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Thread: Variable speed replacement pump feasible?

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    Variable speed replacement pump feasible?

    Our 3 year old Hayward Super II 2-speed pump motor (1.5 HP uprated) is dying, and I am looking into the feasibility of replacing it with a variable speed pump. First off, my specs:

    - 12,000gal in ground gunite with large overflow spa
    - Waterfall on separate Dynamo pump (which is also near death)
    - Hayward 48ft2 DE filter
    - Prologic PS-8 controller with SWCG
    - Raypak 266k BTU natural gas heater

    Pool is 16 years old, but we just had the pool replastered and retiled last year, and put in a new heater, the controller, filter, SWCG and all new plumbing. The only old equipment left were the pumps. I did all the work myself except for the replastering, so I'm very familiar with how the pool is plumbed and wired.

    I guess the most straightforward thing to do would be to just replace the existing pump motor and seals, which would run me $350-400. To be honest though, we have never really used the low speed much on this pump because it is too slow and doesn't operate the skimmer as well. The bigger problem is that it doesn't send enough flow to the spa (differential line?) when in pool mode, so it's just enough flow to open the check valve enough so that the spa drains back into the pool when on low speed.

    Another gripe about the pool, not really related to the pump, is that we don't have a dedicated cleaner line, and I am sick of messing with suction side cleaners, so I just don't use one now. I was planning to buy a robotic cleaner this season, before the pump started failing.

    I was thinking a variable speed pump would be great, because we could actually dial in the low and high speeds to exactly what we need, plus maybe even use it to replace the waterfall pump as well. The problem is, no one seems to know anything about the Hayward variable speed pump, and by the time I buy the Intellicomm to hook up an Intelliflo pump to my system, we're talking a lot of money. This is making me start to question if a variable speed pump is even right for us in this situation.

    I guess I have these options that I know of:

    1. Just replace the existing pump motor (~$350-400), maybe even with a single-speed motor, and take the money saved and buy a robotic pool cleaner. The main downside to this is that I feel burned by Hayward pumps already, since a $600 pump only lasted me 3 years. I guess I could just replace the whole pump with something like a Whisperflo, then we're back up to $600 again. Then we still have the waterfall pump to deal with in the near future.

    2. Buy the Hayward Tristar and take my chances that it will work well and handle all my needs. I can get the Tristar with the Aqualogic controller for about $900. Since the waterfall pump needs replacing soon (if not already), that price isn't too bad when compared to buying 2 new pumps. But again, it's Hayward, and no one seems to have any experience with these pumps. If I spend $900 and get burned again in 3 years, I'm really going to be pis-... upset.

    3. Go all out and get the Intelliflo VS with the Intellicomm. This option would run me about $1700, which is hard to swallow considering I could just buy another pump AND get that much needed robotic cleaner for the same or less money. However, there's the energy savings to consider, but I can't even imagine how long it would take to offset that initial cost.

    Just looking for some advice on the best way to proceed.
    10k gal gunite inground w/ raised spa, waterfall, Hayward Super 2 1.5 HP 2 speed, Hayward 48 ft2 Pro Grid DE, Goldline PS-8 automation system, Goldline T-15 Salt Cell, Raypak 337k BTU LowNox Heater

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    Re: Variable speed replacement pump feasible?

    A couple of other options I thought of, just to throw them out for the sake of argument:

    1) Buy 2 separate pumps and split the pool and spa plumbing loops. The filter would probably have to be shared, but the heater could be dedicated to the spa loop, since that's all we use it for.

    2) Similar to #1, but buy a smaller pump for the pool and use a booster whenever we use the spa. A 2-speed pump would probably be superior to this setup, just wanted to throw it out there.

