Some of Florida’s top pool builders are concerned about the potential impact of new statewide energy requirements.
In mid-March, building officials will begin enforcing the 2010
Florida Energy & Conservation Code. Similar to laws currently
on the books in California, the code tightly restricts the use of
single-speed pumps in favor of multi- and variable-speed
But early input from local regulators suggests the new code will be
interpreted differently from area to area. As a result, industry
members have grown increasingly uneasy over whether government
officials can enforce it consistently.
“There’s no uniformity at all. It’s almost as if
no one truly knows what they’re doing,” said Travis
Leonard, partner at A&G Concrete Pools, a Pool & Spa
News Top Builder in Fort Pierce, Fla.
“You’ve got some counties that say they are going to
enforce it, but you won’t know until you submit a set of
plans with the building department and they kick it
Among its provisions, the Florida code stipulates that single-speed
pumps can only be used on residential pools if they are less than 1
horsepower. To correspond with the pump requirement, any controls
used with multi- and variable-speed pumps must be able to operate
at a minimum of two speeds.
The default filtration speed must then be slow enough that it takes
six hours or longer to turn over the entire body of water. If a
high-speed override is engaged — so as to accommodate
solar-based systems, for instance — the pump must revert back
to the default speed within 24 hours.
Furthermore, the pumps cannot be run by motors that are
split-phased, shaded-pole or capacitor start-induction run
These stipulations automatically apply to pools built after March
15, 2012, and to replacement pumps.
Industry professionals are particularly worried that enforcement
officials will become confused between the new energy law and the
state’s entrapment-prevention code, which feature some slight
differences in allowable line velocities — 6 feet per second
for the energy law, 8 fps for the entrapment code.
Since last summer, Florida Swimming Pool Association officials and
members have conducted more than a dozen instructional classes
statewide for local association chapters and municipal building
If not for FSPA’s efforts, there would be few, if any, other
ways code officials could familiarize themselves with the
pool-centric aspects of the code. In fact, many building
departments are actively looking to industry members to school them
on the new energy requirements, said Dan Johnson, president/owner
of SWIM Inc. in Sarasota, Fla., who conducted a two-hour
presentation on the code for building officials, pool builders and
service technicians at the Sarasota County Building Department in
“Building officials don’t pay as much attention to
pools as they do the rest of the house, so I’m choosing to
educate vs. letting them close me down after the fact,” he
said. “The truth is it’s not our job, but the reality
is that’s the way it is.”
Rebecca Robledo contributed to this story.