Top 5 Benefits of A Variable Speed Pool Pump

It's easy to shy away from a Variable Speed Pool Pump at first glance of the price tag, but you might be surprised by what they have to offer. Here’s what we consider to be the top 5 benefits of a Variable Speed Pool Pump.

  • Energy Savings = $$ in your wallet
  • Better Filtration = improved water clarity
  • Flexible Programming = better user experience
  • Less Noise = happy neighbors
  • Longer Warranties = peace of mind

If any of these sound beneficial then read on and make your own determination on whether a VS Pool Pump is worth it, or not.

Energy Savings Equals Money in Your Wallet

The number 1 benefit of a Variable Speed Pool Pump is energy savings. The savings come from the “Variable” portion of the VS Pump. By lowering the RPMs, the pool pump will consume less energy. As energy consumption goes down, the money in your wallet goes up.

Screenshot of Pentair Energy Savings Calculator Using a Variable Speed Pump

Screenshot of Pentair Energy Savings Calculator Using a Variable Speed Pump

A common misconception is that more is better - this is not always true when it comes to pool pumps. An overworked pool pump will consume more energy($) and potentially fail prematurely. 

This simple Energy Calculator from Pentair will give you a basic understanding of just how much money you can save. If you have a water feature you can create even more savings by using a VS Pump to control your water feature as well. Take a few minutes using the calculator and see how much money you can save.

Pentair Energy Calculator

Better Filtration Equals Cleaner Water and Longer Equipment Life

Example of a clean pool with better filtration from a VS Pump

Contrary to popular belief, bigger pool pumps are not generally better. My fellow Texans (where bigger is always better) might get upset with me for that statement. I am by no means a hydraulics expert, but understanding one basic principle helps - only so much water can efficiently flow through a 2” pipe.

EXAMPLE: 2 Inch PVC is going to allow about 60 - 80 GPM (Gallons Per Minute) to flow through that pipe. An Intelliflo VSF Pump is rated as a 3hp pool pump. If you run this pump at full speed, it will be trying to move well over 80 GPMs, therefore resulting in overworking the pump and causing it to fail prematurely.

This is why pool pumps seem to be made with “less quality” these days, when in reality they are most likely made with better quality. Lack of knowledge from pool professionals and incentives from builders - “We will throw in a bigger pump if you choose us..” - are some of the reasons this issue continues. 

Something easily overlooked but is in fact very important is how pump sizing and waterflow affects the rest of your pool equipment, mainly talking about your gas heater and pool filter. Having too large of a pump can cause erosion of the copper heat exchanger in the heater. It may take a while, but why not get more life out of your pool heater? 

When it comes to the pool filter, the elements inside (cartridges & grids) will take a beating and fail more often when pressure is higher. If you don’t mind frequently throwing money at the pool equipment then this will not be a problem for you, but if you’d like to get more life out of your equipment, then this is something to think about.

Additionally, slower water flow gets filtered better.

Its true. The slower the water flow, the easier it is for your swimming pool filter to grab particles and debris out of the water. On the flip side if you have a D.E. Filter and slow the water down too much the filter won’t do its job properly. It’s all about finding a balance.

Flexible Programming Equals Better User Experience

Pentair VS Pump settings screen showing 50 GPM water flow

In order to get the benefits from upgrading to a VS Pool Pump it MUST be installed and programmed correctly. This technology is fairly new, and let's be honest, most (not all) pool guys/gals are not what we would consider early adopters. They tend to get stuck in the past. This causes them to avoid “wasting” time getting educated on the benefits, proper installation, and programming of these pumps.

Let’s use a Pentair Intelliflo VSF Pump for this discussion. This pump can be installed stand-alone or connected to a pool automation system like the Pentair IntelliCenter (shown above). If it is installed as a stand-alone unit the pump is controlled by a drive(computer) on the unit. From this drive you have tons of different settings, schedules, speeds, etc that you can setup. This gives you the flexibility to set the pump how it best fits your swimming pool. 

If you install the pump with automation, like Pentair Intelliflo VSF Pump connected to a Pentair IntelliCenter, the automation system becomes the control for the pump. 

Typically the automation systems have friendlier user interfaces that make controlling the pump much easier. Using the IntelliCenter, for example, is very similar to using a tablet or smartphone.

