Swimming pool pump

pablito3pablito3 Posts: 16Registered Users
Hi all,
earlier this year I posted a thread asking about the possability of powering an electric gate opener by solar charged 12v battery.
I had great response and help and the gate opener is working great and the solar charger is keeping the battery charged perfectly.
I moved on from that and have since installed a solar water heater. I cant believe how hot the water gets. I live in Southern Spain, by the way.
I've now got the alternative energy "bug". The reason for this thread? I've been wondering lately about the possability of powering the pump for my swimming pool using solar power. During the swimming pool season here the sun is in abundance and it seems stupid not to harness all that solar energy, if at all possible, to power the pump motor.
Any thoughts from you solar experts? I'm pretty ignorant on electrics but I do realise that the pump on the pool is much bigger than the motor on an electric gate opener, but surely it's possible.
As ever any help would be greatly appreciated.

Paul.

Comments

  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 7,901Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Swimming pool pump

    Sure it's possible. First to check, is your pump oversized for your pool?
    Installers love to double the size of the pump, because it keeps the pool cleaner, and they make a bigger profit on a larger pump. When you have the horsepower of your pump, then you can come up with a rough guess as to the size of the solar you will need, 1HP needs about 1,000 w of solar. DC or AC ?? All sorts of choices
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,883Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: Swimming pool pump

    Pablito,

    Glad to hear your solar gate worked out well for you.

    There are several ways to power the pool pump:

    1. Solar panel, charge controller, battery, inverter, AC pool motor
    2. Solar panel, Grid Tied Inverter, AC pool motor
    3. Solar panel, (possibly) linear current booster/controller, DC pump motor
    4. Solar panel, charge controller, battery, DC pool motor

    Option #1 is probably too expensive to even consider. Large solar array and battery bank (plus batteries that need replacement every 7-10 years--makes for a very costly way to power a pool pump if you have AC Utility power available.

    Option #2 is the least costly, most efficient way to power your pool pump (and all of your home loads). If your utility allows/supports Grid Tied Inverters (a special AC Inverter that connects solar panels on one side, and to the utility grid on the other side, and the utility gives you credit for excess power generated during the day and consumed at night--ideally over a 1 year period).

    Option #3 is possible. There are DC pumps (with brushed motors--like an electric drill)--but these motors do not last very long without replacing brushes and other maintenance (months/year). And there are controllers (external or inside the motor) that convert the solar panel power into AC power to power the (typically) 3 phase motor (efficient, rugged, reliable). However, this motors/controllers are not cheap, and you have to decide if just running the pool motor during daylight is enough--or if you would still need a utility powered pump to operate at night.

    Lorentz makes solar pumps for swimming pools--you might at them (or other vendors).

    I don't know anything about their quality--however have read warnings before about their submersible pumps and unreliable/short lives (leaks?) from a retailer's point of view.

    Option #4 is a mix of the options already discussed... DC brushed motor or AC motor with its own DC to AC inverter/electronics pack. Recommend avoiding Brushed motor.

    Still has the issue of expensive battery bank (and electrical losses from battery + additional electronics) that make off-grid systems expensive to operate large loads (like pool pump) 24 hours per day x 7 days per week.

    In the end, unless you need off grid power, your best bet (as Mike says) is to conserve. Ensure you have an appropriately sized pump, possibly two speed, timer to reduce operating time, etc. to reduce your power usage.

    Also, pumps designed to have a positive pressure on their intake (their intake is below water level) are more efficient than pumps that mount above the water level (draw water up). However, the pump typically needs to be mounted in a pit--and you have to protect against water leaks filling the pit and flooding your motor (more expenses). For larger pools/pumps can be a real money saver.

    Adding option #1 can reduce your power bill (and depending on your system costs and utility power costs, may actually save you some money) but depends on your country's and utility's policies for Grid Tied Solar power systems.

    In the US, our power costs would be (very rough estimates):

    $0.10 to $0.30 per kWhr -- Utility Power
    $0.15 to $0.35 per kWhr -- Grid Tied power (lower costs are from tax rebates--over 20 year live of equipment)
    $1.00 to $2.00+ per kWhr -- Off Grid power costs (over 20 year life of system+replacement batteries)

    In the end, solar powered pool pumps are probably not going to save you much money unless your power costs are very expensive.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • pablito3pablito3 Posts: 16Registered Users
    Re: Swimming pool pump

    Thank you for your replies gentlemen,
    my current pool pump is 1 hp. I'm told that it's the correct size for the filter that I have. I was thinking to replace it next Summer anyway as it's efficiency has fallen off in recent years.
    So 1,000 watts of solar charger would be needed. What size of battery would be required to turn a 1hp motor?
    I'm not sure if DC pool pumps are available here.
    I have my pump motor on a timer to come on twice a day for four hours. I'm not particularly looking to save money by doing this, if indeed I do it, but saving money is always nice. Bill I recall you telling me that you were, and I quote, conservative/cheap!
    What I'm really looking for is a little more independance from the electric company.

