A backyard pool can be your staycation oasis. But it can also have a big impact on your electricity bill, since pools are energy intensive. There are many ways to reduce the energy use of your pool but the most impactful is how you’re filtering water in your pool and cleaning it. Save money in your backyard this summer by switching to a variable speed pool pump.
How Much Electricity Does a Pool Use?
Before we work to cut the electricity usage of a pool, we need to understand how much electricity a pool uses.
A standard pool pump uses between 1500 and 2500 Watts of energy. And it typically runs a minimum of 8 hours a day to circulate and clean water. Assuming a 2000 Watt (approximately 2.5 horsepower) motor running 8 hours a day:
Appliance: Standard Pool Pump (single speed)
Number of Watts: 2000 watts
Hours used per day: 8 hours
2000 watts X 8 hours = 16,000 watt-hours per day
16000 watt-hours per day / 1000 = 16 kWh per day
16 kWh per day * 30 days in a month = 480 kWh per month
You’ll want to switch to a pool pump that gives you water circulation at the lowest wattage level and shortest run time. A variable speed pump can do that, using as little as 300 watts. Here’s the same calculation using a variable speed pump, assuming the same amount of run-time.
Appliance: Variable Speed Pool Pump
Number of Watts: 300 watts
Hours used per day: 8 hours
300 watts X 8 hours = 2,400 watt-hours per day
2,400 watt-hours per day / 1000 = 2,4 kWh per day
2.4 kWh per day * 30 days in a month = 72 kWh per month
Just that one change, from a 2000 watt pool pump to 300 watt pool pump, can cut your pool’s electricity usage by 80%. And you can cut your usage even more from there, with some small operating adjustments.
Variable Speed Pool Pumps: How Do They Work and What are the Benefits?
Variable speed pumps are becoming increasingly popular in the pool industry due to their energy efficiency and potential to significantly reduce electricity bills.
So how do variable speed pool pumps save energy?
Variable speed pumps operate at a lower speed most of the time, which uses less energy. They can ramp up to a higher speed when necessary, such as when you need to backwash your filter or run your pool cleaner. But variable speed pumps work by only using a smaller amount of energy to maintain the desired flow rate. This means that variable speed pumps are much more efficient than traditional pumps, which often use more energy than necessary.
Modern variable speed pumps usually have multiple programmable speeds and a built in timer. This lets you customize your pool pump’s run time, speed of circulation and the time of day when you run it. This is especially important if you have a free nights electricity plan. You can focus your cleaning time when electricity is free.
The benefits of variable speed pool pumps include increased energy efficiency, lower electricity bills, and quieter operation. They also tend to last longer than standard pumps, around 12-15 years according to one source, so you’ll save money in the long run as well.
How to Switch from Standard to Variable Speed Pool Pump
The process of switching your pool pump from a standard pool pump to a variable speed pool pump is not a DIY project (unless you have electrical experience). It requires finding a pool professional.
According to Homeadvisor, it will cost between $700 to $1500 to install a new variable speed pool pump. That’s in addition to the cost itself, which ranges from $750 to $2000.
The installer will not only install the new pump, they’ll also calibrate the new pool pump to circulate water at the lowest speed possible. That will help ensure your pool pump operates efficiently.
How Long Do I Need to Run My Variable Speed Pool Pump?
Once you have your new pool pump, don’t just assume you need to run your new variable speed pool pump 8 hours a day.
Energy.gov studies show you could get away with 6 hours a day or even less running your pool pump.
Instead of assuming the default 8 hours (or more depending on the size of your pool), cut the number of hours down by 2 hours, in this example, 6 hours per day.
If you’re not happy with the cleanliness and clarity of the water, bump up the run time in 30-minute increments until it looks good. And if you cut the run time to 6 hours with no change in cleanliness? Try reducing the run-time even more, cutting it back in 15-30 minute increments.
With the shorter runtime, you may be concerned about debris in the pool. And that’s valid. Instead of running the pool pump for 6 hours straight, stagger the runtime to cycle for short periods throughout the day. And make sure you clean the skimmer baskets regularly. A clogged system can make your pool pump work harder.
By changing out your standard pool pump to a variable speed pool pump and adjusting the number of hours you operate it, you can dramatically reduce the amount of electricity you use. And when you save on your electric bill? That makes for a very cool summer.