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Thread: Variable speed pump / motor

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    Variable speed pump / motor

    I keep reading and hearing about variable speed motors. I have a question concerning this. I am not sure what I have, as I am a new pool owner, and really do not know what I have. I know I have a pump for my waterfalls/fountain, I have a pump to circulate my pool, and a booster pump for my cleaner. If I ever need to replace the pump/motor, I keep reading a variable speed will help. What exactly does it do to help? I understand a variable speed can vary its speed, but how would you set it up to do so and what would the circumstances be? Can any motor be replaced with the variable speed? Do you need special controls to get it to actually use the variable speeds? Thanks all.


    ~14K gallon - AquaRite AQR15 SWG - pool Newly plastered on April 9 2016
    TF100 kit - STA-RITE SYSTEM3 Modular Media Filtration - Model S8M150
    Pool water supply from on site water well = CH of ~350 and TA of ~350
    Doheny's Discovery Automatic Robotic Cleaner/Pentair Model 011018 VS Pump
    Sundance Altamar Hot tub separate from pool / central Oklahoma

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    Re: Variable speed pump / motor

    Hi Lykly,

    It may help others if you post pics of your pumps if your not sure what they are or how they work. Usually you can obtain the manuals online through the manufacturers website if you know the make/model.
    I have a "variable" speed pump on my pool, mine has 3 speed settings and usually running it on low speed for longer periods is more economical than running it on high for shorter periods. They have inbuilt timers and speeds that you can change manually on the display to suit your needs.
    The variable speeds offer the option to adjust the speed depending on your need, i.e high speed for back-washing/vacuuming , low speed for general filtration (cheaper).

    However as i said, posting some pics could help us identify your specific pump if you don't know.
    3yr old 60,000L (15.8k Gal) Fibreglass IG, Viron eVo P600 pump, Hayward Pro Series Filter (glass media), Zodiac SWG, Zodiac VX55 4WD, Solar Heated

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    Re: Variable speed pump / motor

    As noted above a vs pump allows you to run on low speeds and drastically reduce power consumption. You could eliminate both other pumps by switching cleaners to one that will run on a vs pump like a Polaris 380. Better yet get a robot and cut you power consumption even lower.
    The vs will filter run your water feature and the cleaner.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Variable speed pump / motor

    Knowing how to replace a pump and with what type of pump really depends a lot on your plumbing and water flow needs.

    For example, let's say your current pool circulation pump is just a single speed (on/off) pump with a given amount of horsepower. Well, right there you could just replace the electrical motor and impeller with an equivalent horsepower 2-speed motor and save lots of money. Or, if you're not into a DIY motor swap, just replace the single speed pump with a 2-speed. 2-speeds require a different wiring setup than a single speed so to connect it might require some electrical reworking.

    Most variable speed pumps just need to be hooked up to the power source you currently have and then everything can be scheduled and controlled from the digital panel built into the pump. Most also have communication options for hooking up to an automation system if you have one. But the VS pumps work stand-alone as well. They are usually more expensive than an equivalent 2-speed pump so the ROI may not be better. However, many people are glad to trade the ROI for the flexibility of having programmability at the pump.

    The water feature pump may or may not be the right size (the PB that built the pool at our home horribly oversized our water feature pump) so you might save money by switching the pump out. Again, pictures would help.



    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: Variable speed pump / motor

    Providing my pictures work, this is my whole set up. I have the booster pump, and then the other two pumps look pretty much the same. Let me know if you can tell anything from these pictures. I am also wondering what that power supply is for? It says chlorinator but is it just a power supply? Thx





    ~14K gallon - AquaRite AQR15 SWG - pool Newly plastered on April 9 2016
    TF100 kit - STA-RITE SYSTEM3 Modular Media Filtration - Model S8M150
    Pool water supply from on site water well = CH of ~350 and TA of ~350
    Doheny's Discovery Automatic Robotic Cleaner/Pentair Model 011018 VS Pump
    Sundance Altamar Hot tub separate from pool / central Oklahoma

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Variable speed pump / motor

    So is the 2-hp pump your filter pump? I would assume it is. What kind of water features are you running and do you know how far the pumps are from the pool and high above the water level they are? Is the water feature pump fed from a floor drain or a wall drain?

