Pumps & MotorsConsumers often find the choice of pool pump very complicated due to the vast array of makes and models in addition to the profusion of claims by manufacturers of electricity savings from 20% to 90%.
On this page we will try simplify some choices that consumers have regarding which motor will be best suited to their swimming pool and budget requirements.
Firstly, let's clear up the confusion between the words pump and motor as they are often used interchangeably by consumers. The word pump is used to describe the whole mechanism and includes the "pump body" which is the front section that houses the pump basket and the "motor" that is the cylindrical part at the rear.
There are basically 3 types of pool pumps on the market, single speed, two speed and variable speed. There are also two types of technology that can drive each pump, induction motors or permanent magnet motors.
Historically, most residential swimming pool pumps have been powered by a single speed induction motor with varying sizes ranging from 1 to 1.5 HP (horse power). This means that the motors work at full speed for 100% of the time that they are operating.
- Low Cost - These motors are the least expensive
- No need to replace the whole pump as new motors can fit easily to your current pump body
- In some states the law prohibits the use of these motors due to their in-efficiencies in comparison to other motor options
- Least efficient to run
There are now many manufacturers who are producing two speed motors that try to bridge the gap between variable speed and single speed motors. Most of these motors are of the induction type and are therefore less efficient but much cheaper than variable speed motors.
- Medium cost - about $150-250 more than single speed motor but $300 less than variable speed motor
- More efficient than single speed motor
- Less efficient than variable speed pumps
- Often can be fitted to your current pump body but will often need a new or additional timer to provide on/off and high/low switches
- Depending on individual circumstances, they may provide a much quicker "payback" from energy savings than a variable speed pump due to the lower initial cost
Normally, variable speed pumps use permanent magnet motors which are more efficient than most induction motors and can also run at slower speeds. Both these aspects combine to create relatively large savings in energy over the single speed motors although the savings over the two speed motors are much smaller. Additionally, variable speed pumps have their own integrated controller which allows you to program multiple speeds and pool features to suit your individual requirements and obtain the maximum energy efficiency.
Although these pumps are more efficient than single speed, they are more expensive to install and each pool owner needs to consider their own requirements and circumstances carefully before making their choice.
- Higher upfront costs
- Potentially large savings on electricity over the life of the pump
- The whole pump (not just the motor) needs to be replaced when upgrading from a single speed motor increasing the initial cost differentials
- Variable speed pumps will normally not run pool cleaners or solar heating in low settings due to the low flow of water
- Potentially longer lasting pumps (this is not yet proven due to their recent introduction)
- Very quiet at low speeds
- Fewer vibrations
- Often there are settings available to work different water features or pool equipment at optimum efficiencies
- In built diagnostics to protect from frost, overheating and voltage irregularities
- The best option for integration with hand held or in home controls of pool equipment
Gulfside Pools Service professionally cleans, maintains, repairs, and remodels residential swimming pools and spas in these FL communities: Bird Key, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, Lido Key, Longboat Key, Osprey, Sarasota, Siesta Key, University Parkway