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Thread: VS pump - is it a no brainer versus getting a single speed?

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    AaronGo's Avatar
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    VS pump - is it a no brainer versus getting a single speed?

    Firstly, let me say that reading this site has helped us tremendously while we are taking bids for our pool. Many thanks!

    So, we have gotten two bids so far that are very comparable. Both builders use Jandy, but one uses a VS pump in its "standard build" (the VS-FHP2.0) and the other builder uses a single speed in its standard build (FHPM2.0).

    The builder that uses the single speed says that pumps are, on average, going to go out in 4-6 years, so paying more for VS is not worth it in his opinion. That is where I need advice from you all. My thought process is that he would try to up-sell me to a VS pump if he could, but he's not. So how do I best decide which pump is "better"?? I suppose I need to ask what the upcharge would to go from the single to the VS pump and simply calculate if I can re-coup the extra cost of the pump via electricity savings over a reasonable time period - is it that easy? That's really the main (only?) reason to choose a VS over a single, right?

    If I can recoup the costs in 3 yrs or less, then it seems like a no brainer for me.

    The pool will be 16-17,000 gallons in Houston TX. Electricity rates are ~10 cts/kwh.
    18,000 gallon in ground, plaster - completed 6/29/12
    Jandy 340 sq ft cartridge filter
    Jandy variable-speed 2 HP pump
    Jandy LXi 400 heater
    Jandy Aqualink PDA-PS4

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    AaronGo's Avatar
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    Re: VS pump - is it a no brainer versus getting a single spe

    Also, I should have included two-speed pumps into the equation, those are fair game too.

    Some things I learned through a quick search, which muddies the water.

    when thinking of a variable speed pump you have to take into account the other benefits that it offers besides power savings..

    -prime protection
    -freeze protection
    -integrated timer
    -Totally enclosed, fan cooled.
    -Aluminum motor construction

    All this leads to longer life and less hassle.
    18,000 gallon in ground, plaster - completed 6/29/12
    Jandy 340 sq ft cartridge filter
    Jandy variable-speed 2 HP pump
    Jandy LXi 400 heater
    Jandy Aqualink PDA-PS4

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    texasdad's Avatar
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    Re: VS pump - is it a no brainer versus getting a single spe

    What are the pumps running? If the pumps primary purpose is to circulate water then a two speed pump can run on low most hour and save you money. But if you have water features or etc. that are going to need the pump on high for effect then a two speed pump on high won't save you anything.

    This calculator can help you estimate electric costs with different pumps:http://www.pentairpool.com/pool-owne...calc/index.htm
    13k gallon IG gunite pool
    Jandy 2 speed pump
    Jandy cartridge filter
    Stenner Pump and tank

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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Re: VS pump - is it a no brainer versus getting a single spe

    If I can recoup the costs in 3 yrs or less, then it seems like a no brainer for me.

    The pool will be 16-17,000 gallons in Houston TX. Electricity rates are ~10 cts/kwh.
    Mas985 (a member here) has done some extensive work on pumps and pump costs (Thanks, Mark!) and I'm going to say what I have learned from his research.

    Considering that size pool and that electric rate, it will take you longer than three years (maybe 8+?) to recoup the costs of a VS. However, a 2-speed will pay you back much more quickly and would be optimal for your conditions.

    The only disclaimer I would add is I am saying this from memory and one of the pump gurus here may come along and correct me but I think I am pretty close.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    AaronGo's Avatar
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    Re: VS pump - is it a no brainer versus getting a single spe

    Thanks, I will see if I can dig up Mas985's research.

    BTW, our pool would have a spa but no water features, aside from the spillover into the pool which is not really considered a separate water feature.

    One other thing to mention is that the builder who uses a VS pump said they set it up to run as a two-speed pump. Not sure why they don't just a two-speed pump but I can ask them. Perhaps the VS provides added flexibility to decide which two speeds they want the pump to operate at.
    18,000 gallon in ground, plaster - completed 6/29/12
    Jandy 340 sq ft cartridge filter
    Jandy variable-speed 2 HP pump
    Jandy LXi 400 heater
    Jandy Aqualink PDA-PS4

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: VS pump - is it a no brainer versus getting a single spe

    Since you are building a pool and spending thousands of dollars anyway, I suspect the incremental cost of a VS and full controller shouldn't be a big deal. So my advice for new pools is usually to go ahead and get a VS pump even if it isn't more economical than a two speed. But if you are price sensitive, then a two speed is also a good option.

    Another suggestion is to put the spa jets on a completely separate plumbing loop from the pool/spa ciriculation. Spa jets require high flow rate and forcing that water through a filter and heater will require either a larger pump or higher speed on a VS using more energy and potentially damanging the filter. The downside is that you may need a separate spa pump but another option if you have a VS is to have an automatic pad bypass built into the plumbing so that you can run the jets off a single pump while still bypassing the pad equipment. But if you want to have the capability of runing the spa jets while the pool is circulating, then a separate jet pump is the way to go.

    Also, be very careful with the spa plumbing design. There are a lot of PBs out there that do not know how to design the plumbing for a spa. Get the details about their plans so that we can review it. But I would get the plumbing design details for the entire pool as that can be an issue as well. It is also a good way to weed out bad PBs.

    BTW, if this PB is losing pumps after only 4-6 years, he is doing something wrong. They should last much longer than that.
    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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    AaronGo's Avatar
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    Re: VS pump - is it a no brainer versus getting a single spe

    Thanks Mark. Re: losing VS pumps after 4-6 years, that is what the OTHER PBs are saying, not the PB who offers a VS pump. But it might be that THEY don't know how to properly install a VS pump, so they just go with a single speed pump. But this is something I am going to discuss with the primary PB. I agree, that seems like a short life span.

    I will say that the main PB we're considering has a very good reputation for PROPERLY building pools, but I would like to get the plumbing schematics from them to share here.

    I need to go back over Hydraulics 101 and Pump Ed 101 again!
    18,000 gallon in ground, plaster - completed 6/29/12
    Jandy 340 sq ft cartridge filter
    Jandy variable-speed 2 HP pump
    Jandy LXi 400 heater
    Jandy Aqualink PDA-PS4

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    Aquatica's Avatar
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    Re: VS pump - is it a no brainer versus getting a single spe

    we had an ecostar vs pump fail after only 8 months. the seal went and water got into the motor. they say the motor is sealed but there is a very small opening. not sure what it is for but after the water got through the worn seal some got into the motor and now the bearings need changing. But get this both sides of this motor is sealed. like there are no bolts, screws or anyway to get into the motor to change the bearings. so now we are stuck having to pay $400 for a new motor.

    btw seal went do to a faulty strainer cover gasket which from day one was sucking air and the strainer basket never filled up completely. noticed this air leak too late and was running the pump 23.75 hrs per day to keep pool heated 24/7. BIG mistake! our supplier wont cover this and hayward sure will not as the seal went due to air leak.

    I'm fed up and going back to the good old reliable superpump. and which we can replace bearings.

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    Re: VS pump - is it a no brainer versus getting a single spe

    Did the pump run dry? If not the. I can't see how a leaky basket cover led to damaging the seal.

    Back to the OPs post though - I have a simple pool (no spa) but I love that I was able to dial in perfectly for my cleaner, my solar, my waterfall and two types of filtration (low for most of the day and a couple of hours of high for good skimming)
    15,600 Gallon, 16' x 32' In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    Pentair VS 3050 pump, Quad DE 60 filter and SunTouch controller
    8 gallon Liquidator, Aquatherm EcoSun Solar Panels, 2 wheel ThePoolCleaner

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