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Thread: Choosing a VS pump

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    Choosing a VS pump

    I realize that this question has been asked in multiple forms, and I've read through many threads already. Pretty sure which direction I'd like to go, but in the interest of not overspending on this purchase (don't really have the extra $$ right now), I thought I'd put my specifics out there for you guys to chime in and give me your thoughts.

    I need to start by saying that I've been needing to log in and let you all know that this site, and you guys, absolutely made our summer last year! I'll post soon in the testimonials area with my complete story, but the short version is that I went from fighting a newly owned pool (we bought the house last March) that even had my pool guy scratching his head after the 3rd bloom to a completely crystal clear pool that I added NOTHING to from the middle of July until I closed it around October!!!!

    So... My current dilemma. I had my son turn on the pump and Polaris while I was at work last Fall only to realize when I returned home that I completely forgot to have him open the valves in the lines! OOPS! So, we fried the pump. Fortunately, it was about time to close the pool anyways, so I just did what any smart pool owner would do. I came here and learned how to close the pool. But, it's now time to decide on a pump and get it installed. I hope to open the pool up in the next several weeks. It is covered with a solid cover, and I peeked under the edge of it the other day and was pleased to see it still appears to be crystal clear.

    Based on what I have read so far, I am fairly certain I want to go with a VS pump. I had been leaning toward a 2 speed, but it seems that the VS pumps will last longer, run even more efficiently and won't have the need for an additional timer. I've also read that a VS is much more fitting for (and possibly necessary for) SWG systems due to the minimum flow requirements. So, now I'm left trying to choose exactly which model to go with. I am planning to install it myself. I understand that it will affect the manufacturer's warranty, and as much as I don't like it, I'm willing to accept that.

    Here are the 3 that I've narrowed it down to so far:

    Pentair IntelliFlo 011018 - Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pump 011018 | Pentair 011018

    Pentair SuperFlo VS 342001 - Pentair SuperFlo VS Pump 342001 | Pentair 342001

    Hayward MaxFlo VS SP2302VSP - Hayward MaxFlo VS Pump SP2302VSP | Hayward SP2302VSP

    My pool specs are in my signature. I do not have any additional water features, nor do I anticipate adding any. I'm pretty sure my lines are 1.5" PVC. I'm leaning towards the Pentair SuperFlo which is the cheapest at around $650. It has great reviews and appears to be able to do everything I need. I'm 100% certain the Pentair IntelliFlo will do everything I need and then some, but at $930, it's quite a jump in price. The Hayward falls right near the middle at $775.

    I would like to have my pump run 24 hours. Based on others I've read about, I'm thinking I would have it run at a higher flow for an hour or two early in the morning along with the Polaris (will any of these also control/time my Polaris?), then run at a mid-range speed during the day and drop to a slow speed overnight. Although, I've seen one poster consistently appear in these threads that says they run theirs around 1100 RPM 24/7 with great results which is another possibility for me.

    Here are a few questions I have:

    1. Is there any benefit to pairing my Hayward SWG with the Hayward pump that I should be aware of?

    2. I thought I had read somewhere that the Hayward only had 3 speeds. If so, are those pre-programmed and at what speeds? Or are they just pointing out that there can only be 3 programmed settings in general, but those 3 speeds can be customized?

    3. I don't know that I will add any additional automation at this point... Unless I should. I would love to time program the Polaris as well at some point. So, I'm wondering if I need any of the additional options that comes with the IntelliFlo over the SuperFlo. Unless there are features related to my goals mentioned above that I am missing.

    4. And finally the question I always love to ask anyone that is helping me with or teaching me anything: What questions am I not asking that I should be?

    Thanks again in advance for any help you may have for me!

    Ken
    22k gal, rectangular IG vinyl built approx. 2010 - 2 skimmers, one main drain
    1hp Waterway VL56 Mustang single speed 220v pump, AquaTools AT3125 300lbs sand filter
    Polaris 280 cleaner w/ PB4-60Q 3/4hp booster pump
    Hayward AQR15 40k gal SWG w/ Pool Tool anti-corrosion zinc anode
    Taylor K-2006 FAS-DPD test kit, city water supply - West TN

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Choosing a VS pump

    1. No

    2. Both the SuperFlo and MaxFlo VS pumps have only three speeds but all three speeds are programmable to your choice.

    3. Mostly it is just the number of speeds since the new SuperFlo can now be controlled by an external Pentair controller.

