If you are a new pool owner then the one piece of equipment you must have is a quality water pump. And if you are an experienced pool owner, you know the difference a reliable pump can make to the enjoyment of your pool.
While there are many options for quality pool pumps on the market, a few of them stand out above the rest. One of these is the Hayward EcoStar™ variable speed SP3400VSP. This remarkable unit is highly energy efficient, and extremely powerful. In our SP3400VSP review, we’ll give you all the information you need to know to decide if this pump is right for you.
What Does a Pool Pump Do?
The pump is often considered the heart of the pool because it quite literally circulates the water throughout the pool just like a heart circulates the blood throughout the body. But unlike the heart, the pump does more than just circulate the water. It also works to sanitize and filter your water while circulating it. Chemicals that you add to your pool need to be properly circulated to be effective, and water that sits still will stagnate and encourage bacteria growth.
Pumps have three basic parts. First is the motor which drives the overall system. Second is the impeller which is driven by the motor and creates the suction necessary to draw the water from the pool and deliver it back to the pool. In the middle of this process is the third component: the debris trap. This catches items such as bugs and leaves that might clog up the pump as it circulates the water.
Why do you need the Ecostar SP3400VSP Pool Pump?
This pool pump by Hayward is one of the most energy efficient and powerful pumps on the market today. It uses a 2.7 horsepower, highly efficient magnet motor which is completely enclosed and cooled by a fan. The hydraulic design is an industry-leader for its energy efficiency.
The motor is capable of auto-priming so that you do not have to worry about proper start up. And with its powerful suction, you can situate the motor up to 10 feet above water level. This allows an amazing range of customization in where you install your pump.
It is fairly small so that it does not take up much room wherever you decide to place it. It measures around 2.2 feet long, 1.1 feet high, and .96 feet wide. This compact design should make it easy and convenient to install almost anywhere.
Its debris basic has a large capacity to catch whatever is pulled through the pump and reduces the frequency with which you have to empty the filter. This is another great benefit to this pump since you will not have to service it as often as other models.
The real great advantage of this model is its variable speed operation. The SP3400VSP, unlike other models, is not stuck operating at just one or two speeds. This has been the downside for pool pumps for years. These models run at the same speed all the time whether it needs to run that much or not.
Now, with the EcoStar™ system, the pump does not have to run at the same speed consistently. By varying the time and speed when the pump runs you can save up to 90% on your energy costs versus a single speed pump. According to Hayward, the average savings of those who use their variable speed pumps is $1,500 annually. That means that this pump will virtually pay for itself in less than a year!
Programmable Digital Interface
The digital control panel allows you to fully and easily operate the pump. You can choose among 4 pre programmed speeds (from 1,000 RPM to 3,250 RPM) for simple operation and set the timer for how long these speeds will run. Or you can program your settings with up to 8 different customized speeds.
The integrated clock on the pump allows you to set start and stop time for the different speeds so that you can determine exactly when the pump will run and at what speed. This is where the EcoStar™ system can really work to save you money. You can decide just how often and how fast you can want the pump to run depending on your pool size and level of cleaning required. Your pool is not the same as everyone else’s pool, so why have a pump that acts like it is?
Another nice feature of the interface panel is that it can be rotated to four different positions depending on how your pump is mounted. No matter what position your pump is installed, you can simply turn the control interface to that it is convenient for you to operate. This allows for greater customization since pumps will need to be installed at different angles for different pools.
Or if your pump must be installed in an out of the way place, the digital interface can be installed remotely from the pump on a nearby wall. Hayward has included a wall mounting kit so that you can access the interface from up to 500 feet from the pump itself, making it even more convenient to operate. If you have any difficulty bending down or reading the display when it is so close to the ground, this can be a great alternative to controlling your pump.
The pump can also be set to Quick Clean mode from the interface. This setting is used when you want to clean the pool with a suction vacuum. While in this mode, the pump will disable the SVRS (see below) for sixty minutes so that the system will not go off while cleaning. The interface will require that you verify that all swimmers are out of the pool so that you can be sure no one will be injured by accidentally becoming entrapped in the pool’s suction.
