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Thread: Do I need a variable speed pump?

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    Do I need a variable speed pump?

    OK so by the sounds of things, a variable speed pump might fit my bill pretty good. Right now my circulation pump and booster pump run on separate mechanical timers. I have another pump that runs the waterfall and bubbler, but that pump is run from inside the house on a regular switch. I guess the only complication is how do I run my booster pump? Leave it on the mechanical timer and just set it to run while my variable speed pump runs? Also, if I want to introduce a salt water generator I need to be sure I get the correct variable speed pump. I would be greatly appreciative for a recommendation on a variable speed pump and a saltwater generator that would be compatible with it. My pool is set to be replasteres next week, I will be using the bicarbonate start up. After that, I understand I need to wait at least 30 days for a salt water generator, so I have time to get the correct ones ordered. Things are starting to get interesting for me considering the plasters job and other upgrades I need to do. I just want to get my pool set up and running so I have no problems this summer. I'm still not sure of the size of this pool, I am going to estimate anywhere from 18,000 to 22,000 gallons. Currently I have the StaRite system three element filtration, no other form of chlorination or anything.


    ~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: Do I need a variable speed pump?

    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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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Do I need a variable speed pump?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lykly View Post
    OK so by the sounds of things, a variable speed pump might fit my bill pretty good.
    Why do you say that? Because it does not need another timer?


    Right now my circulation pump and booster pump run on separate mechanical timers. I have another pump that runs the waterfall and bubbler, but that pump is run from inside the house on a regular switch. I guess the only complication is how do I run my booster pump? Leave it on the mechanical timer and just set it to run while my variable speed pump runs?
    Unless you want to purchase a full controller, that is probably your best bet.


    Also, if I want to introduce a salt water generator I need to be sure I get the correct variable speed pump. I would be greatly appreciative for a recommendation on a variable speed pump and a saltwater generator that would be compatible with it.
    Any VS pump or any other pump should be compatible with any SWG.
    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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    Re: Do I need a variable speed pump?

    if you wanted to do everything with 1 pump then you are correct, a VS pump would be a great fit for you...

    Any of the SWG will work with a VS pump

    You will most likely need some kind of automation to make everything work like you want or need it to.. The reason people go with multiple pumps and timers is to automate without the cost of a controller...
    Pool: Intex 16x32 15000 gal, 2 speed 340042, Pentair CC320 Filter, CircuPool SJ45 Salt System, Intermatic PE653RC; Hot Tub: 650 Gal SWG Megachlor
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    Re: Do I need a variable speed pump?

    Thx for the replies. I guess the biggest reason I want a variable speed pump is eventually I want to continue to automate this pool as much as possible, and I'm not sure the pump I have is doing a very good job. It has a very hard time priming, (runs anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes before it will prime) and also when the motor runs, after a short time it gets hot enough I can't touch it more than about two seconds, is this normal? Is there a way to know if it is pumping at full capacity? I have my valves adjusted to where it is probably pulling 80% from the skimmers, and it does not seem like much gets pulled in, things can float by a foot away and not go in the skimmer. Right now the pool has algae because I have not been treating it waiting for a plaster job. I did however dump 5 gallons of Clorox in there yesterday and have had the pump running nonstop thinking I would try to clean it up just a bit early stop the algae before the plaster crew gets there. It's a one horsepower motor, it does not seem to make excessive noise at least nothing more that I would expect. It's made the same noise for the two months I've lived here. Maybe it's fine, I'm not sure... I guess I just want to be sure after I replaster it and refill it I don't let it get away from me. I would like something I know is circulating the pool in a good way. The pressure in my filter never changes, it sits at about five psi. I replaced the gauge to be sure that was not the problem. Filter is a StaRite S8M150, says it can handle 125 gallons per minute, with a large surface area on the elements of 450 sq ft. It has cartridges, although I seen the previous owner has a bag of DE material in the outdoor shed for the pool. Not sure how that is supposed to be used or even if it should be used with this filter?


    ~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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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Do I need a variable speed pump?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lykly View Post
    Thx for the replies. I guess the biggest reason I want a variable speed pump is eventually I want to continue to automate this pool as much as possible, and I'm not sure the pump I have is doing a very good job.
    Automation can be done with any pump. A VS can have built in timers but that just automates the pump, nothing else.


    It has a very hard time priming, (runs anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes before it will prime) and also when the motor runs, after a short time it gets hot enough I can't touch it more than about two seconds, is this normal? Is there a way to know if it is pumping at full capacity?
    Generally, you can tell by the clean filter pressure. If the filter pressure is higher or lower than the normal clean filter pressure, then the flow rate could be less than normal too. When was the last time you cleaned your filter?


