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Thread: Upgraded to Intelliflo XF + Cartridge filter - Help needed..

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    Upgraded to Intelliflo XF + Cartridge filter - Help needed..

    Folks - I have a 36x18 Pool with old Superflo pump and very old sand filter. Plumbing was 1.5". I snapped and decided to get the XF Intelliflo b/c I was tired of crazy electricity bills. I also went with a Pentair 420 Catridge filter to match up.

    Reputable pool store told me XF would work fine with 1.5" plumbing (would just have to run it at lower speeds). I just finished the install and have some interesting observations and questions:

    - I upgraded lines on the pad to solid 2" PVC with no hard 90" elbows (everything is gradual sweep elbows).
    - The pump basket is never totally full like my old one. Even if I burst up to 3000 RPM. Water level in pump basket is about 1.5" from the glass
    - I opened the air bleed valve on cart filter and air shoots out and then water. A half our later I go back to open air valve and more air comes out and then water a few seconds later
    - I got it running for last hour at 1500 RPM – returns are putting out a lot of water – pretty much same return pressure as the old 1.25 HP pump at full speed
    - PSI on Cartridge filter are like 1-2 PSI at 1500 RPM. Most I could get the PSI to was 7 PSI at full speed. I was told a large filter would require less cleaning but is pump able to feed this beast?
    - Flow switch on chlorinator and heater is fine at 1500 RPM – so I must be getting atleast 25 GPM++
    I put three steel clamps on intake poly line.. super tightened down, let all glue cure overnight.. no leaks anywhere on return side of pump.

    Questions:
    - Not sure if the fact the basket isn’t getting full is somehow related to filter building up air? I expected the air to bleed out first time and not have air after that?
    - Should I be concerned that pump basket isn't getting full or PSI on filter are so low?

    Thanks guys - appreciate a second opinion (waiting for my pool guy to respond as well)

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Upgraded to Intelliflo XF + Cartridge filter - Help need

    Getting an XF on 1.5" plumbing isn't recommended. It can work, but it is not as efficient as using a regular IntelliFlo.

    You have a suction side air leak. that is letting air into the pump strainer basket and the filter. It sounds like it is slow enough that the pump still primes correctly.

    The filter is just fine. Don't worry about the filter pressure. The filter works better at lower flow rates.

    I would try a lower speed, perhaps 1000 RPM and see how that goes.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Upgraded to Intelliflo XF + Cartridge filter - Help need

    The low prime is likely because of the smaller pipe size. I've seen it on a few installs. That's why the intelliflo i1 and super pump vs have been released. A pump with 2.5" connections isn't going to work as designed being fed by 1.5" pipe.

    I'd find a pool man that is familiar with all current offerings, not just the most expensive.
    25K aggregate IG, Intellipro, FNS48, Polaris 360, PG2000 fiber optic light source

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    Re: Upgraded to Intelliflo XF + Cartridge filter - Help need

    Gents - thanks for all the feedback. I have rechecked suction side, greased all seals on pump, put a fourth pipe clamp on for good measure.. No leak that I can detect. There are no air bubbles coming from return jets either (earlier there were until I retightened down the clamps). I suspect it is the 1.5" plumbing that is sub optimal.

    I am running at about 1600 RPM right now and it is very smooth. Pump basket stays full about 1" below looking glass. Very little turbulence noticeable. Burning about 300 watts which makes me a lot happier than old Superflo burning 1700 watts..

    Anything else I can check or is this par for the course with a 1.5" setup?

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    Re: Upgraded to Intelliflo XF + Cartridge filter - Help need

    Any sort of sealant I can put on the barbed poly pipe fitting to be 100% sure it is sealed? Didn't want to glue it - was thinking a bead of caulk.

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    Re: Upgraded to Intelliflo XF + Cartridge filter - Help need

    You're talking about using pipe clamps...Is that how you went from the 1.5" pipe to the 3" pump union? With a rubber reducer?
    25K aggregate IG, Intellipro, FNS48, Polaris 360, PG2000 fiber optic light source

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    Re: Upgraded to Intelliflo XF + Cartridge filter - Help need

    yes the pool has black heavy duty poly plumbing (20 year+ old pool). So I had to use barbed 1.5" fitting that then glued into a 1.5->2" transition piece. From there everything 2" until back into the ground.

