New rules change our pump language
The new Department of Energy (DOE) Dedicated Purpose Pool Pump (DPPP) regulations go into effect July 19, 2021, and at that time, most in-ground, singlespeed pool pumps will fall out of federal compliance. While the new regulations do not require all pool pumps to be variable speed, they do make it difficult for single speed or 2-speed pumps to meet the requirements.
Since the Virginia Graham Baker Act passed in 2008, this may be one of the biggest regulatory changes within the pool industry.
These new federal minimum efficiency ratings are targeted at dedicated purpose pool pumps, and will impact inground, aboveground, and pressure cleaner booster pumps. Any pool pump manufactured for use in the U.S. after July 19, 2021 must meet specific energy efficiency standards. The standards are performance based and will apply to both residential and commercial pools.
For pool and spa professionals, the regulation change means there’s some new terminology to learn. The metric by which a pump’s efficiency is measured is changing.
Some service technicians may be familiar with the term “energy factor” which is defined as how much work is done divided by how much energy it takes to do it. Similar to gas mileage in cars, measured in miles per gallon, for a pool pump it is how many gallons are pumped for every kilowatt hour consumed. To get a sense of how the energy factor varies for the different pump technologies in the pool industry, see the accompanying table.
Typical energy efficient single speed pool pumps have an energy factor of between 1 and 3, which translates in its ability to pump between 1,000 and 3,000 gallons per kWh consumed.
But pump efficiencies have come a long way from the efficiencies of single speed pumps, and even the early Energy Star certified pumps.
For those first Energy Star certified pumps, if they had the ability to pump 3,800 gallons of water per kWh consumed, then they were eligible to carry the Energy Star designation.
But today’s variable speed pumps can do a lot better than that.
It should be obvious from the table that there is a huge disparity between the energy efficiency of single speed versus variable speed technologies.
And that is why the U.S. Department of Energy determined that creating a new pump efficiency would result in substantial energy conservation, while also being economically feasible.
The current pump regulations are the result of negotiations between the DOE and other stakeholders such as pump manufacturers.
One of the results of the negotiations is that the labeling on new pumps will change, and this is something that pool professionals will have to get familiar with. The new label will eliminate rated horsepower, and will now include Weighted Energy Factor, and Total Horsepower, with a service factor of 1.
These labeling requirements will introduce some slightly new terms and concepts for pool professionals.
For example, one new term is Hydraulic Horsepower. Hydraulic horsepower is directly proportional to the pump’s flow.
The new regulation sets the minimum energy efficiency standards for all pumps up to 2.5 hydraulic horsepower. This is the new parameter that is used to size the pump.
Another slightly new term is the Total Motor Horsepower, which is directly proportional to the motor horsepower. This must now be listed on the label with a service factor of 1.
The last new term is Weighted Energy Factor, which is based on the gallons pumped divided by the power consumed, or gallons per kWh.
The Hydraulic Horsepower determines the minimum Weighted Energy Factor requirement. It is used to compare the energy efficiency of different pumps, where the higher the number, the better.
Requiring high performance variable speed pumps results in a lot of savings for the consumer, even beyond the reduced energy cost.
With variable speed technology, the key is slower is better. That means that the pump should be operating for longer, but at a decreased rate.
The benefits of running the circulation system in this way are numerous. It reduces the wear and tear on equipment, so it will last longer. The longer filter cycles results in both better filtration and better circulation of the chemicals.
High performance variable speed pumps also have the inherent value of running more quietly, and as the name implies, can be run at any customizable speed, accelerated for pool cleaners and waterfalls, and then slowed down for normal filter cycles.
Its not uncommon for consumers to balk at the initial sticker price of variable speed pumps.
Customers should be encouraged to think instead about the operational costs and the annual savings, compared to single speed technologies. Also there is less wear and tear, and the pumps last longer. Lastly, there are utility and manufacturer rebates to consider.
Overall, despite that initial sticker price, variable speed pumps are cheaper.
FAQ: What happens if I still have non-compliant pumps in my inventory?
The new pump regulations are for manufacturers and not consumers, service professionals, or distributors. Non-compliant pumps can continue to be bought, sold, and installed until the supply runs out.
FAQ: When will manufacturers stop producing parts for single speed pumps? This will vary by the manufacturer but mostwanttokeepcustomershappy,andit’s likely that many will keep parts available.
FAQ: Will manufacturers produce replacement single speed motors for existing pumps?
The dedicated purpose pool pump motor rule is still to be determined. The DOE and interested stakeholders are working out regulations for pump motors that match those for variable speed pumps, and these regulations may be finalized by the July 2021 date. It may be that single speed motors will not be available.
This will be a manufacturers date, and any pump motors still in the field after the cut-off date will be allowed for sale and installation. It is highly likely that high horsepower single speed pumps will no longer be available.
FAQ: How will the regulations affect state requirements concerning pool turnover rates?
Health departments and municipalities have their own requirements about turnover rates. Some of these agencies are concerned about variable speed technologies since they can be slowed to the point where the turnover rate is not acceptable.
Because this is a new federal regulation and the product they prefer (single speed) will not be available, they may be forced have to adjust to variable speed.