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Thread: Cut pump usage by 50% with this method?

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    Cut pump usage by 50% with this method?

    Hi all,

    Thanks to the excellent help of mas985 I learned that my pump (very expensive 2hp) will do a turnover of my pool in roughly 2 hours. My understanding is that water turnover is important to mix the water and evenly distribute chlorine, in addition to filter out detritus.

    Until the day put in my two-speed pump, or perhaps in leiu of replacing the pump altogether I have been wondering if it's feasible to simply run my pump, for example, 2 hrs mid-morning and 2 in the late evening, and then manually circulate the water with my net or the brush in the evening (and perhaps the morning). This "manual water circulation" would take only 1 minute or so. Stirring the pot so to speak .

    Am I wrong in thinking that instead of running a very expensive pump 8-10 hrs per day I could run it perhaps 4 hrs per day for filtration purposes and manually circulate the water once or twice per day during the hottest months to evenly distribute chlorine? Why would this not work?
    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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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Cut pump usage by 50% with this method?

    I think you are overestimating the amount of circulation you will get moving a net or brush around. Compare the motion you'd get in a boat trying to paddle it with a pool brush to what you'd get with an oar.

    My guess from your location is that an efficient pump would pay for itself very, very quickly.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Cut pump usage by 50% with this method?

    You can probably run your pump even less than four hours a day. Exactly how low you can go is difficult to predict. See the article in Pool School on figuring out your ideal pump run time for a good approach to figuring things out.
    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: Cut pump usage by 50% with this method?

    I do have the "whale tail" brush that moves a tremendous amount of water with each stroke. My intention would be to eliminate the circulation "dead spots" and help the chlorine dissipate thoughout the solution. I estimate that with either my large mesh net or my brush would work well for this purpose in my smallish pool.

    That being said, I don't know if that type of intermittent mixing is enough in the hottest months, ie approximately 4-6 hours of relatively stagnant water between pump runs and the manual mixing. Water temps get up to mid 90s in heat of summer here.

    In the winter water temps are around 50 degrees. I have run my pump 2 hrs per day for last 3 months and the water is crystal clear.

    Perhaps an experiment is in order and I will post back with the results.

    I am intending to put in a two-speed pump but the process of taking estimates and dealing with the pool guys is something I dread. Any recommendations in the palm springs area? I have all but ruled out the Intelliflo VF as I am wary of its short track record. I have had several high dollar items break down on me in the past so I am gun shy and want something "solid-state". If I am wrongheaded about the durability of two speeds please set me straight.
    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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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Cut pump usage by 50% with this method?

    Have you thought about swapping the motor out for a two speed? Not as expensive as swapping out the entire pump and you could probably recoup the cost in about 6 months depending on your electrical rate.
    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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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Cut pump usage by 50% with this method?

    Going many many hours without the pump running is fine. Even a single short period per day when the pump is running is sufficient as long as the water mixes throughly throughout the pool when the pump does run and there is enough total filtering getting done. There is no need to use manual brushing to increase the frequency or total amount of water mixing. The pump alone, even for a couple of hours once a day, is plenty. The only important variable in choosing the pump run time is to be sure there is enough total filtering, everything else is minor.

    When the water is warmer the pump will need to run longer than it has to when the water is cold. Still, with a large pump that may only be two or three or fours hours of run time. If you really can do a turnover in two hours and your circulation pattern is reasonably good it is quite likely that two hours will be enough even in the summer when the water is warm.

    Variable speed pumps have extra electronics that could in theory break down. But a two speed pump is essentially the same as a single speed pump. The only difference is that a two speed breaks one of the coils of wire inside the motor into two coils of wire with a slightly different pattern of wrapping. Two speeds have been in production for years and years and really don't have any failure modes that aren't already present in a standard single speed pump. They also don't cost all that much more than a single speed.
    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: Cut pump usage by 50% with this method?

    Thanks Jason that is very helpful.

    I did have a small outbreak of green algae last summer (on the tile around the edge) and I have chronic small areas of black algae on the grout (very resistant to brushing and like herpes just keeps coming back) and at the time I was still learning how to control my pool. If I recall I was running the pump 6 hrs and the FC got down to around 1-2 for several days and I think that's what sparked the outbreak. I increased FC with more clorox, tried to stabilize FC by adding pucks, and increased pump run to 8-9 hrs per day. Looking back the problem likely was not maintaining a steady FC level moreso than only running the pump 6 hr per day.

    I am going to experiment with lower run times and see what happens this summer, if I don't go ahead with the two-speed this spring.

    I am a hybrid chlorinator now I do pucks + clorox in the summertime as I find it difficult to maintain FC with clorox alone. Luckily I have never had CYA above about 60. I suspect part of the reason is I might have a slow leak and losing water but that is a whole other thread.
    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: Cut pump usage by 50% with this method?

    I have a 1.5 HP pump and I successfully ran it for only 3 hrs/day last summer. The water stayed sparkling clear and algae free.
    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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