1. variable or 2-speed

New member here. I have read a lot on this forum, but still can't figure this out. Looks like the variable will be \$550-\$700 more. We have an older passive solar on our 1 story roof right near the pool. We pay up to .33 in summer and .23 in winter (ack) for PGE (we have a well pump too). I wouldn't mind going for it and buying a Pentair VF *IF* I thought if would last or had a 3 yr warentee at least. Such a gamble! Wish I knew the fail rate. If you look on Amazon there are loads of unhappy folks. Advice? Thanks!!!!

2. Re: variable or 2-speed

With that kind of electric rates it's worth going with the variable speed pump.

We haven't heard about a lot of failures here and if it was a problem I think we'd hear about it.

3. Re: variable or 2-speed

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence for the failure rates of any pump. It is just big unknown which is why I started this thread just to see if conventional wisdom was true.

Also, you can get an Intelliflo VS (011018) for less than \$900 and it has most of the features of the VF including timers which is all you need really.

One thing that can help is a cost benefit analysis to determine exactly when payback will occur. If it is less than the typical life of a pump, then it is all gravy after that.

So if I assume the following:
17k pool
0.5 turns/day in winter
1.5 turns/day in summer
1 turn average per year
25% on high speed
75% on low speed
Assume the same flow rate and run time for both pumps (sub optimal for the Intelliflo)

Average electrical cost of \$0.30/kwh
Whisperflo WFDS-24 cost of \$550
Intelliflo VS cost of \$90 - \$100 rebate = \$800

Here is the lifetime costs after 60 months of operation:

Whisperflo WFDS-24 = \$1779
Intelliflo VS = \$2002

Even assuming that the Intelliflo has the same flow rates as the Whisperflo, the intelliflo will overtake the Whisperflo in about 5 years as being more cost effective than a two speed. After that it is a bonus.

Either a two speed or VS speed would be a good choice but the VF will take much longer to be cost effective (~10 years) than a two speed and it will never be more cost effective than the VS.

4. Re: variable or 2-speed

Great data Mark! Lots to think about. Glad to see the Pentair isn't the problem that I thought from reading Amazon reviews...Thanks.

5. Re: variable or 2-speed

I think we will go with the variable speed pump. Can we then get rid of our (too powerful) Booster pump to run sweep, but only run sweep for 1 hr a day or so? Would that then be 3 power levels needed, low for no solar, med for solar and high for solar with sweep?

Does the timer on the pump work this way or do we need to add a controller?

Thanks so much for your help!

6. Re: variable or 2-speed

With all the various modes that you need, you might want to consider a controller to go with the Intelliflo. It will increase overall cost but probably make you life easier. BTW, how do you control solar now?

7. Re: variable or 2-speed

We have 2 timers to control the pump and sweep. We have manual switch to run through the solar. I'd like to not buy the controller yet unless we need it. Just spent a bunch on insulation and energy upgrades for our home. Would like to buy the controller later if possible. I have to sell this new bunch of pool upgrades to the hubby in smallest chunks possible Thanks!

8. Re: variable or 2-speed

The Intelliflo 011018 has a built in timer and speed settings so you can run the pump that way.

9. Re: variable or 2-speed

Thanks Mark, you are awesome!

10. Re: variable or 2-speed

PB says Intelliflo VS, get rid of the booster for the sweep. Will run at setting 2 (1500 rpm) thru solar. Will push sweep too for a hr a day. Then in August when the pool is too hot we will manually bypass the solar and set the pump setting 1 to (900 rpm) to save more money.

Is 1500 rpm enough to run the solar and sweep too? I have read on this forum that the VS is less efficient at higher rpm, don't want to end up with higher energy bills...

11. Re: variable or 2-speed

Originally Posted by flyingchanges33
PB says Intelliflo VS, get rid of the booster for the sweep. Will run at setting 2 (1500 rpm) thru solar. Will push sweep too for a hr a day. Then in August when the pool is too hot we will manually bypass the solar and set the pump setting 1 to (900 rpm) to save more money.

Is 1500 rpm enough to run the solar and sweep too? I have read on this forum that the VS is less efficient at higher rpm, don't want to end up with higher energy bills...
I am not an expert, but I think the efficiency goes down, but still likely less power than your current pump at full speed (~3000 rpm).

I have read that the solar heating efficiency is higher with larger flow rates, you may be able to run at speed 2, but the heating may not be as much as you could get at higher flow rate. I think the rule of thumb for the panels is around 0.1 GPM per sqft of panel.

12. Re: variable or 2-speed

Solar will definitely reduce your cost savings but that is part of the price of solar. The good news is that since solar is on a 1 story roof, it is much better than a 2 story roof. Trial and error is probably the best method to get both the solar and cleaner to work.

Also, the good thing about the Intelliflo is that you can set the RPM for just enough flow rate, whatever than may be, and optimize the energy use. A standard pump you would have to run on high speed and you get what you get so because of this flexibility, the Intelliflo will still be more efficient.

13. Re: variable or 2-speed

Going with the Intelliflo VS 011018, whew, thanks! Now we are optimizing. Going to add an actuator to switch sweep on/off with timer. Can the pump switch speeds with automation? If so, will the SunTouch handle changing speeds and running an actuator?

14. Re: variable or 2-speed

Yes, the Intelliflo can switch speeds with automation. The sun touch will be able to change pump speeds and control the actuator.

15. Re: variable or 2-speed

Great! Thanks Blake! Hubby tells me our DE filter cleanout port is broken...so new filter might be a good idea. Hubby is loosing the purse strings a bit I heard Pentair will give 3 yr warrenty on pump if you buy 3 of thier pieces. So looking at PacFab DE. Sound good? Does the SunTouch and/or actuator count as a third item?

16. Re: variable or 2-speed

Yes, Pentair will offer a 3 year warranty if you buy a pump, filter, and one other item. I do not think an actuator would count as a third item, but a SunTouch would (and you could get the Suntouch that includes an actuator). You DO have to buy these items at the same time to get the longer warranty.

As for a filter, PacFab was acquired by Pentair, so they no longer manufacture filters. If you want to go the DE route, I would suggest a Quad DE.

17. Re: variable or 2-speed

So who handles Pentair warranty if I buy my new pump, filter and controller online instead of through my PB? PB will still install.

18. Re: variable or 2-speed

The local Pentair service center will handle the warranty. That may be your local dealer as well.

19. Re: variable or 2-speed

I moved out of CA a couple of years ago, but back then I recall PG&E offered rebates for people who bought variable speed and 2-speed pumps. I don't know if they still do, but its worth looking into.

20. Re: variable or 2-speed

PG&E California has a rebate or \$100 for variable speed pumps and \$100 for controllers. Some other states are higher.

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