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Thread: Considering a Pentair Intelliflo VF - Comments Please

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    Considering a Pentair Intelliflo VF - Comments Please

    I am considering replacing my circulation pump to the Pentair Intelliflo VF pump. I am currently running a Pentair Whisperflo 1HP full rated pump. Here are the particulars of my current system:

    15,000 gallon in-ground pool
    Pump run time - 4 to 6 hours/day, depending upon the season
    No solar
    SWG
    Hayward Navigator vacuum
    Intellitouch control system
    Electricity cost - $0.35 to $0.40 per kWh (that number is correct, I am in So Cal)

    Using the Pentair energy calculation on their website, at 6 hours/day, I am currently turning the water over about 1.5x per day. This sounds about right to me. This equates to 62.5 gpm. The calculator also indicates that the Intelliflo could achieve a full turnover in 5 hours, or a 1.5 turnover in 7.5 hours.

    The Pentair specs indicate that my current pump is drawing about 1.6 kW, compared to the Intelliflo VF, which would run at 0.3 kW (according to the Pentair energy calculator). For the 1.5 turnover per day usage scenario, I could save $900 per year!!

    Questions for anyone who has experience with this pump:

    1. Do the flow rates and energy usages above seem reasonable? Can this pump really deliver 50 gpm at 0.3 kW? I know this will depend on the plumbing, but chem geek posted some results in another post where he was getting about 30 gpm at 300 W. I am running 2" plumbing, with a very large cartridge filter, heater, and a 50-60 foot level run of piping to the pool.

    2. I have seen some reports of problems with the "intelligence" of the Intelliflo VF. Priming issues, warnings, etc. Are these real issues, or just operator error or just one-time set up issues? I don't want to spend $1500 for a pump only to have ongoing operational issues.

    3. I was considering the Intelliflo VS as well, but it's only $200 or so cheaper, and has only four speeds. Is there any real reason to consider this pump instead?
    15,000 gallon IG pebble pool/spa | Pentair 400k BTU heater | Pentair cartridge filter | Goldline AquaRite SWG T-Cell-15
    Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pump | 3 Pentair Whisperflo pumps (1-2 HP) | Hayward Aquabot | Pentair Intellitouch controls

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Join Date
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    Re: Considering a Pentair Intelliflo VF - Comments Please

    This is a copy and paste of a previous thread I started about my VF pump. Also a link for the entire thread...

    intelliflo-vf-monthly-cost-t9179.html

    This is just a FYI,

    I am running my Intelliflo VF to cycle 30,000 gallons 2x per day, so 60,000 gallons total in 24 hours. The onboard flow meter says 41 gpm at 290 watts. My filter pressure at this slow filter setting is around 2-3 psi. Almost can't read the gauge.

    So...at the $0.0751 Kwh that I pay for electricity, this figures out to be $15.68 per month. I'm actually pleasantly surprised by this. I know this will go up when I crank the pump up to run water features, but the base cost is less than I thought it'd be.

    290 watts x 24 hours = 6960 watts
    6960 watts x 30 days = 208,800 watt/hrs or 208.8 Kwh
    208.8 Kwh x $0.0751 per/Kwh = $15.68



    Jim
    Fortune favors the well prepared

    The build...
    viewtopic.php?t=3974
    Freeform 24' x 38' IG gunite. 3 1/2' to 8' deep. 28,500 gallons. AutoPilot Total Control SWCG. Pentair Intelliflo VF. Pentair CCP520 cartridge filter. Colorlogic LED lights. Tahoe Blue Diamond Brite. 1200 sq ft stamped concrete deck.
    More details as they happen...

  3. Back To Top    #3
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Considering a Pentair Intelliflo VF - Comments Please

    The IntelliFlo probably won't get 50 GPM at 0.3 Kwh on your pool, that is a fairly optimistic number, but it should come reasonably close.

    There were a number of problems when the pump was just released, but most of them have been fix by now. Many of the remaining problems come down to the IntelliFlo turning off when there is a plumbing problem. That is exactly what you want it to do, even though it can be extremely confusing. Think about it, imagine that you turned off all the return valves, so no water can flow. You have forgotten about the valves, and the only symptom that you see is that the pump refuses to run. The pump appears to be broken, it won't startup properly. The pump can't tell you exactly what is wrong, all it knows is that the water isn't flowing correctly. You have to go figure out where the real problem is yourself. There almost always is something actually wrong, and once you find it and correct it everything is usually fine.