    The only advantage I can think of to #1 would be separating the flow entirely for the spa, so not having to worry about the partial flow through the differential line, check valves, etc.
    10k gal gunite inground w/ raised spa, waterfall, Hayward Super 2 1.5 HP 2 speed, Hayward 48 ft2 Pro Grid DE, Goldline PS-8 automation system, Goldline T-15 Salt Cell, Raypak 337k BTU LowNox Heater

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Variable speed replacement pump feasible?

    For the price the Intellicomm is a very disappointing piece of equipment. Just a circuit board mounted in what basically looks like a timer box. I'm personally offended at how much it costs without having so much as a blinking light to make you feel like it's doing something.

    So that being said I wish I could tell you the Tristar was just as good, but I haven't had the pleasure of dealing with one of the new units yet. In general Hayward's stuff is alright, and they don't manufacture the motor itself, which will be the same basic sealed PMSM design that Pentair uses. I think the biggest difference is they don't seem to have a good engineer working on the software side of things to create a model comparable to the Intelliflo VF.

    Since you'd be using the Intellicomm to hook it up, you'd be sticking with the VS anyway. And since that limits you to 4 speeds you'd have more options with the Tristar (not that you'd ever need 6 settings vs 4, but who knows).

    For the sake of having a Tristar Guinea Pig out there, and because I feel stung by the Intellicomm, I'd like to see you go with the Hayward. But you'd be a pioneer and we'd expect a full report.

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Re: Variable speed replacement pump feasible?

    I have to admit, I am very tempted by the Tristar VS. The potential bang for the buck is very compelling. And I want to believe that the early failure on my current Hayward pump was a fluke. After all, I haven't heard any bad things about the Super II pumps, and have in fact seen them recommended many times before.

    I guess I really can't go by that anyway, since we're talking about 2 entirely different pumps. One decent thing about the Tristar is that the $900 price is about 50/50 pump vs. controller. So actually I could replace the Tristar pump 2 more times if needed for the price of the Intelliflo. Obviously I don't want that to happen, but it just highlights how unfeasible I think the Intelliflo + Intellicomm is at this point (for my situation).
    10k gal gunite inground w/ raised spa, waterfall, Hayward Super 2 1.5 HP 2 speed, Hayward 48 ft2 Pro Grid DE, Goldline PS-8 automation system, Goldline T-15 Salt Cell, Raypak 337k BTU LowNox Heater

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Variable speed replacement pump feasible?

    My area is inundated with 10-15 year old super pumps and power-flos that are still humming along. The motors need to be replaced every now and then usually because of bad seals, but those are generic (as are the motors) and have little to do with Hayward.

    Is the Dynamo the same age?

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    Re: Variable speed replacement pump feasible?

    I dunno - the Dynamo has been there since we bought the house 6 years ago. Last time we tried to use it, water just gushed from behind the volute, so I'm guessing the seals are completely shot. We ended up just not using the waterfall for half of last season because of that. I planned on replacing the seals this spring and see how it goes.

    One weird thing with the Super II is that it sat completely idle for a year. Two seasons ago, I planned on doing the pool remodel myself. I did the tile work, and planned on coating the pool with Ultraguard epoxy, which ended up being a complete disaster. The pool basically sat empty for a year, and then we ended up having it replastered last spring. So I'm wondering if the pump sitting idle for a year might have dried out the seals (it did in a lot of the other equipment, all of which was eventually replaced). I might have had a seal leak for the last year that I didn't notice, which could explain the aweful dying noises the pump is making now.
    10k gal gunite inground w/ raised spa, waterfall, Hayward Super 2 1.5 HP 2 speed, Hayward 48 ft2 Pro Grid DE, Goldline PS-8 automation system, Goldline T-15 Salt Cell, Raypak 337k BTU LowNox Heater

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Variable speed replacement pump feasible?

    That could certainly do it. The other option you have with such a young motor is to have the bearings replaced. It'd probably run you about $100 with a new seal if you have a shop nearby that will do it.

