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Thread: is a variable speed worth it?

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    is a variable speed worth it?

    So, I just closed the pool and am considering changing the pump in the spring to a variable speed pump. My preference is to run the pool 24/7 b/c I like it superclean - although I don't do this b/c too expensive! Would a VS pump allow me to do this or is it just a waste of money? The company that closes my pool suggested the Pentair superflo VS pump (but that's all he said so I'm not sure what that means as far as price shopping) Thanks for any advice. Michelle
    POOL: 25000K, IG Vinyl, Pentair 342001 SuperFlo VS pump (installed 5/2017); FNS 60 DE Fliter (?flow rate 120gpm, no idea); Zodiac Nature 2 Fusion Soft SWG (mineral cartridge removed); Dolphin DX4 cleaning Robot
    SPA: 435 gallon Master Spa CS 862, Sanitizer Bromine (Floater)

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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: is a variable speed worth it?

    Michelle,
    Is it worth it, is sort of subjective. I really all depends on how much you pay for electricity.

    I have a VS pump and have cheap electricity at .12/KWH. I run mine mostly 24/7 and my pump cost is about 18-20 a month.
    I likely will never recover the initial investment of the pump, and I knew that going in, but that wasnt my main goal anyhow.

    Generally speaking, if your electric cost is greater than .20/KWH, then a VS pump is a good option.

    If your electric cost is reasonable, and the Return on Investment of a pump is a deciding factor for you, then a 2 speed pump is a very cost effective pump, and worth considering.
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

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    Organizer's Avatar
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    Re: is a variable speed worth it?

    A variable speed pump is the Cadillac of pool pumps. In my humble opinion, a 2 speed pump is much more cost effective. Basically, the low speed of a 2 speed pump is 1/2 Of full speed and gives 1/2 the amount of water pumped, but at that speed uses about 1/4 of the electricity that it does at full speed. So if you run a single speed pump for 8 hours a day, you could achieve the same circulation by running a 2 speed pump on low speed for 16 hours at 1/2 the electricity cost.

    A variable speed pump is quite a bit more expensive, but does allow more flexibility as to speeds and run times.

    Organizer
    35,000 Gallon IG Pebbletec pool, Pentair DE Filter, Pentair 1 1/2 HP 2 speed pump, Doheny Discovery cleaner, Stenner for CL automation

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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: is a variable speed worth it?

    What Organizer says is right.
    The 2 speed is very efficient pump and an excellent option.

    Quote Originally Posted by Organizer View Post
    A variable speed pump is the Cadillac of pool pumps. In my humble opinion, a 2 speed pump is much more cost effective. Basically, the low speed of a 2 speed pump is 1/2 Of full speed and gives 1/2 the amount of water pumped, but at that speed uses about 1/4 of the electricity that it does at full speed. So if you run a single speed pump for 8 hours a day, you could achieve the same circulation by running a 2 speed pump on low speed for 16 hours at 1/2 the electricity cost.

    A variable speed pump is quite a bit more expensive, but does allow more flexibility as to speeds and run times.

    Organizer
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

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    Re: is a variable speed worth it?

    I replaced an old single speed 2hp pump with a Pentair Inteliflow 011018 3hp pump. Pump and install cost me a bit less than $1k. Although the pump will reduce my electric bill, I doubt that it will cover my cost in any reasonable time frame. However, the flexibility of the built in timer and programmability make the purchase worthwhile, regardless of any potential savings.

    I have the pump programmed to run at four different speeds during pool season. A slow speed most of the time for just filtering, a bit faster for a couple hours to allow the SWG to chlorinate, a mid range when called for by my solar control, and a high speed as needed for cleaner. The pump runs 17 hours a day, but most of it is at the slow speed 1,000 rpm and uses as much electricity as a single 100 watt light bulb.
    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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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: is a variable speed worth it?

    chief chimed in with some very good points about the VS pumps. For the reasons he mentions is also why selected one for my pool.
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

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    Re: is a variable speed worth it?

    I love my Hayward SP32302VSP and I don't think it will take more than a year to pay for itself based on my calculations (compared to my old single speed pump). I run it 24/7, but it never runs at full speed. I think I've got it at 2400 rpms from 8a-noon, 2000 rpms from noon-8p, and 1400 rpms from 8p-8a.

    Disclaimer: Electricity is expensive here in Austin, so the difference in cost might be more obvious than some other locations.
    20k Gunite/Fiberglass
    Hayward SP2302VSP
    Pentair LA-MS05 BoostRite
    Pentair Quad D.E. 100 sq ft

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    Re: is a variable speed worth it?