    Regards, Paul.
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Posts: 1,959Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Swimming pool pump

    what is the size of your pool? 1HP is silly big for just filtration ... and who is telling you that's what is needed?

    The Filter doesn't have a HP rating, its all about gallons-per minute flow , you can look up the charts of various pool pumps, for just filtration ( no other lift needs like solar thermal ) and 3/8 HP would cover even a moderate-large sized pool

    One new pump out is the variable-flow type ... typically 50%+ in savings for the same reasons 1HP is way to big unless its a commercial sized ppol

    http://www.pentairpool.com/whatsnew/intelli_pumps.htm
  • pablito3pablito3 Posts: 16Registered Users
    Re: Swimming pool pump

    Hi Solar Guppy,
    thanks for your reply and apologies for my delayed response due to being on vacation and away from pc.
    Well my pool is 8mtrs x 4mtrs. The pump/filter set up was done by the guy that built my pool. I'm just as ignorant of pool technology as I am of solar technology.
    There's no doubt that you fortunate peope in the U.S. are way ahead of the game in most things thechnological (and it seems to me you've got better prices too).
    Although my pump is 1hp it does'nt seem that great when I use my automatic bottom cleaner so how would a smaller pump cope? I thought of buying a robotic pool cleaner as that would mean less use of the pump but they are prohibitively expensive here in Europe.
    Regards, Paul.
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Posts: 1,959Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Swimming pool pump

    Yes, the pool cleaners need huge amounts of flow to operate, VERY wasteful.

    To keep a pool clear and clean for your size a 1/2 hp would be fine ( 1/2 the energy ) but you need to replace the pump, not just the motor. Typical prices are about 400 US for doing this, it is not a hard job to change out

    They also have two speed units, slow speed for keeping the water clean and high speed to run the pool vacuum.

    A new type of pump ( ~1100us ) is a variable speed unit so you program the speeds exactly for you needs, very energy efficient

    http://www.pentairpool.com/whatsnew/intelli_pumps.htm
  • WindsunWindsun Posts: 1,164Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Swimming pool pump

    We get a lot of calls and emails from people wanting to setup their pool pump with solar power. The pump is usually a 120 or 240 volt, 1 to 3 HP unit.

    The bottom line on doing that is that it is probably the most wasteful way possible to use solar electric.

    Not only is it expensive to setup, with all the batteries etc, it also requires a lot of room, a place to keep the batteries (which have to be replaced every 4 to 8 years), and quite often some extensive wiring changes to change over the pool pump away from grid power. That may involve digging holes and trenches in your yard or patio - still more expense.

    A few days ago I did a sample quote for a 2HP pool pump to run for 14 hours a day in Colorado, and the total price came out about what it would cost for a 6 kw grid tie system.
  • nielniel Posts: 10,311Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Swimming pool pump

    what is the main reason they site for wanting a 'solar pool' and what do you advise most of them to do?
    imo, a pool is a luxury item that is a bit expensive to maintain and run with conservation being the best bet to cut back on those expenses by the changing of the pump as sg recommends so often here as one way of doing that. if they would still insist on solar even with that said, then i think i'd tell them to get a straight gt system that may make up for some of that power usage depending on the size of the pool pump draw and the size of the gt system employed and saying to them it will operate regardless if the pool draws or not by feeding power to the grid so it's not just a 'solar pool', but a solar home.:roll:
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Posts: 1,959Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Swimming pool pump

    In Florida, every other house has a pool it seems and every single one has a pump that's easily 2 or 3 times larger than is required to keep the water quality good. The sales guys for pool installation almost brag to the home owner about how they give them the BIG pumps like its better and special.

    Its frustrating as even the best pool installers are utterly clueless about flow-rates, the manufactures have nice graphs, the filter manufactures show the flows required and its simple math to calculate a 2-3 change per day need.

    Even the largest residential pools can work well with less than 1hp running for 8 hours day. Instead I see on the news some poor kid who almost got the arm torn off and drown with the nice dual 3hp pumps.

    Need thermal for heat of the auto-robot pool cleaners, then get a 2 speed pump ... then the higher flow is for only on demand needs, maybe 200 bucks for for the two speed.

