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Thread: Other considerations when swapping to a variable speed

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    Other considerations when swapping to a variable speed

    I’m considering a variable speed pump, but I need to learn what else needs to be done. I’m looking for suggestions including brands of pumps, automation systems and perhaps other upgrades. Sorry this is long, but writing it all down helps me collect my thoughts.

    Pool is a 1999 33 x 16 kidney IG plaster + 8x5 IG spa about 20” elevated from the pool.

    The main pump spun a bearing and the backing plate is frozen to the motor flange. This would be more urgent, but I swapped my 1hp waterfall motor over to do main filtering and this buys me some time to sort out the “best” approach.

    It feels like the components are quite inter-related and I'm concerned if I start with one this will snowball into a bigger job so I'd like to understand more before I start. Thanks in advance...

    Choices/Decisions:

    1) Which pump to replace 2HP SF 1.3. Currently powers pool and spa.
    - Do VS pumps have an input to turn them on when near freezing? My Lars Lx400 has a low temp sensor that kicks the pump on. Can this tie into the pump directly or is this part of an automation system? It isn't clear how the pump can be managed remotely. Also the pool/spa controls are a basic “switch” that toggles between pool heat, and spa heat and this also controls the Jandy valves. I don’t recall the brand.

    2) upgrade automation?
    Current automation is an Aquadyne MIni-Pak with X10 to control the waterfall and the pool pump and the pool and spa dimmers. This works fine. The Pool/spa has a switch that controls the settings on the Jandy valves, and the temp is controlled directly on the heater. This is adequate and upgrading this would be a bonus, but not essential.

    Which Brands? Will this work with my existing heater? Can I get by with simple (what I have now)?

    3) Solar? I’m considering adding solar. How much does solar factor into the pump and automation selection? I’d love to have the solar pre-heat the spa.

    4) integrate the waterfall pump or leave it separate?

    The waterfall pump has dual drains on the bottom of the pool. It is powered by a 1HP pump, and we occasionally run it during swim times and parties. Can this be dual-purposed to run a pressure type pool sweep? Or, can I get rid of this pump entirely and just one one pump? More valve and plumbing madness, but one less pump would be a bonus.

    5) replace the Jandy Ray-vac

    2 Inch pipe to the side of the pool, currently powered by the main pump.
    a) stay with a pool powered model?
    Polaris 360 http://www.poolplaza.com/P-POL-20-520.html
    Others?
    b) Add a booster pump?
    I don’t have space for a third pump. Can I dual purpose the waterfall pump? This makes the plumbing more complicated.
    c) robot?
    Perhaps this simplifies the plumbing, but I want to retain the ability to run a leaf master. Today I do this by manually moving a Jandy valve and I assume I can kick the pump up to high, move a valve and still do this.

    6) Should I replace the Heater. It is used occasionally (rarely?) to heat the spa, never the pool. I’ve only had one repair on the pilot element so it has been fairly reliable.

    7) Filter is the original, but has new elements. I don’t see a reason to change it. It is a 60 sf DE. Agreee / disagree?

    Are there other considerations I’m not looking into?

    Thanks again.
    Pool IG 16,000 gallon (33 x 16) Spa IG 700 gallon spa - Dark Plaster, TF-100 Test Kit w/ salt test
    Sta-Rite IntelliPro VS 3050, Pentair FNS Plus 60 sq ft DE 150 GPM (rating from manual)
    Pentair Easy Touch 8, Intellichlor IC40, Polaris 360, Lars Lx400 NatGas heater, Fafco Solar panels

  2. Back To Top    #2
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Other considerations when swapping to a variable speed

    For the kinds of things you are talking about you will probably want an automation system of the same brand as the pump. That will get you freeze protection, control of the heater, solar heat control, and the ability to change speeds when running in different modes. You could setup something simpler without a full automation system, but it would be tricky to get it to do everything you want.

    Integrating the water fall is possible but brings up lots of additional issues. If your current pump works well with the waterfall I would leave that alone.

    There is no reason to replace either the filter or heater.

    The IntelliFlo has a solid track record. The EcoStar is more efficient, but is brand new, no reliability data is available.
    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: Other considerations when swapping to a variable speed

    Thanks.

    sounds like some automation system research is the next step.
    Pool IG 16,000 gallon (33 x 16) Spa IG 700 gallon spa - Dark Plaster, TF-100 Test Kit w/ salt test
    Sta-Rite IntelliPro VS 3050, Pentair FNS Plus 60 sq ft DE 150 GPM (rating from manual)
    Pentair Easy Touch 8, Intellichlor IC40, Polaris 360, Lars Lx400 NatGas heater, Fafco Solar panels

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    maxepr1's Avatar
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    Re: Other considerations when swapping to a variable speed

    Dan, I've been doing allot of research on pumps these days. Pentair does have built-in freeze protection, and depending on which VS model on-board automation. But can be hooked up to whole pool automation systems. It all depends on your electricity rate and what you want to pay. Higher your rate it doesn't matter what you pay because it won't take that long to recoup your cost.
    40'x19' IG Diamond Brite 29K 4' Waterfall/Dive Rock FNS60 DE Inteliflo VS 2hp Whisperflo pumps Aqualogic(P4) SWG TF100 Tester


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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Other considerations when swapping to a variable speed

    maxepr1, the pumps built-in automation is essentially useless with a spa, as there is no way to sync the required speed change with the spa valves. It would be the same as a fully manual system aside from freeze protection.
    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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    maxepr1's Avatar
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    Re: Other considerations when swapping to a variable speed

    Jason, even with there own automation system??(Pentair)
    40'x19' IG Diamond Brite 29K 4' Waterfall/Dive Rock FNS60 DE Inteliflo VS 2hp Whisperflo pumps Aqualogic(P4) SWG TF100 Tester


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    Re: Other considerations when swapping to a variable speed

    I think my automation needs are as follows:

    0 off -- freeze protection enabled when temp in heater or pump is below 36F -- circulate pump with pool water until it warms.
    1 filter pool -- pump slow, valve set to pool suction / pool return
    2 solar heat pool -- pump slow but maybe faster to move water to 2nd story. valves set to pool suction / pool return, triggered by time/temp?
    3 solar heat spa -- pump slow but maybe faster to move water to 2nd story. valves set to spa suction / spa return , triggered by time / temp?
    4 gas heat spa -- (not sure if this is needed) a slower setting than #5 to heat the spa efficiently
    5 heat/use spa -- can be manual to set and to set back to timed mode. pump fast to power 3 jets. valves set to spa suction / spa return
    6 gas heat pool - can be manual ( rarely done - last resort to warm the pool a day before a early season party )
    7 cleaning mode - can be manual ( pump fast, manual jandy valve set with output to wall mounted pressure driven pool cleaner output for
    leafmaster)
    8 cascade mode - This might be a useful hybrid when the solar is on. suction from pool, return to spa, water heated by solar.

    other:
    waterfall pump -- has separate on/off via X10 controller, if this worked with the new automation controller that would be a bonus. Having this run for 10-20 mins a day would be a bonus to keep it clean.
    spa blower pump is manual, contolled with an in spa air switch. i don't see a reason to change this or integrate it.
    in pool light and in spa lights are manual, each have an X10 dimmable controller. No reason to change but would be a bonus if this worked on the same controller.

    note: spa is raised, and the jandy valve for the return is set to always divert some outlet pressure to the spa to change the water over. The spa has 3 jets and the current 2hp pump barely powers them. The run from equip pad to spa is about 75 feet, and the surface of the spa is about 20 to 25 inches above the pump lid.

    I no longer have a backwash valve so filter cleaning so I don't need a backwash mode.

    Depending on cost, some type of remote that could change the mode (eg heat spa) without visiting the pool equipment would be nice to have.
    Pool IG 16,000 gallon (33 x 16) Spa IG 700 gallon spa - Dark Plaster, TF-100 Test Kit w/ salt test
    Sta-Rite IntelliPro VS 3050, Pentair FNS Plus 60 sq ft DE 150 GPM (rating from manual)
    Pentair Easy Touch 8, Intellichlor IC40, Polaris 360, Lars Lx400 NatGas heater, Fafco Solar panels

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Other considerations when swapping to a variable speed

    That all sounds very reasonable. Even the entry level SunTouch system will do nearly all of that. To get everything you will want an EasyTouch, all assuming you are going Pentair.

    maxepr1, I was talking about the pumps built-in automation. An external automation system can do it easily.
    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: Other considerations when swapping to a variable speed

    If I don't add solar now, how much of the above can be done with the on-pump controls?

    or to ask this another way, as a first step does it seem possible to get pool mode from the on-pump timer, and spa mode manually?

    I'm assuming Off + freeze protection and a timer to run the pump on a slow speed is given. It's the combination of running the spa I'm not sure how this will work.

    The heater is currently controlled with a "EZ switch" wired into the heater, wires come back out of the heater to control the jandy valves, and can also turn on the pump via the in the aquadyne kit -separate from the analog clock timer.

    worst case would I need to flip the switch for the heater and then change the pump to be "spa mode" using the on-pump control?

    This might be a reasonable first step to get the pool back to where I am today with the added power savings of Variable speed, and the future potential to add solar and automation when I have more time and $$$
    Pool IG 16,000 gallon (33 x 16) Spa IG 700 gallon spa - Dark Plaster, TF-100 Test Kit w/ salt test
    Sta-Rite IntelliPro VS 3050, Pentair FNS Plus 60 sq ft DE 150 GPM (rating from manual)
    Pentair Easy Touch 8, Intellichlor IC40, Polaris 360, Lars Lx400 NatGas heater, Fafco Solar panels

  10. Back To Top    #10
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Other considerations when swapping to a variable speed

    You can easily change the pump speed using the control on the pump, so your existing spa control approach will work with the one addition of also needing to change the pump 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: Other considerations when swapping to a variable speed

    Thank you.
    Pool IG 16,000 gallon (33 x 16) Spa IG 700 gallon spa - Dark Plaster, TF-100 Test Kit w/ salt test
    Sta-Rite IntelliPro VS 3050, Pentair FNS Plus 60 sq ft DE 150 GPM (rating from manual)
    Pentair Easy Touch 8, Intellichlor IC40, Polaris 360, Lars Lx400 NatGas heater, Fafco Solar panels

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    Re: Other considerations when swapping to a variable speed

    This is turning into a fairly significant upgrade.

    Current Decisions:
    1) Pump? Pentair VS 3050 2011 version 012
    2) automation? EasyTouch 8SC-IC40, along with conversion to salt water
    3) Solar? getting bids, but most likely yes.
    6) Heater? retain existing
    7) Filter? retain existing

    What I haven't decided:

    4) integrate the waterfall pump or leave it separate?
    Leaning towards removing the extra pump and integrating the waterfall. The main reason is we rarely run it today and dirt and debris build up in the basins. Having it integrated with the filter output will keep it clean -- and it is nice having the water falls run.

    I'll be re plumbing everything and I believe I have enough automation valve controls.

    5) (how to) replace the Jandy Ray-vac?
    Correction 1.5 Inch pipe to the side of the pool, currently powered by the main pump.
    a) Polaris 360 (current leader) I believe my automation will allow me to kick up the pump speed and divert all output the the sweep. If so I'm hoping for a couple of hours of poolsweep time early in the morning so it can be removed during the day.
    b) Polaris 380 (I want to avoid the extra pump)
    c) robot? (second place) In some ways this is the easiest to install, and simplifies my valve automation.
    Pool IG 16,000 gallon (33 x 16) Spa IG 700 gallon spa - Dark Plaster, TF-100 Test Kit w/ salt test
    Sta-Rite IntelliPro VS 3050, Pentair FNS Plus 60 sq ft DE 150 GPM (rating from manual)
    Pentair Easy Touch 8, Intellichlor IC40, Polaris 360, Lars Lx400 NatGas heater, Fafco Solar panels

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    Re: Other considerations when swapping to a variable speed

    Thanks for all the suggestions and help not only from this thread. After reviewing all the work involved, and the rework of a mult-step install I swallowed my self-installer pride and contracted out the install.

    Net result:
    - single Sta-Rite VS 3050 pump, EasyTouch 8SC-IC40, salt water conversion, Fafco solar, a bunch of valves, 5 valve actuators, complete re-plumb of the equipment pad to unify the waterfall with the pool/spa combo and add in the solar.

    The Jandy ray vac runs well at 2400 RPM, with or without the solar running. I also purchased a Kleen Machine on sale from Costco. It seems to do OK with small debris but I don't think it will handle the spring and fall debris. My wife likes it because it is easy to take out for swimming.

    Overall I'm very happy with the soft feel of the salt water conversion. I was a little skeptical but I can swim underwater with my eyes open for long periods of time without burning.

    I still have a few loose ends to sort out with the automation and the SWG and some of the chems, but I'll post these separately.

    Once Again, thanks for the the help and the recommendations.
    Pool IG 16,000 gallon (33 x 16) Spa IG 700 gallon spa - Dark Plaster, TF-100 Test Kit w/ salt test
    Sta-Rite IntelliPro VS 3050, Pentair FNS Plus 60 sq ft DE 150 GPM (rating from manual)
    Pentair Easy Touch 8, Intellichlor IC40, Polaris 360, Lars Lx400 NatGas heater, Fafco Solar panels

  14. Back To Top    #14
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Other considerations when swapping to a variable 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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