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Thread: Just signed contract - suggestions on which pump is best?

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    Just signed contract - suggestions on which pump is best?

    Hi all:

    I'm new here, referred by another member. Just signed a contract with a top notch local contractor here in Raleigh and should be getting started shortly. A summary of what we're doing:

    In ground, roughly 20,000 gallon, "sports bottom" pool - roughly 39x22 with tanning shelf and bubblers, deck jets, and concrete and flagstone deck. Flagstone coping. Salt and ozonator, plus solar heat only (no gas or electric heater). Going with either a 48 sf or 60 sf DE filter as well. Several benches built in. I will post pics as we go through the process.

    My builder uses (and warranties) Pentair products. I will try to get more information from him - but he's afraid his sales guy at Pentair may not be giving 100% unbiased advice so I wanted some end user advice.

    Since my main concern over the years is energy efficiency, I don't mind paying more up front for a pump if it will be more efficient. Pentair makes several pumps of various flavors, but I don't know which one to go with. I will need something to handle the cleaning, filtering, and solar for the most part, plus the bubblers and deck jets.

    I tried Pentair's online calc, but it's pretty worthless.

    Any suggestions?

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Just signed contract - suggestions on which pump is best?

    First, welcome to the forum.

    Given that you have a lot of water features, the Intelliflo might be a good choice. It gives you the flexibility of adjusting flow rates to the needs of the various features you are planning. You could possibly get a way with a two speed Whisperflo but you would need to figure out the flow rate requirements of the features, solar, cleaner, etc to make sure you have enough for everything at high speed and still get the lowest HP possible. The Intelliflo just makes it easier and since you are building a new pool, the cost differential is not going to be that much compared to everything else. However, the energy cost savings are never going to be what they advertise simply because sometimes you need to run the pump at higher speeds for solar, water features, cleaners and skimmers. What ever you choose, try and get at least a three year warranty given you will be getting everything from Pentair.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater, ThePoolCleaner

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    Re: Just signed contract - suggestions on which pump is best?

    Pentair makes quality products, and if you buy 3 or more pieces from them they will automatically provide 3 years warranty coverage.

    Congrats on making the leap

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    Re: Just signed contract - suggestions on which pump is best?

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985
    First, welcome to the forum.

    Given that you have a lot of water features, the Intelliflo might be a good choice. It gives you the flexibility of adjusting flow rates to the needs of the various features you are planning. You could possibly get a way with a two speed Whisperflo but you would need to figure out the flow rate requirements of the features, solar, cleaner, etc to make sure you have enough for everything at high speed and still get the lowest HP possible. The Intelliflo just makes it easier and since you are building a new pool, the cost differential is not going to be that much compared to everything else. However, the energy cost savings are never going to be what they advertise simply because sometimes you need to run the pump at higher speeds for solar, water features, cleaners and skimmers. What ever you choose, try and get at least a three year warranty given you will be getting everything from Pentair.
    Thanks, Mark. I will definitely investigate the Intelliflo. Will the SunTouch controller automatically adjust the speed or is it something that is "fixed" once set up? I was hoping for an "on the fly" adjustment done by the controller when the demand goes up or down.

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    Re: Just signed contract - suggestions on which pump is best?

    While we're at it, I have read a bunch of the stuff on this forum regarding solar panels....I think what I have seen is that Fafco makes the "best" panels, but for your standard, run of the mill black plastic panels, I can't see how any other brand would really be "worse" - black plastic is black plastic, and if it's not glazed, then really what does it matter?

    I built a screened porch recently to hold my panels and will be installing five 4x12 panels if it matters.

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    Re: Just signed contract - suggestions on which pump is best?

    Not all materials are the same. Additionally, not all tubing size is the same either. Some absorb and transfer heat energy better than others. Saying all panels are the same is like saying all car tires are the same. Some are better than others, often by significant margins. Solar panels are no different in that respect.

    Intelliflow pumps come in several models. The VS-3050 has 4 user selectable speeds. Those speeds will not vary due to the increased head losses of a dirty filter or solar turning on or off. The amount of water being pushed will though.

    The VS-SVRS adds 4 additional speeds, a timer and SVRS safety feature. It will also not change the speed due to increased head loss. The SVRS has been, in certain situations, been know to turn itself off (it turns itself back on after a set period) when solar kicks on. This is dependent on certain conditions that can cause the pump to think it's being starved of water suddenly, tripping the safety features in the pump.

    The VF also has built in timers, 8 speeds, and can be set to run in terms of gallons per minute as opposed to being based on set RPM speed. Increases in head will result in increases in RPM automatically, making for a very sophisticated program. It can also be told how many turnovers of water is desired so you can run at a slow speed for regular circulation but it may not be enough for the skimmers to be effective, adding a higher speed for a short time so they are effective, then turn itself back down until the turnover volume has been reached.

