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Thread: Robot Cleaners power usage Vs Pressure side cleaner

  1. Back To Top    #1
    mnittler's Avatar
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    Robot Cleaners power usage Vs Pressure side cleaner

    After looking at adding a Polaris 280 or a Pentair Legend for some time now I decided to investigate the use of a robot pool cleaner for auxiliary cleaning. I would have to add the 3/4 hp booster pump (I already have the plumbing for pressure side cleaner) to use the Polaris 280 or Pentair Legend and also run the main pump. I did some quick numbers on power consumption.
    Main Pool pump is a Pentair 3050 3HP, Booster pump would be 3/4 hp
    Assuming only using 1/2 load of the 3hp Pentair 3050 (3.2 kw X .5) = 1.6 kw per hour
    Polaris or Pentair 3/4 hp Booster pump approximately 1.472 kw per hour
    Assume 3 hour cleaning cycle: ( Main pump 1.6 kw + Polaris booster pump 1.472 kw) times 3 hours per day = 9.216 kw per day
    Pumps 9.216 kw per day times 365 days = 3365.8 kw per year
    Assume 14 cents per kw then 3365.8 times $0.14 = $471.21 per year electricity cost to run Polaris 280 or Pentair Legend using both pumps an additional 3 hours per day.
    Most of the Robots use approximately 0.15 kw per hour
    Assume 3 hour clean cycle for the Robot to make the comparison but normally only about 2 hours clean cycle required.
    Robot 0.15 kw times 3 hours per day times 365 days = 164.25 kw usage per year
    164.25 kw * $0.14 per kw = $22.99 electricity cost per year
    Am I missing something here or is the operating cost $471.21 minus $22.99 = $448.22 less per year to operate a robot instead of a pressure side cleaner?

    I have been looking at the Dolphin Supreme/Dynamic Plus 5/DX5 Plus, Water Tech Blue Diamond RC, or the Polaris 9400.

    What is best bang for the buck with reliability Robot cleaner for gunite pools?
    What is the normal life of the robot cleaner vs pressure side cleaner?
    What is the normal average repair cost per year of Robot cleaner vs pressure side cleaners (pump and cleaner)?
    21,500 gal sport pool, 8' spa, beach, 400k btu LP heater, Pentair IC60 SWG & #300 Tablet Feeder, 60 sqft DE filter, Paramount in-floor PoolValet 3 cleaners, Debris Canister, Polaris 360, Pentair VFD 3hp pump, IntelliPh, Geysers & Turbo Twister Slide w/1 hp pump, Color LED Pool & Spa lights, E-Z Touch8 control system, Wireless controller. Test Kits:TF-100, Taylor K-1004, CYA K-1720, Phosphate K-1106, Salt Water K-1766, Hach CN-39WR.

  2. Back To Top    #2
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Robot Cleaners for concrete Gunite Pools

    Robotic cleaners tend to last three to eight years and then get replaced, with little to no service/repairs. Pressure side cleaners tend to last longer because they are much more easily serviced and nearly everything can be replaced as needed.

    You wouldn't normally count the entire main pump run time against the cost of the cleaner because you have to run the main pump every day anyway. In your situation you may need to run it longer because of the cleaner, but certainly some of the run time will happen regardless of the cleaner.

    Another option to look into is a pressure side cleaner that does not require a booster pump.
    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

  3. Back To Top    #3
    mnittler's Avatar
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    Re: Robot Cleaners power usage Vs Pressure side cleaner

    Looking at the Polaris 360 or Pentair Legend II pressure side cleaners which do not require a booster pump vs electric Robot.

    The power requirements would be the following assuming the same 3 hour cleaning cycles per day as above.

    Main Pool pump is a Pentair 3050 3HP, Booster pump would be 3/4 hp
    Assuming only using 3/4 load of the 3hp Pentair 3050 (3.2 kw X .75) = 2.4 kw per hour (a little more power required since pump will be running at a higher pressure to drive the pressure cleaner)

    Assume 3 hour cleaning cycle: ( Main pump 2.4 kw times 3 hours per day = 7.2 kw per day
    7.2 kw per day times 365 days = 2628 kw per year
    Assume 14 cents per kw then 2628 times $0.14 = $367.92 per year electricity cost to run Polaris 360 or Pentair Legend II without a booster pump using main pool pump 3 hours per day.

