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Thread: Pump recommendations - leaning toward WhisperFlo 2-speed

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    Question Pump recommendations - leaning toward WhisperFlo 2-speed

    First and foremost, there's a ton of info on this site and I'm glad I found it. Thanks in advance!

    I'm looking to replace my single-speed 220V electric guzzler with a 2-speed unit. I was initially looking at variable speed, but don't think I need it for my case. The pool setup is pretty basic, 15k gallons and 2 solar heaters. Looks to have 3 ports on the suction side (skimmer, drain and something else?). My plumbing is 2" in/out.

    The pump operating costs are ~38% of my electric bill in my current winter schedule - 4 hrs/day, consuming about 200kw in a month. With the utilization of the pump and my everday appliances, I'm being placed in a higher 'Tier' by my power company and therefore paying a premium.

    If I can reduce my overall pool energy significantly, I'd like to stay in the lowest 'energy Tier' to maximize savings. Summer is going to hit hard if I dont replace this pump soon.

    My first going in position was to purchase the Pentair IntelliFlo. Doing a bit more research, this may be too much pump for what I need. I'm now leaning towards a basic 2-speed WhisperFlo.

    Hoping to hear some feedback from the wise whether I'm making the right decision. I need to maximize energy savings. I can deal with the initial investment cost, as I know I'll be paying more later if I don't do something about it now. For reference, my rates are $0.13 if I stay in my baseline Tier, otherwise goes up to $0.32!

    thanks in advance!
    Arax

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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: Pump recommendations - leaning toward WhisperFlo 2-speed

    Welcome to TFP!

    For most people, a 2-speed pump is the better choice from a cost-benefit standpoint. However, you may be one of the exceptions. Key factors are your solar heaters, specifically where the panels are located and how often you plan on using them. If they are on the roof of a 2-story house and you plan on using the solar heaters frequently, I would choose the Intelliflo. A 2-speed pump running on low may not have sufficient power to ensure that the vacuum release valve on the plumbing to the panels stays closed, even if the water reaches the top of the panels. If this valve does not close, then flow rates will be very low. What all this means is that you may have to make a choice between using the solar to heat your pool -OR- running the pump on low without using the solar. OTOH, if your panels are on a 1-story house or (better yet) on the ground, then it becomes much more likely that you will be able to run solar on low speed of a 2-speed pump. Any structure taller than that will more than likely require running a 2-speed pump at high speed whenever you are using the solar panels.

    The variable-speed Intelliflo gives you more speed options than high or low. If the vacuum release valve at the top of the panels will not stay closed running at half speed (equivalent to low on a 2-speed), then selecting the next higher speed on the Intelliflo might just do the trick. At least that speed is less than the full speed of your current pump. With a 2-speed, if low does not keep the check valve closed, then your only choice is to run it on high which of course would cancel out the main advantage of a 2-speed pump over a single-speed.

    Bottom-lining it, if you plan to use the solar frequently and the panels are on the roof of a 2-story house, get the Intelliflo. If you use the solar infrequently and/or the panels are mounted in a location no higher than the roof of a single-story house, then the 2-speed would be the better bet.
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pump recommendations - leaning toward WhisperFlo 2-speed

    I think the Whisperflo may be oversized for you as well given what you posted. I run my solar just fine with a 1HP 2 speed Superflo, which is smaller and cheaper to buy and run.

    Note I run the solar only on high speed as the heating is better. I run on low when solar is not needed.
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    Re: Pump recommendations - leaning toward WhisperFlo 2-speed

    I have a 1-story home. My plan was to run it on high speed when the solar panels are needed and kick it in low speed all other times. I dont use the pool much; I was going to bypass the solar panels for days I know I'm not going to jump in (25 out of 30 days in the month).

    The reason I choose the WhisperFlo was the 2" in/out fittings. The Superflo tapers down to 1.5" internally and may restrict flow/efficiency(?)

    Looking at the spec lists, looks like SuperFlow 340042 (SF-N2-1A) may be the choice.

    For what it's worth, here's my current pump:

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pump recommendations - leaning toward WhisperFlo 2-speed

    You can hook a 2" pipe to the Superflo, you use a 2" coupler on the union. That is what I did. I have a very long run to solar through 1.5" pipe on my single story house and it works great. If all your pipe is 2", then you will get more flow than I do.

