Swimming Pool Pumps

Overview

In households with a swimming pool or spa, the pump unit is usually the largest single user of residential electricity (about 16%). Australia boasts the world’s highest household pool ownership per capita with 1.2 million household swimming pools and to service this growing industry around 90,000 new pumps are sold each year.

There are many different types of swimming pool pumps and selecting the right pump for your needs is important when considering your household energy use and cost. Often the initial capital cost of a swimming pool pump represents around 20 per cent of the total expenditure on an average pump, and the ongoing energy costs used to run the pump can be up to 80 per cent.

Find out about the types of swimming pool pumps you can choose

Current Work

There are significant opportunities to improve the energy efficiency of swimming pool pumps and spa pump units. E3 has commenced work to investigate the costs and benefits of:

  1. Implementing mandatory minimum energy performance standards for newly manufactured and imported pump-units; and

  2. Transitioning from the voluntary labelling program to a mandatory labelling program.

We anticipate commencing consultation with interested stakeholders in February 2016 about ways to improve energy efficiency industry wide for swimming pool pumps. If you would like to participate or have questions about our work, please email us at energyrating@industry.gov.au with Swimming Pool Pumps in the subject line.

At a glance…

  MEPS Energy Rating Label Australia New Zealand

Swimming Pool Pumps

No

Yes
 (voluntary)

-

-

Voluntary Energy Rating Labelling Program

Since April 2010, a Voluntary Energy Rating Labelling Program for Pool Pumps (VERLP) has been operating under the Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) Program. It enables suppliers of swimming pool pumps to register an energy rating label to display the relative energy efficiency of their pump-unit. There is currently no mandatory requirement for pool pumps to be labelled or meet minimum energy performance standards. View list of participating products.

Labelling provides suppliers of swimming pool and spa pump-units with an effective and well‑recognised way of communicating the energy efficiency of their products to customers. The VERLP also helps consumers to identify high efficiency pool pumps, which can save them money.

Suppliers can choose to report the noise levels associated with operating the pump-unit on the label. This helps consumers compare the relative noise during operation of different products. 

You are encouraged to compare products that are labelled under the voluntary program as they provide clear information about their energy performance.

The VERLP is governed by the Rules for Participation. Suppliers are not required to participate in the VERLP, but if they choose to participate then they must comply with the Rules. If an application or participating product does not comply with the Rules it may be removed from the program.

If you would like further information on the VERLP, please contact the Administrator at PoolPumps@industry.gov.au.

How to read the label

When choosing a pool pump, remember that the more stars on the label, the more efficient the pump. 

The rating scale for pump units is from 1 to 10. Every star on the label represents a 25% improvement in efficiency, so a 7 star pump will be up to 25% more energy efficient than a 6 star pump, and an 8 star pump will be up to 43% more efficient than a 6 star pump. 

Many pump-units also report noise levels on the label. A quiet pump will be appreciated by you and your neighbours, especially if you run your pump at night to take advantage of off-peak tariffs. 

To fully compare how much energy different pump-units use, check the energy consumption figure on the label. This shows the energy that will be consumed to pump 50,000L of water every day for a year. This figure is determined under test conditions in accordance with the Australian Standard AS5102. 

If you know how big your pool is, what your energy tariff is, and how often you use your pump, with a little calculation you can get a good idea how much money a more efficient pump unit can save you every year.

For example, you own a 50,000L pool that you pump every day and are deciding between a 6 star pump-unit that consumes 650kWh p.a. and an 8 star model that consumes 372Kwh p.a. and you are on the average Australian electricity tariff of $0.2683 per kWh.  The difference in electricity costs is approximately $75 per annum. 

 

Model A

Model B

6 stars

8 stars

650 kWh per year

372 kWh per year

@ 26.83 cents per kWh

@ 26.83 cents per kWh

$174.40

$99.81

Difference $75 per year

How Pool Pumps work and their types

The primary purpose of a pool pump is to circulate pool water through a filter (typically sand, diatomaceous earth or cartridge).  The pump draws water from the pool bottom drain and/or the pool deck skimmer, and forces it through a filter, heater (if fitted) and chlorinator (if fitted).  Water is returned to the pool via a number of return fittings which are typically located on the walls or floor of the pool. 

A suction cleaning device may also be connected via specialised fittings on the pool wall, although it may be connected to a dedicated pump.  Back washing the pool system is achieved by switching valves to reverse the flow of the water in order to clean the filter and eject built-up debris.

There are numerous variables and configurations of pool hydraulic systems, which can effect the energy consumption of the pool pump.  These include:

  • Filter type.

  • Pipework material, internal diameter, length and number of elbows.

  • Type and number of pool fittings.

  • Presence of pool heater, chlorinator and suction cleaning device.

  • Pool size.

  • Pump operating regime, including frequency of backwashing (to clean filter and thereby reduce pump head).

  • Pump efficiency.

