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Thread: Running a vacuum on a Pentair IntelliFlo VF-3050

  1. #1
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    Running a vacuum on a Pentair IntelliFlo VF-3050

    I'd like to start by apologizing for my ignorance and misuse of pool jargon. This is my first time wading into the world of pools, and I've immediately found myself in the deep end.

    We're replacing a 15+ yr old Challenger pump, because it was accounting for almost 80% of our electric bill.

    We have just pulled everything out and poured a new concrete pad (see pics below). We will be replacing both the old Challenger pool pump and the 3/4hp pump, which we were using for our vacuum, with a Pentair IntelliFlo VF-3050. The only other item that we have is our Pentair Nautilus NS-60 DE filter.

    At the pad, we had a 2" pipe coming from the pool, which then went through the Challenger pump, through the DE filter, and then split off into a 2" pipe (returning to the pool "jets") and a 1" pipe, that then went through the 3/4hp pump and into a 1" pipe that fed the vacuum.

    My question is, how can I make the vacuum work with this pump. After some reading, here are the solutions that I've found, although I'm not certain whether they will work or how efficient they will be:

    1. Use a manual valve to divert the flow to the vacuum
    (Cost effective, but not efficient, as it requires me to manually turn on the vacuum)

    2. Purchase a controller and an automatic valve
    (Efficient, but too expensive for me to implement at this point)

    3. Connect the vacuum plumbing into the main plumbing and use a scheduled feature to minimally bump the flow up to a point where the vacuum starts working
    (Will require some trial & error and an education on properly plumbing it.)

    Since this pump supposedly accounts for feature useage when calculating turnover, I would like to use option 3, since it would be the cheapest solution that would require no interaction on my part. However, I don't really know if that's a feasible or efficient solution. What do you guys think?

    I'm sure I've omitted some pertinent information, but again, my ignorance shines brightly. If I have, please let me know.

    Thanks in advance for all of your help. From my reading, this is one of the most responsive forum communities I've ever seen!

    Jeff
    Attached Images Attached Images
    26,500 gallon, Hayward 200lb Sand Filter with Zeosand, 1HP Hayward Super pump, IG, vinyl liner

  2. #2
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    Re: Running a vacuum on a Pentair IntelliFlo VF-3050

    I'm going to let others start answering your questions and someone(s) will be along pretty shortly to help. I may then have some suggestions when I see what others say.

    You are going to LOVE your Intelliflo VF. I've had a Challenger 2.23 HPSF since 1986 (motors replaced a couple of times) and I cannot even begin to explain what a joy the VF is. I think it's been in a couple of months now. And running it on a lower speed than the one speed Challenger will most certainly make for more efficient filtering with your DE filter. I'm running mine for two turnovers/day for 23 hours (with a rest for an hour to assist DE from caking, although I use cellulose so possibly not needed) and it's running at 315 watts. Set for one turnover it runs at 148 watts.

    Even when I crank the VF way up, just for the fun of it, I can hardly hear it.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

  3. #3
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    Re: Running a vacuum on a Pentair IntelliFlo VF-3050

    BTW.... Welcome to TFP. You most certainly have come to the very best and friendliest place. Forum member are very kind and patient here.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

  4. #4
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    Re: Running a vacuum on a Pentair IntelliFlo VF-3050

    What type of cleaner do you have? It appears that it is a pressure cleaner. Some pressure cleaners, like the Polaris 280, require a booster pump, typically 3/4 hp, to operate properly. It may be best to keep the 3/4 booster, if your cleaner needs the booster pump, put that pump on a separate, inexpensive, dial timer, and then program your VF to up the flow just when the cleaner booster pump is running, main pump upping the flow a few minutes before the booster pump turns on. Most of the booster pump situations require that the main pump is running to get adequate feed to the booster pump. One of the great things about the VF is that it is smart enough to up the flow rate if you get your timings off for some reason. It will not only keep the main pump fed with enough water but the VF will also shut off the pump if it isn't getting enough flow, keeping your pump from burning up. The dial timer has little metal tabs you screw on for turn the pump on and off. You can, also, do several on/offs per day. I'm pretty sure the timer is under $100.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

