Saturday, October 5, 2013

How Long Should I Run My Pool Pump?: Energy & Money Saving Tips

Woman in Texas got a $1.3 Million Dollar Electric Bill
There is no question about it, your pool pump will raise your electricity bill and sometimes it will raise it into the stratosphere. Maybe not $1.3 million but it can feel like it.

 I have a 2 hp Wisperflow at my house and I am pretty conservative with my power usage. I even get $50.00 back every month in the Summer from my local electric company (SCE) by not using my A/C during peak hours and my bill is still over $130 a month. It got as high as $180 this Summer. So how much of this is my pool pump?

My electric company Edison prepared a report for 2011 and the cost breakdown for my pool pump was as follows: $272.00 a year and 25% of my total electricity cost for the year. Only my Air Conditioner cost me more: $319.00 and 30% of my total electricity. It is the tier system that raises the cost in my area.

Lower your pump run time

Most people run their pools too long without even knowing it. If you have the correct filter size and pump size you can get away with running your pool a lot less. If you run a standard speed pump here are some example.

Example: 20,000 gallons of water, 60 sq ft D.E. Filter and a 1 hp pump. Four hours would get you at least one cycle a day. A cycle would be all 20,000 gallons going through the pool filtration system so that bacteria and disease causing microorganism will be killed and the pool is circulated long enough to remain clear. example two: 12,000 gallons a 150 sq ft cartridge filter and a 3/4 hp pump. Three to four hours will be fine to cycle the water through. Example three: 20,000 gallons a medium size sand filter and a 1 hp pump.Five hours should do the trick here as sand filters cycle water through slower than a standard pool.

 In the winter if you don't winterize your pool,you can try going to two or three hours since the water will be cold and bacteria and algae can't thrive in freezing water (besides no one will be swimming). So lowering your run time is the first step.

It doesn't matter when you run your pool pump in my area since I am on a Tier usage system. My electric company SCE does have a plan where you are charged less if you use power before 10 am and after 6 pm but you have to sign up for such a plan. Check with your local electric company if that sounds like it will work for you.

AQUAPower Skimmer Weir Door
This is the AQUAPower skimmer door and according to studies done by the manufacturer replacing your standard weir door with the AQUAPower will increase your water flow and thus you can run your pump even less during the Summer months. Here is how much the AQUAPower will increase your Pump Suctions:
Variable Speed: 300%
Two Speed: 200% to 300%
Single Speed: Over 50%

The design of the weir door also increases the skimming radius by 167%. So for a small initial investment you can save hundreds of dollars over the course of several years. I've field tested the AQUAPower in some pools on my route and it does increase the skimmer suction. The manufacturer website has all of the study data posted so if you want to read more you can visit them at:

You can also see my video of the AQUAPower:

The the AQUAPower is also a good money saving idea along with lowering your pool run time down. The next thing that will help is a Dual Speed or Variable Speed Pump.

Pentair Variable Speed Pump

These pumps will save you lots of money on your electric bill, but the upfront cost of installing one is a big hit to your budget. You will need not only the pump but a new timer to control the pump (You can install this model to your existing timer - P6E6VS4H-209L  Sta-Rite IntelliPro Variable Speed Pump) So for a good dual speed pump and a timer you are looking at $1,000 just for the pump & timer plus an installation fee. The variable speed pumps are made specifically to run off of an automated system which some people have installed when they build or remodel their pools. The control panel in the house can set the pump to run at many different speeds over the course of one day. You save most of your money of course while the pump is running on low speed but it could take as much as 12 hours to achieve just one cycle through your pool filter. Also be aware that the surface water will look stagnant and dirty as a side effect of running it on a low speed. You will sacrifice a clean pool for a lower energy bill this way. A good choice if you have the extra cash laying around to invest. Also some electric companies will give you a $200 rebate for installing on of these pumps.

I think the best way to save money on your electric bill is to simply lower your pool run time down verses buying a Dual Speed or Variable Speed pump. When your existing pump and motor does burn out then switching to a Dual speed pump would be logical. Replacing a good running pump to save money would not be wise, I think. Adding an AQAUPower skimmer door would also be a good investment that will pay off over the years as you can further reduce your pool run time. So the bottom line is to simply run your pool pump less hours each day and the savings will add up for you.

Here is a video on pool pump run times: