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Thread: Cost Savings with Intelliflo VF versus 2 HP Sta-rite

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    Cost Savings with Intelliflo VF versus 2 HP Sta-rite

    Once again, let me preface this by saying how much money you guys have saved me over the past year. Thank you.

    I am trying to decide whether it is worthwhile to change my 2 HP pump to an intelliflo. My utility is offering a $400 rebate but it expires Dec 31 so I am trying to make a decision in the next week or so.

    I calculated my current yearly electric cost at approx $650. My electricity is 15 cents kw/h. Pump is 2 HP, 1.1 SF, 10.4 max load amps. If my math is incorrect please point this out. A picture of my pump is here:

    http://s1190.photobucket.com/albums/z458/desertjon74/

    According to the pentair website, my cost to run the intelliflo would be about $150 per year (assuming running at 1000 rpm and 1 turnover). I have no water features except a spa used rarely. The spa is elevated from the pool ~2 feet with a waterfall between.

    Are these numbers realistic? Am I one of the special cases that really could see 80% savings with an intelliflo?
    11,000 gallon in-ground pool/spa combo, pebble-tec, Sta-rite system 3 cartridge 300 sqft, Pentair Whisperflo WFDS-6 2 speed 1.5 HP full-rated, formerly Starite Max-e-Glas 2 HP up-rated single speed, Sta-Rite Max-E Therm natural gas heater. Jandy Aqualink RS Onetouch. Manual vacuum. Chlorine.

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    Re: Cost Savings with Intelliflo VF versus 2 HP Sta-rite

    If you don't have a solar system (especially if on a roof), then you would probably save a lot with the IntelliFlo (or a 2-speed pump, for that matter, though not as much savings). Your pump is large for your sized pool, most likely to deal with the spa but if the spa is rarely used then there's no need to have such a big pump that runs expensively all the time it is on. With the IntelliFlo, you can run cheaply almost all the time and just crank up when you need to for the spa and possibly for some enhanced skimmer action an hour or two per day (if needed).

    What about a pool sweep? Do you have one? Does it use a booster pump? If so, you could replace that as well if you wanted to and get a pressure-side cleaner that requires low flow rates (e.g. The Pool Cleaner or Kreepy Krauly Legend II).
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    susa's Avatar
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    Re: Cost Savings with Intelliflo VF versus 2 HP Sta-rite

    Would definitely recommend the VF (or VS 3050). The ability to run based on power consumption, RPM or Flow Rates is definitely worth the initial cost. Can't believe I did not do this sooner and suffered with conventional pumps and their related repairs.

    Quick question:
    what is the difference between
    Pentair LL505G Kreepy Krauly Legend
    and
    Pentair LX5000G Kreepy Krauly Legend

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    Re: Cost Savings with Intelliflo VF versus 2 HP Sta-rite

    Like chem geek said, your existing pump it too big (way too big!) for your pool. To run a 2 HP pump every day is crazy, and you would need to have 10 jets (typical jets, not spin jets or high flow jets) to need that big of a pump for the spa. That pump is costing you way too much to run every day, and chances are you do not have the pipe diameter for it either.

    Look at what your pool needs (jets, solar, length of run, pipe diameter) and then make your decision. Either pump is good, but the pool will dictate.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Cost Savings with Intelliflo VF versus 2 HP Sta-rite

    A 2HP, 1.1 service factor pump will use about 2.2 kw of energy and will pump at about 83 GPM @ 57' of head. So turnover would be about 2.2 hours for a 11k pool or about 1770 kwh for the year. At $0.15/kwh, that is about $265 per year.

    The Intelliflo would use about 150 watts at 30 GPM for the same plumbing with a turnover of around 6 hours or 330 kwh/year. That would be about $50/year in energy costs or a savings of about $200/year which would take awhile to pay for itself.

    Keep in mind though that 30 GPM for the Intelliflo may not be enough for decent skimming so if you get a lot of debris in the pool, you may want to run at high speeds for at least part of the day.

    A cheaper alternative would be to swap out the motor with a 2 speed so you have high speed for the spa and low speed for general circulation.
    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: Cost Savings with Intelliflo VF versus 2 HP Sta-rite

    I still work on 6 hour run times (letting a pool sit stagnant for greater than 18 hours kind of grosses me out!), so he would see greater savings if he ran similar. Would you suggest that he is okay with a 2 hour run time, Mark?