    So it appears you have single speed pumps all around. The pool pump could be converted to a 2-speed and that would probably save you a lot of money right there. A VSP is possible too and it, if you up size it to a 3-HP pump, you might be able to completely eliminate the Polaris booster pump.

    That IntelliChlor power supply is for an SWG but it's not hooked up to anything. Did the previous owner remove the cell and replace the PVC?


    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: Variable speed pump / motor

    Single speed 1hp
    Single speed 2 hp
    Booster pump
    IMO since you do not have a spa you can:
    1. 2 speed 2hp for pool and wading pool ( run low speed ) and to run when cleaner is on ( run high speed ). Keep 1hp for waterfall. Probably best bang for the $$$
    2. You can get VS pump to do same thing just spend more $$$ but will be programmable.
    8500 gallon IG Pebble Sheen with Spa. 3hp Pentair VS Intelliflo ( pool ), 3/4 hp WhisperFlo ( water feature ),Pentair Racer, 400K Pentair heater, Pentair 500sqft Cartridge filter, EasyTouch 8, Stenner 45mp2 15gallon wired to ET8

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    Re: Variable speed pump / motor

    The 2 hp actually runs the waterfalls and the little fountain in the wading pool. The pumps are all above the swimming pool, I'm going to guess about 5 feet higher at least. I'm not sure what the previous owner did, I can see that he did remove a heater as a gas line and cement pad is still there. I will attach a picture, the pumps are behind the shrubs which are behind the blue planter on the right-hand side of the picture. As you can see they are above the pool. As soon as the weather gets good I will replaster, put in a Aqua-rite T15 SWG and would just as soon get the pumps in order as well. Sure wish I understood everything a bit better.




    ~14K gallon - AquaRite AQR15 SWG - pool Newly plastered on April 9 2016
    TF100 kit - STA-RITE SYSTEM3 Modular Media Filtration - Model S8M150
    Pool water supply from on site water well = CH of ~350 and TA of ~350
    Doheny's Discovery Automatic Robotic Cleaner/Pentair Model 011018 VS Pump
    Sundance Altamar Hot tub separate from pool / central Oklahoma

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    Re: Variable speed pump / motor

    So if I get a variable speed pump to handle everything / all functions,, does it automatically know which device to run? I'm a bit confused on that. Does it have a separate control panel, does it have to be programmed? Sorry but electrical is a bit over my head. Just curious how one pump can run all functions.


    ~14K gallon - AquaRite AQR15 SWG - pool Newly plastered on April 9 2016
    TF100 kit - STA-RITE SYSTEM3 Modular Media Filtration - Model S8M150
    Pool water supply from on site water well = CH of ~350 and TA of ~350
    Doheny's Discovery Automatic Robotic Cleaner/Pentair Model 011018 VS Pump
    Sundance Altamar Hot tub separate from pool / central Oklahoma

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    Re: Variable speed pump / motor

    A VS pump is not a substitute for automation. The two are different. So if you want to convert your pool equipment pad to a single pump, then you will need to add valve automation (valve drivers and an automation panel) to control everything.

    You've asked a lot of good general questions but let's try this - what is it that you specifically want to do or hope to achieve?


    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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    Variable speed pump / motor

    I guess, basically, since I have to be replaster my pool, and I want to convert to a salt water generator, I was just thinking it would be a good time to try to eliminate some pumps to save electricity and to achieve maximum filtration. If it will cost a considerable amount of money to change all my pumps, it may make sense to leave them like they are. I am still trying to understand everything, and I'm a bit confused why I have a 2 hp for my water futures, and a 1 hp for my filtration. Is a 1 hp sufficient to filtrate my pool? When it is pumping, there does not seem to be a lot Waterflow in my skimmers. There are also three what appears to be drains on the bottom of the deep end of my pool, I wonder if these are suctions for my pump as well? I want to for sure convert to a SWG. Maybe the system I have is acceptable, that is what I don't know.


