Question: What is Title 20?
Answer: It is a California law that regulates the energy efficiency of appliances. The latest version went into effect January 1, 2010. It is over 200 pages long and affects televisions, air-conditioners, refrigerators, etc. In the law, there is a brief section that applies to residential swimming pools.
Basically it states that if a pool owner’s filter pump motor fails, it must be replaced with a pump that is capable of running automatically at more than one speed. Newer pumps are capable of running at a higher speed to skim the surface of the water and run a pool cleaner for a limited time and then can switch to a lower speed to filter the water using up to 75% less energy for the remainder of the day.
Most of these pumps use technologies developed for hybrid/electric cars and are much more energy efficient even when operating at the speed of a conventional single-speed motor (3,450 rpm). Often, older pumps waste energy by running at a speed higher than what is required. Many variable speed pumps can run at custom speeds (e.g., 2,750 rpm) to move the same amount of water with less effort/energy. In addition, modern variable speed pumps are significantly quieter.
Unfortunately, many older automation systems and time clocks were not designed to run variable speed pumps. Each pool is different and there are now many companies competing to bring out solutions that comply with these new regulations. For example, the SNTech Infinity motor is a replacement motor that will start at a higher speed for two hours and then automatically switch to a lower speed without upgrades to the control system/timer.
I’ve found that there are usually several options for every pool and it’s best to discuss your needs with a pool professional familiar with your pool to find the best solution for you.
Here is Title 20:
5) Residential Pool Pump and Motor Combinations, and Replacement Residential Pool Pump Motors.
(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-, Multi-, or Variable-Speed Capability.
- Residential Pool Pump and Motor Combinations. 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. Section 1605.3(g)(5)(B)1. applies to models manufactured prior to January 1, 2010.
- Residential Pool Pump Motors. Residential pool pump motors with a pool pump motor capacity of 1 HP or greater which are manufactured on or after January 1, 2010, 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. The pump motor must be operated with a pump control that shall have the capability of operating the pump at least at two speeds. Section 1605.3(g)(5)(B)2. applies to models manufactured on or after January 1, 2010.
- Pump Controls. Pool pump motor controls manufactured on or after January 1, 2008 that are sold for use with a two- or more speed pump shall have the capability of operating the pool pump at least at two speeds. The control’s default circulation speed setting shall be no more than one-half of the motor’s maximum rotation rate. Any high speed override capability shall be for a temporary period not to exceed one 24-hour cycle without resetting to default settings.