Pool

Splash into Savings with ENERGY STAR Certified Pool Pumps

Pool

By Steve Ryan

Did you know there are more than 5 million in-ground pools installed across America, and over 50,000 new in-ground pools built annually? If you are (or are soon-to-be) a pool owner, keeping the water clean is probably a key consideration. That’s where the pool pump comes in– it re-circulates water through a filter to maintain water clarity and hygiene. All swimming pools have at least one recirculation pump, but many have multiple pumps.

Why should you care about your pool pump?

If you have a pool, the pool pump uses the most electricity of any single product in your home. They typically cost $450 a year to operate – much more than they need to. Conventional single-speed pool pumps are set to run at the higher speeds required of the pool cleaner and waste energy during filtration operation, which really only needs half the flow rate.

How can ENERGY STAR help?

An in-ground pool pump that has earned the ENERGY STAR label can run at different speeds and be programmed to match your pool’s needs with appropriate speed. The energy saved is considerable: reducing pump speed by one-half allows the pump to use just one-eighth as much energy. ENERGY STAR pool pumps are independently certified to deliver those energy savings while providing the performance you expect. In some cases the performance may exceed expectations—for instance, variable speed pumps that earn the label are much quieter.

Pool Pump

Pool Pump

How much money does an ENERGY STAR certified pool pump save annually?

There are two types of pool pumps that can earn the ENERGY STAR label: multi-speed and variable speed. Multi-speed pumps operate at two speeds and allow the pool owner to reduce the speed of the motor during the majority of its operation. Variable-speed pumps are the most efficient because they can be programmed to operate at many different speeds, even below half speed, depending on the pool usage. Both offer considerable energy savings over the more commonly used single-speed pump.

An ENERGY STAR certified “variable speed” pool pump will use 2,800 kWh less electricity per year, on average, equivalent to:

  • $340 in savings
  • 2.2 tons of reduced greenhouse gas emissions

An ENERGY STAR certified “multi-speed” pool pump will use 2,300 kWh less electricity per year, on average, equivalent to:

  • $280 in savings
  • 1.8 tons of reduced greenhouse gas emissions

This is money you can PUMP back into the family budget.

The energy savings are great … but is it worth it?

Even considering the extra money you might pay to buy them, ENERGY STAR certified pool pumps pay for themselves in about a year-and-a-half (less for multi-speed pumps). And that’s not all. Many utilities offer rebates for ENERGY STAR certified pool pumps. For example, Long Island Power Authority offers a $400 rebate. Check with your local utility.

By the way, you’re not just saving money, you’re helping the environment

If all pool pumps sold in the United States were ENERGY STAR certified, the energy cost savings would grow to about $110 million each year, and 1.5 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented — equivalent to the emission from nearly 140,000 vehicles.

So…

Contact your local pool maintenance technician or distributor about ENERGY STAR certified pool pumps. For more information, check out our website.

About the Author: Steven Ryan joined the sales and marketing team at the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Labeling Branch in June 1999 and is currently the Program Manager for ENERGY STAR labeled pool pumps, office equipment, roofing, water heaters, and HVAC products. Mr. Ryan holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Science and Resource Policy from George Washington University and a BA in History from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Take a Dive into Energy Efficiency

Pool Pump

Pool Pump

Chris Kent

Chris Kent, EPA

By: Chris Kent

Families across the country celebrated the Fourth of July with barbeques, trips to the beach and lots of fun in the sun. But if your holiday plans involved inviting everyone out to your pool, you will be happy to know there’s an easy new way to save energy, save money and help prevent climate change. Choose a pool pump with the ENERGY STAR label.

The principle function of a pool pump is to re-circulate water through a filter to maintain water clarity and hygiene.  But what many pool-owners don’t realize is how much energy is wasted.  According to the Department of Energy, a pool pump typically uses 1,500 kWh/year. That makes it the number one energy consuming device in a home with a pool, often accounting for up to 20 percent of the energy a home uses.  There are approximately 5.4 million U.S. households with in-ground pools and the number is growing.  Even with all the other energy consuming components such as lights, cleaners, and heaters, the primary pool pump (which is found in every pool) is responsible for the majority of a pool’s energy consumption. Several studies show that the most immediate and impactful energy savings measure for a pool is replacing the commonly used single speed pump with a two-speed, multi-speed, or variable speed pumps – these are the ones eligible for the ENERGY STAR.