    4. Being from TN (low $/kwh?) and short on $$, are you sure you want VS? Lifetime cost for a VS could very well be higher than a new two speed pump and certainly higher if you can fix your old pump or is the housing warped?


    Also, where did you hear than VS pumps are more reliable? Given they have electronic parts that other pumps don't have, I would expect the MTBF of a VS to be no better than a standard pump at best and perhaps slightly worse. I think the recent spike in VS failures reported on this forum confirms this fact.
    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: Choosing a VS pump

    Thanks for the response, mas985! I believe I read somewhere (probably in a review) that the type of pump used in the VS pumps were supposed to be a better design that should provide a longer service life. I'm definitely not completely opposed to a 2 speed if that will meet my needs.

    Unfortunately, yes. The house was so warped that I couldn't even remove the basket from the intake without breaking it. The motor may actually be OK, but housing is completely shot.

    You are right that they energy costs here in TN aren't that bad. But, after getting quotes to install a timer for my single speed last year, I would actually not be much different in cost between installing a VS (or possibly 2 speed if I can leave it on 24 hrs at the lower speed setting and still get the needed flow for my SWG) without installing a separate timer.

    Do you have a suggestions/recommendation for a 2 speed that could save me up front costs, but still meet my other goals? Specifically, run my SWG and run 24/7?

    Thanks!

    Ken
    22k gal, rectangular IG vinyl built approx. 2010 - 2 skimmers, one main drain
    1hp Waterway VL56 Mustang single speed 220v pump, AquaTools AT3125 300lbs sand filter
    Polaris 280 cleaner w/ PB4-60Q 3/4hp booster pump
    Hayward AQR15 40k gal SWG w/ Pool Tool anti-corrosion zinc anode
    Taylor K-2006 FAS-DPD test kit, city water supply - West TN

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    Re: Choosing a VS pump

    I can't make a recommendation but I will share something I learned directly from Pentair regarding warranty. Their warranty as some have stated is shortened if you don't buy from a dealer, I have an email from Pentair stating otherwise. You'll get the full three year warranty as long as you have a business with a licensed electrician to do the installation. It does not have to be a dealer. I have found Pentair Intelliflo pumps $~600 cheaper online. And that's not including what the dealer will charge you to install it. Just a FYI.


    ~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: Choosing a VS pump

    When I bought my Intelliflo online there was a rebate in effect from Pentair, but it required "professional installation" to qualify for the rebate and full warranty. I called Pentair to ask what "professional install" meant. They didn't really have a clear definition. I was told as long as I sent in a bill along with my warranty card, it could be from a pool service, plumber, or electrician and it would qualify. I did and got my warranty and rebate.

    Another thing about VS pumps is surge protection. With the sensitive onboard electronics it is very important to have protection. I actually have two. A larger ($110) Eaton Ultra at my main electrical panel, and a smaller ($25) Square D SDSA1175 on the pool pump panel. Of course that not only protects the pump, but also all my household electronics.
    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: Choosing a VS pump

    Quote Originally Posted by drdaddy View Post
    Thanks for the response, mas985! I believe I read somewhere (probably in a review) that the type of pump used in the VS pumps were supposed to be a better design that should provide a longer service life. I'm definitely not completely opposed to a 2 speed if that will meet my needs.

    Thanks!

    Ken
    Sure the actual motor may last 20 years, but the part you have to worry about is the EXPENSIVE electronic drive. As a recent intelliflo electronic drive failure victim, i can testify that if you plan on getting an intelliflo you should make plans to completely cover it from rain. Mine died the other day after 4 1/2 years (out of warranty) and i have decided to go back with a single speed 1/2 hp whisperflo instead.

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    Re: Choosing a VS pump

    Quote Originally Posted by drdaddy View Post
    Thanks for the response, mas985! I believe I read somewhere (probably in a review) that the type of pump used in the VS pumps were supposed to be a better design that should provide a longer service life.
    The actual pump or wet end is usually the same as a single or two speed pump so that is no different. The motor may be better but I am skeptical. VFD drives are hard on motors even PM motors. And the potential issue with the drives is fairly well known. In general, the more electronic and mechanical parts there are in a device, the shorter the MTBF.



