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Thread: upgrades? (intellichem, and variable speed pump)

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    Join Date
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    upgrades? (intellichem, and variable speed pump)

    I bought my house last year and it already had the pool installed with an intellitouch i9+3 system and whisperflo pumps from pentair for filtration and water features. I've been thinking about it for a while now and would like to get input from the forums about making a couple upgrades.

    First, I've been thinking about buying a new pentair variable speed pump so that I can set it to a lower speed than my current 2HP filtration pump and run it 24 hours. I've seen a couple youtube videos that actually show how much energy this would actually save. But I'm not sure if i want to fork over $900 for a new pump when my current pump works just fine. Also I don't know if i'd need any addon modules for my intellitouch to see and control the new pump properly.

    Second, I've been reading about these Liquidators and automatic chemical feeders so I went to look at pentair's intellichem system. Does anybody have any experience with it? Mostly I'm wondering if it actually measures the ph and chlorine (and CYA for desired chlorine level) before it starts pumping chemicals into the pool? are there any systems out there that would do this and integrate with the intellitouch system?

    Third, I've been looking for an easy (and affordable) way to control my intellitouch system from my computer. I'd prefer not to run wires outside though.
    In Ground, ~15000 gallon pebble pool. House was built in 1997 but not sure when pool was built.
    Normal Circulation System:
    Pentair WhisperFlo 2HP pump --> Hayward SwimClear 425 Cartridge Filter -->
    Heliocol solar heating system --> Pentair MiniMax NT Natural Gas Heater --> In floor cleaner popups
    Additionals:
    Pentair Intellitouch i9+3 control system
    Pentair WhisperFlo 2HP Pump running 3 waterfalls and 2 fountains
    Pentair WhisperFlo 2HP Pump running spa jets

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: upgrades? (intellichem, and variable speed pump)

    One option that would be cheaper up front and save much of the electrical cost would be to just switch the motor to a 2-speed motor. On low speed it moves about 1/2 the water for 1/4 the amount of electricity. If you stayed with a 2HP 2-speed, you could double the run time on low and still save 50% of the electrical cost.

    Wow, so you have three 2HP pumps now?

    The one you are looking to replace would be the filtration one? Does that run the floor pop-ups? If so, you may not really be able to reduce the speed as much as you think and have them still work correctly. If you are no longer using the floor system, there is really no need to have a 2HP motor for circulation and you could switch the motor to a smaller 2-speed (with a new impeller) and same more on electricity.

    I do not know much about the chemical systems beyond reading that using the ORP to control the SWG output can be problematic. Seems that many people end up just switching back to setting the output manually.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
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    Re: upgrades? (intellichem, and variable speed pump)

    Yes the filtration pump is also for the infloor cleaner heads. i'll look into how much pressure i'll need for them.
    Yes I have a 2HP Whisperflo pump for filtration, another for just the spa jets, and a third for 4 waterfalls and 2 fountains.
    In Ground, ~15000 gallon pebble pool. House was built in 1997 but not sure when pool was built.
    Normal Circulation System:
    Pentair WhisperFlo 2HP pump --> Hayward SwimClear 425 Cartridge Filter -->
    Heliocol solar heating system --> Pentair MiniMax NT Natural Gas Heater --> In floor cleaner popups
    Additionals:
    Pentair Intellitouch i9+3 control system
    Pentair WhisperFlo 2HP Pump running 3 waterfalls and 2 fountains
    Pentair WhisperFlo 2HP Pump running spa jets

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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Mint Hill, NC
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    Re: upgrades? (intellichem, and variable speed pump)

    Quote Originally Posted by bstucker
    I bought my house last year and it already had the pool installed with an intellitouch i9+3 system and whisperflo pumps from pentair for filtration and water features. I've been thinking about it for a while now and would like to get input from the forums about making a couple upgrades.