    I have my valves adjusted to where it is probably pulling 80% from the skimmers, and it does not seem like much gets pulled in, things can float by a foot away and not go in the skimmer. Right now the pool has algae because I have not been treating it waiting for a plaster job. I did however dump 5 gallons of Clorox in there yesterday and have had the pump running nonstop thinking I would try to clean it up just a bit early stop the algae before the plaster crew gets there.
    Now we are getting somewhere. An algae pool can have detrimental affects on any pump. The filter can clog or the impeller can clog both causing reduction in flow rate. Before spend a lot of money on a pump, I would suggest getting your pool in order first. Did you recently open the pool and vacuum a lot of debris out?


    The pressure in my filter never changes, it sits at about five psi.
    That seems WAY too low for a pump at full speed. What is the make/model of the pump? The symptoms point to a clogged impeller or suction line.

    It has cartridges, although I seen the previous owner has a bag of DE material in the outdoor shed for the pool. Not sure how that is supposed to be used or even if it should be used with this filter?
    DE can ruin some cartridge filters so don't use it unless you know for sure that it is ok with your cartridges.
    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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    Re: Do I need a variable speed pump?

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985 View Post
    Automation can be done with any pump. A VS can have built in timers but that just automates the pump, nothing else.

    Thx for that clarity......

    Generally, you can tell by the clean filter pressure. If the filter pressure is higher or lower than the normal clean filter pressure, then the flow rate could be less than normal too. When was the last time you cleaned your filter?

    When I moved in here two months ago I remove the elements and they had at least 1 inch of what appeared to be like mud, probably never had been cleaned in a very long time. I used a hose and got everything I could off of them, they never did turn bright white. I ordered and have received two brand-new filters, I have not yet put them in as I was waiting for clean water.


    Now we are getting somewhere. An algae pool can have detrimental affects on any pump. The filter can clog or the impeller can clog both causing reduction in flow rate. Before spend a lot of money on a pump, I would suggest getting your pool in order first. Did you recently open the pool and vacuum a lot of debris out?

    When the house inspection was done about three months ago, it was deemed that the plaster needed replacing. After moving in I checked the water, the stabilizer was over 300, all he did was throw pucks in the pool. The pool was always full, but I never used it since it was winter and the water was in terrible shape anyway. I did have to remove a lot of leaves out of the pool, happened this fall as my yard is heavily wooded.


    That seems WAY too low for a pump at full speed. What is the make/model of the pump? The symptoms point to a clogged impeller or suction line.

    Somebody else had mentioned on this forum they had the same type of filter and it also stayed at five psi. I would think it should at least vary, maybe not. I called Pentair, who now owns StaRite, they said the filter is a very good filter which can handle a lot of volume and does a good job. I wanted to be sure it was a decent filter before I bought the new elements.

    DE can ruin some cartridge filters so don't use it unless you know for sure that it is ok with your cartridges.

    I don't think this filter is supposed to have DE in it. I am curious though, could that be what the mud looking stuff on the filter was from? It was very thick and looked a lot like a light colored mud.


    I really appreciate the replies. Seems like the best thing to do is replaster it get it filled and balanced and see how it goes. I will put the new filters in when the pool is filling. Thanks again



    ~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: Do I need a variable speed pump?

    Yes, that sounds like a good plan. And yes the previous owner, who sounds like he had no idea how to manage a pool, probably ruined the cartridges with de.
    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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    Re: Do I need a variable speed pump?

    You had asked what type of pump, here's a picture of it. The moisture on the cement is from the other pump, I drained the antifreeze out of it.... it was shut down it was the pump for the waterfall. The circulation pump is the one on the left.




    ~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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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Do I need a variable speed pump?

    Looks like it might be a Sta-Rite Dura-Glas pump and from the motor label, a 1 HP up-rated pump. Probably, a P2RA5E. It should have a pressure higher than just 5 PSI so I suspect there is something wrong with the pump. Either a clog or an issue with the impeller. They are pretty easy to take apart so you should be able to inspect the impeller pretty easily.
    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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    Do I need a variable speed pump?

    OK, I took apart to look inside. It does not appear there is a lot of debris but I'm no expert, not sure how much further I could've torn into them. I did not remove impeller but I could see it was clear. Basket as OK as well. I am guessing that setscrew on top of the impeller unscrews to remove it? It did not look like there was much for an Allen screw or anything to engage to remove it. After I put everything back together the pump primed within 20 seconds or so, so maybe the o ring on the basket was not seated or something. Pressure went to 8 pounds, which was about as high as I've ever seen it. I remember somebody here saying they have the same filter and it rarely got above 5 psi. I will let it circulate and after I refill with water after plaster job I will put in new element filters. Does this look like they were clean or should I torn into these further?


    ~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: Do I need a variable speed pump?

    Everything there looks ok. However, if your really think the flow rate out of the returns is less then it should be, then I would focus on the suction side plumbing. Do you have all of the suction side valves open (assuming you have some)?


    I remember somebody here saying they have the same filter and it rarely got above 5 psi.
    That may be possible with a two speed on low speed or a VS on a lower speed. So the filter pressure depends not only on the plumbing configuration but the pump and the operating speed of the pump. I doubt the conditions were exactly the same as your pool. But given you have a single speed pump, 5 PSI is awfully low unless something is blocking the suction side plumbing. Also, you said the flow rate seems very low which is another symptom.
    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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    Do I need a variable speed pump?

