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Thread: New Build - At 13 cents per KWH is Variable Speed Worth It

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    New Build - At 13 cents per KWH is Variable Speed Worth It

    We are planning a Florida New Pool Build and had settled on the Pentair Intelliflow. We will have the Pentair SolarTouch Solar Control System.

    • Pool will be 12,500 gallons
    • No spa
    • 2 Bubblers
    • 2 Sheers
    • Solar on 2nd story


    A further research is leading me to believe that based on the cost of the pump and the cost of my electric rates, a variable speed may not pay itself back for a while? We know that most of the manufacturer comparison calculators are designed to show extreme savings / comparisons that are not real life....


    So, do the other reasons listed below provide enough reason to spend the extra cash?
    - Sound level is better on these because they can run at a lower speed most of the time
    - Cool factor. Let's face it VS is the new thing and when someone asks what kind of pump I have variable speed is cooler
    - Eco factor. Cost aside, it saves electricity and that is good for everyone and the environment.
    - More flexibility in the control
    - Claim is that filtering is better at low speeds
    - Built in timer and thus I may not need a external timer? If this is a tru, might be able to same a little by not having a separate timer. Was not planning on a electronic color box anyway.
    - On a $45 to $50k build, the difference is not worth fussing over

    Thanks for looking. Isn't all of this part of the fun of a build or remodel.

    For comparison sake:
    2 speed Pentiar - $589
    Amazon.com : Pentair 012518 WhisperFlo High Performance Energy Efficient Two Speed Up Rated Pool Pump, 1 1/2 Horsepower, 230 Volt, 1 Phase - Energy Star Certified : Swimming Pool Water Pumps : Patio, Lawn Garden

    VS Pentair - $875
    Amazon.com : Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo Variable Speed High Performance Pool Pump, 3 Horsepower, 230 Volt, 1 Phase - Energy Star Certified : Swimming Pool Water Pumps : Patio, Lawn Garden
    Matt
    2016 Pool Build: 12k IG Blue Granite Pebblesheen, Travertine Coping & Pavers, Pentair IntelliFlo, Intellichlor, Easytouch, Clean & Clear 320, Heliocol Solar - TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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    Re: New Build - At 13 cents per KWH is Variable Speed Worth It

    Good post and good question. Simply from observation, it seems the "cool" factor overwhelms everyone and they purchase the VS (and love it)

    Does it pay back reasonably well? Almost never at your electric rates. The other reasons you list can apply to a 2-speed as well.

    However, at your next pool party, your analytical talk of ROI and cost anlysis will not hold a candle to, "Wow! Is that that new VS pump I've been hearing about?"
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: New Build - At 13 cents per KWH is Variable Speed Worth It

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    "Wow! Is that that new VS pump I've been hearing about?"
    Yes, that is it. I was at my brother in-laws house recently and he has almost the same setup that we will in size, solar, electric rates, etc... . Now, he has a old single speed so he is seeing the monthly savings. But none of that was discussed. It was all along the same lines. "Hey take a look at my new variable speed pump and the new built in controller......".
    Matt
    2016 Pool Build: 12k IG Blue Granite Pebblesheen, Travertine Coping & Pavers, Pentair IntelliFlo, Intellichlor, Easytouch, Clean & Clear 320, Heliocol Solar - TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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    Re: New Build - At 13 cents per KWH is Variable Speed Worth It

    I love mine, and we are cheaper than that around here. I am very happy I never listened to the "can't justify it for cost" crowd. I would not trade my VS for any other pump, but adding the small increase in price to my entire build was a no brainer for me. Having options is very nice. Now, if I can just keep the lightning off of it, all will be well.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: New Build - At 13 cents per KWH is Variable Speed Worth It

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick_B View Post
    I love mine, and we are cheaper than that around here. I am very happy I never listened to the "can't justify it for cost" crowd. I would not trade my VS for any other pump, but adding the small increase in price to my entire build was a no brainer for me. Having options is very nice. Now, if I can just keep the lightning off of it, all will be well.
    Thanks, do you have a separate timer/controller or do you just use what is on the pump. All of the basic controllers seem to have timers built in.
    Matt
    2016 Pool Build: 12k IG Blue Granite Pebblesheen, Travertine Coping & Pavers, Pentair IntelliFlo, Intellichlor, Easytouch, Clean & Clear 320, Heliocol Solar - TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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    H-12 1/2 Mike's Avatar
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    Re: New Build - At 13 cents per KWH is Variable Speed Worth It