Other benefits of the automation system can include freeze protection, interlocks, and mobile control. With some systems you can now control your automation system with your Apple Watch or by using voice with your Amazon Alexa or Google Home. 

Having so many programming options makes it easy to set up your backyard oasis how you want it. Do you have water features? If you have additional pumps that control water features you can give yourself control of the flow by using a VS Pump. 

Maybe you want to drink your coffee poolside in the morning and listen to the sound of a rushing waterfall, or maybe you are having a BBQ and would like to hear your guests, but still keep the aesthetics going.

Less Noise Equals Happy Neighbors

Pentair VSF Pump install from The Pool Boys in League City, TX

Let’s be honest, most brand new pool pumps are considerably quiet. In fact, a new VS Pump is fairly loud when running at max RPMs. The beauty is that when dialed-in to your pool, and running at a much lower speed, these pumps are very quiet. I have walked into backyards where I was certain the pump was off, but it was in fact running at a very low RPM setting.

If you’ve owned a pool long enough then I’m certain you’re familiar with the volume of a pool pump motor that is on its way out. Often times, when discussing pool pumps with a customer they tell me - “My bedroom is on the other side of this wall…” or “My neighbor is getting tired of hearing it…” 

If you find yourself saying these things, then a Variable Speed Pool Pump may be a good solution.

Longer Warranty Means Peace of Mind

You can rest easy when spending more money to purchase a VS Pool Pump. Most reputable manufacturers offer longer warranties such as 2 and 3 years (parts & labor) on Variable Speed Pumps. This is compared to a standard 1 year warranty on single speed pumps and motors.

Here is something to consider - a properly programmed pump could potentially pay for itself in energy savings before it is out of the warranty period. That’s impressive. 

That being said, warranties are much different for VS Pumps purchased from online retailers. These warranties are generally much shorter, in some cases 30 days, or they may have certain stipulations such as parts only warranty (no labor), or the piece of equipment must be installed by a professional.

As of 2019 Jandy Pool Products is working to prohibit the online sale of what they consider technical products (pumps, filters, heaters, automation, electronics, etc.). We understand that the internet has very good deals to offer, just be cautious of what you are really getting with your purchase. 

What’s it Going to Cost You?

A Pentair Intelliflo VSF installed by The Pool Boys starts at $1750.00 + Tax. Every pool system is different, therefore making every install unique so the price may vary depending on your situation.

There are many different manufacturer rebates as well as energy company rebates that come available from time to time. By taking advantage of these rebates you could save hundreds on your VS Pump install, so be sure to inquire about them.

July 19, 2021 - Single Speed Pump Doomsday

We’ve covered alot, but before you go there is one more thing that needs to be mentioned. July 19, 2021 is stated to be the day that single speed pumps may no longer be installed. If you are replacing a pool pump, it will require a new Variable Speed Pump upgrade. 

It seems that there is not currently a ruling on if you were to replace only the motor but I believe it is in the works based on the link below. Bottom line is that in a few years you may not have any other choice than to switch to a VS Pump. This is another reason, outside of the great benefits previously discussed, that I recommend making the switch now if the opportunity arises.

You can read the Federal Register article here for further information and to fact check me. Please understand, this is fresh and I am still learning about it myself.

Energy Conservation Program - Energy Conservation Standards for Dedicated Purpose Pool Pump Motors

Get Professional Diagnosis, Installation and Repair on Variable Speed Pumps from The Pool Boys in League City

Close up view of Pentair VSF Pump install from The Pool Boys in League City, TX, January 2019

Remember, everything we just went over is null and void if the Variable Speed Pump is not properly installed and programmed. 

We see it all of the time, a customer was sold a VS Pump because they wanted to save money but it was never programmed to their pool - so they saved no money and the pump failed, just out of warranty. Always use a reputable pool company such as The Pool Boys that are factory trained, licensed and insured to install pool equipment in the State of Texas. 

And don’t forget, July 19, 2021 is the date that Variable Speed Pumps become the new standard. This is called the “Energy Conservation Standards for Dedicated-Purpose Pool Pumps.”

If you are looking to upgrade your current pool pump, or want a professional opinion on any of your pool equipment, give us a call at 832-473-5715 to set up an appointment, or visit our Contact page to send us a message.

Thanks!
Zac Nicklas
The Pool Boys