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Thread: Help Requested with Pentair Intelliflow Variable Speed Pump

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    Help Requested with Pentair Intelliflow Variable Speed Pump

    Can anyone give me some advice on the best way to use my Pentair Intelliflow Variable Speed Pump?

    The PB originally set it up to run 23 hours a day on a very low speed (2,500). According to him and also Pentair’s website, this is the recommended way to run the pump. When the heater is on, it runs at full (3,500) speed and I also use the full speed when vacuuming the pool.

    I have two problems with this method:

    1) Well before I need to backwash (according to the pressure gauge) the flow is too low and the SWG “Flow” light turns red indicating that the flow is too slow to function.
    2) At this slower speed I don’t feel the pool stays sufficiently “clean”. For example, in the evening with the pool lights on (the lights inside the pool) you can see little bits of something floating in front of the lights. These are not noticeable during the day and the water looks just perfect thanks to the folks here at TFP. I should note that I have a tree line behind my house so I do get a fair amount of leaves and other “stuff” in my pool.

    What I am currently doing is running the pump on low, except that I manually run it on high for a few hours a day. When the flow light comes on, I then bump up the normal running speed to 3,000. This is working fine (pool clean, FC fine, water looks good, etc.), however it is tedious and probably an unnecessary way to go.

    I would like some advice on how to best utilize the variable speed pump? Any suggestions?

    Thanks!
    4th Year Pool owner in Sinking Spring PA
    46'x23' Free Form Concrete (34,000 gallons), Aqua Blue Pebble Sheen Finish, Pentair IntelliChlor SWG
    Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Pentair D.E. FNS Filter, Pentair MasterTemp heater.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Help Requested with Pentair Intelliflow Variable Speed Pump

    You don't mention any water features, fountains, waterfalls, etc. The discussion below assumes no water features.

    You probably don't want to use full speed ever. Full speed is 3 HP, way to much for even your large pool. I think of low speed as around 1000 to 1400 RPM, the most energy efficient range, and high speed as somewhere in the 2000 to 2500 range. This may need to be adjusted based on your plumbing situation however. Can you tell us a little bit about your plumbing, what size pipes, about how far from the equipment pad to the pool, how many returns, etc?

    It is common to need to bump the speed up a little to get effective skimming. Ideally you want to raise the speed for 15 minutes to half an hour perhaps four times a day. However, not all controllers are capable of programming that many speed changes, so you may need to settle for fewer periods that are slightly longer.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Help Requested with Pentair Intelliflow Variable Speed Pump

    I have the same VF pump...mine is set to run 24/7. 20 hours @ 1300 rpms and 2- 2 hour intervals of 2800 rpms. This was set by the builder and seems to be doing a great job at keeping the pool clean. When I need to clean the surface of the pool I run the 'quick clean" which runs for 10 minutes.

    I think the "floaters" in the water at night are normal. They do bother me as well...I just deal with it.
    28,000 IG Free Form Gunite with quartz finish
    Pentair Quad DE filter, Intelliflo VS+SVRS
    Polaris 280, Sta-Rite 400K Heater-Propane

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    Re: Help Requested with Pentair Intelliflow Variable Speed Pump

    Thanks for the info so far. No water features. Two top skimmers, two bottom skimmers/drains, three returns (two in deep and one is shallow). I do have a seperate pump for the Polaris cleaner. I will follow up later with the measurements of the pipes and maybe a picture of the equipment.

    Maybe something is wrong, but the issue I keep running into is that the SWG turns off due to too little flow at the lower speeds.
    4th Year Pool owner in Sinking Spring PA
    46'x23' Free Form Concrete (34,000 gallons), Aqua Blue Pebble Sheen Finish, Pentair IntelliChlor SWG
    Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Pentair D.E. FNS Filter, Pentair MasterTemp heater.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Help Requested with Pentair Intelliflow Variable Speed Pump

    That is unusual. Normally the SWG should be fine even at 1000 RPM, though that might be a little marginal. To be having trouble with the SWG at 2500 surprises me. Is the SWG plumbed so that all of the water from the pump goes through the SWG?
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Help Requested with Pentair Intelliflow Variable Speed Pump

    The water flow is as follows: Pump to main valve to D.E. Filter to heater to SWG to returns

    I got home late tonight and it is raining, but tomorrow or Friday I will take a picture and post it.

