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Variable Speed, 2-Speed & Single Speed Pool Pumps

Categories: Pumps, Energy Efficiency
There are so many more choices than ever before when it comes to swimming pool pumps. It can be very confusing and difficult to know the differences and which is best for you and your pool. Well, don’t fear. Pool Supply Unlimited is here to help you navigate the information and make the best decision for your swimming pool.
First, let’s discuss the three options and the details of each –

Single Speed Pumps
  • Traditional pool pump that most pools have used for years.
  • The motor runs at only one speed.
  • Operates at full speed at 3,450 RPMs and has the highest AMP draw – approximately 13 AMPS. The higher the AMP draw, the higher your electrical bill will be!

2-Speed Pumps
  • Offers the ability to run at a low speed in addition to full speed.
  • Low speed is 1,725 RPMs and will reduce the AMPs.
  • Lower energy costs when running at low speed.
  • Gives you the option to operate at a lower speed for normal circulation while having the full speed capability when needed (spa mode, solar system, etc.)

Variable Speed Pumps
  • Offers the most options and flexibility for all applications.
  • Typically can operate from as low as 600 up to 3,450 RPMs.
  • AMP draw at speeds as low as 600 RPM are about 3 AMPS.
  • Savings up to 90% compared to a single speed pump.
  • Multiple settings for multiple jobs (circulation, spa mode, waterfalls, automatic cleaners, solar, etc.).
  • With local rebates and lower prices from years past, net costs are lower than ever and similar to single speed pumps.
Now, let’s talk about the different pool configurations and the demands of each.
  • Pool only
    • When you only have a swimming pool without a spa or solar heating, in-floor cleaning system or water features, etc. then the required flow is much less as your pump is strictly there for circulation.
    • This application is perfect for a variable speed pump. To put a single speed or even a 2-speed pump would be a waste of energy. There is no need to have a pump motor running at 1,725 RPMs and especially not at 3,450 RPMs.
  • Pool and Spa combination
    • Similar to the pool only example, while the system is in “pool” mode, you only need minimum flow for water circulation. But, when the system is switched to spa mode, you will need maximum flow.
    • The 2-speed pump is okay for this scenario as you would run the low speed (1,725 RPM) during normal pool mode for circulation only. You would then have the high speed for the times you use the spa.
    • There is no need to put a single speed pump just to have the power needed when you use the spa. Since the spa is not used as often, most of the time the system is in pool mode and the pump would be running at 3,450 RPMs when it is not needed…. wasting money!
    • Again, the variable speed is your best choice here. You have the full power needed when you use the spa, but the normal, everyday circulation mode can be set at much lower than the 1,725 RPMs that you’re restricted to with a 2-speed pump. The energy savings of 1,725 RPMs compared to 600RPMs or 800RPMs is significant.
  • Pool or Pool & Spa with solar heating and/or automatic cleaner
    • This configuration is similar to the pool & spa combination. You need full power when in solar mode, but all other times you need simple circulation.
    • A single speed pump is a waste of operating costs when you’re in circulation mode, which is a majority of the time.
    • A 2-speed pump still runs at much higher RPM than needed when the system is in normal circulation mode.
    • At this point I probably sound like a broken record, but again, the variable speed is the best option. You have all the power you need while also having the maximum savings and efficiency. You can program one of the settings for solar heating mode, another for the cleaner and they will come on when you want them to and at the speed needed.
Finally, it simply comes down to this. Considering how the prices of variable speed pumps have dropped and the rebates most areas of the nation offer, there is no reason not to buy a variable speed pump for any application you have. They have the ability meet any need you have while offering the maximum savings possible.
For more information on variable speed pump rebates visit our blog post on utility rebates or contact your local electricity company.
There is no down side to a variable speed pump. In fact, there are areas of the country that have made it illegal to install a single speed pump or motor any longer. This leaves you the choice of a 2-speed or a variable speed. Considering that the prices are about the same, and in some cases the variable speed is lower, and the energy savings is far greater with the variable speed… the choice seems pretty simple.
As always, we understand there may be additional questions you may have and we are always here to help. Please feel free to call or email us at Pool Supply Unlimited anytime. We can be reached at 888-836-6025 or [email protected].
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Pool Supply Unlimited is an e-commerce company that loves water. We love to pump it, filter it, heat it, chlorinate it, light it up and stare at it while we're barbequing a fat, juicy steak. There are real pool professionals working here. Our guys have seen thousands of pools in their careers, no exaggeration. We are based in San Antonio, TX and can land most products to your door (within the 48 contiguous states) in less than a week.
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