Grundfos announced the launch of the next generation of small circulators for the residential heating market with the introduction of the Grundfos Digital NEXT range — starting with the UPSe 15-58 in late 2022, followed by the release of the new, digital ALPHA 15-58 in early 2023. Both circulators have been rated with the highest Hydraulic Institute Energy Rating in the market at 193, delivering enhanced efficiency and performance and offering the highest wire-to-water efficiency, the company notes.

Plumbing & Mechanical Chief Editor Nicole Krawcke had the chance to discuss the new products and how they meet market needs with Curtis Maderios, lead key account manager for Grundfos Domestic Building Services, and Adam Schwarz, global product manager, program circulators small for Grundfos Domestic Building Services, in an exclusive interview before the products were announced.

Curtis MaderiosCurtis Maderios, lead key account manager for Grundfos Domestic Building Services.


PM Engineer: How do Grundfos' new circulator pumps, the UPSe 15-58 and ALPHA 15-58, fill a need in the market?

CM: The new UPSe and digital ALPHA fill a need for greater energy efficiency in the small circulator market. In a world of growing energy costs and supply chain concerns, it is time to announce the next generation of small circulators — the Grundfos Digital NEXT range, which boasts the best-in-class efficiency in the market, highlighted by the highest Hydraulic Institute Energy Rating of 193. With a focus on simplicity for the installer, the pumps offer several new features to make installation and troubleshooting faster and easier, reducing callbacks to the job site. The Grundfos UPSe and digital ALPHA are revolutionizing the market by delivering enhanced efficiency and performance and offering the highest wire-to-water efficiency available today. These pumps ensure you'll be ready for whatever comes next.

PM Engineer: How much R&D went into these new products, and why are they launching now?

CM: From the design engineers to the field testers and manufacturing to marketing, many people from our global team invested time and effort into this revolutionary project. Today, more than ever, there is a worldwide spotlight on energy efficiency and pricing. An inefficient circulator wastes energy. With the Grundfos Digital NEXT range, we provide pumps with the highest energy rating on the market to help eliminate high electricity bills.

With optimized circulator energy, the new UPSe and digital ALPHA are so efficient that homeowners can save 80% electricity by replacing a non-ECM pump with an ECM pump while achieving the same performance. These pumps are ready for the future, whatever it may bring.

The new ALPHA is a platform for the future. By becoming a truly integrated part of the heating system, the ALPHA continuously optimizes every aspect of performance, learning from the system and offering firmware updates through an on-site smartphone to maintain and update the pump at all times.

PM Engineer: Both the UPSe 15-58 and ALPHA 15-58 have a Hydraulic Institute Energy Rating. What does that mean and why is it important?

CM: The Hydraulic Institute Energy Rating is similar to an Energy Star rating on a home appliance. The Energy Rating shows customers the difference between energy-efficient products by indicating a range of possible power savings based on the control mode used. The Hydraulic Institute is an organization that develops pump and pump system standards and technical resources.

AS: In simple terms, the higher the energy rating, the more energy savings the circulator will provide. Similar to what we've seen on the commercial and industrial side, the expectation is that utilities and energy rebate programs will utilize these ratings to help qualify circulators for future programs. With energy and cost savings in mind, we believe the energy rating will help increase the market adoption rate for energy-efficient products.

PM Engineer: Are there many pumps in the marketplace with an energy rating of 193? Why or why not?

CM: The rich features and benefits of the new UPSe and digital ALPHA — including the highest energy rating in the market today — exemplify our commitment to adding value and comfort to our customers' lives. We are proud to say that the 193 energy rating for both the UPSe 15-58 and digital ALPHA 15-58 is the highest rating in the circulator market. Such a high rating is difficult to achieve due to the coupling of energy efficiency and pump performance.

AS: In fact, we have yet to see another circulator with an energy rating above 190. Grundfos has combined optimized hydraulics, enhanced motor efficiency and state-of-the-art control modes to achieve this best-in-class rating.

PM Engineer: What makes these two circulator pumps beneficial for plumbing contractors?

AS: Plumbing contractors can expect faster and easier installation with improved wiring for easier installation with a new toolless power connector. Dry-run protection, system air detection, robust startup and the pump's automatic self-venting ability should result in fewer callbacks for installers. The new AUTOADAPT settings for proportional pressure, constant pressure, and constant curve remove the need for the installer to manually select a speed setting for each of the three control modes. In the event of a callback, the event log provides the installer with access to current and historical trend data for flow, head, media temperature and on-cycle durations, making it easier than ever to analyze the issue and respond in real-time. With smarter, more detailed data, contractors can be ready for whatever comes next.

The ALPHA 15-58 can replace 90% of pumps in this performance space, making it the only residential heating pump needed on the service truck. Plumbers will also enjoy the digital ALPHA's Bluetooth connectivity and touchscreen interface, along with firmware updates available through an on-site smartphone connected to the Grundfos GO app. This allows contractors to maintain and update the pump while in Bluetooth range.

PM Engineer: Where does Grundfos stand on the larger decarbonization/electrification issue dividing the industry, and why?

AS: Grundfos has an ambition to save energy through smarter, more efficient pump solutions. This means reducing our environmental impact both in production and while our products are in use. The in-use consumption of our products makes up approximately 99% of the CO2 impact of a product's lifetime — and it's why we continue to innovate more efficient products and solutions. As the a pump manufacturer, we take our role seriously to work through the world's climate changes. Innovation and sustainability are vital principles of our Grundfos ethos.

PM Engineer: Where do you see the pump market heading over the next three to five years?

AS: Utilizing smart home integration and communication with appliances, heat emitters and other control devices is the way forward to running the complete heating system most economically. Grundfos seeks a way to benefit both the environment and the homeowner.

With the introduction of the Energy Rating program last year, and the expected upcoming regulation from the Department of Energy, there will be an ever-increasing focus on energy-efficient products as the regulation is expected to make all circulators without an ECM motor non-compliant.

Grundfos is committed to ensuring our customers are ready for whatever comes next.

That's why we are so proud to announce the next generation of small circulators for the residential heating market with the Digital NEXT range. The UPSe 15-58 and digital ALPHA 15-58 are just the first two pumps in this range, and we look forward to the next additions as we pioneer the future and improve the quality of life for people around the world.