  5. #5
    Senior Member chris4150's Avatar
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    Re: Running a vacuum on a Pentair IntelliFlo VF-3050

    As geekgranny recommended,

    I have a set up that uses a variable speed pump and a booster for the cleaner, both of which are on timers. During the cycle of the main pump the cleaner is set to come on and run for an hour or so and then shut off. I have found that with my piping set up, the booster pump runs fine with the variable speed pump set on speed 3 thus not needing to bump the speed up when the booster kicks on. Im not sure what a booster pump costs if its feasible or not for you.

    Chris
    13,500 gallon free form Pebble Tec pool- 2 skimmers
    Pentair Intelli-Flow filter pump, Pentair Intelli-Super Flo booster pump, waterfall pump, Del Ozone Eclipse 1 generator, Pentair Clean & Clear Plus Cartridge filtration, Nature 2 XG Clear Vision, In-line Chlorinator, Polaris 280, Raypack heater, and Color Logic LED lights.

    Proud user of BBB, pool school, pool calculator, TF-100, and the advice of the friendly people here!

  6. #6
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Running a vacuum on a Pentair IntelliFlo VF-3050

    The IntelliFlo can't develop enough pressure for a typical pressure size cleaner designed for use with a booster pump. (There are some cleaners that are designed to work at lower pressure without a booster pump and they will be fine.)
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    TFP Admin. Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  7. #7
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    Re: Running a vacuum on a Pentair IntelliFlo VF-3050

    WoW...I didn't anticipate getting so many responses so quickly.

    I'm not certain of the model, but I have a Polaris cleaner, and was actually thinking about replacing it, because one of the wheels is cracked and starting to split. Not to mention, I gave the 3/4hp pump to a family member to airate their minnow supply at their tackle shop.

    So, a low pressure cleaner sounds like it may be a great option. I had read on this forum, with mixed reviews, that the Great White would work using low pressure. Has anyone used this cleaner or have any thoughts on it? Also, what other low pressure cleaners would anyone recommend.

    This site is truly priceless. It has already given me a better education that the brick & mortar shop in my area (and their stupid pool school).

    CHEERS
    Jeff
    26,500 gallon, Hayward 200lb Sand Filter with Zeosand, 1HP Hayward Super pump, IG, vinyl liner

  8. #8
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    Re: Running a vacuum on a Pentair IntelliFlo VF-3050

    I'm seeing good things about the Polaris 360. I've found one online for $375 with free shipping (PLUS a $50 Polaris Upgrade rebate, since we'd be replacing a Polaris).

    The shear volume of available products is somewhat overwhelming! As usual, all feedback is greatly appreciated.
    26,500 gallon, Hayward 200lb Sand Filter with Zeosand, 1HP Hayward Super pump, IG, vinyl liner

  9. #9
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    Re: Running a vacuum on a Pentair IntelliFlo VF-3050

    Quote Originally Posted by BrokenLinx
    I'd like to start by apologizing for my ignorance and misuse of pool jargon. This is my first time wading into the world of pools, and I've immediately found myself in the deep end.

    We're replacing a 15+ yr old Challenger pump, because it was accounting for almost 80% of our electric bill.

    We have just pulled everything out and poured a new concrete pad (see pics below). We will be replacing both the old Challenger pool pump and the 3/4hp pump, which we were using for our vacuum, with a Pentair IntelliFlo VF-3050. The only other item that we have is our Pentair Nautilus NS-60 DE filter.
    I just discovered similar. My Challenger, undersized filter, excess 1.5" "frankenplumbing" at pad, and booster pump have been accounting for 50% to 75% of my electric bill, depending on the season. The pool is open year round typically and requires about as much filtration and cleaning year round. I have replaced the old Challenger 2.23 SFHP pump, with an Intelliflo VF, replaced the 36 sq ft DE filter with a Pentair Quad 80 DE, removed unnecessary plumbing at the pumping station and upped the above ground pipes to 2" from 1.5" and cut 1/3 off my typical mid-April to mid-May bill. I've figured that I'll eliminate that much more by not using the booster and using the vac side cleaner even though the VF does rev up a little to run the vacuum cleaner but not much more. I had already cut my bill in half, over past few years, by making other changes beside the pool. A couple of years ago, the first time I had a bill under $500, the electric company came out and checked my meter. And our Khr cost is not that high.