    Quote Originally Posted by drdaddy View Post
    Do you have a suggestions/recommendation for a 2 speed that could save me up front costs, but still meet my other goals? Specifically, run my SWG and run 24/7?
    Both the MaxFlo and SuperFlo come in two speed 1 HP versions and either would be a good choice.

    But I still do not understand why you think you need to run 24/7. Those that run 24/7 choose to do so but probably do not need to do so unless you want a spotless pool 24/7. Most pools do not need more than 3-4 hours of run time per day even on lower speeds to maintain a properly sanitized pool. Read the pump run time study in my signature.
    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: Choosing a VS pump

    I don't run my pump 24/7 but during the season I do run it about 18 hrs per day. But most of that is at 1,000 rpm (100 watts). It's totally unnecessary, but it doesn't cost much and it does make the water just sparkle.
    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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    Choosing a VS pump

    Thanks again mas985! I do not necessarily want or need to run 24/7. I was trying to get all of my info down quickly for this thread and didn't really give a full explanation of that part. My current setup does not include a timer, and I was having a hard time keeping a consistent schedule turning it on and off. So, to accomplish a consistent SWG production and a stable chlorine level I just let it run 24/7. Unfortunately, we have a HUGE oak in the yard that was filling my skimmers faster than I could empty them and clogging my skimmer baskets. I would have gone with a 2 speed (or even single speed, but more efficient) if adding a timer was more cost effective.

    I can handle most DIY projects, but I'd probably hire someone to install a timer. By the time I purchase a decent timer and spend the extra to have it installed, I would be adding so much cost to the project that I could have just purchased a decent VS pump with a built in timer or possibly better yet, go with the 2 speed, let it run in low 24/7 and still save in operating costs. Ultimately, I may still get a timer, but it wouldn't be nearly as critical as I felt it was before I fried my old single speed. In reality, I will not run it 24/7 if I have a timer available in the new pump or eventually put a timer on a 2 speed.
    22k gal, rectangular IG vinyl built approx. 2010 - 2 skimmers, one main drain
    1hp Waterway VL56 Mustang single speed 220v pump, AquaTools AT3125 300lbs sand filter
    Polaris 280 cleaner w/ PB4-60Q 3/4hp booster pump
    Hayward AQR15 40k gal SWG w/ Pool Tool anti-corrosion zinc anode
    Taylor K-2006 FAS-DPD test kit, city water supply - West TN

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    Re: Choosing a VS pump

    OK. Having read and researched some more, I am now leaning towards going with the 2 speed option. Savings up front may not be that much between some of the 2 speed compared to VS models; however, I don't believe I really need the additional features of the VS and the more sensitive electronic controls that can be costly to replace... Especially considering I am planning to install this myself and will likely not have the benefit of the longer warranty.

    I have a few new questions, though.

    1. I have read many posts referring to switching from low to high on a 2 speed only when running vacuums or sweepers. I have a Polaris 280 but it has it's own booster. Will I need to run the pump at high while the booster is running, or can I let the main pump continue to pump on low and simply switch the booster on to run the Polaris? Or is it only necessary to switch to high if you are using the main pump to run the Polaris and don't have a booster?

    2. I've read quite a bit about HP, SF AND SFHP. My current pump (that is fried) is 1.0 HP x 1.25 SF = 1.25 SFHP. It has always seemed to have plenty of power to circulate water. I'm not seeing any reason to upsize from this. But considering that the 1.25 SFHP and 1.65 SFHP models in some of the 2 speed pumps I looking at are almost identical in cost. Is there any beneficial or detrimental reasons to choose one or the other? For example, the Superflo models are only $20 different in price.

    3. Whisperflo or Superflo? The Whisperflo pumps that match my current 1.25 SFHP are 115v, and I have 230v currently. They are also not as readily available at the sites I'm shopping as the 1.65 SFHP models which are similar in cost to the 1.25 SFHP models. But then I'm upping my SFHP which leads back to my question above regarding if that's a problem or benefit. Plus the Whisperflo pumps are about $100 more than the Superflo pumps. Sooo.... am I wasting my time even considering these?

