The Department of Energy regulation will require all pumps past a certain horsepower rating to meet an efficiency threshold.
It looks as if, effective in 2021, variable-speed pumps will become mandatory for powering a pool's or spa's filtration system and other applications.
After working with manufacturers, utility companies and energy-efficiency advocates, the U.S. Department of Energy has finalized a federal regulation setting forth minimum efficiency standards that a pool pump must meet to enter commerce in the United States.
Called “Energy Conservation Standards for Dedicated-Purpose Pool Pumps,” this is the second such regulation applying to the pool/spa industry – the other being efficiency standards for heaters.
The new federal regulation states that self-priming filtration pumps past a certain horsepower threshold – whether residential or commercial – must meet an established performance standard. Right now, that performance standard is only satisfied by variable-speed pumps.
That threshold is measured with a different system than traditional motor horsepower. The regulation states that self-priming filtration pumps rated between 0.711 and 2.5 hydraulic horsepower must meet the performance standard. Converted to motor horsepower, the regulation applies to motors between approximately 1 and 5 horsepower.
This means the industry will have to acquaint itself with a new labeling system. “There will be a learning curve as the labels change, as we reference horsepower in new terms,” said Jeff Farlow, program manager of energy initiatives for Pentair Aquatic Systems in Sanford, N.C. “We anticipate there will be some growing pains.”
Pumps less than 0.711 hydraulic horsepower can be single-speed, but even they probably will have to meet higher efficiency standards.
Waterfall pumps, defined as those operating at a maximum of 1,725 rpm (or half speed compared with a standard variable-speed motor), operating at low head with relatively high flows, will not be affected as they already meet high energy-efficiency standards. However, most pool, spa and backyard waterfeatures are not powered by these pumps, but rather with standard pool pump. Pressure-cleaner booster pumps can run with single-speed motors, but they will need to become more energy efficient.
The regulation will affect spa booster pumps.
While the regulation does apply to all residential and commercial applications, experts say large-scale commercial facilities likely will not be affected because they already are covered by other regulations.
The new requirements take effect July 18, 2021.
This differs from the Energy Star program, which is voluntary. Manufacturers will have to comply with the new regulation in order to sell their products in the U.S. “While there are some similarities between the two, DOE did not try to model [the regulation] after the Energy Star requirement,” Farlow said.
If anything, he said, the Energy Star requirements likely will have to alter somewhat to more closely resemble the new regulation. For instance, most 2-speed pumps currently meet the standards for Energy Star, but the new regulation will not allow them in filtration applications calling for a self-priming pumps between 0.711 and 2.5 hydraulic horsepower. “I wouldn’t see that program going away -- just that the bar will be much higher now,” Farlow said.
Additionally, this will supersede state regulations, such as California’s Title 20 appliance standard, which took the lead in setting efficiency standards for pumps when it passed in 2005.
Officials worried about a major loophole in the regulation – there's no mention of replacement motors. DOE plans to write language pertaining to this product category, likely in time for the new regulation to go into effect, said Gary Fernstrom, an energy consultant who participated in the committee that wrote the regulation.
With the relative price of variable-speed pumps going down, cost isn’t expected to present as much of an obstacle as before, Fernstrom said. “The DOE decided that the incremental cost of the variable-speed pump is now low enough that there shouldn’t be anybody who ought not to want one, because the payback is so quick,” he said.
While the time will vary depending on local utility rates, variable-speed pumps in most areas pay for themselves within two years, he added.
This regulation also may seriously affect the prospect of rebates. When 2021 approaches, we may see fewer of them offered by utilities: Since the government already will require energy-efficient pumps, utilities may feel less inclined to offer an incentive, Fernstrom said.
“It will either bring about an end to rebates, or a change to them,” he said.
However, technological advancements may create room for rebates past 2021. It is possible that, in the next few years, technological advancements will bring us even more efficient variable-speed pumps that surpass the new DOE standard. “It’s quite likely that rebates might persist for the better-performing variable-speed pumps versus the others,” Fernstrom said.
Farlow expects the new regulation to be an overall benefit for the industry.
“In the long term, this is really going to help [promote] a perception that our industry is contributing towards responsible energy savings and helping our consumers save money,” he said. “We think that can lead to additional equipment being sold on a pool, since consumers are not having to spend as much on energy to operate it."
Article By: (Author) Rebecca Robledo... a deputy editor of Pool & Spa News and Aquatics International.
A BioLab chemical plant caught fire shortly after it was struck by Hurricane Laura.
The plant, in Westlake, La., smoldered for two and a half days before firefighters could completely extinguish it. Residents were told to stay indoors with windows and doors closed.
No injuries or illnesses were reported as a result of the fire. According to BioLab parent company KIK Custom Products, the facility had already been evacuated to make way for the storm, and all employees were confirmed safe.
The State Police Hazmat Unit is conducting an investigation on the cause and to assess damages. It likely will take several months, said Sargent James Anderson of the State Police.
After seeing the site, the department suspects that the incident was caused when water entered an enclosed area that had been breached because of storm damage. However, this is a preliminary theory, and it won’t be finalized until the investigation is complete.
BioLab and KIK are still assessing the extent of damage and lost product, said Isabelle Pierre, general counsel for KIK Custom Products.
It is known what chemical was involved — trichloroisocyanuric acid. This leaves some industry professionals worrying about the availability of trichlor for the season. More than usual of the ever-popular sanitizer may be needed this year, as children continue schooling at home and families extend their swim seasons. Additionally, professionals are receiving notices from manufacturers about price increases. This includes a 7½% rise in the price of liquid chlorine, causing even more concern about the effects of the BioLab fire, said David Hawes, CEO of H&H Pool Services in Dublin, Calif., and CFO of the Independent Pool and Spa Service Association.
“We’re all sitting on pins and needles to see if the [fire] will affect chlorine tablet supply and pricing,” he said.
To make sure his company is set for a protracted swim season, he is stocking up. “It seems weird, because normally in September you’re starting to slow down a little bit. But you can store some of the dry chemical without too much trouble, so we’re bulking up a little bit. If the price doesn’t go down, I’ll just be stocked up.”
Article by: (Author) Rebecca Robledo... a deputy editor of Pool & Spa News and Aquatics International.
(CNN) — Summer is around the corner, but anyone who is looking forward to a refreshing dip in the pool to cool off may be in for a big “shock.” A chlorine shortage may make it more difficult for pool owners to buy the sanitizing tabs.
Chlorine supplies are running low due to a fire at a chemical plant in Louisiana last August that was damaged by Hurricane Laura. As a result, prices for tabs have skyrocketed.
“A steep price increase is likely. The extent of the chlorine shortage is still unknown,” said B&B Pool and Spa Center, a Chestnut Ridge, NY-based retailer, on its web site. “While it is still early yet for the swimming season, it is advisable to prepare now for your pool opening. That includes stocking up on chemicals needed to get you through the majority, if not the entire swimming season.”
A quick look at Amazon shows that a 50-pound bucket of 3-inch chlorine tablets from the In the Swim brand now costs as much as $169.99, about double the normal cost. What’s more, supplies are limited.
What’s clear is that pool owners should consider stocking up sooner rather than later.
“With regard to retail pricing, it is a fact that we are seeing increases across the industry,” said Michael Egeck, CEO of Leslie’s, a pool supplies company, during an earnings conference call with analysts in February when asked about the chlorine shortage.
And it may not get better anytime soon.
“Pool chlorine is not easy to get and there’s a chlorine shortage nationally that we’re all going to have to deal with,” said John Swygert, CEO of retailer Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, in a call with analysts in March.
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