    I think that would be a good pump for your setup.
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    Re: Pump recommendations - leaning toward WhisperFlo 2-speed

    I did a quick search on my current pump to see what it's rated at. Seems to be a 1.5HP unit. This has got me thinking whether I'm undersizing with the SuperFlo 1HP guy. Gut feel says I'm probably OK, but would need to do the math to see what I need.

    Looking at the power ratings for the SuperFlo I see Full Load Amps rated at 6.0/2.3A I'm assuming these two loads are for full speed and low speed. If so, the 2.3A rating equates to to 0.552 kwh.

    Is there a pump that operates in the 0.25-0.30kwh range? The kw does add up over the course of a month and every little bit counts.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pump recommendations - leaning toward WhisperFlo 2-speed

    I went from a larger pump that was 2.5 HP down to the smaller 1HP Superflo. You have to look at the service factor as well. That 1HP Superflo has a SF of 1.65, so it is the same as a 1.5HP with a SF of 1.1 ... just a game that the manufactures play.

    I do not think that rating is the actual amp draw from the motor ... the true amps are a function of the flow rate. The only way to save more money on electricity are to get an even smaller pump or get a VS pump that you can run at lower RPMs.

    In general, on low speed the pump moves 50% of the water that it would move on high speed, but at 1/4 the amount of electricity. So those amp rating do not make much sense as they are not a function of 4 different.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Pump recommendations - leaning toward WhisperFlo 2-speed

    Quote Originally Posted by 99sh View Post
    I did a quick search on my current pump to see what it's rated at. Seems to be a 1.5HP unit.
    Based on the label, the motor on your current pump is rated for 1 HP @ 1 SF or 1 THP. So the 1 HP Superflo is about the same size. Another option is to just replace the motor on your current pump with a two speed.
    Mark
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    Re: Pump recommendations - leaning toward WhisperFlo 2-speed

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985 View Post
    Based on the label, the motor on your current pump is rated for 1 HP @ 1 SF or 1 THP. So the 1 HP Superflo is about the same size. Another option is to just replace the motor on your current pump with a two speed.
    I do like this option best; however don't know how to pursue this. Do I just purchase the motor, or would I need the sealplate, impeller, diffuser and all the seals associated with the sub-assembly?

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pump recommendations - leaning toward WhisperFlo 2-speed

    If you get one rated the same as your existing pump, you would just need the motor and a shaft seal (although there are "go kits" that include all the orings/seals if you wanted to just do them all). No need for any other parts.

    You will also need to wire in a switch to select the speeds.
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    Re: Pump recommendations - leaning toward WhisperFlo 2-speed

    Would the SuperFlo VS provide more energy savings compared to the SuperFlo 2-speed on the low-setting?

    The VS is a larger 1.5 HP motor (1.65 SFHP); not sure if that will cancel out the net energy savings.

    If I do go with VS, I get a $100 rebate from my power company. So the net difference between the VS and 2-speed is ~$150.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pump recommendations - leaning toward WhisperFlo 2-speed

    Those are basically the same size ... equivalent between the brands. The Superflo is a 1HP with 1.65 SF.

    I think the Max-flo VS is slight cheaper and has slightly better performance.

    The issue with these two VS pumps is the way the timer and speeds work. You still need to have a separate on/off timer. Then when the pump turns on if will run at one speed (higher speed) amount of time and then automatically kick down to a second speed (usually set lower) for the remaining time until the timer turns the pump off. For solar you want to be running at high speed, but the timer will not work that way. Also these VS pumps can not be controlled by any automation system to control the speed.

    For example with my setup, the Pro Logic sense when solar is needed, turns the valve and automatically switches to high speed if it was on low. When the solar is no longer needed, the valve turns off and the pump automatically switches down to low speed. That type of automation is not possible with these 2 smaller Hayward VS pumps.

    If you want to be very hands on, you could likely get these to work by making the time of the first high speed very long when you know you need solar. And then when you know you do not need solar, make the high speed time short so most of the running is on low speed (which can be set lower than a 2-speed pump and save power costs).
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Pump recommendations - leaning toward WhisperFlo 2-speed

    The SuperFlo VS is a new pump and it looks like it doesn't require a separate timer:

    http://www.pentairpool.com/products/...d-pump-464.htm
    Mark
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    Re: Pump recommendations - leaning toward WhisperFlo 2-speed

    I didnt find the Maxflo but did find SuperMax VF, I think this is what you were referring to? I cant tell any difference between the SuperMax and SuperFlo aside from the black color.