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    sammm's Avatar
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    Re: Variable speed replacement pump feasible?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikester
    Another gripe about the pool, not really related to the pump, is that we don't have a dedicated cleaner line, and I am sick of messing with suction side cleaners, so I just don't use one now.
    When we moved into our house 2.5 years ago, there was only a suction side cleaner (Kreepy Krawly). I was never happy with the job it did. I re-plumbed the dedicated suction side line for the KK and spliced it into the pressure side. I bought a Polaris 360 and haven't looked back! Just a thought...
    WetEdge Satin Matrix, 16K gallon, Pentair NSP-60 DE filter, Pac Fab Challenger, 2HP pump, BBB, Polaris 360

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    Re: Variable speed replacement pump feasible?

    Quote Originally Posted by sammm
    Quote Originally Posted by mikester
    Another gripe about the pool, not really related to the pump, is that we don't have a dedicated cleaner line, and I am sick of messing with suction side cleaners, so I just don't use one now.
    When we moved into our house 2.5 years ago, there was only a suction side cleaner (Kreepy Krawly). I was never happy with the job it did. I re-plumbed the dedicated suction side line for the KK and spliced it into the pressure side. I bought a Polaris 360 and haven't looked back! Just a thought...
    We don't even have a dedicated suction line. We have to run it through the skimmer, and there is only 1 skimmer on the pool, so it really interferes with the circulation.
    10k gal gunite inground w/ raised spa, waterfall, Hayward Super 2 1.5 HP 2 speed, Hayward 48 ft2 Pro Grid DE, Goldline PS-8 automation system, Goldline T-15 Salt Cell, Raypak 337k BTU LowNox Heater

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    Re: Variable speed replacement pump feasible?

    OK, I'm pretty much sold on the Tristar variable speed. I'll probably order it in the next day or two.

    I have a question about how to use it in place of our waterfall pump as well. I know a lot of people supposedly do this with the Intelliflo - run the entire pool off a single variable-speed pump. I can think of a couple of things I need to do to make this work, but want to get some feedback.

    1) Plumb the return that goes from the dedicated waterfall pump into the main pump return plumbing. I'm thinking I would just add a valve to the line going to the waterfall, and then when the waterfall is selected, the Prologic would kick up the speed on the pump and open the valve. Is that all there is to it?

    2) The intake for the waterfall pump is already plumbed into the main drain (I know - weird), so there shouldn't be any issue with that, unless we are using the spa AND waterfall. In that case, I would need to program the Prologic to switch the intake from the spa to the pool when the waterfall is turned on. I'm assuming that's possible, but I've never done it.

    3) One downside I can see is with heating the spa (only time we use the heater really). If you turn on the waterfall, the intake will switch to the pool, which will be pumping cooler water through the system. I think we can manage this by leaving the waterfall off while we heat up the spa, then the heater should be able to cope more easily with the additional cooler water being pumped in.

    Am I on the right track? Anything else I've overlooked?
    10k gal gunite inground w/ raised spa, waterfall, Hayward Super 2 1.5 HP 2 speed, Hayward 48 ft2 Pro Grid DE, Goldline PS-8 automation system, Goldline T-15 Salt Cell, Raypak 337k BTU LowNox Heater

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Variable speed replacement pump feasible?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikester
    OK, I'm pretty much sold on the Tristar variable speed. I'll probably order it in the next day or two.

    I have a question about how to use it in place of our waterfall pump as well. I know a lot of people supposedly do this with the Intelliflo - run the entire pool off a single variable-speed pump. I can think of a couple of things I need to do to make this work, but want to get some feedback.

    1) Plumb the return that goes from the dedicated waterfall pump into the main pump return plumbing. I'm thinking I would just add a valve to the line going to the waterfall, and then when the waterfall is selected, the Prologic would kick up the speed on the pump and open the valve. Is that all there is to it?

    2) The intake for the waterfall pump is already plumbed into the main drain (I know - weird), so there shouldn't be any issue with that, unless we are using the spa AND waterfall. In that case, I would need to program the Prologic to switch the intake from the spa to the pool when the waterfall is turned on. I'm assuming that's possible, but I've never done it.

