March 2021 Driving Force Blog


New Dedicated Purpose Pool Pump Department of Energy Regulations

Keep your head above water by understanding the updated regulations that will soon be enacted by the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”). The new Dedicated Purpose Pool Pump regulations will be the second federal regulation affecting the pool/spa industry, behind efficiency standards for heaters. This initiative aims to establish a federal pump rule regulation which will require all pumps past a certain horsepower rating (hydraulic horsepower (hhp) between 0.771 and 2.5 hhp which is approximately 1.15 to 5.0 motor horsepower) to meet an efficiency threshold. The minimum energy efficiency standards are as follows: 

Waterfall pumps (with maximum head less than or equal to 30 feet, max speed less than or equal to 1,800 RPM), filter pumps with integrated sand and cartridge filters, and rigid (permanent) or storable (inflatable) electric spa pumps do not have a minimum performance requirement under these new regulations. If these products are what you are currently installing for customers, you will be unaffected by the DOE rule and can continue to install/replace these products as usual. Additionally, the DOE has determined equipment classes cannot be based on application (e.g. cannot be “in-ground” vs. “above-ground”). The classes must be based on design, physical features, performance, characteristics, etc. 

As part of the new standards, all pumps produced after July 18, 2021 must be labeled with a weighted energy factor (WEF). This score measures wire to water efficiency, a term used in the pumping industry for years, which determines how efficiently a system uses electricity to perform work – in this case pumping. When looking at WEF scores to determine which is the most energy efficient, the higher the number is, the better. 

These standards are aimed at giving an overall benefit of conserving energy while giving the bonus of cost reduction (over time) to consumers. The importance of conserving energy in relation to our environment is monumental. Reducing energy consumption helps to reduce the number of toxic fumes released into the atmosphere, conserve earth’s natural resources, and protect ecosystems worldwide from destruction.  How do these regulations help to conserve energy? The technology of variable speed motors has driven these DOE changes. Variable speed motors are “smarter” than single speed motors by changing the speed of the motor to match the speed that is necessary for a specific amount of effort in an application. Conversely, single speed motors maintain the same speed consistently regardless of effort needed. This is why some older pumps with a variable speed replacement motor give the exact same conservation benefits as the ones established by the DOE.  

The DOE gathered and analyzed data which proved that the lifetime energy savings for dedicated-purpose-pool pumps purchased in the 30-year period of which these regulations begin will amount to 3.8 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu). This represents an estimated savings of 61% relative to the energy that would be consumed without the regulations. With this, it is estimated that these standards would also result in a reduction of 202 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, along with reduction of other greenhouse gasses. As mentioned before, environmental protection is not the only benefit of energy efficiency regulations. The DOE also calculated that the net present value of total consumer benefits by implementing these standards for DPPP ranges from $11 billion to $24 billion U.S. dollars.  

While the new standards mostly will affect manufacturers, who must adhere to the mandates in manufacturing of components of these systems, it is still important to understand what is and is not still available to help serve your customer. Here are some key facts to remember

  • Variable speed motor driven pumps are the only current technology that is in compliance with the new regulations.

  • If a repair or replacement is needed for single-speed motor that is currently in use, you can still get a replacement motor from Nidec Motor Corporation as the current DOE Rule does not affect replacement pool pump motorsDistributors, retailers and youCAN still purchase and install these items.

  • If an existing pump is functional, you do NOT have to bring it up to compliance standards under the new regulations.

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