    Did you notice a difference in noise level? My motor/pump is loud enough to keep the neighbors awake.
    Can you hear the high pitched whine coming from the controller?
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: is a variable speed worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by pabeader View Post
    Did you notice a difference in noise level? My motor/pump is loud enough to keep the neighbors awake.
    Can you hear the high pitched whine coming from the controller?
    Is that a question for me? The SP2302 is very quiet. The booster pump I use for my cleaner is much louder and that one seemed quiet when I installed it next to my old single speed pump a couple years ago.
    20k Gunite/Fiberglass
    Hayward SP2302VSP
    Pentair LA-MS05 BoostRite
    Pentair Quad D.E. 100 sq ft

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    Re: is a variable speed worth it?

    A very inexpensive modification is to replace your current single speed motor with an equivalent two speed motor. Very often this results not only in a better payoff but also in a much quieter motor.
    7,500 gal, IG pool, L shape 22' x 15', 1.5 hp pump, cartridge filter, AquaPlus SWG/Controller, Pebble-Tec liner.

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    Re: is a variable speed worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by MSL View Post
    Is that a question for me? The SP2302 is very quiet. The booster pump I use for my cleaner is much louder and that one seemed quiet when I installed it next to my old single speed pump a couple years ago.
    Sorry about that, yes it was. I thought it looked funny when I hit the 'quote' button.
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: is a variable speed worth it?

    Your signature indicates you have a 30,000 gallon pool and a 3/4hp single speed pump. This is a actually a pretty efficient setup for that size of a pool. I'd be surprised to find you save much money on electricity with a variable speed setup. I'd wait until the single speed quit before switching. The variable speed pumps are nice and offer a lot of flexibility however.

    Also, unless you get tons of leaves/debris in the pool there really isn't any reason to run the pump all the time even with a slow turning variable speed. As far as the water goes "superclean" comes from proper water chemistry not pool pump runtime.
    11K gal IG screened-in plaster pool w/ spa
    pentair 150 cartridge filter, Pentair Intelliflow VS pump,
    Aquarite AQR15 SWG, AquaCal Heatwave Heat Pump, TF-100 test kit

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    Re: is a variable speed worth it?

    I have a VS pump and it is obviously way oversized for my pool, but I didn't know about 2 speed pumps when I replaced the old single speed. If I had it to do over, i would go with a 2 speed.
    5900 G Fiberglass IG pool (circa 1990), SWG Hayward Aqua Rite GoldLine (2013), IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pump (2013), Hayward Pro Sand Filter (circa 1990), Well water (no iron or other metals fortunately), test with Taylor K2006C, Charleston, SC

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    Re: is a variable speed worth it?

    Replacing my old 1-speed pump with a pentair intelliflo is one of the best things I've done. It is much quieter, I can hardly hear it running. The old pump was so loud we didn't run it as long as we should have daily. Now we run the pentair 12 hours daily, and my electric bill decreased by about $20 per month. The biggest benefit is that the pool water is circulated so much more that the water is a uniform temperature which made swimming much more comfortable and I use the pool a lot more than I did with the old pump. The whole pool is warm every day and it is not heated! I bought my pentair off the Internet and had a pool guy install it and I saved a lot of $ doing it that way. The warranty is voided if you install it yourself - you have to hire a professional. There was also a rebate from my electric company. I know I won't get back the money I spent on it but the benefits are so many it was worth the cost. Cleaner pool, warmer water, much quieter pump, slightly lower electric bill, and a rebate helps too.
    15,000 gallon in-ground gunite pool, built in 2003, white plaster bottom, salt chlorinated. Pentair Intelliflo pump installed 2015.

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    Re: is a variable speed worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by chiefwej View Post
    I replaced an old single speed 2hp pump with a Pentair Inteliflow 011018 3hp pump. Pump and install cost me a bit less than $1k. Although the pump will reduce my electric bill, I doubt that it will cover my cost in any reasonable time frame. However, the flexibility of the built in timer and programmability make the purchase worthwhile, regardless of any potential savings.

