In July of 2021, the U.S. Department of Energy will make it mandatory that any pump 1 horsepower and up to be a variable-speed pump. They worked with energy efficiency advocates and the manufacturers to set a Federal Regulation regarding the minimum efficiency standards that pool pumps must meet in order to be used for residential and commercial use.
This will have a big effect on the pool industry and the owners of the pumps. First off it shows that our industry is working towards responsible energy savings. Secondly, it will help the average pump owner save money and a good chunk at that.
When a single-speed motor is on, it runs at 3450 RPMs, always. A variable-speed motor can operate between 400 and 3450 RPMs. When you cut your RPM’s in half, you cut your flow rate in half, but you cut your energy usage by as much as 90%. You can run your pool at one speed and if you have a hot tub, the pump or your automation system can be programmed to run at a higher speed while the Hot Tub is in use.
This new efficiency standard will not affect all homeowners. The standard will only affect pumps with 0.711 Hydraulic Horsepower and greater. So any pump that is 1 or more motor horsepower will have to be converted to a variable speed motor. Any pump that is ¾ HP or less can still be a single-speed pump.
In July 2021 you will not have to run out and buy a new variable-speed motor but any motor or pump that you purchase after that date will have to be variable speed. If you have a pump that is dedicated to running your water features or a pool cleaner it will not have to be upgraded and you will still be able to use a single-speed motor.
The price of variable speed pumps has been coming down, and by the time July 2021 is here, there will be other options than having to replace your entire pump. Manufacturers are working on variable speed motors that are able to mount on your current pump, thus saving you the cost of an entire pump.