    When I back flush the pressure is at 20 (with pump set to 2200) which means I would back flush again at 30. When the pressure hits 25 the flow light comes on. Then I either need to back flush or turn the speed up. I had the same problem last year. Right now my pump is set at 3200.

    Based on your last post about the flow, I am wondering of I am putting too much DE in the filter and that is decreasing the flow. The pump pressure is ok, but I lose the pressure when it goes through the filter? The operating manual says 6 pounds and I use a 6 pound bag so I have been assuming everything was ok, but maybe that is what is causing the decreased flow??

    I recently cleaned the SWG and everything seems fine. Do you have any suggestions?
    4th Year Pool owner in Sinking Spring PA
    46'x23' Free Form Concrete (34,000 gallons), Aqua Blue Pebble Sheen Finish, Pentair IntelliChlor SWG
    Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Pentair D.E. FNS Filter, Pentair MasterTemp heater.

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    Re: Help Requested with Pentair Intelliflow Variable Speed Pump

    I have a Sta-rite DE filter with an intellipro pump. I never backwash the filter as I find that particular process never cleans the grids off completely. If that is the case then when you are adding your DE back into recharge it surely will be overcharged. For the time it takes once my pressure is up I always break the filter apart pull the grids out and wash them down. I also drain all the water and sludge out of the bottom part of the filter.
    I used to have a 1hp pump which ran my filter pressure at 17 -19 PSI. With the intellipro I am now running it at 10 PSI. My heater and SWG are working with no problems and water clarity is perfect with the lights on.
    Some pictures would surely help to see if the incoming piping is adequate for the pump. Hopefully they ran 2" lines for your intakes to the pump.
    Hope this helps.

    Ken

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    Re: Help Requested with Pentair Intelliflow Variable Speed Pump

    The swg flow sensor may be faulty or some debris may be lodged causing it to malfunction. That's if all flow is routed to it. Is this new construction? I've noticed on my particular pumping configuration that I can run 20 gpm through the returns and the sensor is still satisfied. RPM is usually around 1050 in that scenario through 2" pipe and a quad 100. When clean, the filter psi is 0-1# @ 25gpm, which is my filtration speed. As said by others and based on my experience, the pump speed "sweet spot" for the least watts per gallon is going to be fairly low. I didn't know Pentair recommended such long runtimes. IMO, saying to run it 23 hrs/day is irresponsible. It's not "one size fits all". I would think a pool pump only "needs" to be run long enough to circulate sanitizer effectively and keep the water acceptably clean. I suppose there are some pools that require continuous filtering. Now, what a person "wants" their pumps to do might be a different matter. Experiment and find what works for your pool, regardless of any one's recommendations. You might find, as I have, that a minimum 1 turnover/day filter volume is a myth. Maybe many people need that much pumping for their own pools. And I think that is a good idea when first starting to take care of a pool. My builder had mine running continuously. I kept tweaking the daily volume and times for the first year. I now run anywhere from 40-75% pool volume daily depending on the time of year. I've never seen algae (white plaster finish), and I can't imagine how the water could be cleaner. At least by my eyes! I do think borax gives it a little more sparkle.

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    Re: Help Requested with Pentair Intelliflow Variable Speed Pump

    Here are pictures of my equipment. All the plumbing is 2".
    Attached Images Attached Images
    4th Year Pool owner in Sinking Spring PA
    46'x23' Free Form Concrete (34,000 gallons), Aqua Blue Pebble Sheen Finish, Pentair IntelliChlor SWG
    Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Pentair D.E. FNS Filter, Pentair MasterTemp heater.

