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Thread: My adventure in replacing pump with IntelliFlo

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    Join Date
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    My adventure in replacing pump with IntelliFlo

    So recently, we took a trip to Europe and when we came back, our pool pump (WhisperFlo) was not working properly. It seemed that while it was capable of running, it was not pumping as well as before. This was evident because the pressure was running about 10 psi below what it normally runs and was making some strange noise. Also, our Zodiac MX8 automatic cleaner ("Max") was looking quite sad, slowly and meekly moving along the floor of the pool. Figuring that it was time to replace it with a variable speed pump, I lined up a Pentair IntelliFlo 011018. This pump includes a controller with touchpad, and since I've not figured out a solution for automation yet, I decided this would be the way to go. BTW, this is an OUTSTANDING pump with plenty of great features, including the ability to program individual run times for 8 different speeds. However, as with any pump, it must be configured and plumbed properly to truly shine. Which brings me to my ordeal in getting this accomplished...

    The pump install version 1:
    So, I turned off the circuit breaker to the equipment pad and proceded to remove the 220V wiring to the pump. I then used my SawsAll to cut the pipe off at the suction side, twisted off the 2" threaded pipe on the inlet of the pump, and cut off the pipe at the outlet of the pump. I removed the WhisperFlo and set forth to plumb the new pump in place. Unfortunately, the pipes from the heater crossed over the top of the original pump, and these would interfere with opening the cover of the IntelliFlo's control panel. So, I used a couple of 45 couplers and new 2" PVC to reroute the heater return line above the heater's inlet, giving space to open the panel. Upon removing the line from the pump to the filter (which contained an old check valve), I ended up breaking this line, so it had to be replaced as well. I plumbed this with new 2" PVC and fittings, along with a new check valve. I used threaded unions on the pump this time (instead of the way it was done before), and also included slip unions on the filter line around the check valve for easy replacement. For the suction side, I had no space coming out of the suction manifold, which was directly attached to a Jandy NeverLube 2" valve. The previous installer had used a coupler and it was flush with the Jandy valve. So, I cut this between the Jandy valve outlet and the coupler. My mistake here was to try to remove the 2" PVC pipe that was glued into the output port of the Jandy valve using a 2 1/4" hole saw. This was the perfect fit for a 2" PVC pipe and after some tribulation trying to get the saw to work properly, I was able to clear the PVC inside the output port. Unfortunately, this was a little to large in diameter, and the fit was a bit on the loose side for a new PVC pipe. But, I figured that adding plenty of PVC glue would work. After completing the suction side plumbing, connecting the 220V line to the IntelliFlo and adding water to the pump's strainer pot, I turned on the pump. It struggled to prime, and while it did get some water to flow, I knew that there was a problem on the suction side. I had to do this right.
    38K in ground pool with attached spa. Current equipment: Easytouch 8 (521150) with IC-60 SWCG with web control by Autelis, 1x Pentair IntelliFlo 011018 pump (for filter), 1x Pentair 2HP WhisperFlo pump (for waterfall), 2X Pentair IntelliBrite 5G 12V lights, Pentair MiniMax400 NG Heater, Pentair SMBW2060 DE filter. Zodiac Barracuda MX8 cleaner on dedicated cleaner line. Lighting/home automation controlled by Insteon/ISY-99i.

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    Re: My adventure in replacing pump with IntelliFlo

    Pump install version 2:
    Realizing that the likely problem was the poor fit between the suction side plumbing to the Jandy on the suction manifold, I came back here and checked on a post here at TFP asking how to do this that I had posted a few months back. Some mentioned using the hole saw trick (which seemed to stick in my mind). But another approached described involved using a 2 1/2 inch union and 2 1/2 to 2 inch reducer bushing. After scouring local pool supply shops without luck, I went to a local plumbing supply wholesaler, and they sold me these. So, I went back and removed the suction line from the pump by twisting off the threaded union from the pump (which was way to tight on initial install); the 2" PVC connected to the Jandy valve with glue just twisted right out! Now, I cleaned up the outside of the outlet port on the Jandy, primed and glued the 2 1/2 inch coupler to it, then added the 2 1/2 to 2" reducer bushing, and then ran 2" PVC pipe to the threaded union. After letting the glue dry and more gently screwing the threaded union onto the pump, I tested it out. This time, the pump primed rather quickly and the pressure was much stronger. However, upon turning the pump off and trying this again, I noted that the priming was taking quite a bit of time, and there was still air coming into the suction side as visible through the clear lid of the pump's strainer pot. More needed to be done...
    38K in ground pool with attached spa. Current equipment: Easytouch 8 (521150) with IC-60 SWCG with web control by Autelis, 1x Pentair IntelliFlo 011018 pump (for filter), 1x Pentair 2HP WhisperFlo pump (for waterfall), 2X Pentair IntelliBrite 5G 12V lights, Pentair MiniMax400 NG Heater, Pentair SMBW2060 DE filter. Zodiac Barracuda MX8 cleaner on dedicated cleaner line. Lighting/home automation controlled by Insteon/ISY-99i.