The pool pump-unit consists of an electric motor attached to a mechanical pump, which incorporates an impeller rotating inside the pump housing (see Figure 1).  The efficiency of the pump reflects the efficiency of both the motor and the pump.  The motor’s efficiency is a measure of how well it converts electrical energy into mechanical energy.  The pump’s efficiency is a measure of how well it converts mechanical energy into hydraulic energy.  The hydraulic energy produced by a pump-unit serving a pool system must overcome the system’s resistance-to-flow (expressed in metres of head) to create adequate flow (expressed in litres per minute).

a pool pump with rrows pointing to the motor, the pump and the join

Figure 1 - typical pool pump unit

  Types of Pool Pumps
Single Speed Pumps These pumps are typically made with an induction style electric motor and are capable of only a single speed.
Dual Speed These pumps are typically made with an induction style electric motor and are capable of only two speeds.
Multiple Speed Generally, these pumps are made with an induction style electric motor but are capable of a number of fixed speeds. During installation, the installer will set the pump to a preferred speed often taking into consideration the recommended speed in the manufacturers brochure.
Variable Speed These pumps are generally made with permanent electric magnet motors allowing them capability to operate at any number of speeds within their range. This capability is provided through the attachment of a variable speed drive controller and allows the pump owner to customise the programming of speed and flow for different applications of use. 

Also, remember it’s always a good idea to do your research and obtain several quotes before making a final decision. You are encouraged to compare products that are labelled under the voluntary program as they provide clear information about their energy performance.

For even more practical information on how to save energy and money go to Your Energy Savings

Submitting an application to label a pump-unit

If you are a supplier and would like to label your pump-unit with the voluntary Energy Rating Label, you should submit your application via email to the Administrator at PoolPumps@industry.gov.au.

To be valid, applications must comply with the requirements set out in the Rules for Participation for the Voluntary Energy Rating Labelling Program for Pool Pumps (VERLP) and include all the documents set out in the Voluntary Labelling Checklist. Applications that are incomplete or do not meet the requirements set out in the Rules and Checklist will be refused.

Further information on what pump-units are eligible to participate and what information is required for a valid application is available in the Frequently Asked Questions section below. 

FAQ for manufacturers and suppliers

The VERLP is linked to the Australian Standard AS5102 – 2009 – Performance for household electrical appliances – Swimming Pool Pump-units which has been published and is available for purchase on the SAI Global website. 

http://infostore.saiglobal.com/store/Details.aspx?ProductID=1381273
http://infostore.saiglobal.com/store/Details.aspx?ProductID=1381274

Please refer to the published version of the Standard for details on how to test your pump-units.

As it is not mandatory to label swimming pool pump-units, the supplier or manufacturer can choose to label their pump-units in accordance with the VERLP if they wish to do so.

It is between manufacturers and suppliers to decide who will carry out this testing and submit the application for inclusion in the VERLP. Ultimately, it will be Australian suppliers’ responsibility to ensure that the label they are displaying on their pump-unit is accurate as inaccurate information can lead to sanctions under the VERLP and Australian Consumer Law.

The testing of pump-unit energy efficiency can be undertaken at any laboratory. This can include an in-house test facility if it meets the requirements set out in the Australian Standard AS5102.1. However, results must be presented in the format specified by AS5102-2009 and applicants may be asked to explain and substantiate results as part of the application review process. It is the responsibility of suppliers to ensure that their product meets the minimum energy performance level specified by the standard and the energy rating label.

Compliance monitoring – often termed ‘check testing’ – is performed by the Commonwealth Government on behalf of the Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) Program. The current administrator is the Department of Industry and Science (the Administrator). 

From time to time, the Administrator will conduct check testing of registered pump-units. Generally, the Administrator will cover the cost for the first test. This is called a Stage One Check Test. In the event that a product fails the test – for example by operating at an energy efficiency level below that displayed on the energy rating label, the registrant will be provided with two options. The supplier can provide the Administrator with three samples for further testing and cover all costs related to the testing, or choose to no longer participate in the voluntary energy rating labelling program. Where a product ceases to participate in the program, the registration for that model will be cancelled and the supplier will no longer be allowed to display the energy rating label on that product, even if the label was applied before withdrawal.

The key reference document that suppliers should consult when preparing a registration application is the Checklist for Voluntary Energy Rating Labelling Program for Swimming Pool Pump-units. This sets out all the information and forms that suppliers must provide to register their pump-unit. 

There is also a specific registration form that must be completed for each registration application. The form is provided in Appendix C of AS5102.2, which is available from SAI Global. 
http://infostore.saiglobal.com/store/Details.aspx?ProductID=1381274

All completed registration forms should be submitted via email to PoolPumps@industry.gov.au.

In order to participate in the labelling program, pump-units must fall within scope of the Australian Standard AS5102. The Standard covers all single phase pump-units intended for use in the operation of residential swimming pools and spa pools, and which are capable of flow rate equal to or greater than 120L/min. This includes single-speed, dual-speed, multi-speed and variable speed pump-units with an input power of less than or equal to 2500W for any of the available speeds.

All the information on qualifying pump-units can be found in the Rules for Participation and the Australian Standard AS5102-2009.

If you believe that information regarding a pool pump on an Energy Rating Label or in the Register is incorrect, you should contact the Department at poolpumps@industry.gov.au. When you contact the Department, please specify the model type, the information you believe to be incorrect and your reasons for considering this information to be inaccurate.
You may apply for the review of your own products if you discover information has been registered incorrectly, and also for other products if you believe the information registered with the program is incorrect.

Upon receipt of a valid application for review, the Department will inform the registrant (if not the applicant) and conduct an investigation. Investigations may include check testing. At the conclusion of the investigation, the Department will notify both the applicant and registrant of any changes to the register and if Energy Rating Labels need to be amended.

If an application for registration is refused, you may request an internal review of the refusal be undertaken. Internal reviews are conducted by senior Departmental officials and may result in requests for you to provide additional information to ensure a complete assessment can be made of your application.

To request a review, email poolpumps@industry.gov.au.

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