    3) One downside I can see is with heating the spa (only time we use the heater really). If you turn on the waterfall, the intake will switch to the pool, which will be pumping cooler water through the system. I think we can manage this by leaving the waterfall off while we heat up the spa, then the heater should be able to cope more easily with the additional cooler water being pumped in.

    Am I on the right track? Anything else I've overlooked?
    1. You may need to divert water away from the pool returns as well in order to get enough water to the waterfall. That would require a 3-way valve vs. a regular two port.
    2&3. It would be very difficult to keep the spa heated and level and run the waterfall into the pool at the same time on one pump. I think you'll want to keep the spa isolated when running in spa mode.
    Is the spa a spillover? You could run both the fall and spa spill over from pool suction (without heating) if you wanted, but balancing the spa heat and waterfall would be tough without the second pump or rotating between the two as you described.

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    Re: Variable speed replacement pump feasible?

    Yes, it's a spillover spa.

    When we first bought the house, the pool had this huge Laars 400k BTU heater and the previous owner showed us how to set the valves (everything was manual back then) for the spa. Well later when I learned what I was doing, I noticed that the directions he gave us had it pulling suction from the pool and sending it to the spa returns. And that monster heater was able to keep up, no problem (although it took a good 45 minutes to initially heat the spa). We used it for 2 years like that and thought nothing of it.

    Our new heater is only 337k BTU and we usually recirculate everything within the spa when heating it, and it takes like 20 minutes to heat up, and then it hardly ever runs. Sometimes we even end up having to turn it down if it runs too much.

    The point is, I'm thinking that if we preheat the spa and then turn on the waterfall and adjust the suction to pull from the pool, or maybe half and half from pool/spa, then I think the heater should be able to keep up. It's just a theory - I guess I'll have to just try it to see if it works.

    I'm not sure why I'm so stuck on using 1 pump for everything - it just seems like the best use of the variable-speed pump, and since both pumps need to be replaced anyway, it makes the cost justification a lot easier.
    10k gal gunite inground w/ raised spa, waterfall, Hayward Super 2 1.5 HP 2 speed, Hayward 48 ft2 Pro Grid DE, Goldline PS-8 automation system, Goldline T-15 Salt Cell, Raypak 337k BTU LowNox Heater

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    chumbley's Avatar
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    Re: Variable speed replacement pump feasible?

    I have a spillover spa as well, and just one pump for everything. In spa mode, the spa is isolated. In normal pool mode, there is an adjustable valve connecting the pool return and spa returns together. This allows a small (variable) amount of pool return to go to the spa and keep the spillover active and the spa water fresher. It can be just a trickle, or more if desired. The Aqualink also has the ability to program a waterfall function that pulls from the pool and returns 100% to the spa, which makes a really BIG waterfall.

    Not sure if that helps your situation...or how much waterfall effect you are looking for.

    Jeff
    28K free form IG pool, pebble finish, spillover spa, Pentair IntelliFlo VS, IntelliChlor IC40, Easy Touch 8 PS, Quad 60 DE, Aquabot Supreme, Hayward LP heater

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Variable speed replacement pump feasible?

    Just to be clear here we're talking about a waterfall that's separate from the spa spillover, right?

    You've got the idea. It'll be difficult to balance, but you can do it. Since you're returning some water to the pool through the fall, you'll have to balance that out by pulling at least that much from the pool. Getting that at equilibrium will be next to impossible, so you'd have to err on the side of spilling over. If it's not already, it would be a good idea to plumb the waterfall in before the heater.

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    Re: Variable speed replacement pump feasible?

    Quote Originally Posted by spishex
    Just to be clear here we're talking about a waterfall that's separate from the spa spillover, right?