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    Re: My adventure in replacing pump with IntelliFlo

    Given that there was still some air coming into the pump, I had to figure out the problem. The vacuum manifold has three lines coming in... 1) the spa side, 2) the skimmer and 3) the auto cleaner line. There is a 3-way Jandy valve that controls suction between the skimmer and the cleaner line. The output of this goes to a second Jandy 3-way valve (plumbed to the suction side of the pump) that controls between the spa and the pool (e.g. skimmer/cleaner line). I noted that the bubbles and priming issues were worst when the skimmer/cleaner valve was oriented toward the cleaner line. To address this, I decided to overhaul that valve with new o-rings and silicone lube. With three of these Neverlubes in the plumbing, I decided to overhaul all of them. (Note: care is required if using a cordless drill to put these screws back in, as the screws will easily strip if too much torque is used. I accidentally stripped a couple of the screw holes in the plastic Jandy valves and I'll need to go back and fix that with epoxy).

    With this repair on the Jandy valves, I went back and checked the priming on the pump. After filling the strainer pot with water and clamping on the lid, the pump primed perfectly. Even adjusting the cleaner line to full, there were no problems with air getting into the system. No bubbles at all in the pump! This is the first time since we've owned this house (about 2.5 years) that I've not seen air in the basket!!! So, problem solved.

    Given all the work put into this, and the fact that my pool guy allowed my pump to fry while we were on vacation, I a) fired the pool guy (finally... never liked this guy) and b) did a complete overhaul on the DE filter. I purchased replacement filter grids, did a complete backwash, opened the filter and cleaned it out inside, replaced all of the grids, put the top back on (see below) and then ran the pump to bleed out the air. I then added Fiber Clear to the skimmer (I hate DE but the pool guy insisted on it despite the fact that I had previously used Fiber Clear successfully). Prior to the filter cleaning, I also did a pool vacuuming and skimming. Now, the pool looks perfect and the skimmer and MX8 autocleaner are running very nicely.

    One note about putting the filter top back on... this one has this very fat o-ring that keeps the lid from leaking. In the past, putting the lid on has been a huge ordeal. This time, I filled the filter tank with water as high as it would go (about 1/2 up the side due to the way it's plumbed). After lubing up the o-ring with silicone lube, I placed the top on and pushed down on the lid as before. It wouldn't budge too much, but instead of using brute force, I just flipped the backwash valve to the backwash position so that the water would drain out from the BW port. Making sure to close the pressure relief valve, the vacuum of the water exiting the BW port helped to pull the lid down. This worked perfectly!!! I then just put the retainer ring back on and screwed it up tight. I highly recommend this procedure if you have trouble getting the top back on your filter after a cleaning.

    Well, that's my ordeal. I'm not so sure it was an ordeal, but rather a learning process. I made some mistakes along the way, but learned much about pool plumbing and maintenance issues. I was very surprised at some of the neglect the pool equipment has seen, some of which was my fault and some of which was due to my former (!) pool guy. I VERY much appreciate the help received on this forum, without which I would not have been able to accomplish this. I fact, I just donated $ to support this great site!
    38K in ground pool with attached spa. Current equipment: Easytouch 8 (521150) with IC-60 SWCG with web control by Autelis, 1x Pentair IntelliFlo 011018 pump (for filter), 1x Pentair 2HP WhisperFlo pump (for waterfall), 2X Pentair IntelliBrite 5G 12V lights, Pentair MiniMax400 NG Heater, Pentair SMBW2060 DE filter. Zodiac Barracuda MX8 cleaner on dedicated cleaner line. Lighting/home automation controlled by Insteon/ISY-99i.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: My adventure in replacing pump with IntelliFlo

    Quite the saga! Congratulations on getting everything fixed!
    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: My adventure in replacing pump with IntelliFlo

    Thanks Jason! It's nice to have the pool running properly. And I love the IntelliFlo. Even at 1/2 speed, it puts out enough to run the skimmer properly, and yet I can only hear it at the equipment pad. Great pump!
    38K in ground pool with attached spa. Current equipment: Easytouch 8 (521150) with IC-60 SWCG with web control by Autelis, 1x Pentair IntelliFlo 011018 pump (for filter), 1x Pentair 2HP WhisperFlo pump (for waterfall), 2X Pentair IntelliBrite 5G 12V lights, Pentair MiniMax400 NG Heater, Pentair SMBW2060 DE filter. Zodiac Barracuda MX8 cleaner on dedicated cleaner line. Lighting/home automation controlled by Insteon/ISY-99i.

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    ColdAirGuy's Avatar
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    Re: My adventure in replacing pump with IntelliFlo

    wow....good job!

    I'm in North OC....and my intelliflo is sitting in the garage waiting for me to get busy! Glad to hear you like the pump.
    Anthony 16,000 Gallon Oval, White plaster, 30' Long 15' Wide 5 1/2' Deep end 3 1/2' shallow end.
    Pentair Intelliflo, FNS Plus 60sf. DE, Pentair Intellibrite 5G
    TF100 Testkit

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    Re: My adventure in replacing pump with IntelliFlo

    Yeah, I really do like this pump. The auto-priming feature is very cool, and the overall flow in the pool is much better. We get plenty of leaves in the pool this time of year, and the pool is remaining crystal clear. This was definitely a good way to go.
    38K in ground pool with attached spa. Current equipment: Easytouch 8 (521150) with IC-60 SWCG with web control by Autelis, 1x Pentair IntelliFlo 011018 pump (for filter), 1x Pentair 2HP WhisperFlo pump (for waterfall), 2X Pentair IntelliBrite 5G 12V lights, Pentair MiniMax400 NG Heater, Pentair SMBW2060 DE filter. Zodiac Barracuda MX8 cleaner on dedicated cleaner line. Lighting/home automation controlled by Insteon/ISY-99i.

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