The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals is making a change to its APSP 15 standard, which governs single-speed pump flow rates.

The standard currently states that single-speed pumps of less than 1 total horsepower should have a flow rate of 36 gallons per minute or less, with a minimum turnover time of six hours. The revision would allow any single-speed pump of less than 1 total horsepower approved by APSP in new construction or as a replacement.

“What this says is that you can use any of the compliant pumps in the APSP database,” said Steve Barnes of the APSP’s Standard Writing Committee. The requirements stating that pumps of 1hp or greater be multi-speed or variable-speed remains.

The change for the less powerful pumps was requested by users, many in Florida, who found that they weren’t able to operate equipment such as heaters and chlorinators effectively with pumps that meet the current standard.

“Is it good policy to have the maximum flow rate of a swimming pool be 36 gallons per minute?” said Ken Gregory, chairman of the state’s Swimming Pool Technical Advisory Committee. “In Florida, our pools are generally under 350 square feet. Everything was coming under this 36 gallons-per-minute restriction. We had major problems with it, and FSPA and their builders’ council voted to remove it.”

Smaller single-speed pumps are popular choices for the mostly small pools built in Florida because of the pumps’ lower initial cost.

The state of Florida is acting in parallel to move the new language through its approval process. The state’s Swimming Pool Technical Advisory Committee will consider the change at its early October meeting and if approved will go before the Florida Building Commission. The change could have final approval by the end of the year.

The original standard was instituted in the name of saving energy. The cost to run pumps built under the 36 gpm standard is approximately $115 a year, based on 15 cents per kilowatt hour. Under the new addendum, users of the newly allowed pumps would see their costs increase by about $50 to $70 a year.

“We think it’s important to get some energy efficiency,” Barnes said. The new standards continue to recommend the more energy-efficient pumps.

But some say the change will affect relatively few customers because many home-owners replace single-speed pumps with variable-speed models.

“At least 80 percent of my customers switch to variable-speed pumps,” said Tom Cucinotta of Cucinotta’s Pool Service in Lake Worth, Fla. “Once you explain the advantages, they make the change.”

Still, a few customers insist on installing the less-expensive pumps, or have older equipment setups that would require major renovation for a VSP. For these people, the rule will help. “The [36 gpm pumps] don’t activate the flow switch so that their chlorinator is running,” Cucinotta said.

Another change in the addendum specifies that the requirement that pool pipes be sized so the velocity of the water at the maximum filtration flow rate doesn’t exceed 6 feet per second on the suction side or 8 feet per second on the return side is set for energy efficiency. It also states that larger sizes might be required on the suction side to comply with APSP 7 codes dealing with entrapment avoidance.