    First, I've been thinking about buying a new pentair variable speed pump so that I can set it to a lower speed than my current 2HP filtration pump and run it 24 hours. I've seen a couple youtube videos that actually show how much energy this would actually save. But I'm not sure if i want to fork over $900 for a new pump when my current pump works just fine. Also I don't know if i'd need any addon modules for my intellitouch to see and control the new pump properly.
    I don't know if there are any addon modules required - I'm not familiar with the intellitouch. However I can tell you that the $ data for Variable Speed pumps on the internet is very misleading. There are a number of posts on the site that detail the specifics but here's the basic info: Most of the cost comparisons start with XX hours of run time and run the VS pump the same number. They do this because most people run their pump too much already and they can generally get away with running the VS with lower head and let's say half the GPM for the same number of hours and still get the job done. This results in a 4:1 reduction in power consumed. However if you have already optimized the runtime of the pump, you will need about 2x the current runtime to equal the previous results, which would cost 1/2 not 1/4 of the $ since it takes 1/4 as much for the same amount of time but you have doubled the pump runtime.

    If you plan a 24x7 runtime; and you are currently running 24x7 then you should seen the cost drop by nearly 3/4's to around 1/4 total. This would be modified by the number of hours you might need to pump at a higher speed. If you are not pumping 24x7 - but something like 6 hours - then your bill is unlikely to go down - 24 x 7 x 1/4 power draw = the same as 6 hours at normal power draw.

    Quote Originally Posted by bstucker
    Second, I've been reading about these Liquidators and automatic chemical feeders so I went to look at pentair's intellichem system. Does anybody have any experience with it? Mostly I'm wondering if it actually measures the ph and chlorine (and CYA for desired chlorine level) before it starts pumping chemicals into the pool? are there any systems out there that would do this and integrate with the intellitouch system?
    I don't have direct knowledge here - but I have been reading about it. Here's a good thread on this topic: understanding-intellichem-and-its-options-t39699.html

    Based on what I have read - my take is that if you add an SWG you may have trouble making this work. You could try to maintain a CYA around 30 and run the SWG more often - if that's economically an option (since it may result in premature cell replacement). Otherwise the ORP sensors just don't give accurate results with the CYA needed for SWG using BBB recommended levels.

    pH measurement is unclear - I read that it does this and that it doesn't and uses automatic timer and past results - I'm frankly unsure what the truth is. It is clear that there are options for what you add - CO2, MA, etc. and that MA is preferred by BBB adherents since adding CO2 can eventually raise TA.
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

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    Join Date
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    Orange County, CA
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    Re: upgrades? (intellichem, and variable speed pump)

    If you purchase an Intelliflo to replace your Whisperflo filter pump, you do not need any extra to interface it with your Intellitouch controller. The pump comes with a communications cable and you simply connect this up to the communications port inside the Intellitouch on its motherboard. You would want to wire the new pump directly to its breaker instead of via the filter pump relay. The pump is controlled by the Intellitouch communications port. As for the Intellichem, it does measure pH directly and you can set it up to dose muriatic acid using an Intellichem with one dosing pump. On a unit with a second dosing pump, it can also inject liquid chlorine into the system. This would serve as an alternative to a SWCG if you don't already have one. The Intellichem does not directly measure chlorine concentration, but instead measures the oxidation/reduction potential (ORP), which gives a rough measure of the concentration of the available chlorine. This gets complicated, since cyanuric acid (CYA) buffers the chlorine, but overall gives a reasonable measurement of the level of sanitizer in the pool. The Intellitouch can control the sanitation of the pool using either an Intellichem to inject liquid chlorine, or using a SWCG which converts NaCl (pool salt) into chloride ions that kill microorganisms like bacteria and fungi/algae.

    The nice thing about either getting a SWCG or an Intellichem is that such items can significantly reduce the level of maintenance needed on your pool. In addition, this sort of automation keeps sanitizer levels reasonably constant, so you don't have large swings in free chlorine that you might have if you are manually adding liquid chlorine or bleach every few days. The result is better water quality and less chance of the pool turning into a swamp.
    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: upgrades? (intellichem, and variable speed pump)

    I have an Intellichem with a Stenner pump for Acid and. Intellichlor for SWG. I love the system. It does measure the levels prior to dosing and you can determine how aggressively to dose when the system calls for it. It also tracks the tank level and will alert when the tank is getting low.

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