    We installed a VS pump two years ago and my average monthly savings have been over $45. We are able to run the pump at 1100rpm vs the 3250 rpm of the original pump. The ROI took two years but it was nice seeing the lower utility costs each month.
    16,400 gallon
    Cartridge Filter
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    Intelli-Flo @ 2000rpm

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    Re: New Build - At 13 cents per KWH is Variable Speed Worth It

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    Good post and good question. Simply from observation, it seems the "cool" factor overwhelms everyone and they purchase the VS (and love it)

    Does it pay back reasonably well? Almost never at your electric rates. The other reasons you list can apply to a 2-speed as well.

    However, at your next pool party, your analytical talk of ROI and cost anlysis will not hold a candle to, "Wow! Is that that new VS pump I've been hearing about?"
    +1



    But if you go the VS route, make sure you get surge protection on the pump. You don't want your rather large investment to go up in a puff of smoke.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: New Build - At 13 cents per KWH is Variable Speed Worth It

    I am another VS pump lover. Having infinite control over water flow is handy. Our electric rate is 10.25c. We filter, skim and make chlorine at 1100 rpm and it uses 150 watts of electricity. I can run the pump 24x7 for less than 12 bucks a month. And I often need to because we have lots of trees and I prefer to move leaves to the skimmer than to net them off the bottom. Emptying skimmer baskets every hour is a lot easier. We run our solar panels at 1950 rpm which uses 550 watts. They are very efficient and super quiet.
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    Re: New Build - At 13 cents per KWH is Variable Speed Worth It

    As others have said its more about the flexibility and how quiet the VS pumps are. Any savings are just a bonus. I have the Pentair Inteliflo 011018 and wouldn't give it up for anything. I run my new VS pump for many more hours than my old pump at a fraction of the energy cost, and I love how that makes the water sparkle. Filtering water for 18 hours a day really makes a difference....and it cost less. It ramps up its speed as needed for my solar and in floor cleaning system, and with a flow meter I can dial in just the right speed and flow for every function.
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

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    Re: New Build - At 13 cents per KWH is Variable Speed Worth It

    We love our IntelliFlo VS for all of the reasons stated above. We do not have solar heating (yet) but when we're ready to make that happen, it's nice to know our IntelliFlo will be good to go.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: New Build - At 13 cents per KWH is Variable Speed Worth It

    When you do add solar, I recommend the Pentair SolarTouch controller. It cost about $250 for the kit which includes the digital control box, temp sensors (for both the panels and water), the solar control valve, and actuator. In other words, everything you need for solar except the plumbing and panels. It's a real bargain and it will interface with the VS pump perfectly. Just dial in your desired temp and when heat is called for and available, it opens the solar valve and ramps the pump speed up to the correct preset for solar. When done it closes the valve and returns the pump to the daily schedule.
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

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    Re: New Build - At 13 cents per KWH is Variable Speed Worth It

    Quote Originally Posted by chiefwej View Post
    When you do add solar, I recommend the Pentair SolarTouch controller. It cost about $250 for the kit which includes the digital control box, temp sensors (for both the panels and water), the solar control valve, and actuator. In other words, everything you need for solar except the plumbing and panels. It's a real bargain and it will interface with the VS pump perfectly. Just dial in your desired temp and when heat is called for and available, it opens the solar valve and ramps the pump speed up to the correct preset for solar. When done it closes the valve and returns the pump to the daily schedule.
    That sounds perfect

    Matt
    2016 Pool Build: 12k IG Blue Granite Pebblesheen, Travertine Coping & Pavers, Pentair IntelliFlo, Intellichlor, Easytouch, Clean & Clear 320, Heliocol Solar - TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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    Re: New Build - At 13 cents per KWH is Variable Speed Worth It

    Matt
    How are you planning to chlorinate the new pool?
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

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    Re: New Build - At 13 cents per KWH is Variable Speed Worth It

    Quote Originally Posted by chiefwej View Post
    Matt
    How are you planning to chlorinate the new pool?
    Pentair swg

    Matt
    2016 Pool Build: 12k IG Blue Granite Pebblesheen, Travertine Coping & Pavers, Pentair IntelliFlo, Intellichlor, Easytouch, Clean & Clear 320, Heliocol Solar - TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    SWG Run Time Calculator