    ~14K gallon - AquaRite AQR15 SWG - pool Newly plastered on April 9 2016
    TF100 kit - STA-RITE SYSTEM3 Modular Media Filtration - Model S8M150
    Pool water supply from on site water well = CH of ~350 and TA of ~350
    Doheny's Discovery Automatic Robotic Cleaner/Pentair Model 011018 VS Pump
    Sundance Altamar Hot tub separate from pool / central Oklahoma

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Variable speed pump / motor

    Is there a bubbler or fountain in the wading pool? If so, is it run from the water feature pump or the pool pump?

    I think the water feature pump is simply sized to ensure that you have maximum water flow to the waterfalls. You may not need 2-HP but it's hard to say. If the waterfalls are running all the time, then we'd have to get some details on the plumbing layout (diameter of PVC used, length of pipe runs, height of waterfall relative to pump, etc) to know if your pump is oversized or adequate. I'm not sure tying it back into a single pump is in your best interest.

    Getting a 2-speed pump or VS pump for the pool/filter (and eventual SWG) will probably result in the biggest savings for you. A VS pump will allow you to target a slow speed for general filtration and chlorine production as well as allow you to get rid of the booster pump for running your pressure cleaner.

    If you just swap your current filter pump out with a new VS pump, then you don't need any automation. If you want to replumb your water features back into the main filter pump and do away with the separate pumps, then you're going to need an automation panel as well as valve actuators to make that all work. That's going to be much more expensive as it will require both equipment and a plumber's time to cut and glue PVC.

    Perhaps others might have some better ideas.


    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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    Variable speed pump / motor

    Yes, the wading pool does have a small fountain, it is operated by the same pump that runs the waterfalls. I have a switch in my home overlooking the pool that turns on and operates the waterfalls and small fountain in the wading pool only. The other two palms, one runs just the filter ration for my pool and the other one just the booster pump for the cleaner. These two pumps are controlled by timer switches that are very similar to each other. They are on a outside wall, where you actually put the little set screws in place determining when they are on or off, I am sure they are very common. Also there is a freeze temp control button there. So the 2 HP runs the waterfalls and waDing pool only, the 1 HP runs filtration only and then the booster pump obviously for my cleaner. It's looking like I better just leave well enough alone, I am concerned if the one horsepower is sufficient for filtration? Also, are the three drain looking apparatuses in the bottom of the deep end suction for the filtration? I am slowly but surely figuring this out, very appreciative of your help. Will my current pool pump work with the SWG, Will that require a VSP? If it does, will it require a control panel or will it know to go at the slower speed on it's own while producing chlorine?
    I know some of these questions seem silly, but I am a newbie as you are very well aware.


    ~14K gallon - AquaRite AQR15 SWG - pool Newly plastered on April 9 2016
    TF100 kit - STA-RITE SYSTEM3 Modular Media Filtration - Model S8M150
    Pool water supply from on site water well = CH of ~350 and TA of ~350
    Doheny's Discovery Automatic Robotic Cleaner/Pentair Model 011018 VS Pump
    Sundance Altamar Hot tub separate from pool / central Oklahoma

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    Re: Variable speed pump / motor

    Yes, 1hp is plenty for filtration and making chlorine with an SWG. I have a 3hp variable speed pump and I run it at 1100 rpm for skimming, filtering and making chlorine. It uses 150 watts and works fine.