    I've thrown in the towel trying to convince anyone, literally, I haven't meet or heard of one person that has made the change .... so heck with it, sell them the 6kw PV to run the pool and let them think how smart they are:roll:
  • stephendvstephendv Posts: 1,571Solar Expert
    Re: Swimming pool pump

    You could also consider doing away with the filtration system all together and going for a natural pool ("piscina biologica") which is filtered by aquatic plants. You'll use much less power and much less water too (a good thing in Southern Spain!).
  • BrockBrock Posts: 630Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Swimming pool pump

    SG I am SOOOO with you. I am good friends with the local electrical contractor that does the electric part for our local pool company (they are friends). I talked to them at length about 2 speed pumps, then they built a new house and they have a 17k pool and they are running a single speed 2 hp pump 12 hours a day. At first they had clouding issues so they ran the pump 24x7. I can't convince them to go with a 2 speed no matter what I do. He insists it won't clean the pool. Like you said, I just say, "do the math". A 2 hp two speed pump in low for 12 hours had 5 turnovers in their pool, heck even if he wants to leave it running 24x7 and get 10 turnovers that is more than he is getting now running in high speed for 12 hours. His wife complains about the pump noise so he built a shed around the pumps. I just don't get it.

    And that whole upsizing the pump thing, I guess I liken it to buying a car with the V8 option vs. the V4 option with better mileage. I am not knocking the need for tow vehicles, but most people oversize them for no practical reason, I guess it is just the way things are.
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Posts: 1,959Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Swimming pool pump

    The clarity of the water has very little to do with the pump, filters are really more for debris and partial removal.

    Clarity is all about the chemical balance and if its a new pool, things can easily leach into the water if its not fiberglass ( gunite or shotcrete or finishes not 100% sealed for example )

    I went fiber glass and have the salt generator thingy .. so no chlorine is added , just generated on demand .. close to maintenance free and I run 8 hours day in the summer, mostly to deal with the after math of the near daily afternoon rains.
  • BrockBrock Posts: 630Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Swimming pool pump

    True true, I guess this goes back to the basic first step in any solar PV system. Before anything else you reduce your loads as much as possible. For example, get a new fridge that is energy star rated, a new TV or whatever. Pools are the same, reduce or change the circulation pump out first, get it all working, then look at solar.
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
  • gtxkidgtxkid Posts: 34Solar Expert
    Re: Swimming pool pump

    Well i am going to take what i have read here and apply it to three different pools i need to update fore friends of mine.
    They think i am some sort of genie.

    Variable programmable pumps Yea
  • ject10ject10 Posts: 0Registered Users, Users Awaiting Email Confirmation
     have a problem with bearings on my pool pump motor.
    Everything was working fine one day. No noise from the motor and bearing...it pumped like a dream.

    The timer went off that afternoon. The next morning when the timer started the pump one bearing had seized up during the night....causing the motor to burn the windings.

    My question to the bearing experts out there is ....HOW can a bearing work one day and the next day at startup it is completely seized solid...no movement. It is still in one piece and looks fine from the outside. It has a metal seal for what it is worth and it is a SKF bearing. Thank's
  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 7,901Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    >  My question to the bearing experts out there is ....HOW can a bearing work one day and the next day at
    > startup it is completely seized solid...no movement. It is still in one piece and looks fine from the outside.

    Mechanical parts work, until they don't.  Sure it's the bearing and not a bit of junk jamming the rotor ?
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 4,010Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    My favorite Diesel mechanic Nigel Calder has many books on the subject and chapters on preventative maintenance.
    I met him once in Key West at the yacht club bar. I asked him about preventative maintenance extending the life.
     He said, "when it breaks I still have to fix it"
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • NANOcontrolNANOcontrol Posts: 78Registered Users ✭✭
    My sister used to have an appliance store. Whenever I would visit she had me going out on service calls. Can't tell you how many skimpy panties I've pulled out of washer pumps.  Have any wild pool parties lately?  If it is a bearing, its been going bad for a long time. When I started out, I used to go to factories and check bearings with a device. It just so happened I knew the person who had he patent on the monitor.  He said the algorithm on the device was next to useless in everyday situations. Factories would run the bearings till you could hear them from 10 feet away.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 4,010Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Bearing stories... I remember the factory mechanics saying to just wait another week and the machine would stop, or the noise would go away for 5 more years.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • BrockBrock Posts: 630Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    And once you head the bearing grinding noise, if you shut off the motor that was usually it, it would not start again...
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
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