    Most of the Robots use approximately 0.15 kw per hour
    Assume 3 hour clean cycle for the Robot to make the comparison but normally only about 2 hours clean cycle required.
    Robot 0.15 kw times 3 hours per day times 365 days = 164.25 kw usage per year
    164.25 kw * $0.14 per kw = $22.99 electricity cost per year

    Operating cost $367.92 minus $22.99 = $344.93 less per year to operate a robot instead of a pressure side cleaner (reducing the main filter clean cycle by 3 hours)

    I have been looking at the Polaris 360 or Pentair Legend II in pressure side cleaners and the Dolphin Supreme/Dynamic Plus 5/DX5 Plus, Water Tech Blue Diamond RC, or the Polaris 9400 in robots.

    Assuming a Robot cost $1000 it would take 3 years to pay for it in electricity savings alone. I believe the robot would have to be replaced after 3 years of daily use and the Pressure side cleaner and main pool pump would have to have repairs also? If the main pump is used less then it should last longer also. The pressure side non booster pump cleaners cost around $450 plus valves etc, so they are not free either.

    Can the Robot be left in the pool all the time like the pressure side cleaners are except when swimming of course?

    Which way is the best to go? Questions, Questions, Questions?
    21,500 gal sport pool, 8' spa, beach, 400k btu LP heater, Pentair IC60 SWG & #300 Tablet Feeder, 60 sqft DE filter, Paramount in-floor PoolValet 3 cleaners, Debris Canister, Polaris 360, Pentair VFD 3hp pump, IntelliPh, Geysers & Turbo Twister Slide w/1 hp pump, Color LED Pool & Spa lights, E-Z Touch8 control system, Wireless controller. Test Kits:TF-100, Taylor K-1004, CYA K-1720, Phosphate K-1106, Salt Water K-1766, Hach CN-39WR.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Robot Cleaners power usage Vs Pressure side cleaner

    Again, you are counting the full cost of the main pump run time during cleaning against the cleaner, which is not realistic. The main pump needs to be run daily anyway, so it is only the increase in power usage due to the increased speed needed for the cleaner that should be counted. It is also not realistic to assume running the pump at 3/4 power. A much lower power level will work just fine. Between those two issues you have drastically over-estimated the electrical costs of the pump powered cleaner.

    Robotic cleaners are usually warrantied to be run once a week, which is also how they are typically used. It is unclear how long they will actually last when run daily.

    Pump lifetime is not a significant issue, as pump failure hardly ever has anything to do with accumulated usage. Nor is there likely to be any servicing required for the main pump over only three years. Pumps typically last much longer than that, with lifetime usually determined by how exposed to the weather they are.

    You should not leave a robotic cleaner in the pool between uses.
    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: Robot Cleaners power usage Vs Pressure side cleaner

    Quote Originally Posted by mnittler
    Assume 14 cents per kw then 2628 times $0.14 = $367.92 per year electricity cost to run Polaris 360 or Pentair Legend II without a booster pump using main pool pump 3 hours per day.
    Are you sure your electricity rates are that high in Texas?
    14 cents per kWh (especially during off peak hours) is really up there. Texas would be the last place i'd expect utility rates to be that high.

    I live in in AZ, and run my equipment at night during the off peak schedule. It's 5 cents per kWh. Using your figure of 1.472kw, my Polaris 280 costs around 22 cents a day or around $6.70 a month. I just can't make the numbers justify the extra cost of a robot cleaner with my utility rates, you're talking about something like 20 years to break even, and most people will tell you that you'll have gone through 3 or 4 robots by that time.

    I don't have any experience personally with robot cleaners, but my Polaris 280 does an incredibly good job of cleaning the pool and repairs are easy and straightforward. Unless utility rates skyrocket, I don't plan on changing and would rather go after other areas to conserve energy.

  6. Back To Top    #6
    mnittler's Avatar
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    Re: Robot Cleaners power usage Vs Pressure side cleaner

    South Texas rates run between 10 to 14 cents per kw most of the time. We do not have peak time rates just straight price per kw used. I used 14 cents to be on the safe side since so many of the coal fired power plants are being shut down and the price per kw is bound to go up over time. That 14 cents would also include any extra charges, line, etc. What I normally do is just take the bottom line from the electric bill and divide by the amount of kw hours used to determine what I call true price per kw hr consumed. I belong to an electricity coop so any profits are distributed back to all the members at the end of the year (I did not count the annual dividends and capital retain in my 14 cent number). My rates have just recently gone up to 13 cents from 11 cents. My Texas Electric coop has mainly coal fired (cheapest type of fuel) electric plants so we will see where the EPA is headed with that. Texas is an electrical Island (not connected to the U.S. electrical grid). The dump price for power in south Texas is currently around 2 cents per kw but I as a residential consumer cannot purchase that and even if I did then I would have to pay a QSY (usually $1000/month QSY fee) and power company line charges to get it delivered to my house. Texas Electricity 101.

