Variable-Speed Pumps for an Energy-Efficient Pool

Published on 23 June 2020

Category : Improve

Variable-speed pumps are the latest innovations in pool equipment technology – but are they the right choice for your swimming pool? Do the benefits of these eco-friendly pumps outweigh their slightly higher price point?

In this article, we’ll answer some common questions about variable-speed pumps and take a look at why they are such a popular choice -- especially for pool owners interested in finding ways to “go green” and conserve energy.  

Pool Pumps: Why Speed Matters 

Your pool pump serves as the driving force behind essential equipment such as your pool filter and your pool vacuum -- and it even provides power for fun extras such as water features. Of course, not all tasks and equipment require the same amount of power. For example, vacuuming your pool requires a higher, more powerful speed than simply running your pool filter. 

Why not run your pool pump at full speed all the time? For one thing, it costs more: The higher the speed setting, the more energy you’ll use – and the more energy you use, the higher the cost of operation. Running your pump at a higher speed will also result in more wear and tear, which means you’ll end up paying more for repairs and maintenance. What’s more, it’s unnecessary: There’s no reason to run your pump on high all day, every day. 

Single, Dual, and Variable: What’s the Difference?  

Swimming pool owners typically have three choices when it comes to selecting a pool pump: 

  • single-speed pump is the simplest, cheapest type of swimming pool pump. There are no speed settings, and you can’t dial the power up or down. You can turn this pump on or off, and that’s it. If it’s on, it’s running at full speed. 
  •  A dual-speed pump offers two settings: A high setting for more demanding tasks (like vacuuming) and a low setting for everyday duties like running your filter.   
  • variable-speed pump offers multiple speed options. You can run it at full speed or you can dial things back to a lower, energy-efficient setting (and save money on your electric bill in the process). Variable-speed filters allow you to fine-tune your pump speed to optimize performance and save energy.  

Why Consider Variable-Speed Swimming Pool Pump?   

Is a variable-speed pump right for your pool? Many pool owners prefer high-efficiency, variable-speed pumps over single- or even dual-speed pumps – and with good reason: In addition to offering energy savings, variable-speed pumps are quieter and offer a longer lifespan than other types of pumps. 

What’s more, many variable-speed pumps are programmable and some are even compatible with smartphones. It really doesn’t get any easier than that! 

Things to Know Before You Buy a Variable-Speed Swimming Pool Pump 

While there’s a lot to love about variable-speed pumps, there are a few things you should know before taking the plunge. Initially, you’ll pay more to purchase a variable-speed pump, compared to dual- and single-speed options. If you’re on a strict budget, you might want to consider lower-priced alternatives. One thing to keep in mind, though: With a variable-speed pump, you’ll save more money long-term thanks to a longer lifespan and lower energy consumption. 

Another consideration? If you’re replacing the pump on an older swimming pool, you’ll need to make sure that your variable speed pump isn’t too powerful for your existing filter or your plumbing lines (too much power can damage your filtration system or cause it to malfunction). Your swimming pool professional can help you choose a pump that’s right for you and your pool. 

Swimming Pool Pump Comparison Chart

Variable-Speed Pump  Single-Speed Pump  Dual-Speed Pump
Purchase Price  £££ £ ££
Cost of operation £ £££ ££
Pros
  • Energy efficient 
  • Programmable 
  • Longer lifespan 
  • Lower electric bills 
  • Quiet 
  • Least expensive to purchase
 
  • Mid-priced option
  • More efficient than single-speed 
Cons
  • More expensive up-front
  • Can be too powerful for older filter systems 
  • Noisy 
  • Only one speed 
  • Most expensive to operate 
  • Higher energy consumption 
  • Noisy (at high speed) 
  • Not programmable 
  • High energy consumption 

Want to see just how much you’ll save? Check out this Energy Savings Calculator from Hayward. 

Variable-Speed Swimming Pool Pumps FAQs  

Q: Are variable-speed swimming pool pumps worth the cost? 

A: For most pool owners, the answer is yes. The relatively higher price point of a variable-speed pump is balanced out by a longer lifespan and lower energy costs. In other words, you’ll pay more up-front but you’ll make up for it in long-term savings.  

Q: What’s the difference between a dual-speed pump and a variable-speed pump? 

A: A dual-speed swimming pool pump has two settings, high and low. A variable-speed pump can be adjusted to any speed and fine-tuned to optimize energy usage. 

Q: What is the best variable-speed swimming pool pump? 

A: There’s no “one-size-fits-all” pump: The ideal pump can vary depending on factors such as the size of your pool, the age of your filtration system, and even your budget. Your local swimming pool professional can help you decide which option is best for your unique needs. 

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