Here is the 411 on the new California Energy Commission (CEC) Title 20 Appliance Efficiency Regulations as they relate to the residential swimming pool industry. The relevant part of Title 20, for our industry is section 1605.3 (g). This section requires that new or replacement residential pool filtration pumps meet certain energy efficiency standards.
The regulation states:
(5) Residential Pool Pumps.
(A) Motor Efficiency. Pool pump motors manufactured on or after January 1, 2006
may not be split-phase or capacitor start – induction run type.
(B) Two-Speed Capability.
(i) Pump Motors. Pool pump motors with a capacity of 1 HP or more which are
manufactured on or after January 1, 2008, shall have the capability of
operating at two or more speeds with a low speed having a rotation rate that
is no more than one-half of the motor’s maximum rotation rate.
(ii) Pump Controls. Pool pump motor controls manufactured on or after
January 1, 2008 shall have the capability of operating the pool pump at least
two speeds. The default circulation speed shall be the lowest speed, with a
high speed override capability being for a temporary period not to exceed one
Here is my interpretation of the regulation:
5(A) Beginning in January 2006, the CEC passed a regulation that pool motors sold in California must be energy efficient. This 2006 regulation prohibited the sale of the "standard" type of motor that was capacitor start / induction run. To meet CEC requirements, manufacturers moved to either capacitor start / capacitor run (CSCR) or permanent split-phase capacity (PSC) motors. These requirements resulted in motors that were approximately 10% more energy efficient.
5(B) (i) (a) When reading a regulation like this, traditionalists always looks for loopholes. The 1hp limitation looks like such a loophole. Unfortunately, it is not as big of a loophole as it might first appear. You see, 1hp means 1 total horsepower. Total horsepower is the product of the horsepower listed on the motor (HP) and the service factor (SF). Thus, a 3/4hp pump with a 1.5 SF (a full rated motor) has a total horsepower of .75 x 1.5 = 1.125. This means that a single-speed full rated 3/4 hp pump has more than one total horsepower. For this reason, given the new Title 20 regulations, a single-speed 3/4 hp pump will not be available as a filtration pump. The contractor must either downsize to less than one total hp or utilize a two-speed or multi-speed pump. Pentair's 1/2hp Wisperflow pump (WFE-2) has a total hp of 0.98, thereby allowing it to be utilized as a single-speed filtration pump.
(i) (b) Two-speed pool motors have long been promoted for their energy-saving benefits: The reasoning has been that if you cut the pump speed in half, the slower moving water faces less loss due to friction. This means that, with slower circulation, a greater percentage of energy goes into filtration and less is lost due to friction. Running a pump at half speed for twice as long circulates the same amount of water for about a quarter of the cost. This is why two-speed motors save energy.
Where does this leave us? Pool and spa filtration pumps greater than one total hp must have more than one speed. Not all two speed pumps are compliant. Pool pump manufacturers are moving quickly to produce two-speed pumps and multi-speed pumps that will be in compliance with the new Title 20 regulation. Pentair already has a line of multi-speed pumps that meets these requirements. Jandy has a number of two-speed pumps that are compliant. See my website for purchase information. Representatives of both Hayward and Jandy have both assured me that they too will be introducing compliant multi-speed pumps before the end of this year.
5 (B) (ii) Pump controls. The efficiency of two-speed or multi-speed pump is directly related to how it is setup and used. An efficient pump that is improperly setup will not save energy. To promote energy-savings, the CEC requires the use of a controlers. Gone are the days when a standard pool timers just turned a filtration pump on and off. The multi-speed requirement makes things more complicated. Depending upon individual pump design, a controller could be as simple as a two-function timer. Intermatic has a three circuit digital timer (model P1353ME)that can be used to control a two-speed pump, as well as one additional circuit. Some pumps such as the Intelliflo 4x160 require a propriatory controler--either the Intellicom (an interface used with other contolers) or an IntelliTouch system. Hopefully, the other manufacturers will make a multi-speed pump that does not require a proprietary interface or controler. Such a pump would be less costly to integrate with an existing control system. This would really be useful in the retrofit market.