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Thread: Intro... and looking to upgrade my equipment...

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    onesickpsycho's Avatar
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    Intro... and looking to upgrade my equipment...

    I've been researching for about a week and my head is swimming (how many times has that joke been thrown out?)...

    I bought my house a year and a half ago and it's my first pool... heck, first home...

    It was built in 2006 with all Pentair stuff... Intellitouch 4, DE filter, actuators, MiniMax heater, IC40... the pump I assume was junked, so they replaced it with a Home Depot special, Flotec 1HP pump. Oh, AND they resprayed the house before putting it on the market and painted over all of the equipment.

    All three actuators are shot and I've already replaced the mainboard on the Intellitouch as some of the controls weren't working and it would sponaneously turn various functions on... the heater doesn't work... nor does the salt cell...

    So here's my plan... I'm looking at replacing the pump with, most likely a EcoPump EP-4... seems like good bang for my buck... and replacing the IC40, perhaps all of the actuators to fully automate the thing, but not sure. For now, my main concern is dropping my electric bill and converting it back to salt...

    I've been reading a good bit, but apparently not enough... I've got flow rates, head, and all this stuff bouncing around my skull... trying to figure it all out. In a perfect world I'd like to be able to run the pump on circulate, while running solar, and the salt cell will work... Any suggestions would be much appreciated... The pump and whatnot are roughly 40ft away from the main drain, so I think that means 40ft of head, but I read that the filter and all that other stuff has an affect on that too... just confused and looking for simple answers (if there are any!)...

    Attached are pics of my setup - poorly taken when I first looked at the house...
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    Re: Intro... and looking to upgrade my equipment...

    Forgot to mention that I am going to deep six the heater... doesn't work, so I've never used it, and I think there's been one time where I thought I needed it...

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    Re: Intro... and looking to upgrade my equipment...

    If you've got Pentair automation and you're looking to save money, you should consider getting an intelliflo or intellipro pump. Combined with your automation, you should be able to squeeze every penny you can out of it.

    As for the heater, it's a gas heater that should be used to heat the hot tub, so if you don't care about that, then do away with it. You can always get another one in the future. If you consider replacing it, the Sta-Rite max-e-therm. Durable heater with a nice composite housing so no rust!

    The intellichlor isn't a favorite salt system, but again, it will work seamlessly with your automation, so I'd go with that. I hear they are coming out with an updated cell in the near future that isn't prone to issues like the previous two renditions. I might wait on that one unless you can get a good deal on the current cell.
    25K aggregate IG, Intellipro, FNS48, Polaris 360, PG2000 fiber optic light source

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    Re: Intro... and looking to upgrade my equipment...

    Forgot about the actuators. The pentair cva-24 and goldline gva-24 will both work for your system. I'm sure there are others out there but those seem to be the most common. So whatever you can get the better deal on will work.
    25K aggregate IG, Intellipro, FNS48, Polaris 360, PG2000 fiber optic light source

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    Re: Intro... and looking to upgrade my equipment...

    Thanks for the responses...

    I've looked at the Pentair pumps, but they were all much more expensive... I doubt that I'd save the extra money each month to make up the difference, but maybe I'm wrong...

    Yep, don't care about the gas heater... in the summer I can get the spa over 100ยบ with the solar and we never really use it anyway...

    Any clue on how long until they come out with a new salt cell? That would certainly drive the prices down if I could wait a little while...

    What about the Jandy actuators? I've heard good things (but it's probably a Chevy vs. Ford type argument) and found them cheaper than the others... I'm up in the air about the actuators either way... I may just see what I can get away with to automate one of the functions, like vacuum and set the others manually when I let the dogs out (setting everything like that has worked ok for me so far)...

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    Re: Intro... and looking to upgrade my equipment...

    Oh, and any clue on how big I need to go with the pump? Probably about 35-40ft from my skimmer/main drain to the equipment...

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    Re: Intro... and looking to upgrade my equipment...

    I would use a 2 speed Whisperflo if you have an open relay, you can put a 2 speed relay in the Inteltouch. Use High speed for solar and spa, low for regular circulation needs. As for power, a 1.5 or a 2HP version, depending on if you have 2" plumbing to the spa and solar and whether you have 6 or 8 standard jets.

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    Re: Intro... and looking to upgrade my equipment...

    Yep Jandy actuators would be fine. They all do the same thing and have been around forever.

    Don't know exactly when the new Intellichlor cell is coming out. I would assume for the upcoming season, but I don't have a definite answer. Someone else on here may know.

    As far as a variable speed pump, you would probably be surprised at the amount of energy you can save with one. They use very little energy when they are in low speed, probably the equivalent of a 100W lightbulb. Not to mention they are extremely quiet and well built. Most all models have prime protection built in, so you don't have the issues that come with accidentally running your pump dry (shaft seal failure, warped/melted parts, air leaks). On top of this, it doesn't matter how far away your pump is from your pool and what equipment you have, etc. You can tune the pump to your pool, not have to try and figure out what would be best for you.

    If you end up not going with a variable speed pump, my opinion is to replace it with a similar hp pump. Compare the pump curves between what you have now and what you're looking to get. If they are similar, you should see the same performance out of the new one.
    25K aggregate IG, Intellipro, FNS48, Polaris 360, PG2000 fiber optic light source

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    Re: Intro... and looking to upgrade my equipment...

    Excellent info guys, thank you... Any opinions on the EcoPumps? Just curious because I've been leaning that way... will certainly start researching the Pentair options a little deeper now...

    Also, the spa only has three jets and my plumbing appears to be 2" all the way around... The pool itself has four jets and a little waterfall feature thing...