    Most of my neighbors with bigger, fancier, new and old houses, have always had bills many hundreds of dollars less than our bills and they don't shut off half their house like we started doing a couple of years ago. We all keep our pools fully open or at least running pump with cleaners under covers, year round. I don't have a cover and I get tons more sand and silt and chalk/clay dust in my pool, year round than most, so I have to run my main pump and cleaner, daily, a lot longer than they do. I was getting ready to call the electric company out to check our meter but then I saw my last bill and realized what savings we were accomplishing with newest improvements to the pool system. I'll bet they come back out to check the meter next month since I stopped using the booster a few days ago.

    I just informed my best friend about this and she is really interested. I don't think her savings will be nearly as much, though as she doesn't need to run either of her pumps nearly as long as we do. She really only has juniper "needles" to contend with, lots, and virtually no dust or silt. And using the BBB method she'll need to run them even less as she won't have any algae anymore. I went over there and made some adjustments to her returns to get better flow to the Pool Skim, and insisted she use skimmer socks (but still have some more work to do some more adjustments of returns) so she isn't getting nearly as much debris making to the skimmers that eventually makes it to the pump basket and impeller, putting lots of work on her old pump and filter and restricting the suction side quite a bit. Over the years, when I've taken a look at her station the pump basket is usually filled with Juniper needles and the pump is almost running dry.

    At any rate, the reduction of previous months bills has been quite drastic. When I get the electric bill reduced by 50% to 75% I can start keeping the house a little cooler than 85 in summer. I don't mind that temp but DH gets hot working in the kitchen. I do spot cool DH's command center, the hottest corner in the house, but I've been doing that for several years.

    The pool savings will quickly pay for the cost of improvements; probably in less than a year.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

  10. #10
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    Re: Running a vacuum on a Pentair IntelliFlo VF-3050

    I found the intelliflo simply perfect for the vac. At 2500rpm (from memory its around ~800watts) the barracuda does easy laps of our in ground pool. I lashed out and automated everything, and not only am I very, very happy I did spend the extra bucks to do it, i just _love_ the pentair VF pump for making it all possible. With the jandy actuators and the intelliflo, my pump times during summer are divided into two three hour blocks. One in the morning, one at night. During each 3 hour block I have the skimmer on for 2 hours at 2000 (~500w) rpm, then the vac and skimmer for 1 hour at 2500rpm. During winter the pad is so quiet we can run during off peak times starting at 2am for 4 hours on skimmer at 1500 rpm. Its a dog figuring out all the details, but once you have it programmed, its just great. Back wash is also automatic. When the pressure on the filter hits 65kpa, it automatically backwashes at 3450rpm (thanks to the intelliflo and jandy's backwash valve and actuator).

    Pools pads are almost maintenance free! Love it
    the design of the pad is here. Im still finishing off the controller.

    diy-equiptment-pad-t19977.html

    steve
    Mark Stinson
    Woodland, CA
    IG 12,545g Gunite/Plaster with attached spa, Hayward Northstar 3HP pump, Pentair Clean & Clear Plus 420
    Alas, I have no heater for my spa (yet)! :-(

  11. #11
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    Re: Running a vacuum on a Pentair IntelliFlo VF-3050

    Are there anyone who can recommend for service people in HOUSTON TX who can install Pentair IntelliFlo VS pump for my inground pool?


    Thanks,
    15k gal, inground plaster, 15'x30', attached spa (w/spillover); Pentair FNS-48 DE filter(using Fiber Clear); w/1.5hp Whisperflo pump; gas heater (MiniMax 250); solar cover; location: El Paso,TX

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