    There are normally 2 bottom drains, not 3, not sure what the third might be. The 2 are normally plumbed together under the pool to avoid creating suction if someone gets stuck on one of them. There should be a valve on the suction side of your pump at the pad that switches flow between the bottom drain and the skimmers. The valves are normally infinitely adjustable to split the flow between the two. I normally keep mine about 80% skimmer and 20% drain so that water can be pulled from the bottom if the skimmers get clogged with leaves. And it is best to skim debris off the surface before it sinks. I move the valve to 100% bottom drain when I brush the pool so I can sweep the debris to the drain and it can get filtered out.
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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: Variable speed pump / motor

    It is possible that there are 3 main drains tied together but that would not serve much purpose. Two is more than sufficient. The third could be a hydrostatic valve - essentially a plugged hole through the gunite shell that you open up if you ever drain the pool. If you have a high water table, you open the hydrostatic plug to let water flow up into the pool shell so the shell doesn't pop out of the ground from the upward water pressure.

    As for the MD/Skimmer, there isn't always a separate home run to the equipment pad unless it was intentionally plumbed that way. Many PBs will simply tie the MD pipe in series with the skimmer to save a few bucks in PVC pipe and an extra valves. It's a bad approach but very common. Sadly, my pool is plumbed that way.



    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: Variable speed pump / motor

    Thanks for the explanation. This has plumbing that pulls from the skimmer and another source, now I know likely to be the bottom drains. It can be adjusted from the way I think I now understand it. One of the PVC lines coming to the suction side of the pool pump says skimmer, I just did not know where the other suction line that tees into it was coming from. I can adjust it to pull more from one than the other, right now they are all just wide open. When this thing get you drained for the replaster job, I will look at the three drains to see if one is plugged. If it is a hydrostatic plug, are they made to be opened and closed, or are they made to be busted open and then have to be redone? Also, would it be common to open it for a replaster job or does it usually take longer than that to have to worry about a shell popping up? I am now envisioning my entire pool popping out of the ground!


    ~14K gallon - AquaRite AQR15 SWG - pool Newly plastered on April 9 2016
    TF100 kit - STA-RITE SYSTEM3 Modular Media Filtration - Model S8M150
    Pool water supply from on site water well = CH of ~350 and TA of ~350
    Doheny's Discovery Automatic Robotic Cleaner/Pentair Model 011018 VS Pump
    Sundance Altamar Hot tub separate from pool / central Oklahoma

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Variable speed pump / motor

    Quote Originally Posted by Lykly View Post
    Thanks for the explanation. This has plumbing that pulls from the skimmer and another source, now I know likely to be the bottom drains. It can be adjusted from the way I think I now understand it. One of the PVC lines coming to the suction side of the pool pump says skimmer, I just did not know where the other suction line that tees into it was coming from. I can adjust it to pull more from one than the other, right now they are all just wide open. When this thing get you drained for the replaster job, I will look at the three drains to see if one is plugged. If it is a hydrostatic plug, are they made to be opened and closed, or are they made to be busted open and then have to be redone? Also, would it be common to open it for a replaster job or does it usually take longer than that to have to worry about a shell popping up? I am now envisioning my entire pool popping out of the ground!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    If it is a hydrostatic relief valve they are designed to be opened when a pool is drained. It's usually a threaded pipe end with a cap or plug. For a replaster job, you would open this valve up as soon as the water drains low enough for you to get to it. If there's no high ground water, under the shell, then the pool will simply get drained and no water will come up from the valve. If there is water under the shell, then it will start to flow into the pool as soon as the water level inside the pool is lower than the water level outside the pool. The plastering company will have to manage any ground water that is coming up. Some will stick a pipe down the valve with a hose attached and run it up to a pump to suction off ground water before it enters the pool shell (think of it like a soda straw sucking ground water up). Just ask the replastering company what they intend to do if it is indeed a hydrostatic valve.

    As for your pumping questions, I think your best bet is to get the VS pump if you have the money for it. Depending on what brand SWG you get, some can be run stand-alone without an automation system needed. All the reputable ones have flow sensors built into them so they will only generate chlorine when they sense proper water flow. The VS pump is fully programmable and will allow you to ditch the mechanical timer switches. Freeze protection is another issue that you'll have to investigate. I don't believe any of the VS pumps themselves detect outside air temperatures so something will have to be put in place to automate freeze control.
    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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