Overview

Australia boasts the household pool ownership per capita with 1.1 million household swimming pools and to service this growing industry around 90,000 new pumps are sold each year. In households with a swimming pool or spa, the pump is usually the largest user of electricity, making up about 18% of the electricity bill.

There are different types of swimming pool pumps and selecting the right pump for your needs is important. Over its lifetime, a pool pump will use a lot of electricity. If you own a single speed pump, electricity will cost much more than the initial purchase price of the pump. You can save money on your electricity bill by buying a more energy efficient pump, even if it costs more up front. For example, a typical three star single speed pump would have a lifetime cost of around $3,900, whereas, a typically seven star variable speed pump would cost around $2,750 over its lifetime.

What is the Government doing?

There are opportunities to increase the uptake of more energy efficient swimming pool pumps. In December 2018, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council agreed that new regulations would apply to pool pumps, requiring them to meet minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) and display an energy rating label under the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards Act 2012 (GEMS).

Regulations will commence in 2020.

For more information about the regulation proposal is available on the Decision Regulation Impact Statement.

At a glance...

  MEPS Energy Rating Label Australia New Zealand

Swimming Pool Pumps

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

 

Voluntary Energy Rating Labelling Program – closed for new applications

Voluntary Energy Rating Labelling Program – closed for new applications

Since April 2010, a Voluntary Energy Rating Labelling Program for Pool Pumps (VERLP) has operated under the Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) Program. It enabled suppliers of swimming pool pumps to register an energy rating label to display the relative energy efficiency of their pump. View list of participating products.

New minimum energy performance standards and mandatory labelling regulations will apply to pool pumps from 2020. More information about the new regulations, including the scope, is available on the Decision Regulation Impact Statement.

The VERLP has closed for registrations to allow time for products registered under the voluntary program to transition to regulations. All products covered by the regulations will be required to be retested and reregistered and display the mandatory label from the commencement date of the determination for swimming pool pumps. If a pool pump is registered under the VERLP and falls outside the scope of the regulation, it can no longer be registered.

Pool pumps that are registered under the voluntary program will no longer be valid. However, registered VERLP products can continue to display the voluntary label up to six months after the regulations have commenced.

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

VERLP Participating Products

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

3 stars

8 stars

824 kWh per year

346 kWh per year

@ 26.83 cents per kWh

@ 26.83 cents per kWh

$221.08

$92.83

Difference $128.25 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).

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.

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@environment.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

Useful Resources

Visit the Australian Government's energy.gov.au website for useful information like:

Consultations

Latest consultation:

31 Jan 2020 AEDT
28 Feb 2020 AEDT