If you're wondering what pump to get for your pool, you're probably overwhelmed with the number of models and brands out there, especially since you probably don't understand much of the technical lingo a salesperson may tell you. This article picks one aspect of pool pumps—pump speeds—and tells you everything you need to know before deciding on this important characteristic. Read on to learn more.
1. Single-speed pumps
This pump has one speed, meaning you'll only be turning it on and off as needed. They were the first pumps in the market, and they are known to be hardy options that won't give you much trouble. The speed is usually high, which gives good circulation and keeps the pool clean. In addition, they're easy to find and cheaper than the other two.
The biggest downside is that single-speed operation isn't energy efficient, so your energy bills will rise. Therefore, you probably won't be able to run it round the clock, especially since the pump produces a lot of noise as it runs on high speed. This is a problem, since turning off the pump immediately turns off the skimmer, and dust/debris will begin to accumulate on the surface, causing your pool to lose its chemical balance.
2. Two-speed pumps
These pumps have a high and low speed setting so that you can run low speed almost always for primary circulation and only turn on the high speed for activities that call for higher power, like running pool heaters or vacuuming the pool. Above-ground two-speed pumps are slightly more expensive than single-speed pumps, but they are much cheaper than variable-speed pumps. In-ground versions are more expensive, however.
For best usage, install a timer to change between the speeds, or else you'll have to do it manually. A downside of this pump is that it isn't capable of operating most heaters at low speed. Depending on the brand, you may only notice small savings in the energy consumption compared with single-speed pumps.
3. Variable-speed pumps
With these pumps, you can actually set the exact water flow rate that you need. As such, they offer the greatest flexibility and huge energy savings compared with the above options. Variable-speed pumps are also quieter, as most run on a Permanent Magnet Motor (PMM). They are also more durable, as they run at lower temperatures. The motor is contained in a sealed unit, which can withstand exposure to the elements.
The ability to set multiple speeds according to your needs and the resultant energy savings are a huge mitigating factor when considering the high cost of this pump. Slower speeds also offer better filtration and chlorination. If you can afford to, it would be better to go for this type of pump, since you're making a long-term investment.