Fixed vs Variable Speed Pumps

Fixed Speed vs. Variable Speed Pumps

In Arizona Swimming Pool Blog by Les Greenfield, Owner / Operator

The pool pump is one of the main systems operating in the background to ensure your pool’s cleanliness and hygiene. Along with the pool filter system, the pool pump ensures that your water does not stand still for long periods of time, thus collecting debris, dust, and enabling the growth of algae and bacteria. Essentially, the pool pump keeps things moving in your pool for best swimming conditions.

What does a pool pump do?

Think of the pool pump as the heart of your pool’s system. The pool pump pulls water from the pool through the skimmer, drain, and filtration system to be cleaned. When this process is complete, the pool pump feeds the clean, purified water back into the pool. Most pumps are made up of three main components: a motor, impeller, and a hair and lint trap. Water moves through the pump, through the hair and lint trap, which acts like a sieve holding back unwanted materials and pushing water through. The impeller ushers the clean water along.

The demand and size of the pool determines the frequency you must run the pool pump, in conjunction with balanced chemical levels. It is recommended that pool water is turned over once every 24 hours or in the course of the day. Picking the best pump is important for pool owners, as the cost of electricity adds up.


Fixed speed pump

Fixed speed pumps run steadily at one speed and until recently were the most popular pool pump option available. A standard single fixed speed pump consists of an induction motor type and consumes a large amount of electricity to run. Depending on the horsepower of the pump, a single speed pump will consume between 1800 to 2200 watts of electricity. As an example, visualize this as 100 watt lightbulbs burning at the same time, and you will begin to see a realistic view of the energy draw involved in running fixed speed pumps.  This is equivalent to keeping 18 to 22 lightbulbs turned on, every hour the pump runs. After your AC or heat pump unit, a single fixed speed pump is the second biggest draw of energy. Luckily for us, we now have an option!


Variable speed pump

Variable speed pumps do just what they say: they allow you to adjusted in orer to fit the specific hydraulic needs of the individual pool. Variable speed pumps are far less expensive to operate than the alternative, the fixed speed pump – approximately 40% to 80% less. Variable speed pumps (VS pumps) use a design based on the hybrid electric motor design called permanent magnet, which is far more efficient than the old induction motor design used in the fixed speed pumps. Most fixed speed pumps move water far faster than necessary. In fact, when we slow down the flow of water through the system, we achieve better filtration as the water has more contact time within the filter. We can also greatly extend the life of our filter grids and components as we lessen wear and tear by slowing down the flow of water. The result: better filtration and greater energy savings with improved water quality. A VS pump can lower your electric bill by as much as $60 a month!


Which pump is best for me?

There are many different variable speed pumps on the market now. Some will mate up with existing automation systems, while others are designed as standalone models. Some have display controls that can be removed from the pump housing and are wall-mounted for easier viewing and access. VS pumps also come in different horsepower models for different pool demands, i.e. water features, cleaning systems, etc. Contact us at Hydroblue Pool for recommendations on the best pool pump for your pool.


What About The Law?

In our state of Arizona, the Title 44 law, an energy standards law, went into effect several years ago.  This law requires all swimming pool filtration pumps over ¾ horsepower (this means most pumps) to be of the variable speed design. Replacing any pump over ¾ HP with a standard old fixed speed pump is no longer an option. Many other states now also have a version of this law.  The good news: most power companies, like APS and SRP, offer rebates to help defray the cost of upgrading your old pool pump. Now, becoming energy-efficient is a very easy decision to make. With a variable speed pump, you will see savings of up to $60 a month! Replacing your old energy hog pumps with a VS speed pump is one of the fastest paybacks you can do to your home.

Like some help with these tasks? We can help.

We offer pool maintenance services and repair across the entire Metro Phoenix Area including Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Gold Canyon and beyond. We invite you to contact us to schedule an appointment.

Hydroblue Pool Service & Repair | 480-203-4376