    SunTouch will control any of the Intelliflo pumps. If you may add a gas fired heater in the future or additional lighting, I suggest the EasyTouch controller. It can handle both and assign heating method priorities. It can also handle additional feature settings, pumps, lighting and more valve actuators. I suspect that you may be better served with this model.

    It's exciting! It can be frustrating. It's worth it!

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Re: Just signed contract - suggestions on which pump is best?

    Hey, Redshift,

    Welcome to the forum! I met a guy with Fafco at the Orlando show who really knew his stuff...I liked him a lot.

    If you want further info from them, PM me and I'll send you his name and contact info.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Just signed contract - suggestions on which pump is best?

    Quote Originally Posted by Redshift
    ...I think what I have seen is that Fafco makes the "best" panels, ....
    Best is almost always a hard thing to define.

    Much like AHRI does for independently certifying pool heat pumps (among other HVAC items), the Florida Solar Energy Research Center tests solar panels under controlled conditions and reports their findings. They are funded using Florida tax dollars, operate under the University of Central Florida, and should not have a bias. I recommend you read their discussions and review ratings. The website is at: http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/consumer/sol ... /index.htm

    If you are in a high wind area I think you should also listen to the sales pitch from a Heliocol or Sunstar dealer (or similar individual tube design vice the FAFCO monolithic style). This caveat is addressing the number of roof penetrations required, something that may or may not concern you.
    Geometric 16X36', 16K gal, shotcrete, exposed aggregate plaster, acrylic coated concrete deck/cantilever coping;
    Pentair equipment suite (EasyTouch w/wireless, 2 Intellibrites, Intelliflo VS-3050, C&C 200 Filter, IC-40 SWG);
    Heliocol solar panels, Rocky's Roller, Blue Diamond robot

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    Re: Just signed contract - suggestions on which pump is best?

    Great feedback so far, everyone! I actually found and read through the FSEC website and found the panel ratings - quite helpful. The difference between the AquaSol that my neighbor is using and the highest BTU/sq ft panel listed is only 6.3%. We don't have much wind in the warmer months so I don't need to worry about that. Now I will shop for the best pricing on some of the known "good" panels.

    Scott, you gave me a lot to think about with regard to both the pump and the controller selection. What is the relative price difference between these different pumps and controllers? I do like planning for the future so if it's reasonable, I'll upgrade the controller now versus spending a lot more later.

    The VF pump sounds like what I should get - because it will self-adjust based on GPM versus a preset - does this sound right? My main and most important goal is to reduce energy cost no matter what is going on. I know that over the years, a more expensive pump will pay for itself if it saves more than the equivalent in energy, but nailing down exactly which pump would work best for my needs is still confusing and challenging.

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    Re: Just signed contract - suggestions on which pump is best?

    Straight and to the point: VS-3050 will be the most cost effective and easiest. Your application doesn't need the features of the VF. When solar kicks on, the pump needs to speed up and when solar is done, slow down. If solar wasn't run that day, adding a speed up cycle so the skimmer function for a couple hours is a good idea. There is no MSRP in my Pentair parts and whole goods book. Shop around.

    Put the deck jets and bublers on their own pump. Much easier to control.

    I don't know if anyone suggested it yet but skip the ozone. Great oxidizer but it isn't needed and needs periodic ($$) service.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Re: Just signed contract - suggestions on which pump is best?

    Hi,

    May I ask what company you went with? and Why?

    I also live in Raleigh and we just started getting our quotes.

    Thanks,
    Dank

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    Re: Just signed contract - suggestions on which pump is best?

    Quote Originally Posted by dankfoot
    Hi,

    May I ask what company you went with? and Why?

    I also live in Raleigh and we just started getting our quotes.

    Thanks,
    Dank
    We spoke to just about every company in the phone book. Many were only doing vinyl liner which we didn't want. We originally wanted fiberglass and got some quotes from various companies, but I didn't feel comfortable with their reps and only really liked 2 out of the 10+ we talked to, and that was Pool Professionals and Jim Hinson Pools. We ultimately chose Pool Professionals due to their large operation in the area, yet personalized service. The guy who does their residential pools, Michael, is awesome, and has 30 years of experience (he's from Houston where they built a pool on almost every lot). They were quite competitive even with a fiberglass pool (after adding features, it only cost us a few thousand more to do a custom concrete pool than a fiberglass pool) and I felt based on everything I read and saw that I would get the absolute best quality pool from them.

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    Re: Just signed contract - suggestions on which pump is best?