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    Re: Upgraded to Intelliflo XF + Cartridge filter - Help need

    Just checked pump again with flashlight Water level in the pump Is right at the top of the inlet.. So about 1-1.5" from glass.

    Not sure what else I can do.. double check all fittings going into the suction side. Besides listening for air hissing after pump being shut off, are there any other good methods for checking suction side for air leaks?

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Upgraded to Intelliflo XF + Cartridge filter - Help need

    Some air in the basket is normal for a variable speed pump that isn't on high speed (which you should never use). However air in the filter shouldn't happen again after you vent out the initial air.

    One good test for air leaks is to spray shaving cream on suspected leak locations while the pump is running and see if it gets sucked into a hole.

    What happens when you try a lower speed, like 1000 RPM?
    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: Upgraded to Intelliflo XF + Cartridge filter - Help need

    Seems fine at 1000 but flow isn't enough for swg as the flow light goes off. I will check filter for air in am

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    Re: Upgraded to Intelliflo XF + Cartridge filter - Help need

    Checked filter for air.. Spat air for fraction of a second before water came out. Thinking that is normal?

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Upgraded to Intelliflo XF + Cartridge filter - Help need

    Higher speeds create more suction on the skimmer side of the pump, which stresses the plumbing more and is more likely to turn a marginal connection into an air leak. From your description it sounds like the system is alright at 1000 RPM, but starts to leak air by 1600 RPM. That means that something on the suction side is making a partial connection, good enough at lower speeds, but not solid enough to fully seal at reasonable speeds.
    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: Upgraded to Intelliflo XF + Cartridge filter - Help need

    i'm going to do the shaving cream test and let you know. There are a couple joints above ground on the pad that could be the culprit. I've triple check the pump connections and they seem really solid.

    From reading up on what others experience with these pumps on smaller plumbing, it would appear some "air bubble" in the pump is normal?

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    Re: Upgraded to Intelliflo XF + Cartridge filter - Help need

    Gents - I have a Jandy Never Lube right after the pump return before the filter. This thing is "dripping" pretty steady. When I shut pump off, you can hear a bit of air hissing in through this valve. I know suction side air causes the bubble normally but could this Jandy valve also be part of the issue? This is a new valve I never had before (previous setup went straight into a sand filter)

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Upgraded to Intelliflo XF + Cartridge filter - Help need

    A valve after the pump can't let air in while the pump is running, but it can let air in when the pump is off. It could account for air in the filter once each time you turn the pump on, but it can't cause air to accumulate in the filter while the pump is running.

    If you haven't already, try the following test. Turn on the pump, vent out any air in the filter, leave the pump running for a couple of hours, and see if there is any new air in the filter. A suction side leak will put new air in the filter while the pump is running. A pressure side leak can only put air into the filter when the pump is off.
    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: Upgraded to Intelliflo XF + Cartridge filter - Help need

    So after about six hours of run time at 1500 rpm.. air in filter was hardly detectable. I open the bleed valve slightly and there was a micro second of air followed by gush of water. No air bubbles coming out of return jets either. Seems to be running smooth? perhaps I am over thinking this? I guess the real test will be having the pump run for a week straight without anyone touching it and see what happens inside the filter (typical in the summer when we are at the cottage).

    I assume some minute amount of air buildup is normal over time?

    Jandy valve continues to drip even though I applied a fair bit of silicone to the seals. I realize this leak wouldn't let air back into the pump while it is running. But could it let a bit of air into the filter?

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Upgraded to Intelliflo XF + Cartridge filter - Help need

    A pressure side leak can only let air into the system when the pump is off and even then only if the equipment is mounted above the water level of the pool. But given both of those conditions are met, yes it could easily let air into the filter.
    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: Upgraded to Intelliflo XF + Cartridge filter - Help need

    Yes i'm above water level of the pool. Not sure what else to try. Seems like the 1" bubble in the pump is par for the course. I should probably let the system run for a few days and see how much air I have to bleed off from the filter.

    If I had a suction side leak, would I not see air bubbles being injected into the pool by the return jets (similar to when pump primes and basket is almost full of air)?

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