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Cost Savings with Intelliflo VF versus 2 HP Sta-rite

    Quote Originally Posted by simicrintz
    I still work on 6 hour run times (letting a pool sit stagnant for greater than 18 hours kind of grosses me out!), so he would see greater savings if he ran similar. Would you suggest that he is okay with a 2 hour run time, Mark?
    Certainly not with people swimming in the pool. I was just comparing apples to apples cost with same turnover rate. If you assumed 2.7 turns per day (6 hours for 2 HP, 16 hours for the Intelliflo), then the cost would be $715 for the 2 HP and $135 for the Intelliflo. Payback is much sooner but the OP would be running the pumps a lot longer than needed.

    Also, a 1 turn per day average over the year could mean 2 turns per day during the hottest 3 months of the year, 1 turn during 6 months of moderate temps and 1/2 turn during 3 months in the winter which is similar to what I do.
    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: Cost Savings with Intelliflo VF versus 2 HP Sta-rite

    I guess I get stuck more on the stagnant water than how long it takes to turn it once. I've always built on a 6 hour turnover rate, but that started with the days of single speed pumps. I see the value of the 2 speed and multi speed pumps, but I just can't seem to get over folks trying to shorten the run times.

    That said, the reality of slow flow rates and pools with cleaners and/or solar make for quite the challenge on the multi speed pumps. I see more pumps set at higher flow to do everything the pool owner wants to do at once, negating a good portion of the savings possible (I am guilty as well, as I run solar, a pool cleaner, 4 returns in the pool, my spa bypass and my waterfall all at the same speed, all year!). The rates generally referred to for savings don't really reflect the real world situations.

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    Re: Cost Savings with Intelliflo VF versus 2 HP Sta-rite

    I am running the pool 2 hrs/day during the cool weather, up to 8 hrs in the summertime. It sounds like I am possibly running it too long in the summer, although I have read here each pool is different. I keep my chemicals pretty tightly controlled thanks to TF test kit.

    I am surprised that I am possibly getting a turnover in only 2 or 3 hours. I have been debating installing a flow meter to more accurately know my turnover to enable a reduction in pump runtime, althought the VF would solve that problem.

    Regarding gpm and estimated head, my filter, recently cleaned reads 13 psi. The suction runs are about 60 feet, returns 50 for nearest and 70 plus for most distant. 4 returns in the spa, 2 in the pool. The return valve is split between pool and spa. 1 skimmer only and it's a two holer mated to the main drain.

    I'll try to post a picture of my setup and I'll measure the piping diam tomorrow.

    Quick question: can a Onetouch system run a two speed pump without modification/upgrade. I would guess the current controller is about 5 yrs old if that makes any difference.

    Thanks again for the great insights.
    11,000 gallon in-ground pool/spa combo, pebble-tec, Sta-rite system 3 cartridge 300 sqft, Pentair Whisperflo WFDS-6 2 speed 1.5 HP full-rated, formerly Starite Max-e-Glas 2 HP up-rated single speed, Sta-Rite Max-E Therm natural gas heater. Jandy Aqualink RS Onetouch. Manual vacuum. Chlorine.

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    Re: Cost Savings with Intelliflo VF versus 2 HP Sta-rite

    Quote Originally Posted by simicrintz
    That said, the reality of slow flow rates and pools with cleaners and/or solar make for quite the challenge on the multi speed pumps. I see more pumps set at higher flow to do everything the pool owner wants to do at once, negating a good portion of the savings possible (I am guilty as well, as I run solar, a pool cleaner, 4 returns in the pool, my spa bypass and my waterfall all at the same speed, all year!). The rates generally referred to for savings don't really reflect the real world situations.
    I couldn't agree more. I have a two speed and use high for 2 hours a day for solar, suction cleaner and skimming, none of which works on low speed. So basically, I use low speed for just mixing, chlorinating and filtering but in the summer, low speed run time can be as much as 8 hours more for daylight time so it still saves quite a bit in energy costs.