    I'll try to post some photo's of my current setup in case that will help any.

    Thanks again for everyone's input and advice!

    Ken
    22k gal, rectangular IG vinyl built approx. 2010 - 2 skimmers, one main drain
    1hp Waterway VL56 Mustang single speed 220v pump, AquaTools AT3125 300lbs sand filter
    Polaris 280 cleaner w/ PB4-60Q 3/4hp booster pump
    Hayward AQR15 40k gal SWG w/ Pool Tool anti-corrosion zinc anode
    Taylor K-2006 FAS-DPD test kit, city water supply - West TN

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Choosing a VS pump

    Check your local power company to see if they have any rebates for VS pump because that can make the decision easier.

    Also, you may want to have a VS pump installed professionally too because the warranties are longer (3 vs 1 year). Also, if you go the VS route, you should install a surge protector on the power line to protect the pump's sensitive electronics.

    When comparing the costs between a VS and two speed, you have to take all of this into consideration. If the total costs are about the same, the VS is probably the better choice.
    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: Choosing a VS pump

    Here are some photos of my equipment pad.


    IMG_8732.jpg

    - - - Updated - - -

    IMG_8716 copy.jpg
    22k gal, rectangular IG vinyl built approx. 2010 - 2 skimmers, one main drain
    1hp Waterway VL56 Mustang single speed 220v pump, AquaTools AT3125 300lbs sand filter
    Polaris 280 cleaner w/ PB4-60Q 3/4hp booster pump
    Hayward AQR15 40k gal SWG w/ Pool Tool anti-corrosion zinc anode
    Taylor K-2006 FAS-DPD test kit, city water supply - West TN

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    Re: Choosing a VS pump

    I've hit my limit for uploads... at least until my Supporter payment is processed! You guys have literally saved me hundreds of dollars in the last year! As soon as my account is updated, I'll include a couple more photos.
    22k gal, rectangular IG vinyl built approx. 2010 - 2 skimmers, one main drain
    1hp Waterway VL56 Mustang single speed 220v pump, AquaTools AT3125 300lbs sand filter
    Polaris 280 cleaner w/ PB4-60Q 3/4hp booster pump
    Hayward AQR15 40k gal SWG w/ Pool Tool anti-corrosion zinc anode
    Taylor K-2006 FAS-DPD test kit, city water supply - West TN

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    Re: Choosing a VS pump

    Well that was quick! HAHA! I already see the plaque under my name, so I'll give it go.

    IMG_8730.jpg
    IMG_8728.jpg

    My equipment pad is just behind the fence at the corner of the house.

    IMG_6054.jpg
    22k gal, rectangular IG vinyl built approx. 2010 - 2 skimmers, one main drain
    1hp Waterway VL56 Mustang single speed 220v pump, AquaTools AT3125 300lbs sand filter
    Polaris 280 cleaner w/ PB4-60Q 3/4hp booster pump
    Hayward AQR15 40k gal SWG w/ Pool Tool anti-corrosion zinc anode
    Taylor K-2006 FAS-DPD test kit, city water supply - West TN

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Choosing a VS pump

    Quote Originally Posted by drdaddy View Post
    1. I have read many posts referring to switching from low to high on a 2 speed only when running vacuums or sweepers. I have a Polaris 280 but it has it's own booster. Will I need to run the pump at high while the booster is running, or can I let the main pump continue to pump on low and simply switch the booster on to run the Polaris? Or is it only necessary to switch to high if you are using the main pump to run the Polaris and don't have a booster?
    Cleaners usually don't require a lot in flow rate so it should work ok on low speed, you may just not have a lot of flow going back to the returns.


    Quote Originally Posted by drdaddy View Post
    2. I've read quite a bit about HP, SF AND SFHP. My current pump (that is fried) is 1.0 HP x 1.25 SF = 1.25 SFHP. It has always seemed to have plenty of power to circulate water. I'm not seeing any reason to upsize from this. But considering that the 1.25 SFHP and 1.65 SFHP models in some of the 2 speed pumps I looking at are almost identical in cost. Is there any beneficial or detrimental reasons to choose one or the other? For example, the Superflo models are only $20 different in price.
    The flow rate difference will be quite small but the energy use is much larger so you are better off going with the smaller THP pump.



