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Thread: Absolute beginner with questions about efficient pumps etc.

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    Elgrecus's Avatar
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    Absolute beginner with questions about efficient pumps etc.

    We just bought a new house with a small pool (12 feet by 22 feet) and I am a total beginner so please excuse the basic questions. The pool equipment needs a few repairs, including the Coverstar automatic pool cover which is broken (we got a credit for the repairs). I haven't actually seen the water in a couple of months since the cover won't retract. I am attaching a picture of the pool for reference.

    We got a huge shock when our first electricity bill arrived; $270 for one month based on SoCal Edison rates here in Los Angeles. We discovered that the previous owner was running the pool for 12 hours a day during peak daytime hours. We have since set the timer to run at night. My first question is, should I replace the 1 HP Pentair Whisperflo WFE-4 with a more efficient two-speed or variable speed pool pump? Something like an Itelliflo, EcoPump or Leaf Pump? Since we'll have someone out to do the repairs shortly, I thought it might pay itself off in reduced energy bills over the first year or so. Here is a quote we got during escrow for the repairs (minus replacing the pump):

    $550 Replace Pentair 4000 Series DE filter housing (it's cracked)
    $525 Replace salt system cell (Eco-Matic)
    $450 Acid wash and sand pool plaster (he said it was a bit rough)
    $2,150 Replace pool cover fabric, install new switch cover and GFI protection

    I have nothing to compare this quote with. Does it sound reasonable? Once everything is up and running I will try to do all the maintenance myself (wish me luck), so I will be spending a lot of time at the TFP forum! Oh, as you can see from the picture, I need a pool cover pump too. It's been filling up with rain; not sure which cover pump to get. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.[attachment=0:2l4uw4r8]Pool.jpg[/attachment:2l4uw4r8]
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Pool Size: 9,000 gallons
    Pool Type: In ground, plaster
    Filter: Pentair 4000 Series D.E. Filter
    Pump: 1 HP Pentair Whisperflo WFE-4
    Heater: Sta-Rite Max-E-Therm 200
    Salt System: ECO-matic ESC 36
    Pool Cover: CoverStar, motorized cover

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Absolute beginner with questions about efficient pumps e

    Quote Originally Posted by Elgrecus
    should I replace the 1 HP Pentair Whisperflo WFE-4 with a more efficient two-speed or variable speed pool pump?
    Yes, with California electric rates being what they are you should replace the pump if you can afford to. I recommend getting an IntelliFlo VS. While you are working on that, you don't need to run your existing pump any where near that long. 3-6 hours a day is probably enough for a WFE-4 in a relatively small pool.

    Acid washing often costs more than that, and isn't always a great idea as it reduces the lifetime of the plaster. The other prices look reasonable.
    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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    Elgrecus's Avatar
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    Re: Absolute beginner with questions about efficient pumps e

    Thanks for the reply. SoCal Edison offers a rebate on purchases of the the Intelliflo VS (#011018) as well as other pumps. I see that the Variable Speed has 8 speed settings that can be adjusted manually based on what action is being performed (heating vs filtering vs cleaning). Will this be simple enough for me to program and tinker with over time? And I am assuming I don't need the VS+SVRS; I don't understand what a "safety vacuum release system" is anyway. Lastly, does the Intelliflo VS need to be supplied with an Intellicom 2 or 4 controller? Or is the on board keypad all you need? I'm not clear on what the Intellicom does and Pentair's product catalog doesn't explain it entirely.
    Pool Size: 9,000 gallons
    Pool Type: In ground, plaster
    Filter: Pentair 4000 Series D.E. Filter
    Pump: 1 HP Pentair Whisperflo WFE-4
    Heater: Sta-Rite Max-E-Therm 200
    Salt System: ECO-matic ESC 36
    Pool Cover: CoverStar, motorized cover

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Absolute beginner with questions about efficient pumps e

    The IntelliFlo has an builtin timer and control panel. It is reasonably easy to setup, though not trivial.

    SVRS is most likely not required or useful. It is a safety system that prevents someone from getting stuck against a drain from the pump suction. Most pools have a dual drain design where the flow passively switches over to the other drain, preventing any possibility of getting stuck even without requiring a SVRS. If you have the dual drain (or just a skimmer and no drain), there is no need for the SVRS.

    The IntelliComm is designed to allow an older automation system to control the speed of the pump. It doesn't sound like you have such an automation system, so no point in getting an IntelliComm.
    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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    Elgrecus's Avatar
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    Re: Absolute beginner with questions about efficient pumps e

    Thanks so much JasonLion. My scope of work is pretty nailed down now. I'm going to call in the pool repair person and have them do the pump replacement as well as the other work. I'm not sure about the acid wash/sanding of the pool plaster since I have yet to even touch the surface of the plaster to see how rough it has gotten.
    Pool Size: 9,000 gallons
    Pool Type: In ground, plaster
    Filter: Pentair 4000 Series D.E. Filter
    Pump: 1 HP Pentair Whisperflo WFE-4
    Heater: Sta-Rite Max-E-Therm 200
    Salt System: ECO-matic ESC 36
    Pool Cover: CoverStar, motorized cover

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