    Quote Originally Posted by DesertJon74
    Regarding gpm and estimated head, my filter, recently cleaned reads 13 psi. The suction runs are about 60 feet, returns 50 for nearest and 70 plus for most distant. 4 returns in the spa, 2 in the pool. The return valve is split between pool and spa. 1 skimmer only and it's a two holer mated to the main drain.
    What diameters are the suction and return pipes?
    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: Cost Savings with Intelliflo VF versus 2 HP Sta-rite

    Ok, looks like suction side has 2 inch pipes and the returns have one 2 inch and one 1.5 inch pipes. My assumption is the 1.5 inch goes to the spa? Why are there different sized return piping?

    Pictures here:
    http://s1190.photobucket.com/albums/z458/desertjon74/
    11,000 gallon in-ground pool/spa combo, pebble-tec, Sta-rite system 3 cartridge 300 sqft, Pentair Whisperflo WFDS-6 2 speed 1.5 HP full-rated, formerly Starite Max-e-Glas 2 HP up-rated single speed, Sta-Rite Max-E Therm natural gas heater. Jandy Aqualink RS Onetouch. Manual vacuum. Chlorine.

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    Re: Cost Savings with Intelliflo VF versus 2 HP Sta-rite

    Usually (but not always!) the way the handle on the valve is facing on one valve corresponds to the same on the other valve. In other words, in the picture where the valve at the pump (on the suction side) is pointed left, I will assume that is the pool suction. Therefore, again assuming, if the return valve after the heater has the handle pointing to the left then that should be pool return. You obviously have it set in the middle since you have no spa bypass and are sending half the water to the pool and half to the spa.

    Here's an easy way to check: Turn the suction side valve handle to the right (assuming spa suction) and the the return side valve handle to the left (assuming pool return). If the spa lowers relatively quickly, you have your answer, as you are drawing from the spa and returning to the pool.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Cost Savings with Intelliflo VF versus 2 HP Sta-rite

    The spa has a 90 check valve which is on the 2" line. That makes sense since the spa required higher flow rates for the jets although the PB should of used 2" for both.

    With that plumbing and in the mode of both spa and pool returns on, the return head loss is around 33' based on your pressure and the suction, because of only a single line, would probably be in the range of 20' for a total head loss of 53'. That should produce around 87 GPM. For an 11k pool, that is a little over a 2 hour turnover.
    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: Cost Savings with Intelliflo VF versus 2 HP Sta-rite

    If I shunted the return all the way to the pool wouldn't that create an interesting plumbing problem, ie forcing 87 gpm from a 2 inch pipe into a 1.5 inch pipe? As you can see from the condition of the equipment, this pool is probably at least 5 yrs old. Are there risks of cracking the PVC from running a 2 hp with this piping setup?

    Thanks for all your help. I am seriously considering buying a VF or 2 speed pump although I am seriously concerned about the long-term reliability of the VF due to heat/vibration. Perhaps a simple 2 speed is the way to go to minimize expensive maintenance "surprises". I will have to look into whether my version of the onetouch RS can run a 2 speed or not. I don't run solar or an automatic vacuum or swg or any water features so it looks like my savings really could be substantial.
    11,000 gallon in-ground pool/spa combo, pebble-tec, Sta-rite system 3 cartridge 300 sqft, Pentair Whisperflo WFDS-6 2 speed 1.5 HP full-rated, formerly Starite Max-e-Glas 2 HP up-rated single speed, Sta-Rite Max-E Therm natural gas heater. Jandy Aqualink RS Onetouch. Manual vacuum. Chlorine.

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    Re: Cost Savings with Intelliflo VF versus 2 HP Sta-rite

    You should be fine (not ideal, but fine). Lots of old pools (and more than a few new ones still ) out there running typical set-ups.

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    Re: Cost Savings with Intelliflo VF versus 2 HP Sta-rite

    Beware Pentair claims of economy especially if you have an infloor cleaning system. The SVRS unit in particular has design issues that cause it to shut down innapropriately due to the increased backpressure these systems work at. Pentair has not addressed this problem. Avoid the SVRS unit if you are not required to put it in (ie Virginia).

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    Re: Cost Savings with Intelliflo VF versus 2 HP Sta-rite

    A Paramount in-floor's gear box may dead head the pump. Paramount has a gear box with a by-pass that prevents this somewhat, though I am not sure it is permits enough flow to permit the SVRS version to function without tripping the shutoff.

    The VS-3050 is better suited for use with an in-floor system IMHO.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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