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    Straight and to the point: VS-3050 will be the most cost effective and easiest. Your application doesn't need the features of the VF. When solar kicks on, the pump needs to speed up and when solar is done, slow down. If solar wasn't run that day, adding a speed up cycle so the skimmer function for a couple hours is a good idea. There is no MSRP in my Pentair parts and whole goods book. Shop around.

    Put the deck jets and bublers on their own pump. Much easier to control.

    I don't know if anyone suggested it yet but skip the ozone. Great oxidizer but it isn't needed and needs periodic ($$) service.

    Scott
    Ok, I'll check that out. I liked the VF system's automatic adjustment based on pressure, as I am a gizmo kind of guy, but if the price is a lot more I can stick with the VS. For a few hundred bucks up front, I might just do the VF anyway.

    What kind of service does the ozone require? I understand it extends the life of the salt cells, but didn't realize it needed it's own expensive service. What's the frequency and cost of that and what is involved? I do my own service.

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    Re: Just signed contract - suggestions on which pump is best?

    Ozone systems go through check valves, hoses, intake valves, bulbs or tubes, starters, and ballasts, depending on whether they are UV based or coronal discharge.

    IMHO, it provides an unneeded supplement for anything larger than a portable hot tub.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Re: Just signed contract - suggestions on which pump is best?

    My understanding (Scott-please correct me if I am wrong!) is that ozone has a 22 second half life; in other words, basically no residual after it shuts down. It seems to work in hot tubs since they pretty much run constantly, so there is always ozone in the tub.

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    Re: Just signed contract - suggestions on which pump is best?

    For a really efficient holistic systems you really seem to have 2 choices an intelliflow system or a jandy epump system.

    I have a mix of Jandy and Pentair products. Both brands have their plusses and minuses, Ive had issues with both manufacturers

    I must say at this stage Im quite pleased with the performance and efficiency of what I have and my install is not too far off what you have minus the ozone. The system can be quite efficient when thats what I want, or it can give super hydrodynamic performance when thats what I need.

    Take a look at my system running in effect 2 cleaners (barracuda/lcs) , filtering and chlorinating using only 350 watts of power. I could probably bump that down just a bit more if I wanted to. If Im simply running 1 skimmer and chlorinating I can go down to 200 watts reliably- thats some cheap pumping.

    The jandy system seems a bit less efficient than the pentair variable flow systems, but if you read the forums carefully many of those seem to have trouble with solar and setup seems tricky, the VS setup seems to be a bit more reliable when dealing with solar, but this pump although just a bit more efficient - is a bit less flexible than the jandy of the same type.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYN92oAcPgc


    Dave
    20K Gallon Gunnite pool/900 Gallon in ground Spa/2HP WhisperflowSpa
    Pentair Master temp 400/Hayward Sand Zebrite/Jandy RS-8 Aqualink/Jandy 2HP Epump
    12 - 4x10 Solar Panels/Barracuda G3/ BBB

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    Re: Just signed contract - suggestions on which pump is best?

    Hello All

    I saw this on You Tube and thought you'd find it interesting!
    This gent does a very nice job of showing the efficiency of the variable pump at different flow rates and energy saving potential.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dIz4R-1d2k
    Rgds,
    Dominick (Inground Pool Newbie)
    650 sq/ft - 20k gallons
    Free-Form Gunite with Granite Ansylbrite Finish
    40 sq/ft 18' raised spa
    Jandy DE60 filter
    Jandy Aquapure 1400
    Jandy Aqua link PDA

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    Re: Just signed contract - suggestions on which pump is best?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dominick
    Hello All

    I saw this on You Tube and thought you'd find it interesting!
    This gent does a very nice job of showing the efficiency of the variable pump at different flow rates and energy saving potential.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dIz4R-1d2k

    Yes, hes does. I dont think in the case of a new build anyone would want anything other than a new multispeed pump.

    His setup gives a good idea of the physics behind the energy usage and water flow.

    The "problem" per se is that its a bit misleading to think that you can run down to the very slowest levels an newer pump is capable of- his test bed doesnt have enough pipe run to simulate a real pools loss of efficiency over said distance, he also doesnt have a skimmer in there.

    Realistically I think youll find most guys in the real world you can get a good balance of water flow and energy useage between 200 and 450 watts of power, or around 1/4 to around 1/2 HP.

    Oh you can run the pumps really slow for sure, but you wont be moving enough water to really create any skimming action, hence it worth running at all.

    Dave
    20K Gallon Gunnite pool/900 Gallon in ground Spa/2HP WhisperflowSpa
    Pentair Master temp 400/Hayward Sand Zebrite/Jandy RS-8 Aqualink/Jandy 2HP Epump
    12 - 4x10 Solar Panels/Barracuda G3/ BBB

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