    The IntelliFlo VS has the same number of speeds, and it can be just as energy efficient, if you set it up correctly. Setting it up correctly without the built-in flow sensor is a little tricky, so many people don't manage to make it be as energy efficient as it could be. The "four speed" issue is that it has four speed presets. You can setup each preset to any of the many available speeds. The VF has the same four speed presets but they can be setup by speed or by flow rate. The VF also has a rather fancy timer and can turn it's self on and off or set various speeds on a complex schedule that you setup.
    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

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Re: Considering a Pentair Intelliflo VF - Comments Please

    at the risk of NOT hijacking this thread, I'm considering an intelliflo too - and have a couple of questions:

    There seems to be three different intelliflo pumps:
    The "VF" - seems to be able to set a flow rate and the pump moves to that rate and stays there...
    The VS 3050 - supports 4 speeds
    The VS+SVRS - 8 speeds, plus a couple other bells and whistles...

    Reading the chart, would it be safe to assume that the "VF" is the right pump for most applications...????

    Also, since my current pump is plumbed through the jacuzzi (only when the jacuzzi is on...), is there something that tells the pump to switch to a "jacuzzi" mode? Can I connect it to my Aqualink RS-8?

    Based on their energy calculator, it appears as though I could pay for the pump within a year based on my energy costs being so friggen high (~$0.45/kwh - saves $1997/year)... This Sounds nuts!

    Thanks,

    - Jeff

    p.s., Hey - If I bought two pumps, would I save twice as much?
    ~45Kg Pool with attached Spa, NSP-72 DE, Minmax 400 Heater, Tahoe Blue Pebbletech, Jandy SWG via Aqualink RS-8, The Pool Cleaner (black)
    Pumps: X3 Hybrid Pump (switches to SPA), 2HP Spa (additional, when SPA is on), and a 1HP For Waterfall
    8, 4x12 Solar Panels on the roof of the pool-house (~12' up)
    CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK: "I'M SORRY. I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THE SOUND OF HOW AWESOME I AM" (Thanks to TFP!)

  5. Back To Top    #5
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Considering a Pentair Intelliflo VF - Comments Please

    If your electric rates are 0.45/Kwh and you currently have a single speed pump as your primary pool pump, then you probably should get some version of the IntelliFlo. People on the forum have saved on the order of 50% of their electrical costs when replacing their primary pool pump. Replacing dedicated spa or water feature pumps is not so clear cut.

    You really can save substantial amounts of money in most cases. However, you are remarkably unlikely to save as much as Pentair's savings calculator says you will save. 50% savings are quite common, 90% savings are quite rare. If you currently have a two speed pump and use low speed most of the time, your savings will be far far lower and will probably not be enough to justify upgrading.

    The VS can save just as much electricity as the VF can, if you know what you are doing and set it up correctly. The whole "4 speed" thing is highly misleading. All three models have the exact same setup, with dozens of speeds. The VF adds a flow meter and can change speeds to maintain a constant flow. You can get much the same effect by adding a $70 flow meter to the VS and manually adjusting the speed, it is just extra work.

    The entire IntelliFlo line does not play well with non-Pentair automation systems. To allow a non-Pentair automation system to change speeds you must get an IntelliComm, which costs around $400. In a similar vein, the VF timer can not turn anything other than the pump on/off, which makes it somewhat problematic. In both cases Pentair has set things up so that you really need a Pentair automation system to do anything other than the very simplest things.

    The VS+SVRS model includes an SVRS system, which is a special system that shuts the pump off when something, like a child, becomes stuck on the main drain. Most modern pools have passive systems to prevent this from happening, typically multiple main drains at least 4 feet apart. I would not get the SVRS model unless it was required due to the way your pool is plumbed (ie if it is missing the passive protection). Even then there are other ways to solve the same problem.
    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

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Re: Considering a Pentair Intelliflo VF - Comments Please

    I called the company for info - their tech support said that their Intellicom is used for 3rd party controls - It uses 15V as set by the 3rd party controller (IIRC, the Aqualink only sends a 12V signal - will that be an issue?) to run up-to 4 programs...

    Not sure what I would do with the other two programs - I guess I could plumb in the waterfall and eliminate another pump... Could I use it for the cleaner as well?
    ~45Kg Pool with attached Spa, NSP-72 DE, Minmax 400 Heater, Tahoe Blue Pebbletech, Jandy SWG via Aqualink RS-8, The Pool Cleaner (black)
    Pumps: X3 Hybrid Pump (switches to SPA), 2HP Spa (additional, when SPA is on), and a 1HP For Waterfall
    8, 4x12 Solar Panels on the roof of the pool-house (~12' up)
    CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK: "I'M SORRY. I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THE SOUND OF HOW AWESOME I AM" (Thanks to TFP!)

  7. Back To Top    #7
    stever's Avatar
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    Re: Considering a Pentair Intelliflo VF - Comments Please

    Quote Originally Posted by socalsharky
    Questions for anyone who has experience with this pump:

    1. Do the flow rates and energy usages above seem reasonable? Can this pump really deliver 50 gpm at 0.3 kW? I know this will depend on the plumbing, but chem geek posted some results in another post where he was getting about 30 gpm at 300 W. I am running 2" plumbing, with a very large cartridge filter, heater, and a 50-60 foot level run of piping to the pool.

