Wednesday, December 21, 2011Print

Florida Pool Energy Law Affects You!

The Florida Pool Energy Code goes into effect March 15, 2012  

The simple explanation for this code is: All residential pool pump motors on the circulatory system (attached to your filter) that are 1 HP or greater will need to be changed to variable or 2-speed motors when they need to be replaced. 

There are exceptions for motors still under manufacturer’s warranty, but all other motors on the circulatory system of the pool need to be upgraded when replaced.  

This is not a bad law- It will save you money

 These new variable speed motors are a huge technological improvement over old induction motors. They will save you money and we guarantee it.  If you replace your 1 HP or greater motor with a new variable speed motor Bay Area Pool Service Guarantees you will save at least $1000 in energy over a three year period, and we back it up by warranting the motor for the third year ourselves- you can't lose!

The code also covers other pool equipment, please read on to see the Florida Swimming Pool Associations great detailed explanation of the entire Law. 

The Florida Swimming Pool Association has put out the following detailed explanation of the new law and compliance issues:

The Florida Pool & Spa Energy Law and Code Requirements

what you, your business and your clients need to know in order to be



1. How did these requirements come into existence? The Florida Legislature passed an

all-encompassing energy bill, House bill 7135, in 2008. Many state legislatures were aware

of the California requirements aimed at decreasing the energy required for pools and spas,

Florida was no different. Within the original law, provisions for energy efficiency of pool and

spa components were included. FSPA worked with legislators to ensure these provisions

were consistent with what nationally was becoming the norm and that there was an

adequate amount of time allowed for compliance with these new requirements. In addition,

FSPA put forth suggested edits to the original law, which were enacted in the 2010

legislative session (House bill 663). Most recently, House bill 849 made final edits,

including changing the effective date to December 31, 2011 to coincide with the

effective date of the 2010 FL Building Code. The 2010 Florida Building Code has

now been set to take effect March 15, 2012.


2. What does the Florida Energy Law require? House bill 849 provides that pumps,

motors, controls, heaters, and portable spas must meet the requirements in the Florida

Energy & Conservation Code, which requires the following:

a. Residential filtration pool pump motors cannot be split-phased, shaded-pole or capacitor

start-induction run types.

b. If the total horsepower (HP) of a residential filtration pool pump or filtration pool pump

motor is one HP or larger than the pump and pump motor must have at least two


c. Residential pool filter pump controls, for use with a multi-speed pump, must be capable

of operating at a minimum of two speeds.

d. Default pool filtration speed must be a speed that results in a flow rate that will NOT

turnover the pool in less than six hours, and any high speed override must default back

to the pool filtration speed in less than 24 hours. This allows solar pool heating systems

to run at higher speeds during periods of usable heat gain.

e. The law contains requirements for pool and spa heating systems, consistent with

federal requirements and Florida Building Code requirements that have already been in

effect since 2007 and before. Therefore, the requirements found within the Florida law

should have no bearing on what is already provided by heater manufacturers. These

requirements are:

i. Thermal efficiency of gas and oil-fired heaters must not be less than 78%.

ii. Heat pump heaters shall have a coefficient of performance at low temperature of

not less than 4.0 (COP).

iii. Natural and LP gas-fired heaters shall not be equipped with constant burning


iv. All heaters shall have a readily accessible on-off switch that is mounted on the

outside of the heater and that allows shutting off the heater without adjusting the

thermostat setting.

f. The law requires portable spas to meet a certain standby power, based on the industry

test protocol.


3. Does the law apply to existing pools and spas? Yes

a. Manufacturers will most likely continue to make single speed pumps and pump motors

for non-pool filtration purposes, therefore it is the installers’ responsibility to choose and

install a compliant model whenever replacing a pool filter pump or pool filter pump

motor. Building departments will have the ability to enforce these requirements on both

new and existing residential pools. If a particular building department does not require a

permit for a replacement pump or motor on an existing pool, this does not discount that

the law and code requires the replacement pump/motor to comply. *Note: If repairing

an existing pump or pump motor, an existing single speed pump or motor can still be

used, but if it is being replaced, the new requirements kick in.

b. If existing pool filter pump controls are replaced, controls capable of operating at a

minimum two-speed are required to be installed, even for single speed pumps.

c. Manufacturers only make pool and spa heaters that meet the efficiency requirements

found not only in the Florida law and code, but more importantly, within federal

requirements. Therefore, when installing a new or replacement heater, the contractor

should only be able to install one that meets the minimum heater requirements laid out

in the Florida law and code. However, readily accessible on/off switches are not

federally required and a heater must also comply with these additional requirements.

**Note: Enforcement on existing pools will vary, this is where distributors and the industry

as a whole must educate each other on the law and encourage compliance - the energy

savings benefit the consumer.


4. What if the existing pump or pump motor is under warranty? If the pump/motor in

question is still under warranty and the manufacturer provides the replacement then it is not

being sold and replacing it with a single speed pump should be okay. This follows how CA

has addressed the same issue. Extended warranties not provided by the manufacturer do

not comply as the third party is purchasing the replacement pump/motor.