    You've got the idea. It'll be difficult to balance, but you can do it. Since you're returning some water to the pool through the fall, you'll have to balance that out by pulling at least that much from the pool. Getting that at equilibrium will be next to impossible, so you'd have to err on the side of spilling over. If it's not already, it would be a good idea to plumb the waterfall in before the heater.
    Yes, it's a separate waterfall. And I hear you regarding the balance - worst case I just pull everything from the pool and spill over. Good idea about plumbing the waterfall before the heater - I hadn't thought about that. It would probably be easier that way, actually.

    I ordered the pump/controller today. Looks like I'll be the official Tristar VS guinea pig. I hope it's here by this weekend, because my pump is starting to sound pretty sick. I'll probably just replace the existing pump with it to start, and then tackle the waterfall later on.
    10k gal gunite inground w/ raised spa, waterfall, Hayward Super 2 1.5 HP 2 speed, Hayward 48 ft2 Pro Grid DE, Goldline PS-8 automation system, Goldline T-15 Salt Cell, Raypak 337k BTU LowNox Heater

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    Re: Variable speed replacement pump feasible?

    The pump and controller arrived today. I got most of the electrical done this evening, and will start on the plumbing tomorrow, weather permitting (increasing chance of rain each day up to Sunday, which is supposed to be very wet). I took pictures of each step and plan to document the whole process, but I'm too tired to upload them now. Look for updates on the install in the next few days. I'm sure I'm not the only one curious about these pumps, so hopefully this will be educational for all of us.
    10k gal gunite inground w/ raised spa, waterfall, Hayward Super 2 1.5 HP 2 speed, Hayward 48 ft2 Pro Grid DE, Goldline PS-8 automation system, Goldline T-15 Salt Cell, Raypak 337k BTU LowNox Heater

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Variable speed replacement pump feasible?

    Look forward to it!

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    Re: Variable speed replacement pump feasible?

    OK, I have a quick question about the plumbing -

    To handle the waterfall no matter if we're using the spa or pool, I plan to add a valve to the intake side of the main pump and open it when the waterfall is in use. So the intake side would look something like this:

    Skimmer/Drain valve -> pool/spa suction valve -> waterfall intake valve -> pump intake

    My question is - would it be better to use a 2 way valve to mix in the waterfall, or a 3 way valve. If I used the 2 way valve, I would put a tee in the line between the other valves and the pump intake, and just open the 2 way valve whenever the waterfall is in use. The other way to do it would be a 3 way valve on that line, which would allow me to control more the mix between the 2 lines, but I'm not sure that is needed here, and I'm a little hesitant to put that extra restriction on the intake side.

    I know I need a 3 way valve on the output side, to control how much flow goes to the waterfall vs. the pool/spa, I'm just not sure which way would work better on the intake.
    10k gal gunite inground w/ raised spa, waterfall, Hayward Super 2 1.5 HP 2 speed, Hayward 48 ft2 Pro Grid DE, Goldline PS-8 automation system, Goldline T-15 Salt Cell, Raypak 337k BTU LowNox Heater

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    launboy's Avatar
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    Re: Variable speed replacement pump feasible?

    I'm a bit confused, if the waterfall uses the same pump(I'm assuming it does) why does it have anything to do with the suction side? A waterfall would be just like any other return to the pool, except it's a waterfall instead of a normal return.

    Adam
    18' x 42" Intex Easyset Pool, with 16' x 52" deep end in the middle. Approx. 5500 Gal.
    Hayward Power-Flo LX 1 HP, 100# Jacuzzi Brand Sand Filter(Piped underground so it looks nice) 8)
    3 - 2' x 20' Solar Pool Heater Panels(roof mounted)
    Goin' on 9 summers...NOBODY thought it would last this long.
    Buried Portable Spa sharing pumps and water with pool (Almost complete project)

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Variable speed replacement pump feasible?

    Where would you be pulling from for the water fall? The main drain? What's the advantage of this extra valve vs. just cracking open the pool side of your three way valve?

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