    2. I have seen some reports of problems with the "intelligence" of the Intelliflo VF. Priming issues, warnings, etc. Are these real issues, or just operator error or just one-time set up issues? I don't want to spend $1500 for a pump only to have ongoing operational issues.

    3. I was considering the Intelliflo VS as well, but it's only $200 or so cheaper, and has only four speeds. Is there any real reason to consider this pump instead?
    I have the VF -- but it was in with a new build so I have no comparisons with a previous pump. Either way, my answers:

    1) I agree with Jason, 50 gpm at 0.3 kW would probably only work if the pipe runs were only 5 feet long. I have what I consider a medium-efficient pool (some pipes could be larger/shorter) and runs 25 gpm at 0.25 kW (40 gpm somewhere about 0.60 kW). This is with a Quad 100 DE filter and heater bypass.

    2) While sometimes aggravating (don't forget to put in vacuum mode for manual vacuuming or it'll shut off) I've never had a problem. The VF sometimes tries to do things it shouldn't, but it's always been when I'm messing with things and am there to correct it. I may have the valves turned in a funny way severly limiting flow and it'll rev up to 3400 RPM (quite a racket) to get the flow up to the designated flow. It might have eventually clicked off entirely, but I shut it down first.

    3) I got the VF because the price difference was small and I am a bells and whistles guy (often my downfall). The VS wouls serve most people as well as the VF. I just wanted to have even flows as the filter gooped up, etc. (little did I know this filter does not goop up very much). I also wanted to contol the flows to the solar. Also helps when I run the cleaner at night. I can run at a specific flow (15 gpm) that runs the cleaner perfectly without (usually) climbing out of the pool. But when it does climb up the side too much and sucks air, it just reprimes itself. If I had a VS, the flow mighy varry from 12-20 gpm based on filter, etc and I'd have problems.

    I Intellitouch controlls this pump, but the interface is really pretty bad. I'm not saying you can do any better, but you have to go through a bunch of menus to do anything. I can't wait for the next generation.
    Pool: 625 SF Free-Form In-Ground Shotcrete Pool w/7.5' dia spa.(8 jets), 24" raised bond beam (22,500 gal)
    Pentair Equip: Intelliflo VF Pump, MasterTemp 400 Heater, IC40 SWG, Quad DE 100 Filter
    Automation: IntelliTouch i7+3 (+ extender panel), 6 Jandy Automated Valves (S, R, Spa Bypass, Solar, Cleaner, Spillway)
    Other: 75% Solar, Kreepy Kruiser Cleaner, Tan Hip-Hop Diving Board (a bit curved) on 606 Cantilever Base (SR Smith)
    Links: [TFP Pool Build Thread] - [TFP Landscaping Thread]

  8. Back To Top    #8
    schrody's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
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    Re: Considering a Pentair Intelliflo VF - Comments Please

    Wow, my pool plumbing stinks. Getting only 17 gpm at a cost of .36 kW.
    12,000 gallons - IG - Vinyl
    IntelliFlo VF Pump
    Tagelus TA-60 Sand Filter

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Recommendation for a Good Installer?

    Does anyone know of a good installer for a Pentair Intelliflo VF in Orange County, CA?
    15,000 gallon IG pebble pool/spa | Pentair 400k BTU heater | Pentair cartridge filter | Goldline AquaRite SWG T-Cell-15
    Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pump | 3 Pentair Whisperflo pumps (1-2 HP) | Hayward Aquabot | Pentair Intellitouch controls

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Orange County, CA
    Posts
    18

    Re: Considering a Pentair Intelliflo VF - Comments Please

    Hi Sharky,

    I just had mine installed today. I googled Pentair & Orange County and came up with Deckside Pool.

    http://www.decksidepool.com/about.html

    They are actually a commercial outfit, but did my residential install for $500.00 (I had bought the pump myself online). All they provided was labor & miscellaneous parts. The couple other quotes I got (after emailing pics to people of the current setup) were $400 to $450. Since it has only been installed a few hours I can't really comment on anything besides the fact that I'm perfectly happy.

    The one thing is the guy who came out did great, but had never programmed the Intelliflo VF before. I know some of them have (the owner said so when I was getting my quote), but it just happened my guy hadn't. In all honesty part of the reason I went with them is I wanted them to program it, but it really doesn't seem that complicated. In fact, the reason I found this thread is I'm googling Intelliflo & Program trying to get some tips

    I'm sure I'll be back with some questions shortly, but I'm back to searching away. Good luck.
    30k gallon in ground plaster pool.
    Pentair Intelliflo VF pump running @ 25 gpm (take that Edison!).
    Broken heater from 1980 that doesn't work.
    Probably some other stuff...

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