5. What does the Florida Building Code require? The 2010 Florida Building Code, within

Chapter 4 of the Florida Energy & Conservation Code, will mandate all of the requirements

found within the original Florida Energy Law (HB 849 removes the specifics and now

requires compliance with the 2010 Code). Chapter 4 will also have additional mandates

not found in the law, requiring compliance with national energy standards ANSI/APSP 14

(portable spas) & ANSI/APSP 15 (residential pools and inground spas). These additional

requirements consist of the following and only apply to new construction:

a. Pool filter pumps must be sized based on the formula H = C x F2 so that the resulting

flow rate will not turn over the pool water volume in less than 6 hours or 36 gpm,

whichever is greater. The coefficient C changes based on pool size, with one for pools

up to 17,000 gallons and another for pools that are larger. The effect is to limit the

performance of single speed pool filter pumps so the residential pool will not exceed

public pool turnover flow rates. In many cases, common ½ and ¾ HP pumps move too

much water and cannot be used as pool filter pumps. The contractor does not need to

go through the formula, but must determine the pool gallons, divide it by 360 minutes,

and then select the pump from the database (that is currently being created at APSP)

with curve A or C listed flowrate equal to or less than calculated filtration flowrate.

b. A time switch must be installed to allow pool owners to run the pool filtration pump only

during the off-peak period.

c. Pool filtration piping must be sized so that the velocity of the water at maximum flow

does not exceed 8 feet per second in the return line and 6 feet per second in the suction

line. Note: Do not confuse these requirements with ANSI-7 water velocity requirements

for entrapment prevention purposes. Must comply with both.

d. Filters (cartridge, sand, and DE) must have a minimum area based on the 6-hour

turnover flow rate (pool gallons / 360 minutes).

e. When used, filter backwash valves must be 2 inches or the diameter of the return pipe,

whichever is greater.

f. For pool filtration pumps a length of straight pipe that is at least 4 pipe diameters shall

be installed before the pump.

g. Directional inlet fittings are required.

h. 18” of pipe, valves, tees, or installed pipe from pool to pad are required to allow for

future solar connections.

i. Sweep elbows are encouraged; not required.


6. When do these new requirements go into effect? The law PREVIOUSLY stated that as

of July 1, 2011 manufacturers must comply with the heater, pump and motor, and portable

spa requirements. House bill 849 changes this to December 31, 2011 but now the building

code is set to go into effect March 15, 2012. With regard to the pump/motor requirements,

this means only providing two-speed or greater pumps and motors for residential pool

filtration purposes. Most manufacturers’ already comply with this and this does not

preclude them from providing single speed pumps and motors for non-filtration purposes.

The law does not address compliance out in the field to ensure two-speed or greater

pumps and motors are actually installed on residential pools for filtration purposes. That is

where the FL Building Code comes in – the new 2010 FL Building Code will require

compliance with all pool and spa energy efficiency requirements found in originally in the

law, but now laid out in the code. This code goes into effect March 15, 2012.


7. How will I know if a pump or motor meets the new requirements? All residential

pumps/motors used to filter pool water must meet the new requirements. The Florida law

and code does not cover pumps and pump motors installed in addition to the pool filtration

pump provided the pump is used exclusively for other purposes, such as booster pumps for

cleaners, water feature pumps, etc. This applies to auxiliary pumps that include a filter;

provided the auxiliary pump filtered flow is not used and not needed to meet the swimming

pool’s turnover requirements. The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) is in

the process of putting together a database of the list of approved two-speed or greater

pumps and motors – this should be completed prior to the effective date of the 2010 Florida

Building Code. This database will be provided to both Florida contractors and building

departments. In the meantime, a good frame of reference for approved pumps and pump

motors is the California Energy Commission’s Appliances Database



8. How will I know if my portable spa meets the new requirements? The portable spa

manufacturer must meet the standby power requirement in the Florida law and should be

able to provide approved lab documentation to verify a portable spa has been tested to and

meets this requirement. In addition, this information is typically documented on the

California Energy Commission’s California Energy Commission Appliances Database

( It will also be provided in the

APSP database currently being developed.


9. How will I know if a pool/spa heater meets the requirements? All pool heaters have

had to meet the minimum efficiency requirements for several years and the efficiency

should be listed on the heater. In addition, the heater must have readily accessible on/off

switch and it cannot be a combination switch that also adjusts water temperature.


10. How will these requirements be enforced? Enforcement will vary from building

department to building department, but that does not change the fact this is the law. Upon

the effective date of the 2010 Florida Building Code, building departments will have the

authority to enforce these requirements on both new and existing pools and spas for which

a permit is issued. Individuals may also report non-compliance to the building department

and/or to the Construction Industry Licensing Board. The latter would be either to report a

licensed contractor not complying with the law or to report unlicensed activity when

someone not licensed, regardless if they are complying with the law, is performing this type

of work.


11. What financial assistance is available to consumers who install these energy

efficient products? Currently there is no state or federal assistance; however, utility

companies have provided rebates to those who install a two-speed or greater pump/motor.

At this time, the only utility company we are aware of offering these types of rebates is

Gainesville Regional Utility.


12. Where can I learn more about these requirements? FSPA has developed several

courses on the new energy requirements. These courses can also be offered throughout

the State by contacting the FSPA office at 941-952-9293. Additional Energy Information

can be found on the FSPA website at Manufacturers of products

that meet these requirements also have information that can be found on their websites.


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