The reason ENERGY STAR certified, multi-speed pumps save energy is simple. Different pool operations require different pump speeds.  An ENERGY STAR certified pump can run at different speeds and be programmed to match the pool operation with an appropriate pump speed.  For example, filtration requires only one-half the flow rate of other pool functions, such as running cleaners. Conventional pool pumps operate at the same speed regardless of whether you are cleaning or just running the filter, so they waste a lot of energy during filtration by running faster than necessary. The reduction in energy use by switching to an ENERGY STAR certified pump is considerable; a reduction in pump speed of one-half allows the pump to use just one-eighth as much energy.

Households who replace older, inefficient pool pumps with ENERGY STAR products can achieve significant savings on operating costs and are often eligible for a rebate from their local utility program.  On average, they use 30- 52% less energy than standard models, depending on the pump motor design (i.e., two speed, variable speed/flow, etc) which translates to about $160 per year less in energy costs.  If you live in a warmer climate, your savings could be even higher.  Check with your local utility, as many are offering hundreds of dollars in incentives for ENERGY STAR certified pool pumps.

For a list of certified pool pumps visit the ENERGY STAR web site.  Work with your local pool professional or contractor to select the appropriate sized ENERGY STAR certified pump.  If you don’t own a pool, we have great tips available for every budget here. Take a dive into ENERGY STAR this summer. And don’t forget about sun safety – EPA’s SunWise program has lots of wonderful information to keep you safe in the sun on our web site.

Christopher Kent has been an Environmental Protection Specialist at the US EPA since 1995.  He is develops and manages a variety of product specifications for the ENERGY STAR program, including pool pumps.  

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Drop It While It’s Hot!

By Christina Catanese

We had to break out the little inflatable pool this weekend – the multiple days of temperatures over 90 degrees just demanded it.  The cool water from the hose was refreshing, but when it came time to empty the pool, I couldn’t believe how much water it held and how long it took to drain it.  I captured some of it to water my droopy plants, but there was still more water than I could use.

Filling up the pool on a hot summer day

Filling up the pool on a hot summer day

During the summer, you might use four times as much water as you do during other months.  Your water bill likely reflects the extra water you need for your lawn and garden, and to keep yourself cool!  Your local waterways and systems are feeling the heat, too – the more water we use, the more has to be withdrawn and treated before it goes back to rivers and streams.

So what are some ways we can use less water in the summer?  Part of it is using the water effectively.

While up to 90 percent of the water used outdoors is for irrigation, having a beautiful landscape doesn’t have to mean using a lot of water.  Watering by hand is most efficient, but lots of us have automatically timed irrigation systems for convenience.  It turns out that homes with automatically timed irrigation systems use about 50 percent more water outdoors than those without. Your system can waste even more if it’s programmed incorrectly, a sprinkler head is pointed in the wrong direction, or you have a leak.  Lots of water can be lost through evaporation if you water at the wrong time of the day, and leaky hoses, dripping faucets, and improper landscaping can keep your garden from looking its best.  Here are some tips from WaterSense for watering wisely this summer.

Another way to use less water outside is to capture it yourself.  By using a rain barrel, you can capture free rainwater to use when you need it most to water your lawn and garden (but not for drinking or your kiddie pool).  Rain barrels can be purchased at your local hardware or garden supply store.  Better yet, many local government programs offer them at reduced prices.  Check out our short video and this longer video from GreenTreks for more on installing your own rain barrel.

You can even design your landscape to be water efficient.  Some plants are thirstier than others, so choose plants that are defined as low water use or drought tolerant for your area. These plant species will be able to survive in your climate with minimal, if any, need for supplemental watering.  See these simple tips for water-efficient landscaping for more ideas on lowering water use in your yard.  Visit this link to explore lists of native plants available for by state, and this one to see some Mid Atlantic resources.

So tell us: how are you dropping your water use this summer?

 

About the Author: Christina Catanese has worked at EPA since 2010, in the Water Protection Division’s Office of Program Support. Originally from Pittsburgh, Christina has lived in Philadelphia since attending the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied Environmental Studies, Political Science, and Hydrogeology. When not in the office, Christina enjoys performing, choreographing and teaching modern dance.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.