    Conclusion:
    Robot cleaners use less power.
    Robot cleaners will not last anywhere near as long as pressure side cleaners.
    Robot cleaners clean better than pressure side cleaners.
    Robot cleaners will clean bigger pools than pressure side cleaners.
    Robot cleaners cannot be left in the pool.
    Robot cleaners are heavy
    Robot cleaners are harder to clean the basket.
    Robot cleaners are expensive to repair and maybe better to just replace if motor required.
    Robot cleaners are not designed to be used daily.
    Robot cleaners do not require any plumbing
    Robot cleaners (some) can clean down to 2 micron particles.

    Pressure side cleaners use much more power to operate.
    Pressure side cleaners last a long time and do a fairly good job with leaves and small objects.
    Pressure side cleaners can be left in the pool for long periods of time.
    Pressure side cleaners can be run daily.
    Pressure side cleaners are easier to repair
    Pressure side cleaners require a pressure line to operate and if not pre installed then it is expensive to install pressure connection line and valving.
    Pressure side cleaners have mesh bags and do not filter the water only catch the big stuff.

    Please add more pro and cons to help make the jump.

    I have gone from thinking I will install a booster pump pressure side cleaner, then to a robot, then to non-booster pump pressure side cleaner, then back to robot and now maybe pressure non-booster pump cleaner. When I got home yesterday the pool was pretty clean and I only had to skim the leaves so I guess I will wait on the aux cleaner a little longer. My thinking now is to go with the pressure side non-booster type cleaner unless I change my mind again.
    21,500 gal sport pool, 8' spa, beach, 400k btu LP heater, Pentair IC60 SWG & #300 Tablet Feeder, 60 sqft DE filter, Paramount in-floor PoolValet 3 cleaners, Debris Canister, Polaris 360, Pentair VFD 3hp pump, IntelliPh, Geysers & Turbo Twister Slide w/1 hp pump, Color LED Pool & Spa lights, E-Z Touch8 control system, Wireless controller. Test Kits:TF-100, Taylor K-1004, CYA K-1720, Phosphate K-1106, Salt Water K-1766, Hach CN-39WR.

  7. Back To Top    #7
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Robot Cleaners power usage Vs Pressure side cleaner

    You have been fairly through. I can't think of anything you didn't cover. My only quibbles are minor: The extra energy cost of running a non-booster pressure side cleaner with a variable speed pump and electricity around $0.14/kwh is much closer to $100/year, maybe less if you can setup valving that runs 100% of the pump output to the cleaner when it is on. And pressure side cleaners should be taken out of the pool any time you are swimming, which might be rare or might be quite common, depending on how often you swim.
    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: Robot Cleaners power usage Vs Pressure side cleaner

    Quote Originally Posted by mnittler
    South Texas rates run between 10 to 14 cents per kw most of the time. We do not have peak time rates just straight price per kw used. I used 14 cents to be on the safe side since so many of the coal fired power plants are being shut down and the price per kw is bound to go up over time. That 14 cents would also include any extra charges, line, etc. What I normally do is just take the bottom line from the electric bill and divide by the amount of kw hours used to determine what I call true price per kw hr consumed. I belong to an electricity coop so any profits are distributed back to all the members at the end of the year (I did not count the annual dividends and capital retain in my 14 cent number). My rates have just recently gone up to 13 cents from 11 cents. My Texas Electric coop has mainly coal fired (cheapest type of fuel) electric plants so we will see where the EPA is headed with that. Texas is an electrical Island (not connected to the U.S. electrical grid). The dump price for power in south Texas is currently around 2 cents per kw but I as a residential consumer cannot purchase that and even if I did then I would have to pay a QSY (usually $1000/month QSY fee) and power company line charges to get it delivered to my house. Texas Electricity 101.
    Interesting. You would think a state so rich in energy and with plenty of space would have cheaper utility rates. Luckily we have nuclear power

    I know for my utility rates I also have some fixed costs associated with the bill, but I don't consider that part of the kWh equation when assessing energy savings because it doesn't increase or decrease based on the electricity usage.

    The pressure side cleaner without the booster pump is probably what I'd recommend if you're starting from scratch, if I didn't already have the setup I did now, that's what I'd probably do.

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: Robot Cleaners power usage Vs Pressure side cleaner

    I live in the DFW and contracted for .07 KwH for another year...
    ~25,000 gallon
    In Ground Pool
    Gunite/Plaster/DE Filter
    Using a TF-100XL from http://tftestkits.net
    Dolphin Dynamic bought 4/2013-pretty happy with it

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