Confusion continues over obscure Arizona pool motor law

In most cases, single-speed pool motors can only be replaced with dual speed models. (Source: CBS 5 News)

After nearly five years, there continues to be confusion over an obscure Arizona law regarding pool motors.

The law has been on the books since Jan. 1, 2012, which is when CBS 5 News first reported on it.

If you're replacing your pool filtration pump, in most cases, the motor must be at least two-speed; it's for energy-efficiency.

But CBS 5 News is consistently hearing that many pool contractors are still installing single speed replacements.

Steve Martin of Arrow Pool and Spa says the state law change in 2012 requiring replacement pool motors to be two or variable speed is good for consumers.

"It can actually run on a lower speed for a longer period of time using less energy," Martin said.

Arizona Revised Statute 44-1375 states if the motor for any residential filtration pool pump gets replaced, it must be with a unit that's two or more speeds.

But Martin says he consistently meets consumers who've had their motor replaced with a single-speed model.

"Most of the customers that I've (run) into are saying that they didn't even know anything or were aware of any of the new title change," Martin said.

Two or variable speed models can cost hundreds more than single-speeds but can make up for it in energy savings.

"Most of the variable speed pumps that they include today is actually to where it'll pay for itself in savings in 18 months," Martin said.

Martin says when contractors illegally install cheaper single speed motors, it robs consumers of that potential savings.

What can consumers do? Look at the motor before it's installed and make sure it says "two" or "variable" speed.

"It should be a responsibility of the contractors to inform the customers of the new law," Martin said.

There are some important exceptions.

The law doesn't apply to pool motors that are less than one total horsepower, to rebuilt motors, or to motors that service accessories like a waterfall. In these cases, a single speed motor can still be used.

But if you have a motor one total horsepower or greater and you're replacing it with a similar new motor, it must be dual or variable speed. If the contractor refuses to comply with the law, dismiss them from the job and report them to the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.

Copyright 2016 KPHO (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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