    Yes, I have three total inlets for suction. one valve that's open to the main suction on the bottom of the pool, I am assuming there is more than one as I think there were three I could see on the bottom deep end near each other, and then two other suctions, one each from each of my two skimmers. The main suction valve is a standalone 2 inch pipe coming in, and the two skimmers each controlled by their own valve come in on 2 inch lines combined into 1 pipe. I can manipulate the valves either wide open or any variation to closed. I currently have them all wide-open. It may be working sufficient, I just never owned a pool and it does not seem to me like it is moving water like it should. As I mentioned earlier, things going by the skimmers basically need to float within a few inches or they don't get sucked in.


    ~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: Do I need a variable speed pump?

    One more question, where does the best filtration come from? The skimmers or the bottom? Just wondering how I should have my valves set... what percentage to each?


    ~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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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Do I need a variable speed pump?

    It may be working sufficient, I just never owned a pool and it does not seem to me like it is moving water like it should. As I mentioned earlier, things going by the skimmers basically need to float within a few inches or they don't get sucked in.
    That could just mean that you have too fast water moving by the skimmer.

    Feel the water coming out of the returns. Does it feel like a lot of pressure? If so, then it may be working properly. How many return pipes do you have going all the way from pad to pool and what is the distance?



    One more question, where does the best filtration come from? The skimmers or the bottom? Just wondering how I should have my valves set... what percentage to each?
    Filtration is about the same but you can only remove floating debris before falls to the bottom with skimmers. So I think skimmers are far more important than MDs which don't really do much anyway. So I would recommend closing the MD and seeing if the skimmers work better.
    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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    Do I need a variable speed pump?

    I have 9 total returns, 7 coming in from the sides of the pool then 2 other in the wading pool. There is only one 2 inch line leaving the filter, then it goes underground and splits up between all the returns. The closest return is probably 15 feet from the pump the furthest probably 40 feet. That's just a rough guess of course, and then I would say that the pump sits 5 feet higher in elevation than the pool surface water. You can see in the pictures, the pump sits up behind the pool behind that shrub right behind the blue planter. And then you can see the two returns in the wading pool, one on each side of the light and bubbler. On the upper inlet of the filter, the one pipe going away is a pipe that can be diverted to the edge of my property to pump water out of the pool. I will try to pull just from my skimmers, it seems last time I tried that they couldn't feed water fast enough to the pump? Maybe my water level is not high enough? I would say it's 2 to 3 inches above the bottom of the skimmer. Will attach some pictures so you get an idea of my layout. 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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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Do I need a variable speed pump?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lykly View Post
    I will try to pull just from my skimmers, it seems last time I tried that they couldn't feed water fast enough to the pump? Maybe my water level is not high enough? I would say it's 2 to 3 inches above the bottom of the skimmer.
    Water level is fine but what you are describing about the issues with the skimmers indicates blockage of some sort. They should be able to support the flow by themselves and even one at a time. This time, when you go 100% skimmer and 0% MD, please explain in detail what happens.
    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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    Do I need a variable speed pump?

    I just went out there and pulled from each skimmer 100%, and they both kept up fine. When I shut one off and pulled from the other, I went over to verify the other one was dead and it was, so all the valves are working properly on the skimmers. I verified this with both skimmers. What's odd is last week when I did this the water level at the skimmer could not keep up with the pump? I only tried this with one skimmer at the time, but now they both work. It seems if there was blockage the water could keep up but the pump would be starved? We did get two days of rain which raised the water level some, maybe it was too low prior? It appears the pump impeller is clean and working properly, maybe I'm just expecting too much. When it gets daylight, I think I will point all the returns straight down, maybe that will cause the water going by the skimmers to move slower on surface?


    ~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: Do I need a variable speed pump?

    Water level is usually set to be half way up in the skimmer inlet. If there is an overflow drain that may make the level different. After the pump primes, do you bleed the air from the filter?
    In ground, 14,000 gallon, white plaster, unheated, stone waterfall, DE Filter, Rainbow 320 Cl, Polaris 3900, FloVis flow meter, F100 test kit, Circupool RJ30+ SWG, Circupool VJ1/Speck Badu EcoM3V variable speed pump.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Do I need a variable speed pump?

    I only tried this with one skimmer at the time, but now they both work. It seems if there was blockage the water could keep up but the pump would be starved?
    If you had a blockage, normally you would see air entering the pump basket.



    When it gets daylight, I think I will point all the returns straight down, maybe that will cause the water going by the skimmers to move slower on surface?
    That may be too drastic but you will probably need to play around with the returns to get the correct water circulation so the skimmers can do their job. No circulation is just as bad as too much.


    If you have any spare ping pong balls that you can throw in the water, that helps to observe how things are moving around the pool.

    But because of all the contradictions, it is very difficult to tell if you have an issue or not.
    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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