New versions of Pentair Superflo and Maxflo pumps

Feb 21, 2014
4
Santa Barbara, CA
#1
All,

I wanted to share some interesting info I found out about the Pentair Superflo/Supermax variable speed pumps. It seems that the design has been recently revised. The new pumps (P/N 342001 and 343001) have a much nicer user interface and can display power consumption, which are nice features. The older pumps (P/N 342000 and 343000) are the most efficient available at my intended operating point, according to the MAS985 spreadsheet. The prices are pretty good, too, so I was all set to order one of the new pumps when I had a look at the energystar database:

https://data.energystar.gov/Active-Specifications/ENERGY-STAR-Certified-Pool-Pumps/2ppn-v3hp?

, which now lists both the new and old pumps. The numbers for the old pumps are consistent with the numbers I got from the MAS985 spreadsheet, but for the new pumps they are much worse. I had assumed that only the control panel had changed, but it looks like the efficiency has gone from class leading to lousy. Interestingly, one of the other observable differences in the photos of the pumps is that the new ones have cooling fins on the motor, seemingly to get rid of the heat from all of the wasted power.
I suppose it is possible that the fine folks at the federal government have somehow messed up the data, and it seems incredible that Pentair would have screwed the pooch this badly. But they have had ample time to complain and get the numbers corrected.
So now I am thinking of getting the Hayward Tristar VS, which has efficiency similar to the old Superflo according to the energystar data. BTW, there is a tristar VS in the MAS985 spreadsheet which is not very good, but it has a different model number than the one available now. I was not able to find any other info on that pump, but I have concluded that the tristar line is moving toward higher efficiency over time, unlike the Pentair guys.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,126
Pleasanton, CA
#2
Exactly how you comparing the two pumps? The newer pump is a higher THP pump and so will deliver higher flow rates at higher wattage but that doesn't mean it is less efficient. All pumps have this characteristic. So when you compare two VS pumps, it is important to compare them at the same flow rates and not the same RPM. I don't have the newer pump in the database yet so you have to would have to do the interpolation/extrapolation yourself. I will update the database when I have some time but I suspect the pumps have similar efficiency at similar flow rates.
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,879
Silver Spring, MD
#3
The Energy STAR data has a "Most Efficient Speed" listing for each of the pumps. If that means what it appears to mean, it does show the xx0 models as far more energy efficient (measured as gallons per watt at best speed) compared to the xx1 models for all three of the plumbing curves at their individual most efficient speeds. One thing to keep in mind is that those "most efficient speeds" are at very low flow rates, 6-12 GPM for the xx0 models. Those are lower rates than you would want to use with most pools. At more practical flow rates the pumps are much closer in efficiency, and it is not clear from the Energy STAR data which is best in the 20 to 40 GPM range without additional calculations.
 
Feb 21, 2014
4
Santa Barbara, CA
#4
I just looked at the flow and power consumption at 600 rpm for Curve A conditions, since they have seen fit to include data for two speeds that in fact no one is likely to actually use. But I like the really low speed data because it looks like some pumps have a good deal of overhead that dominates the consumption at really low speed.
Annoyingly, they have chosen slightly different rpms for the new and old Superflo pumps. But the new pump, at 10% higher rpm, flows 20% less for Curve A conditions, and dissipates 4x as much power. Um, according to this data. At max speed, the new pump flows 10% more while dissipating 30% more, so I think it makes sense to call them equal efficiency here because the power is supposed to go as the cube of the flow rate. For the new Superflo, they also included a 300 rpm data point, which is silly but interesting because the power dissipation is still 57W, exactly what you would expect if the motor drive circuitry eats 50-55W just for being on. Looking at the data for other pumps, a lot of them seem to have strangely high dissipation at really low speeds.
I admit that there is little evidence to support the EPA Omniscience Theory, but I am reluctant to take a chance that the data is wrong. At any sane operating point, the extra power dissipation is minor, but it is still $10 a month or so for 24h operation.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,126
Pleasanton, CA
#5
I think think the "Most Efficient Speed" is the best out of those measured (usually three) which may not be the best speed overall. If you interpolate the data (cubic fit), there are other speeds that could be better. But again, you cannot compare the two SuperFlo models at the same RPM. You need to compare them at the same GPM for a fair comparison.

But why would you want to run a pump 24hr a day. Just a waste IMHO.
 
