Energy Audit Recommends Variable Speed Pump

bgray9

Bronze Supporter
Jun 26, 2015
58
Mesa, AZ
So, we had an energy audit done on our home and their primary recommendation was to replace our existing Whisper Flow single speed pump with a Pentair SuperFlo variable speed pump. Our existing pump works fine. We've had it for 7.5 years (since we bought the house) and it had been in place at least a couple years before that. So, it's on the old side, but is working fine right now. Their quote to put in the pump is $1,545 and would come with a 1 year warranty. Their estimate is that the savings would pay for the cost of the new pump in about 3 years, meaning savings of about $500 annually. So my questions are:
1. Is that level of savings reasonable?
2. Is that a reasonable install price for the variable speed pump?
Thanks.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,180
NY
My $.02 is yes to all and probably even better savings. In NY we pay more than double the Kw cost in taxes and surcharges so you have to factor in your adjusted costs as well. If you are handy you can easily find YouTube videos to teach you how to do it and save the labor costs. If the 2 pumps line up it’s literally a 5 minute job.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,631
Bedford, TX
9,

The real key is how long do you normally run your pump, and what HP is it? If just a few hours a day, then I would not change a thing..

That said, VS pump energy savings are a real thing... I have a 3 HP IntelliFlo that I run 24/7, most of the time at 1200 RPM, and my total cost to run it is less than $20 bucks a month...

The Pentair SuperFlo VS costs about $700 bucks, so that means they are charging you about $850 to install it.. That sounds a little high to me..

The first thing you should do is see if your power company will foot part of the bill for upgrading to a VS pump. Many do...

If I upgraded, I would spend more on the pump and less on the installation.. The SuperFlo is not a drop in replacement, while the IntelliFlo is.. Eventhough the IntelliFlo is a 3 HP pump, it will move more water at a lower speed and save even more electrical energy..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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bgray9

Bronze Supporter
Jun 26, 2015
58
Mesa, AZ
Thanks.

My utility does not offer any rebates for putting in a variable speed pump. They used to, but dropped the rebate a couple years ago. I typically run the pump maybe 10 hours a day in the summer and 6 hours a day in the winter. I forget what HP the existing pump is. Either 1 or 1.5 HP. I'll check that tonight when I get home.

Is the extra cost of buying a bigger pump worth it in energy savings? If you have a bigger pump, do you have to be careful not to run it full blast?
 

Jimrahbe

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Jul 7, 2014
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Bedford, TX
9,

Full blast will not hurt anything.... The real key is if your current pump has 2" plumbing or 1.5" plumbing. The SuperFlo is made for pools with 1.5" plumbing and the IntelliFlo is made for pools with 2" plumbing... That said, you can use either pump in either size plumbing without any worries..

I can't say if it is the most economical for you or not.. I use the IntelliFlo as that is the pump that Pentair automation can control.

I guess my comment was if you were spending $1,545, I would expect a better pump and less for installation.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

bgray9

Bronze Supporter
Jun 26, 2015
58
Mesa, AZ
Ah, my pool plumbing is 1.5 inches, so that's probably why they recommended the SuperFlo. So maybe that's the one I go with due to my pipe size, but I find someone who doesn't charge so much for installation.
 

gx22

Active member
Jan 21, 2014
41
CA
I bought a SuperFlo VS from eBay and get someone to install it. Typical quote to install SuperFlo VS in my area is about $200-$250.
 

bgray9

Bronze Supporter
Jun 26, 2015
58
Mesa, AZ
Checked my current Whisperflo pump and it is one horsepower and the manufacture date (I assume that's the date stamped on the side) is 3/24/2008. I know it sat for two years when the previous owners had drained the pool and left it empty for two years.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
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May 3, 2014
22,445
Laughlin, NV
Your current pump is using about 1000Watts per hour. A Superflo VS pump at a reasonable pump rate will use about 1/3 that.
 

bgray9

Bronze Supporter
Jun 26, 2015
58
Mesa, AZ
Your current pump is using about 1000Watts per hour. A Superflo VS pump at a reasonable pump rate will use about 1/3 that.
Would that be a 1.5 HP Superflo VS? From what I've read that sounds like the right size for us. Also, I read that the Superflo VS only has three speed settings. Is that a significant drawback, or will those three settings capture what we'd need for our various functions? We don't have extra stuff on our pool, just a line from the skimmer and a separate cleaner line.
 

duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
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Sebring, Florida
Since you don't have a lot of complicated water demands, compare price of a 2-speed to a VS.