    I have the pump programmed to run at four different speeds during pool season. A slow speed most of the time for just filtering, a bit faster for a couple hours to allow the SWG to chlorinate, a mid range when called for by my solar control, and a high speed as needed for cleaner. The pump runs 17 hours a day, but most of it is at the slow speed 1,000 rpm and uses as much electricity as a single 100 watt light bulb.
    This right here. I need to run my solar at ~2500 rpm during the summer but that is much less than full-speed. In the winter, I run it at about 1200 rpm. I cannot hear it and cannot even tell if water is moving and often open the shed doors to see if it is actually running. The IntelliFlo also has its own timer so you don't need an external one. Like others, I doubt I'll recover the cost of the pump but I like the flexibility that comes with it.
    ----Chris----
    25k IG/Spa Figure 8, 18x36, Pebble Sheen Blue Granite, Sta-Rite S8M150 Cartridge Filter, Pentair 460805 400k BTU Heater & 011018 IntelliFlo VarSpd
    Liquidator, Fafco Solar Heat, Polaris PB460 Booster Pump w/280 cleaner, Katchaleaf Cover, TF100 Test Kit, FAKE MAIN DRAIN

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    Seanhan's Avatar
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    Re: is a variable speed worth it?

    I have a question about the VS pump and using a SWG.
    Is the lower speed settings enough flow to allow the SWG CELL to produce Clorine ?
    Sean Hannon
    30,000 Gallons gunite pool Coated by Fibertech
    Hayward Pro Grid 72 / Hayward multiport
    Circupool V3 VS pump
    CirCupool SWG RJ 60, 400.000 btu raypak , Built in SPA

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: is a variable speed worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seanhan View Post
    I have a question about the VS pump and using a SWG.
    Is the lower speed settings enough flow to allow the SWG CELL to produce Clorine ?
    It depends a lot on your hydraulics. For my pool, with water drawn only from the skimmer and MD and returned through the three wall returns and single spa return (for the spillway), my IntelliChlor will throw a LOW FLOW fault at any speed less than 1700 RPM. If I do a complete tear down and clean of my DE filter and use my typical 60% fresh charge, I can sometimes get that minimum RPM down to 1600. Your mileage may vary....
    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: is a variable speed worth it?

    I can't run my SWG at my very lowest speed (1000rpm). In my case it requires 1200rpm to actuate the flow switch. Just to be on the safe side (since the flow may be reduced as my filter gets dirty), I've set it to 1400rpm. That draws 200 watts, (enough electricity for all of two 100 watt light bulbs).

    The speed required to trigger the flow switch will vary depending on your particular plumbing and filter setup as well as your make and model of SWG, and even how clean your filter is.
    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: is a variable speed worth it?

    It used to be that two speed pumps were cheaper to buy than variable speed pumps. However, the new variable speed pumps are competitive with two speed pumps. Two speed pumps use induction motors, which use significantly more energy than a vsp pumping the same gpm.

    Variable speed pumps use permanent magnet motors, which are significantly more efficient than induction type motors.

    Variable speed pumps can be tuned to the exact flow rate needed with no waste. Two speed pumps rarely have the right high and low speeds for a pool.

    Variable speed pump are usually very quiet. However, some have an annoying whine at certain speeds.

    In short, I think that a variable speed pump can be a good choice.

    If you're looking for the lowest cost in pumps, I would consider just a 3/4 hp basic pump.

    If you have a short season and low electrical costs, then investing in a vsp would only make sense if the quietness of the motor were a big concern.

    The Intelliflo is a good pump. However, in my opinion, it's overpowered and overpriced for most residential applications. In situations where I would choose an IntelliFlo, I would use an IntelliFlo XF.

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    Re: is a variable speed worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    If I do a complete tear down and clean of my DE filter and use my typical 60% fresh charge, I can sometimes get that minimum RPM down to 1600. Your mileage may vary....
    Is there an advantage to a DE charge of 60% vs the manufacturers recommended amount?

    Also, I have a dual spillway for my spa and wonder if on lower cost efficient RPMs, I'll suffer a feeble looking spillover from my spa. I know you can't know for sure given just my signature information, but hoping to get a better idea of my potential for a VS before spending the $.
    Pool: 13k gal. in-ground; Stonescape Mini Pebble - Tropics Blue; Connected Spa - dual spill-over; Aqua Rite T-15 SWCG; AquaLogic PS-4 Automation; Sta-Rite DE Filter; Sta-Rite Max-e-Therm 400k BTU pool heater; Intellifo 2-VST Pump; Stenner 45mp2(25psi/10gpd) acid injection; Bulbwizard color LED pool lights; Poolvergnuegen 2 wheel side suction cleaner; FAFCO rooftop solar. TF-100 w/ speed stir.

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