The pump can also be used with a variety of other control options that can be purchased separately. Hayward’s OmniLogic can be used to remotely control the pump and program its settings. Other third party control operators can also be used with the pump if you have a favorite control device.
The SP3400VSP comes with an integrated SVRS or “Safety Vacuum Release System” that will automatically detect if something gets stuck in the suction of the pipes. For many years, one of the fears of pool owners was people (especially children) getting stuck in the powerful suction of the pool pump. While the number of people injured or killed from getting stuck underwater by these devices is statistically negligible, federal laws were introduced regulating safety standards for pool pumps.
This model by Hayward meets or exceeds all federal guidelines prescribed by the VGBA (Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act of 2002). This relieves the need to purchase additional safety equipment, wiring, or plumbing.
The EcoStar™ system also has features that automatically protect the SP3400VSP from a variety of potentially damaging situations. For example, if the pump fails to prime, if the temperature drops below freezing, or if there are electrical surges or brownouts, the unit has fail safes to protect the pump from harm. As these are all situations in which other pumps could become damaged beyond repair, you can rest assured that units equipped with an EcoStar™ system like this one, will be protected.
What Is Energy Star Certification?
Energy Star is a government approved company which does independent testing and verification of a product’s energy efficiency. The purpose of the certification is to signal to consumers that a product reduces overall pollutants by better utilizing energy consumption. In addition to this, an Energy Star certification tells the consumer that while this particular product might cost more than a competing model without certification, the consumer will recoup their money over time thanks to the reduced energy costs.
For these reasons, many people specifically look for the Energy Star sign because they know it will be good for the environment and lower costs over time—two factors where everyone comes out ahead.
What Warranty Comes with the SP3400VSP?
Hayward offers two different kinds of warranties on this model. If you install it yourself, Hayward will warranty the pump for 1-year against all manufacturer errors or parts defects. If you have it installed by a technician, Hayward will warranty the pump for 3-years. This is a good reason to consider calling a professional after you receive your pump.
To qualify for the 3-year warranty you will need to keep your original purchase receipt and the receipt from your installer. In addition, Hayward requires you to register your pump with them. Doing these simple steps can give you extra life on the warranty and great peace of mind.
Can I Install the Pump Myself?
While Hayward does include step-by-step instructions to install the water pump, unless you are an experienced technician, it is better to have a professional do the installation. First, you need to make sure the plumbing is all done correctly from the pool to the pump and that the pump is mounted properly.
Second, the pump runs on 240VAC power. You cannot simply plug the pump into an outlet. It needs to be wired into your home’s electrical box. Unless you are a qualified electrician, it is much safer to have the professionals wire your pump.
Furthermore, if you have a qualified technician install and service your pump, you get the extended 2 years on the warranty.
Can I Leave the SP3400VSP Out During the Winter?
While it might be tempting to simply leave the pump out year round, this is not advisable if you live in an area that experiences below freezing temperatures. Freezing temperatures, just like in your home’s water pipes, can cause serious damage to plumbing equipment. If you leave the pump out during the winter and the water freezes inside the pump, the expansion from the ice can damage your pipes and the pump beyond repair.
For this reason, Hayward recommends that you remove your pump during the winter (again, only if you typically experience below freezing temperatures). Storing the pump is an easy process. You should first gravity drain the pump by removing all drain plugs and the debris basket and housing. Next, simply disconnect the pump’s plumbing and wiring. You should fully drain the pump before storing in a dry area.
This simple precaution can save your pump and guarantee years of perfect operation.
The EcoStar™ technology really makes the difference between a good pump and an excellent pump. With this Hayward model, you can rest assured that your pool with circulate properly and be kept clean in the process. And the cost savings to operate the pump make its somewhat higher price tag more than worth the cost.
If you only want the best for your pool, and want a worry-free pump to keep it running smoothly, the SP3400VSP is a great option!
Seen our review of the Pentair Intelliflo?