    The small 1.5hp VF pumps run at 600 RPM, 1600 RPM and upwards. The 2-speed motor runs at 1745 RPM on the lowest speed setting.

    I'm assuming running a VF at 600 RPM for a longer duration will consume more power than at 1600 RPM for a shorter duration. If so, does a VF at 1600 RPM consume less power than a 2-speed at 1745 RPM?

    The 2 -speed SuperFlo is rated at 1.25 SFHP according to the Pentair spec, and SuperFlo VR rated at 1.65 SFHP. This leads me to believe that a 2-speed at low RPM is most efficient ?

    I do have a separate egg-timer, so that is not an issue whichever route I choose.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pump recommendations - leaning toward WhisperFlo 2-speed

    OH!!! I was talking about Hayward VS pumps. I did not realize that Pentair had released a set of smaller VS pumps. Must be VERY new.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Typically the low the speed, the more efficient the pump. For example a 2-speed will move half the water on low as on high, but use 1/4 the power. So doubling the run time on low would move the same water, but cost 50% less to run.

    Running at even lower speeds will cost less to run, but move less water. Even if you increase the run time it should save power costs.

    I do not know ANYTHING about these new Pentair VS pumps or how their timers work.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Pump recommendations - leaning toward WhisperFlo 2-speed

    Also, with VS pumps, the energy factor (Gallons pumped per watt-hr consumed) maxes out around 800-1000 RPM so to pump the same amount of water, the VS at this RPM setting will use close to 1/2 the power of a two speed pump on low speed. However, half the power of a couple hundred watts doesn't save all that much in terms of $ so that is why a two speed can be close to the same cost savings as a VS. If you are interested, I do have a cost comparison of several pumps in the Hydraulics 101 link in my signature.
    Mark
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    Re: Pump recommendations - leaning toward WhisperFlo 2-speed

    If you are going to spend the money to replace what you have go with the variable speed option. In a few years you don't want to have buyer's remorse. With the variable speed pump that has an onboard timer it shows you the amount of watts you are using. At about 1000 rpm you will be using about 10% of the energy the pump is capable of and it shows you this on the screen. The IntelliFlo pump you are considering is a good option; I prefer the IntelliPro version. It is easier to work on and years back Pentair bought Sta-Rite so they are the same company now.

    If you only want to replace the motor then consider the Century V-Green 270 motor. I use this option on pools that are using mechanical time-clocks rather than a digital control system like the EasyTouch. This motor isn't compatible with any control system and it bypasses the mechanical time-clock. This motor has a auxiliary feature so you can sync a booster pump(for a pressure side pool cleaner) to it. The IntelliPro/Flo doesn't have this option so they make you by a control system to sync the booster pump.

    These are a few options you may want to consider. About 90% of the Hayward products I have installed for my customers has given me more headaches than they are worth.

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    Re: Pump recommendations - leaning toward WhisperFlo 2-speed

    With electric prices around $0.13/kWh you are never going to pay back the additional initial investment in a larger VS pump like the IntelliFlo/Pro, though you have reasonable odds of eventually paying off a smaller VS pump like the SuperFlo VS. Now if your electric rates were $0.40/kWh it would be a whole different story. The IntelliFlo/Pro is also much less friendly/compatible with external timers that are not part of a Pentair automation system, while the smaller VS pumps are specifically designed to work with external timers of all brands.
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    Re: Pump recommendations - leaning toward WhisperFlo 2-speed

    I ended up purchasing a SuperFlo VS pump. It already arrived and I just finished installing it.

    Off the bat, I set it to 8 hours @ 600 RPM (BTW, it's only drawing 0.2kwh!). It's so quiet, I cant even tell it's on.

    Looking at the skimmer, it's not pulling any debris which is directly in front of it @ 600 RPM. I set the pump to Overdrive and started upping the RPM until I saw positive suction. This happened at 2100 RPM. With that, should I be setting my speed to 2100 RPM as the bare minimum(@ 8 hrs)?


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    Re: Pump recommendations - leaning toward WhisperFlo 2-speed

    You need to experiment with it a bit more. There are likely to be speed slightly slower than that which still draw debris into the skimmer eventually, even if they don't create obvious water flow into the skimmer. In any case, once you find the lowest speed that still draws debris into the skimmer you should probably turn it up one step for reliability and go with that speed.
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