    Quote Originally Posted by drdaddy View Post
    3. Whisperflo or Superflo? The Whisperflo pumps that match my current 1.25 SFHP are 115v, and I have 230v currently. They are also not as readily available at the sites I'm shopping as the 1.65 SFHP models which are similar in cost to the 1.25 SFHP models. But then I'm upping my SFHP which leads back to my question above regarding if that's a problem or benefit. Plus the Whisperflo pumps are about $100 more than the Superflo pumps. Sooo.... I'm I wasting my time even considering these?
    Unless you are running a spa with the pump, there is no point to use the Whisperflo.
    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: Choosing a VS pump

    As for the question about hayward speeds - they come pre-programmed with 3 speeds + prime. High is 3000 RPM, medium is around 2500RPM and low which is 1500RPM. You can independantly change them to whatever you want.

    When the pump turns on, it goes to V3 and runs for the amount of time you have programmed, then kicks to V1 for the remainder. V3 is the stock high speed setting, which is way too much for anything other than spot cleaning or vacuuming. I swapped V3 and V2, and kicked V1 down to 1200RPM. I run V3 for 3 hours, and V1 for 8 hours. If i need to mannually vacuum, I just push V2 and it kicks to full power.

    On V1 at 1200 RPM, it's only drawing about 100 watts or so and is just good enough to keep the water circulating through the skimmer.
    28K Gallon old-skool plaster hole in the back yard in desperate need of an acid wash and a fixed skimmer diverter (yes, it's still broken)
    Hayward SuperPumpVS pushing some giant hayward cartridge filter setup
    SharcVacXL and Zodiac G2 to keep things clean

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    Re: Choosing a VS pump

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985 View Post
    Check your local power company to see if they have any rebates for VS pump because that can make the decision easier.

    Also, you may want to have a VS pump installed professionally too because the warranties are longer (3 vs 1 year). Also, if you go the VS route, you should install a surge protector on the power line to protect the pump's sensitive electronics.

    When comparing the costs between a VS and two speed, you have to take all of this into consideration. If the total costs are about the same, the VS is probably the better choice.
    It's worth digging into the utility's rebate info to see what they mean by "Variable Speed" -- in some cases the definition is anything but a single-speed pump, i.e. a 2-speed would qualify. I realized that when some of the info/questions on my utility's rebate form were more appropriate to a 2-speed than a true VS pump (high vs low RPMs and time settings etc) and it never called out infinitely-adjustable speeds.

    Having said that, I'm in the (real) VS camp. It may or may not actually save money over 2-speed (when lifespan, warranties, timers for 2sp, surge protectors for VS, etc) are taken into account, but the flexibility is a key feature if you're not absolutely sure of the requirements. Let's say you get a 2-speed and discover that low is just a bit too slow for the SWCG or to skim properly; now you have to run it on high much of the day with the resulting cost and noise. With a VS you just bump it up 100RPM or so until it's just fast enough. Nothing wrong with choosing lowest cost, but also nothing wrong with paying for features even if they cost more either.
    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: Choosing a VS pump

    I have a VS pump (Pentair 011018) and I love it. Even if it never saves me a dime. I have a pool with infloor cleaning, solar heating, SWG, and I can program the pump to run at just the right speed for any task. It's quite and efficient.

    I have it come on in the early am to run the infloor cleaning, then drop the speed to just enough to operate the SWG. Anytime during the day that heat is called for and is available at the solar collectors, the pump ramps it speed up as the valve is opened to the solar. Then in the late afternoon the pump speed drops to just 1000 rpm until late at night to provide some extra filtration for that TFP sparkle. This is all handled automatically by the pump's onboard controller. I can program up to eight preset speeds, program four speed changes a day by the onboard timer, plus other speeds controlled external, and a quick clean function with preselected speed and duration available at the touch of a button. Oh yes and all this is done with no automation system, just the pump's onboard timer and a solar controller.
    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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