that lies in between the two RPMs available, then a VS pump, which could dial in the optimized amount of flow perfectly, could conceivable save money, because the amount of time you'd have to run the pump at all would be lower, since the pool would heat up faster.

Unfortunately, I can't do the math to determine that, but the math does exist for it, if you want to know for sure whether a VS pump will or will not save you money in terms of solar heating efficiency...

The other thing to consider, and I only have my PBs word on this, but I believe it to be true. A newer VS pump, running at the exact same RPM and putting out the exact same GPM as an older two-speed pump will cost less to run, because of the improvements they've made in motor design in the last few years. So it's not necessarily fair to say that the OP won't get savings by running the same speeds.

My real world experience: I upgraded to VS the same time I installed my solar. My electric bill with solar heating my pool, was significantly lower than running my two speed pump, mostly on low speed, with no solar, by like $50 a month. I didn't track everything that would substantiate that claim, so it's only anecdotal, I just know my pool got warmer and my bill got lower and that pretty much points to the pump and how I was able to dial it in.

So...
+1 for VS pump.
+2 if you can get any sort of rebate.
+10 if you can get a $1000 rebate!!!