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    Re: Help Requested with Pentair Intelliflow Variable Speed Pump

    And Another one
    Attached Images Attached Images
    4th Year Pool owner in Sinking Spring PA
    46'x23' Free Form Concrete (34,000 gallons), Aqua Blue Pebble Sheen Finish, Pentair IntelliChlor SWG
    Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Pentair D.E. FNS Filter, Pentair MasterTemp heater.

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    Re: Help Requested with Pentair Intelliflow Variable Speed Pump

    And here is my pool.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    4th Year Pool owner in Sinking Spring PA
    46'x23' Free Form Concrete (34,000 gallons), Aqua Blue Pebble Sheen Finish, Pentair IntelliChlor SWG
    Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Pentair D.E. FNS Filter, Pentair MasterTemp heater.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Help Requested with Pentair Intelliflow Variable Speed Pump

    What is your filter pressure at 2500 RPM?
    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: Help Requested with Pentair Intelliflow Variable Speed Pump

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985
    What is your filter pressure at 2500 RPM?

    Now or right after I backwash?

    From memory, I think it was around 15 right after I backwashed about 4 weeks ago.
    4th Year Pool owner in Sinking Spring PA
    46'x23' Free Form Concrete (34,000 gallons), Aqua Blue Pebble Sheen Finish, Pentair IntelliChlor SWG
    Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Pentair D.E. FNS Filter, Pentair MasterTemp heater.

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    Re: Help Requested with Pentair Intelliflow Variable Speed Pump

    Quote Originally Posted by lights4U
    I have a Sta-rite DE filter with an intellipro pump. I never backwash the filter as I find that particular process never cleans the grids off completely. If that is the case then when you are adding your DE back into recharge it surely will be overcharged. For the time it takes once my pressure is up I always break the filter apart pull the grids out and wash them down. I also drain all the water and sludge out of the bottom part of the filter.
    I used to have a 1hp pump which ran my filter pressure at 17 -19 PSI. With the intellipro I am now running it at 10 PSI. My heater and SWG are working with no problems and water clarity is perfect with the lights on.
    Some pictures would surely help to see if the incoming piping is adequate for the pump. Hopefully they ran 2" lines for your intakes to the pump.
    Hope this helps.

    Ken
    This is only my second summer with the pool. I had the PB close and open this year. How hard is it to clean the filter the way you describe? I am a little nervous about the metal band/spring attachment. BTW I am not the most talented person with tools, but i might try it if it is easy.

    I really think that is what is causing my problem. I recently cleaned the SWG with muriatic acid so I am sure the water is flowing through there ok.

    Thanks for you help!
    4th Year Pool owner in Sinking Spring PA
    46'x23' Free Form Concrete (34,000 gallons), Aqua Blue Pebble Sheen Finish, Pentair IntelliChlor SWG
    Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Pentair D.E. FNS Filter, Pentair MasterTemp heater.

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    Re: Help Requested with Pentair Intelliflow Variable Speed Pump

    Quote Originally Posted by primetime
    How hard is it to clean the filter the way you describe? I am a little nervous about the metal band/spring attachment. BTW I am not the most talented person with tools, but i might try it if it is easy.