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    Re: New Build - At 13 cents per KWH is Variable Speed Worth It

    You will need either automation or a seperate timer to control the SWG. I personally don't know much about automation systems but I'm sure Pentair makes a controller that will do what you need. Without automation you don't have much control of that SWG's output, unlike the Hayward which gives you one percent output adjustments.
    Last edited by chiefwej; 08-22-2015 at 08:03 PM. Reason: Read a review of SunTouch - Yuck!
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

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    Re: New Build - At 13 cents per KWH is Variable Speed Worth It

    Quote Originally Posted by chiefwej View Post
    You will need either automation or a seperate timer to control the SWG. I personally don't know much about automation systems but I'm sure Pentair makes a controller that will do what you need. Without automation you don't have much control of that SWG's output, unlike the Hayward which gives you one percent output adjustments.
    For Pentair, you'll need an IntelliTouch control panel. They can be configured in many different ways and even include all the drivers and logic for various heating sources (gas and solar).


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: New Build - At 13 cents per KWH is Variable Speed Worth It

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    For Pentair, you'll need an IntelliTouch control panel. They can be configured in many different ways and even include all the drivers and logic for various heating sources (gas and solar).


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I believe the EasyTouch, which is priced between the SolarTouch and IntelliTouch series, can adequately handle a pool with SWG, solar, and even a pressure cleaner booster. When I've been pricing it out, the EasyTouch with SWCG packages are only a couple hundred more than buying the SWCG with power pack. Somebody chime in if I'm mistaken, because I'm close to ordering similar for our pool

    As to the VS pump, I got one a few months ago and love it. At $0.18/kwh it will pay itself back in a few years *compared to the old single speed pump*; it will likely not pay back the extra cost over what a 2-speed would have cost/saved. But so what? How much are you spending on the pool build, and what other ~$200-300 (the delta from what I've seen between a 2-speed and VS pump) here or there conveniences have you chosen on the pool or in life? What if you get a 2-speed and it turns out Low is a bit too slow to skim properly, to pump to the solar, or to make the SWCG run, but High is noisier than you'd like? The flexibility of a VS pump when you're not 100% sure of what you need is a a big benefit to me.

    Keep in mind, however, that most of us here touting them bought one, and so are biased by needing to rationalize our purchase
    21000gal IG plaster, Sacramento CA area (late 1950s/early 60s)
    Filter: Cartridge, Pentair CCP420 (2014)
    Main pump: Pentair IntelliFlo VS (2015)
    Boost pump: 3/4hp (2011), Polaris 280 cleaner (unknown age)

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    Re: New Build - At 13 cents per KWH is Variable Speed Worth It

    So all of the responses have caused me to review everything as a whole and see what the EasyTouch can offer and at what price points. My PB said he puts in a Intermatic power / control box but he has been willing to credit his cost if we want something else.

    So here is what I have found.

    --With a Pentair 520592 EasyTouch 4PSC-IC20 - Single Body (includes SCG integration & IC20 cell), solar valve and actuator. This all costing about $1,360.

    --Buying the pieces separately: a SolarTouch, SWG with power box, Intermatic power center would cost about $1,675.

    It appears that I can get the EasyTouch to control the SWG, Solar and Pump and possibly other actuators in the future if desired for almost $300 less. Even if it were even or a little more, it would probably be worth it to have one box vs 3 and the expansion possibilities.

    Am I missing something in this? Seems like a no brainer.

    Thanks for your help.
    Matt
    2016 Pool Build: 12k IG Blue Granite Pebblesheen, Travertine Coping & Pavers, Pentair IntelliFlo, Intellichlor, Easytouch, Clean & Clear 320, Heliocol Solar - TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    SWG Run Time Calculator

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: New Build - At 13 cents per KWH is Variable Speed Worth It

    It is usually cheaper to buy the Easytouch bundle.

    One more option. The Suntouch will also control pump, solar, SWG and a heater. It is about 400 bucks but the Intellichlor needs its own power source.
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    Re: New Build - At 13 cents per KWH is Variable Speed Worth It

    I originally mentioned the IntelliTouch system because you configure the power center with the options and power supplies you need (with perhaps some room to expand) as well as any wireless controls like the EasyTouch or the ScreenLogic systems. That way, everything you need, including the power supply to run the SWG, is all built into one single panel. No need to mount separate controls and power supplies. Just my opinion as I like the simplicity of it all being in one panel.

    Good luck!!
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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