    Thanks again for all the help...

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    Re: Intro... and looking to upgrade my equipment...

    Personally, I don't have any experience with those at all. It looks like a waterway housing mated to their motor. I'm not exactly sure what is different about that motor that helps to save money.
    25K aggregate IG, Intellipro, FNS48, Polaris 360, PG2000 fiber optic light source

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    Re: Intro... and looking to upgrade my equipment...

    Ok, found this from about a year ago... 2/23/11 to be exact... That makes me lean a bit more towards the other options...

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    EcoPump is going to fairly great lengths to hide what they are doing. That is never a good sign. Much of the fancy technical verbiage simply means they have a capacitor run motor. Nearly all of the better pumps have capacitor run motors these days, so that is meaningless, presumably provided simply to distract and confuse.

    As best I can tell, they are selling a worse than average basic design two speed pump with the special feature that low speed is less than half the RPM (half the RPM is normal for two speed pumps). From the look of the pump curves, their efficiency at high speed is rather bad. But by running at a lower than normal low speed they get some efficiency advantages which make up for their poor high speed efficiency. Of course they never say that. They never say much; and what there is appears to be designed to be misleading.

    It is difficult to tell if their super low speed, assuming that is what it is, is a good tradeoff or not. In theory it should be a good thing, but there are reasons all the other pumps run at half the RPM on low, and it isn't obvious what they decided to compromise to get around that. If they have made a good quality 1/3 or 1/4 the RPM at low speed motor there could be something good here. But I'm really put off by the way they describe themselves; completely avoiding explaining what is actually going on.

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    Re: Intro... and looking to upgrade my equipment...

    So now the choice between a 2-speed and a variable speed pump... hmm... decisions, decisions...

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    Re: Intro... and looking to upgrade my equipment...

    Found a Whisperflo 1.5HP, 2-speed for $564... a couple hundred cheaper than the Ecopump...

    http://www.poolexpress.com/pumps/pentai ... 0v-012518/

    I was wanting to move up in power... Pinch-A-Penny guy recommended 2HP when he showed me how to service my equipment when I first got the place and the current 1HP doesn't seem to run the spa too efficiently...

    Been reading bad things about Intellichlor's reliability and Pentair's customer service... can I use another brand with my Intellitouch setup?

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    Re: Intro... and looking to upgrade my equipment...

    Technically, you can use any brand salt system with what you have. They just won't all be able to be controlled by the intellitouch. All this means is that you will have to adjust the output percentage and read diagnostics outside instead of doing those things from the remote. You will also have to replumb the cell.

    As for reliability, the flow/temp sensor is a big issue in the first two generations of intellichlor. They also have a one year warranty if that tells you anything. I would assume things are going to change when they bring the latest model out, though.

    I have also read on the internet about them having bad CS as well, but being in Orlando, you should have enough options of service centers that you shouldn't have to deal with Pentair directly. If the PAP you used has a service department, they are probably a warranty station themselves and should be able to help. They also have a pretty good price match policy, so you might try that out if you were happy with the service they offered.
    25K aggregate IG, Intellipro, FNS48, Polaris 360, PG2000 fiber optic light source

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    Re: Intro... and looking to upgrade my equipment...

    Welcome to TFP.

    You might check out your power company's rebate program. Gulf Power has a deal, as does Gainesville, for the higher end pumps, around $600 I think. Most of the rebates these days seem to be solar related water heaters or hvac systems, but ask around and see if any of these things apply to your heater, pump or solar repairs.
    My cement pond is a 36K gunite 20X40 built in mid 1960s, Hayward S244S filter, Aquarite SWCG, Jandy 1.5HP 2sp, TF-Test kit and Nitro Wall Climber

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    Re: Intro... and looking to upgrade my equipment...

    Thanks again guys...

    I think I'm sold on the Whisperflo... It should save me money up front when compared to the VS/VF pumps and still save me a bunch on my monthly bill...

    Unfortunately, Progress Energy doesn't have any rebates for pool pumps, so that makes the choice even easier...

    I also think I'm going to wait until we start wanting to use the pool to convert back to salt... Maybe the new SWG will come out by then or I'll get the IC40 and upgrade when it craps out... Either way my fiance will be happy since she has chlorine allergies...

    I'm also going to do the install myself as Pinch-A-Penny's rates are cost prohibitive... I can save a few cents off of $200 by doing it myself...

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    Re: Intro... and looking to upgrade my equipment...

    You know... I REALLY need to stop reading... lol.

    Still trying to figure all of this out... looking at the difference between two-speed and variable speed pumps, there are compelling arguments on both sides...

    I like the thought of being able to really dial in the pump for maximum efficiency when running different functions... circulate, spa, vacuum, solar... Just really having a hard time determining if it'll be worth the extra $300... My electric rate is something like $0.12kwh or so...

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    Re: Intro... and looking to upgrade my equipment...

    The Intelliflo maxes out around a 3hp rating not that you need it. A 1.5hp whisperflo is a pretty reliable choice. Two speed or variable the variable you will be able to pick rpm that you want that might save you a little more since you could slow down to maybe quarter speed.
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    Re: Intro... and looking to upgrade my equipment...

    You need to factor in the cost of a 2 speed relay. Pentair part 520198
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    Re: Intro... and looking to upgrade my equipment...

    Quote Originally Posted by thepoolman
    You need to factor in the cost of a 2 speed relay. Pentair part 520198
    Well what the ****... I figured that with the Intellitouch system I'd already have everything I need... another $80 for the relay? Starting to seem a bit better off with the variable speed pump... I better take the cover off tonight and see if I don't already have that relay... I know I already have a couple in there...

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