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Thread: ecostar vs intelliflow and other questions...

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    ecostar vs intelliflow and other questions...

    This is perhaps a common question that has been raised in the past, but I could not find any recent posts.

    My pool size is 17,500 gallons and I currently have a Northstar 3/4 HP pump. I've owned the pump for 7 years and had to replace the motor about 2 years ago. There is an attached spa. I also have a waterfall that has it's own plumbing and dedicated pentair waterfall specialty pump (120 gpm, I think). The Northstar has worked fine from a filtering standpoint, but it is a bit underpowered for the spa (the pool originally had a 2 HP Challenger pump which failed. I went to the 3/4 HP for energy savings).

    I recently had a whole-home energy audit and a recommendation was made to go to a VS speed pump. When I run the calculations it looks like I'll save about $320 or so per year - even over the use of a 3/4 single speed pump. And there will be the benefits of a quieter pump and probably a cleaner pool.

    Based on the CEC database the ecostar is a substantially more efficient pump than an intelliflow VS. So that's very tempting. But it seems like just about EVERYONE I speak to in the pool biz, and just about EVERYTHING I read on-line suggests to go with Pentair due to quality issues. But I'm wondering if the ecostar has enough of a track record now that may make it more appealing. So any input on this would be appreciated.

    Also, I'm not sure which intelliflo model would be the best to consider - the VS, the VF, or the XF. The XF is supposed to have a more efficient wet end, but I can't find any hard data on it. And, none of the local pool suppliers, e.g. Leslie's, NPS, seem to carry it. Anyone out there using an XF and any issues connecting it to 2" pipe?

    Regarding the waterfall, one thing that has always bothered me is that 120 gpm makes for a roaring waterfall. That's great...sometimes. But other times I want something a bit more sedate. So I was thinking to have the waterfall replumbed into the pool plumbing and utilize the capabilities of a VS pump to be able to set the flow for the waterfall to whatever I want. I'd just eliminate the dedicated waterfall pump entirely. I already have an unused valve for a water feature that was eliminated when I had boulders put in, so I could use this for the waterfall.

    And finally, I was looking at automation systems to control the whole thing. So I'd throw an actuator on the waterfall valve. Which leads me to automation systems. Pentair easy touch, intellitouch, Jandy...my head is spinning. Perhaps this is the subject of a separate thread.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: ecostar vs intelliflow and other questions...

    Welcome to TFP.

    Where are you located?
    What is the electric rate there?

    I was all for suggesting a 2-speed pump instead of a VS until you threw in the waterfall. The Pentair Intelliflo VS and the EasyTouch would be a good match for what you want to do.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: ecostar vs intelliflow and other questions...

    Welcome to TFP!

    The IntelliFlo is older, and thus better respected. But the EcoStar has been around for a while at this point and we have a fair idea how they compare. Both pumps have occasional problems with the drive electronics failing in one way or another even though the motor proper is fine. In neither case is this common enough to be really worried about, but they do fail more often than single or dual speed pumps. While the EcoStar is "far more efficient", this doesn't translate into much of a operating cost difference. Both pump eliminate so much of the cost of a single speed that there isn't all that much money left for a more efficient pump to save. Or to put that another way, the majority of the cost ends up being the up front cost of purchasing the pump, which are very similar. In practice other considerations are usually the deciding factor between them. For example if you have an automation system it is much better to get a pump of the same brand as your automation system, which is far more important than the minor differences between the pumps.

    For your waterfall you might well want an XF, but most of the time you don't. The XF is really designed for situations where you do have 3" plumbing and very high flow rates. If that never comes up, the smaller (regular) IntelliFlo is a better choice. At the flow rates typically used with a pool the VS/VF are just as efficient. The efficiency difference mostly only comes up when you are pumping 120 GPM or more. I would always get a VS over a VF. The VF is easier to setup properly in certain situations, but otherwise costs more and has no other real advantages. You can always do better financially with a VS, and the setup effort, while a little more complex, is not significantly worse.

