How to Prepare for the New DOE Pump Energy Regulations

| BlackHawk Team

By Greg Hibblen, General Manager, BlackHawk Pumps & Services

What are the Department of Energy’s Pump Energy Regulations?

It’s important to be prepared for your next pump replacement. January 27th marked the day that the 2020 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Pump Energy Regulations went into effect. No end suction or inline ‘clean water pump’ within the scope of the regulation can be manufactured for sale in the US unless it meets these new minimum efficiency requirements. These include:

  • 1 to 200 HP
  • Flow 25 GPM or greater
  • Discharge Head of 459 Feet or less
  • Operating Temperatures between 14 to 248 Deg F.
  • Nominal Speeds (RPM) – 1800 & 3600 (2-Pole and 4-Pole Motors

Who Does this Ruling Affect?

This ruling affects pumps used for water boosting, cooling towers, boiler feed and other clean water uses. Think you’re safe from the new rules? Think again. Pumps are the hidden utility that no one notices until one doesn’t work. If the water stops running when you turn on the faucet, the toilet doesn’t flush, the washing machine doesn’t fill, or the heating and air-conditioning doesn’t heat or cool … people notice.  Pumps run every day, 24-hours a day.

Do Existing Pump Installations Need to Meet Requirements?

Pumps built before January 27, 2020 that don’t comply with the new “clean water pump” regulations can no longer be manufactured, but this regulation only applies to new pump purchases. It does not affect existing installations. In most cases, replacement parts should continue to be available to service the discontinued models. Also, for each discontinued model, crossovers to DOE compliant models should available.

Why did the DOE issue the New Regulations?

Inefficient pumps can waste huge amounts of energy. According to a recent U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) study, pumping systems account for nearly 25% of the energy consumed by electric motors. Not only that, they account for 20% to 60% of the total electrical energy usage in many industrial, water and wastewater treatment facilities. By using energy efficient pumps, these industries can significantly reduce the number of gigawatt hours (GWhr) used.

According to DOE research, a new energy efficient pump pays for itself in energy savings in less than three years. Not only that, the energy savings continue throughout the rest of the pump’s lifespan, an estimated average of 15 years.

Can a New Energy Efficient Pump be a Quick Drop-In replacement?

Drop-in replacement pumps may not be available.  Some of the pumps produced before the regulation effective date needed major redesigns to meet the new standards. This means a quick swap-out won’t work.  Your new pump may require major mounting and piping changes. Some modifications might be more costly than the pump itself. 

How to Prepare for the Eventuality of a New Pump

First, do your research. Is your pump covered in the pump energy regulation and does it meet the energy regulations? The list of affected pumps includes:

  • End suction close-coupled (ESCC) pump
  • End suction frame mounted (ESFM) pump
  • In-line (IL) pump
  • Radially split, multistage, vertical (RSV) in-line casing diffuser pump
  • Submersible turbine (vertical turbine submersible [VTS] pump) 6” and smaller bowl assemblies

Pumps excluded from the regulation include:

  • Fire pumps
  • Self-priming pumps
  • Prime-assist pumps
  • Magnet driven pumps
  • Pumps designed to be used in a nuclear facility
  • Certain military Specification

What if your Pump Falls Under the New Ruling?

Ask your supplier if a drop-in pump is available. If it’s not available, even if your pump is newer, it’s not too early to start planning for its replacement.  We at the Blackhawk Pumps and Services can help you to navigate these changes by working with you on a pump replacement plan. Our services include building custom pump bases, supply adapters, offset expansion joints, controls, and more. Our pump suppliers include:

Crane Pumps & Systems

  • Deming
  • Weinman
  • Burks
  • Barnes
  • Crown


  • Aurora
  • Fairbanks Nijhuis
  • Myers

Gorman Rupp

  • MTH Pumps
  • Gusher Pumps
  • Cornell

We’re here to assist you in all aspects of the pump replacement process. For more information,  download our BlackHawk Pumps & Services Resource Guide, visit our website at or call us at 800-375-9470

Greg Hibblen is the General Manager for BlackHawk Pumps & Services. A graduate of the University of Tulsa, Greg has been working with industrial pumps for over 40 years.

BlackHawk Pumps and Services manufactures the BlackHawk Centrifugal Pump. Our distribution center carries a complete stock of pumps and parts. BlackHawk can fabricate packages to your specifications with electric motors, pneumatic drives, gasoline, natural gas, or diesel engines. As part of BlackHawk Industrial, we have access to thousands suppliers allowing us to customize a package to fit your needs.