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Upsize to Upgrade

Upsize to Upgrade
By Erick Oeseberg, Poolworks

When I opened my mail the other day, I looked at the last month's electricity bill, and I was pleasantly surprised. You must be wondering about my sanity.

As unlikely it may sound, for the first time in four years, my monthly usage had dropped by the equivalent of a good lunch with friends. This change had occurred since I replaced my pool pump with the newest model pump now on the market for private pools.

Our pool pump was running about six hours per day, enough to filter the entire body of water once. I had tried to run it less and found that the clarity of the water wasn’t great, so I turned it back to its regular six hours. Many years ago, when I first moved into the house, the pool pump was enormous. With its 2 hp motor, it was turning our 20,000 gallon pool over in just a few hours—or so I thought. Upon further investigation, the pressure on the filter read a hefty 20 psi and more, which I know, since I am the one writing this column, would lead to damage and frequent filter changes.

So I set off to get a smaller pump which would keep the pool in great shape while immediately reducing my electricity bill by a couple of lunches per month. And to make things better, the filter needed cleaning only once every month now; the starting pressure was running at a beautiful 5 psi and taking much longer to reach the 15 psi, when it was ready to be cleaned again. Life was good but could get better though I had to wait a few years for that.


So when we started to test the new variable frequency pumps on our pools, we were indeed amazed how we could yet again reduce the amount of juice needed to run them. Long-term investments can lead to substantial savings in running cost. Granted, these pumps can be more than twice the price of a regular pump, but the savings are not only in electricity. Less frequent filter cleaning and less pressure on the system support a virtually quiet pump that runs at a much lower velocity cause a lot less system wear and are actually keeping my pool cleaner.

The pump now runs about 10 hours a day, at a very low rpm constantly filtering the water. The fun bit: with the flip of a switch, I can awake the monster within and power my 10 whirling spa jets that are in my pool to the extent that they would make rubber duckies fly out of the water by themselves.


This pump is a product of solid engineering which has been used across the broad range of devices, using a 3hp or bigger electric motor and being able to reduce its rpm much in the way that electronics control our car engines. Against all odds, I put a larger pump on my pool but reined it in to run at about onesixth of its potential power—pretty cool and quiet to boot. I can now leave this pump running all night, and no one in the house will hear it.

A good investment, the result being more lunches with friends. Now let’s see what we can do about dinners.

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