    I really think that is what is causing my problem.
    I now have a sand filter mainy because I found that cleaning my DE filter was not that easy, especially alone. And my access was a bit less than ideal. But it was far more effective than backwashing which I never did once I learned that; still it was a real chore.
    I too had the metal band with spring & now those are illegal here, but I assume not in your area or perhaps I misunderstand that maybe now they have safer new ones? Yours is a newer model?
    You have literature or directions on that DE filter? Does it say constantly gently hammer tap as you tighten?
    Mine called for:
    Pump Off
    Unscrew the drain plug so it wasn’t so heavy to lift & to wash the junk through
    Unscrew that bolt that holds the metal band,
    Wait for water to drain (& it is still heavy)
    Lift that baby out, mine had 2 “lift here” handles
    Hose it down until clean- took a long time
    Back in the tank
    Reassemble, hammer tapping,
    Pump On & stand clear, confirm no leaks etc.
    It would be worth having the PB/PGuy do it with you 1st time in case I left something out & yours may be a bit different, why risk a problem that’ll cost you- not worth it. Screw something up & you'll be buying new equipment or hurt yourself.
    19,800 gallons (closed/winter 18,654 gal); plaster; 18x34 Ft kidney bean shape, Depth 3Ft-5Ft. Built 1992
    Pentair Whisper Flow Pump 1HP. Winter safety cover w anchors.
    Sand filter, Pentair Sand Dollar Top Mount Model SD80; Effective Filtration Area 3.5SF
    - FlowRate 75GPM, 8Hr 36,000, 10Hr 45,000, 12Hr 54,000; Pressure Weight 50PSI
    BBB (Hayward Chlorinator when leave town). Polaris 360 cleaner.

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    Re: Help Requested with Pentair Intelliflow Variable Speed Pump

    Pentair has their filter manuals online. They describe how to troubleshoot and clean, etc. I purposely avoided installing backwash ability for my quad. I take it apart and clean it about 3 times/yr. It's really easy. Although, I don't always feel like doing it! The hardest part is positioning the filter top properly on the o-ring while installing the tensioner assembly. A second person is helpful at that point. Based on what I've observed with my pool, I don't see how just backwashing my particular filter and then re-loading DE would do much good in maintaining minimal backpressure (thus electrical costs) and full filtering ability. Maybe someone can correct my thinking on that. When backwashing a filter, isn't the flow reversed so that the inlet becomes the outlet and vice versa? If so, the quad de would retain increasing amounts of dirt and de in the bottom of the filter though successive backwashes would it not? Or does it actually pump out ALL of the DE and dirt? I don't see how effective it could do that considering the location the of the filter inlet where the dirt and spent de is sent. I read the manual for a FNS filter and it clearly states that if after backwashing if the filter psi is higher than normal (implying normal means completely clean grids with proper DE loading) the filter elements must be cleaned. My PB gave me a complimentary cleaning the first yr. I watched him do it. He didn't even bother washing out the de and dirt through the bottom plug. Said it doesn't affect the performance. Huh? Here's my take. Since I pay the electric bill and take care of the water quality, I will take the time to do it right. This forum had some great info on how to do just that. Do a search.

  17. Back To Top    #17
    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Help Requested with Pentair Intelliflow Variable Speed Pump

    Quote Originally Posted by primetime
    Now or right after I backwash?

    From memory, I think it was around 15 right after I backwashed about 4 weeks ago.
    I would be interested in both but at 15 PSI, I would guess the flow rate would be about 70 GPM. The Intellichlor only needs 25 GPM so the filter pressure whould need to get to something like 20 PSI before the flow rate drops enough to trigger the alarm.
    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: Help Requested with Pentair Intelliflow Variable Speed Pump

    Here is the current status. I back washed the H*** out of it and only used 4.5 pounds of DE even though 6 pounds is the recommendation. I set the pump to 2200 and everything is good to go. So far no flow problem. I am still going to try to fond someone to help be pull apart the filter and give it a good cleaning. Thanks for all your help.
    4th Year Pool owner in Sinking Spring PA
    46'x23' Free Form Concrete (34,000 gallons), Aqua Blue Pebble Sheen Finish, Pentair IntelliChlor SWG
    Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Pentair D.E. FNS Filter, Pentair MasterTemp heater.

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    Re: Help Requested with Pentair Intelliflow Variable Speed Pump

    Quote Originally Posted by lights4U View Post
    Hopefully they ran 2" lines for your intakes to the pump.
    Hmm, how key is that? 99% my PB's guys mentioned they installed 1.5" lines. 33,400 gal in a 20x44x30L inground vinyl/steel with 3 skimmers/returns. Cartridge filter, SWG and huge heater... A little worried now.

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