    Combining the regular pump and the waterfall pumps is possible but I don't generally recommend it. The waterfall pump probably draws from a different drain/skimmer, has larger pipe, doesn't go through the filter, and runs on an unrelated schedule compared to the pool pump. Each of these presents challenges. While it is possible to work about each issue, it increases complexity and limits operations to some extent.
    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: ecostar vs intelliflow and other questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    Where are you located?
    What is the electric rate there?
    I'm in Las Vegas, NV.

    The rates are around .14 KWH.

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    Re: ecostar vs intelliflow and other questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    Combining the regular pump and the waterfall pumps is possible but I don't generally recommend it. The waterfall pump probably draws from a different drain/skimmer, has larger pipe, doesn't go through the filter, and runs on an unrelated schedule compared to the pool pump. Each of these presents challenges. While it is possible to work about each issue, it increases complexity and limits operations to some extent.
    Indeed, the waterfall pump draws from a different source, though the installer used 2" pipe. And correct, no filter. The schedule, per se, is currently just on-demand (though I may possibly want to change that with an automation system). I probably only turn on the waterfall a handful of times a year during the summer holidays. I'd like to get more value out of that if possible.

    Also, to clarify, I was not planning to combine both the regular pump and the waterfall pump in the same system, but instead to eliminate the waterfall pump entirely. Perhaps this is what you meant by "combining" - just plumbing the waterfall into the existing pump/filter system.

    One objective I was hoping to achieve was to vary the flow rate on the waterfall. Right now it's always a torrent. I was envisioning various "waterfall" programs or macros on the automation system to open/close the waterfall valve to start the waterfall and adjusting the speed of the pump based on the program setting. Sometimes we'd have a torrent, other times we'd have a gentle flow. This program would be activated either on-demand from a controller inside the house and/or programmed to run early morning for an hour or so before my wife and I left for work. Something like that. We like to "soak in" our back yard during the summer before we go to work. I'm thinking having the waterfall on during this time would be one way to get more value out of it.

    Based on your input I think I've made my decision on the Pentair candidates. The XF and the VF are out. You've explained everything so easily and plainly as to the pluses/minuses that the decision became easy. For whatever reason none of the professionals I've spoken to here could do so. They've all recommended the VS, but they just couldn't tell me why that was the best choice. Your input is very much appreciated.

    I think I'm also leaning towards pentair automation (though I was still going to look into Jandy a bit more). So that may push me towards the VS solution.

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    Re: ecostar vs intelliflow and other questions...

    I have had my ecostar for 10 months now. Not one problem. I have it paired with the aqua logic. I have no complaints from it so far. Only mad my power bill go up about $20 a month from when we had no pool. That is including the lights that are on every night also.
    18x36 Grecian Vinyl; 8' Roman steps w/t 2 spa jets; cozy cove w/t 6 spa jets; 2 MD, 1 Skimmer, 3 returns; Hayward Ecostar, 30" Ranger sand filter; Hayward color logic 4.0 LED light; Hayward aqua logic; 2" PVC pipe 4 Jandy Valves

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: ecostar vs intelliflow and other questions...

    Assuming you switch to using a single pump: You are unlikely to get enough flow rate out of the main pump to run the waterfall without letting it draw water from the waterfall suction pipes. You are exceedingly unlikely to get enough flow for the waterfall through the filter, so you need a way to bypass the filter. When you are running the waterfall you probably can't run anything else. There are a couple of "unlikely"s there, open ended questions that are tricky to answer without more information.
    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: ecostar vs intelliflow and other questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    Assuming you switch to using a single pump: You are unlikely to get enough flow rate out of the main pump to run the waterfall without letting it draw water from the waterfall suction pipes. You are exceedingly unlikely to get enough flow for the waterfall through the filter, so you need a way to bypass the filter. When you are running the waterfall you probably can't run anything else. There are a couple of "unlikely"s there, open ended questions that are tricky to answer without more information.
    Interesting. I hadn't considered the possible insufficient flow for the waterfall when going thru the filter. I was indeed thinking that when the waterfall was on it would likely be the only thing running.

    If I keep both pumps, then I suppose an option would be to be able to hook up both pumps to the automation system. The only thing I wouldn't get is the ability to adjust the flow to the waterfall - short of perhaps using a valve to restrict the flow. And I suspect there would be possible problems with such an arrangement.

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