New pump options with in floor system

Ourad

Member
Jun 25, 2019
6
Tulsa, OK
So I have a 3.45 HP single speed pump at a house I have purchased recently, for a roughly 35k gallon pool with attached spa. Previous owners ran it 24/7. Did the math and thats somewhere around 180ish bucks a month. Tried to set the timer to run it less, found out the timer motor is burned out and they don't sell that type of timer motor anymore. I figured rather than drop 100+ bucks on a new timer that I would just look into a new variable speed pump.

I have talked to multiple local pool places, as a certified installer is the only way to qualify for the 400 dollar power company rebate (also 100 gift card from Pentair at the moment). Unfortunately they all just want to sell me the apparently top o the line VSF model. One guy proposed a Hayward variable speed, but I have read a few negative things about Hayward so I figured I would stick with Pentair. No one I've talked to seems to realize a 3HP VS only model exists, despite me looking at it on the website on the phone with them. From what I can tell, variable flow might be nice if I had a bunch of water features, but I don't. I'm not worried about decreasing flow rates as my filter gets dirty, as I backwash my sand filter regularly anyways. I have also read a few threads on here mentioning they are not great with in floor systems, which is unfortunately what my pool came with. It would make sense to me that the constantly changing pressure as the in floor system cycles would cause the pump to be shifting RPM's constantly, which I assume would not be great.

Can someone provide a solid reason why I would want to go with the VSF model, which is what all these pool people are telling me I need, which seems to cost 400-700 more than the VS model? I realize I can just not use the variable flow setting, but it seems silly to pay for it and not use it. Should I try to talk one of these places into purchasing a regular VS model, or installing a VS that I purchase myself? Probably be a wash between the rebate and install costs at that point, but I'm not quite comfortable installing a new pump myself.
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
970
Arizona
Ourad
Since no water features, I'm pretty sure that you would be just fine with the VS model but if you are going to fix the infloor, maybe the VSF would be a consideration. I do own the VSF (011056 ) and it is an awesome pump and I do take advantage of that additional feature in some of my automation configurations, but I think for most, the VS model (011028) would be sufficient. If you opt for the VSF, then at least you have the option for the in-floor.

r.
 
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Fuldo

Silver Supporter
Nov 23, 2017
147
Port Orange, FL
Your post mentions your in-floor cleaning system but your profile shows the system as "broken". Do you plan on using the in-floor system? If so, I was told an in-floor system requires a high flow to function. I suppose you could run a VSP very slow for much or all of the day for circulation and maybe run it a few hours on "high" so the in-floor system would function. Is the spa a separate system? Some things to think about.

Aside from the broken timer it's not clear why you or the previous owners would run the pump 24/7. You could probably get by with 5-8 hours of pump operation at full speed especially if you don't have a SWG. You could replace your timer and run a short pump cycle with the existing pump and save a lot of money, at least short-term. Long term the VSP might serve you well depending on your floor system needs. Keep in mind that all variable speed pumps are susceptible to damage from power glitches and most people add a high capacity surge protector, often a whole-house surge protector to help avoid damage to the pump electronics. This can be very costly, especially when an electrician is needed.
 

Fuldo

Silver Supporter
Nov 23, 2017
147
Port Orange, FL
The cost of surge protection greatly depends on the capacity of the device to absorb energy, its "pass through" voltage rating and specific installation needs. What you could get for $200 installed I wouldn't trust to protect a pump worth about $1000. I've read that ideally there should be a "point of use" surge protector as well as a whole house system. The better point-of-use surge protectors have much lower through voltage ratings than do typical whole-house protectors. This is a risk/reward consideration and the home location and power history should be taken into account.
 

RMcGirr83

Gold Supporter
Nov 19, 2018
360
Tuscola, TX
I trust a $200 while house surge to protect my $3000 refrigerator, my $2000 TV and every other piece of electronic equipment in the house. If you don't not sure what to say other than maybe you're a bit paranoid or something. The Leviton 51120-1 is rated for 50kA max and is quite sufficient for many applications. There are many on the market that offer physical as well as monitary warrantees.
Just because something costs more doesn't mean it's better.
 

Ourad

Member
Jun 25, 2019
6
Tulsa, OK
The in floor system sort of works. I have been investigating it with limited success. They are caretaker 99 bayonet heads. A few of the heads keep popping out despite me replacing them. Some don't come up all the way, some don't go all the way down, some don't rotate. It cycles appropriately. I have discovered a lot of the heads have little chips/defects in the teeth that are supposed to make them rotate. Some of them have worn down sleeves and they were apparently installed without a collar so the sleeve can't be replaced. Even when I get a station fully functioning, it doesn't really seem to do much with the debris on the floor, other than swish it around a little. Previous owner has a lot of extra heads in the pool closet but most of them seem to be in the same condition, and they seem to be relatively expensive to replace, so I'm considering abandoning it and getting a robot. It's my only return, so I would have to find a way to lock the heads in place.

I only mentioned the previous owner running it 24/7 as that is how I inherited it and my initial impression was "This seems like a waste". He also had a CYA of 150, a chlorine level of 15, and a calcium level of 500, so I'm assuming he didn't know what he was doing with his pool anymore.

Spa is on the same pump, with its own return and suction. I figured I would be going with a mostly low speed setting with intermittent high speed to run the in floor system, yes.

My main point of confusion is every pool place trying to sell me the VSF and acting like there is no such thing as a 3HP VS. They all seem to just stock the VSF and a 1.5HP superflo VS. When i point out the things I have read on here about the variable flow option being overkill and unecessary, they just say "no the VSF is what you want because you can set the exact flow etc etc.." I am struggling to understand the real world benefits of that sales pitch as opposed to a variable speed.
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
970
Arizona
Ourad
I will just convey my own personal thoughts on the VSF and only how I use it. My opinions are not necessarily based on any scientific data or liquid hydraulics "best practices".

1. I like the VSF because it gives me more options, especially related to my particular situations, pool and automation configurations.
2. I currently use a suction-side cleaner. When my automation is in it's "cleaner mode" and not in the "skimming mode", using GPM works very well for me. I have my GPM setting for that program finely tuned so that the cleaner has just enough suction to move around at its recommend wheel RPM (11-14 RPM). But doesn't climb out of the pool either. However, you must be aware of the following:

NOTE: When using the GPM mode, a pool owner must not allow the filter to "load up", because the pump will continue to increase its RPM to hold that set GPM. This is the most important thing to keep in mind when using GPM settings. Otherwise, as RPM continues to increase to hold that GPM setting (as the filter gets dirtier), your energy savings will continue to decrease. The solution here is just be mindful of this fact and keep your filter on the "clean" side. :)

3. It sounds like you have a "detached" spa configuration. I do as well, and I have no problems with the VSF in that respect.
4. I do NOT have an in-floor cleaning system, so I will leave that aspect alone. But my perception would be that it would cause some varying water flow challenges. Additionally, my perception is that the VSF would give you more options to deal with those challenges.

The last time I looked, you can purchase the VSF (011056) and the older model VS (011018) for exactly the same price ($999.95). The newer VS (011028) is about a hundred dollars more ($1,099.95).

So if you can purchase the VSF and the older VS for the same price, why wouldn't you opt for the pump that will give you the additional options?

I hope this is helpful.
Please take care.
r.
 
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