Electrical savings can be almost identical for usually a LOT less front money.
 

Rocket J Squirrel

Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
554
Alamo, CA
So, we had an energy audit done on our home and their primary recommendation was to replace our existing Whisper Flow single speed pump with a Pentair SuperFlo variable speed pump.
When I installed photovoltaic solar panels back in 2012, the solar guys pretty much insisted I replace my single speed pump with a variable speed pump. So there seems to be some agreement that a VSP will save electricity. 😎
 
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sacredcow

Well-known member
May 8, 2018
58
Houston, TX
I replaced my old single speed with a Hayward VS last year and have no regrets- It most definitely made a difference in my electric bill. I opted for the omni control and replaced my filter as well, so I can't really speak to the costs of installation as it was all bundled together. But worth noting that I did get a $300 rebate in the form of a gift card to pinch a penny.
 

bgray9

Bronze Supporter
Jun 26, 2015
58
Mesa, AZ
Since you don't have a lot of complicated water demands, compare price of a 2-speed to a VS.

Electrical savings can be almost identical for usually a LOT less front money.
So is the one speed tha isn't full speed going to be the right amount of flow to power my skimmer and cleaner? My impression of variable speed is that you could tweak the speed so it's just the right level for the function or functions you're trying to do at any given time.
 

duraleigh

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So is the low speed adequate for your specific needs? Probably. You don't need "power" for your skimmer and the vast majority of cleaners run on Full speed.

Correct, you dial in the VS speed that you like......it's roughly a 500-700 dollar feature over the two-speed, I think
 

bgray9

Bronze Supporter
Jun 26, 2015
58
Mesa, AZ
I guess if I have a good installer, they can walk me through that and figure out if a two speed or variable speed is the best option. Of course, the challenge there is figuring out who is a good installer.
 

bgray9

Bronze Supporter
Jun 26, 2015
58
Mesa, AZ
So, I've talked to a handful of installers. Most recommended the Superflo VS, with installs around $1200-1300 total. Leslie's actually came in the lowest, and with a 3 year warranty. Two installers recommended the Intelliflow VS, with one stating that the Superflo VS is a new pump and there have been some issues with it and the Intelliflow is a better pump that will save more money and last longer and is a better deal, even at a higher price (they quoted $1700 for an Intelliflow VS, installed). This installer said that my 1.5 inch pipes were not a problem for the Intelliflow VS, as they can retrofit it and program it so that it works fine with the 1.5 inch pipes. So, as is often the case, when you talk to a number of installers, you don't get a variety of perspectives. Any input would be appreciated.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
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Bedford, TX
B,

Sounds to me like all the installers were correct... :mrgreen:

Either pump will work for you... It is like buying car.. You can buy the economy model or the SUV... either car will get you from point A to B.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

bgray9

Bronze Supporter
Jun 26, 2015
58
Mesa, AZ
So my last estimate came in for the Superflo $1150 installed and the Intelliflow $1450 installed. That's closer on the Intelliflow. I guess the question is whether I'll save enough with the Intelliflow running at lower RPMs to make it worth the price difference?
 

peterl1365

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 28, 2007
242
Murrieta, CA
So my last estimate came in for the Superflo $1150 installed and the Intelliflow $1450 installed. That's closer on the Intelliflow. I guess the question is whether I'll save enough with the Intelliflow running at lower RPMs to make it worth the price difference?
Not familiar with the Superflo, but I have found the Intelliflo to be an excellent product. I'm not certain about this but I think the Intelliflo might be a little bit more energy-efficient at lower speeds.
The Intelliflo uses a permanent-magnet motor, whereas the Superflo appears to use a standard AC induction motor. PM motors tend to use a little bit less power because there is no current required to magnetize the windings. The tradeoff is that the drive electronics (the Variable Speed controller) generally needs to be more sophisticated for PM motors.

In my opinion, the $300 difference will buy you a superior product but it may not reduce your energy usage by a huge amount. The major benefit, in my opinion, is that the Intelliflow has a motor that is rated for something like 3+ HP. Since your pool only needs ~ 0.5 hp for filtration, the Intelliflo will be quite a bit oversized for your needs. In this case, the oversizing is a very good thing, because it means that the motor will be running quite a bit cooler than a 1HP motor. When it comes to motors, the power rating is largely a function of how quickly the motor can cool itself.

The Intelliflo will also have more capabilities if you ever choose to install an automation system in the future.