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Thread: Solar heat and pump questions

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    Kidswimin's Avatar
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    Solar heat and pump questions

    I am planning to add solar mats this spring, and want to automate as much as possible. My current setup is 3/4 hp pump, sand filter, one skimmer, one return, and main drain. I am planning 5- 4x12 mats on a one story roof with a solar controller and a new pump. The pump is old. Last year I needed to replace the shaft seal, it was leaking and wouldn't prime. When I replaced it the shaft was rusty, I cleaned it up, but I did notice at the end of the season it was leaking again. Also I would like to upgrade to a 2 speed.

    I have been researching all of the components.

    I was going to get the Pentair Solartouch.
    Questions
    Does it need an external timer?
    Can it switch speeds on a two speed pump?

    I am also looking for recommendations on a two speed pump. I would love to get a variable speed, but the budget is tight, and I think it would take the life of the pump to offset the energy savings.

    Thanks for the help
    Dave
    Dave. 13,000 gal inground vinyl. 3/4 hp single speed. Hayward 300# sand filter. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Pool built in 80's survived tornado in 90's. Recently added (4) 4'x12' solar panels with solartouch controller. New to me 1999 Hot Springs Sovereign tub.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Solar heat and pump questions

    No, the Solartouch will no change the pump from low speed to high speed. The Solartouch does not need a timer, it should be wired to the panel.

    Here are your options with the Solartouch.
    Get a small 2 speed pump for filtering and solar standby and run it on low speed. Add a booster pump for solar, when the Solartouch goes into heat mode it will open the solar valve and turn on the solar booster pump. When solar turns off the solar valve is closed and the solar booster pump is turned off.

    Or install it like mine is. Intelliflo 011018 3hp variable speed pump wired directly to the panel 220v and the communication cable is wired to the Solartouch. The pump is running all day at 1100 rpm (150watts) when I want solar heat. When the Solartouch goes into heat mode it opens the solar valve and changes the pump from speed 1 (1100 rpm) to speed 2 (1950 rpm), these are my preset speeds that I set. When solar turns off the valve is closed and the pump is returned to speed 1. There are pics of my solar set up in my build thread, link in sig.

    Pentair also makes a smaller 1-1/2hp variable speed pump. But, I don't know if the Solartouch can change the speeds on it. Also, call Pentair and ask them these questions and when they say no it won't change to high speed tell them they need to add the feature. The more of us who suggest that the more likely they will add the feature. You can also ask them if the Solartouch can control the speed on the Superflo. And if they say no ask them when they plan to add that feature as well! Pentair's customer service is great and they are helpful, (800) 831-7133

    Here is the pump I have
    Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pump 011018 | Pentair 011018

    here is the smaller VS pump
    Pentair SuperFlo VS Pump 342001 | Pentair 342001

    Don't underestimate the savings on a variable speed pump. I run my pump in standby mode at 1100 rpm and it uses 150 watts. You can set a timer on the pump to run from sunup to sundown so that the Solartouch can heat the pool when solar heat is available. I can run my pump at 150 watts 12 hours a day 7 days a week for about $6 a month at 10.25c/kWh. Running a 3/4 hp pump probably uses 800-1000 watts but I also don't know if 3/4 hp will provide sufficient flow rate to the panels.

    Note: power consumption of a pump varies with each install, a pump using 150 watts running at 1100 rpm on my pool will not necessarily use 150 watts on your pool.
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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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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Solar heat and pump questions

    You can also wire a 2 speed pump through a relay to switch speeds when the solar controller calls for heat. I did it on mine using a RIB relay see this old thread Solar Controller and Above Ground Pool [Archive] - Trouble Free Pool
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    borjis's Avatar
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    Re: Solar heat and pump questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac-1 View Post
    You can also wire a 2 speed pump through a relay to switch speeds when the solar controller calls for heat. [/url]
    That is brilliant! Hadn't thought of it.
    16x32 IG Vinyl, 13,000 Gals. Hayward S-244T sand filter, SP2810X15 pump
    (1.5 HP motor) Raypak PR266AEN (266k btu) gas heater. TF-100 Test Kit.
    Dolphin E10 Cleaning Robot.

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    Kidswimin's Avatar
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    Re: Solar heat and pump questions

    Thanks for the input. I had an email to Pentair and and I just called them. She is checking on the controller and pump communications, but thought only the IntelliFlo and IntelliPro series pumps would be able to communicate without any manipulation. The two speed with the relays sounds doable, but with the added costs of the relays and timer and the pump cost it might better to go with the variable speed. I'll check into that.
    As for the timer question, I was under the impression the SolarTouch would turn the pump on, now I know the pump must be on for the controller to turn on the solar
    Dave. 13,000 gal inground vinyl. 3/4 hp single speed. Hayward 300# sand filter. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Pool built in 80's survived tornado in 90's. Recently added (4) 4'x12' solar panels with solartouch controller. New to me 1999 Hot Springs Sovereign tub.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Solar heat and pump questions

    That is correct, the pump has to be on so the water temp will register. Another thing that Pentair could do to improve the Solartouch. My hot tub turns on the pump and checks the temp on some interval and heats if needed. The Solartouch does not offer that feature.
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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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    Kidswimin's Avatar
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    Re: Solar heat and pump questions

    That would be nice. I am going to talk to Pentair about that and see if I could program the IntelliFlo to run like every two hours for a limited length of time to see if solar is needed.
    Dave. 13,000 gal inground vinyl. 3/4 hp single speed. Hayward 300# sand filter. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Pool built in 80's survived tornado in 90's. Recently added (4) 4'x12' solar panels with solartouch controller. New to me 1999 Hot Springs Sovereign tub.

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    Re: Solar heat and pump questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Kidswimin View Post
    That would be nice. I am going to talk to Pentair about that and see if I could program the IntelliFlo to run like every two hours for a limited length of time to see if solar is needed.
    Turning an Intelliflo on and off every two hours would be counter productive. You can leave a 3 hp Intelliflo on during the day running at 1000rpm and it wil only use as much power as one 100watt 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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