Feb 21, 2014
4
Santa Barbara, CA
#6
Yeah, but the new pumps flow 8 vs 10 gpm for the old, while the power dissipation is 79 vs 20. So clearly something is amiss if the data re correct.
My takeaway is that the third order fit should not have a zero intercept if you care about low speeds.
I would like to run 24h because it should offer best efficiency if the pump isn't using 50+W just to be on.
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,879
Silver Spring, MD
#7
There is no point in running the pump 24 hours a day in a residential pool. Even at the lowest possible speeds four to eight hours of pump run time are sufficient. Many people get mixed up by one of the old rules of thumb that specifies at least one turnover a day. This rule is based on commercial pools, and has never applied to residential pools.

Also, all pumps draw so small amount of power simply due to being on, even before they start moving any water. Due to this the efficiency always falls off at the lowest possible speeds. The ideal speed for energy efficiency varies from pump to pump, but is often around 1000 RPM, with flow rates well about the 6-12 GPM the Energy STAR data suggests.

All variable speed pumps become less efficient as the amount of water moved goes up, as long as you are at or above the most energy efficient speed. Because of this it never makes any sense to compare pump efficiency at anything but matched flow rates, or alternatively at their ideal flow rate (which is almost never known). Comparing different flow rates (other than ideal) will give you wildly incorrect results.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,126
Pleasanton, CA
#8
Yeah, but the new pumps flow 8 vs 10 gpm for the old, while the power dissipation is 79 vs 20. So clearly something is amiss if the data re correct.
My takeaway is that the third order fit should not have a zero intercept if you care about low speeds.
This I agree with. The 342000 has a lower/flatter head curve while the 342001 has a steeper/higher header curve so it should be slightly less efficient at the same flow rates as the 000.


I would like to run 24h because it should offer best efficiency if the pump isn't using 50+W just to be on.
This I don't agree with. Even if the lowest speed was the most efficient, it still doesn't mean you need to run 24 hr.
 
Feb 21, 2014
4
Santa Barbara, CA
#9
Thanks for the comments on turnover. I just realized that even at 10 gpm I would get about .5 turnover in 24 hours. Right now I am getting .5-.7 depending on whether I am using the solar panels, and the water sure doesn't need to be any clearer. I wonder if the square law dependance between head loss and flow rate goes away at really low flow rates because check valves start to close.

The savings keep piling up, compared to my single speed pump that is costing me close to $100/month...
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,126
Pleasanton, CA
#10
Spring loaded check valves do not have a constant plumbing curve so the plumbing curve does increase some at lower flow rates because of a smaller orifice. However, flow rate is not all that material. What really matters is if the skimmers and cleaner are doing their job.
 

ewiesmei

New member
May 5, 2015
3
poway/ca
#11
All,

I wanted to share some interesting info I found out about the Pentair Superflo/Supermax variable speed pumps. It seems that the design has been recently revised. The new pumps (P/N 342001 and 343001) have a much nicer user interface and can display power consumption, which are nice features. The older pumps (P/N 342000 and 343000) are the most efficient available at my intended operating point, according to the MAS985 spreadsheet. The prices are pretty good, too, so I was all set to order one of the new pumps when I had a look at the energystar database:

https://data.energystar.gov/Active-Specifications/ENERGY-STAR-Certified-Pool-Pumps/2ppn-v3hp?

, which now lists both the new and old pumps. The numbers for the old pumps are consistent with the numbers I got from the MAS985 spreadsheet, but for the new pumps they are much worse. I had assumed that only the control panel had changed, but it looks like the efficiency has gone from class leading to lousy. Interestingly, one of the other observable differences in the photos of the pumps is that the new ones have cooling fins on the motor, seemingly to get rid of the heat from all of the wasted power.
I suppose it is possible that the fine folks at the federal government have somehow messed up the data, and it seems incredible that Pentair would have screwed the pooch this badly. But they have had ample time to complain and get the numbers corrected.
So now I am thinking of getting the Hayward Tristar VS, which has efficiency similar to the old Superflo according to the energystar data. BTW, there is a tristar VS in the MAS985 spreadsheet which is not very good, but it has a different model number than the one available now. I was not able to find any other info on that pump, but I have concluded that the tristar line is moving toward higher efficiency over time, unlike the Pentair guys.
did you ever get any more info on the new pumps? I'd really like to purchase a 342001 but couldn't get anything out of pentair r.e. this efficiency issue - if not, what did you wind up going with?
 

robinasu

Active member
Jun 24, 2014
38
CA
#12
did you ever get any more info on the new pumps? I'd really like to purchase a 342001 but couldn't get anything out of pentair r.e. this efficiency issue - if not, what did you wind up going with?
I saw this disparity, too. Did anyone figure it out or buy the pump and measure it?
 

edrrt

New member
May 2, 2017
1
san francisco CA
#13
Did anyone ever figure this out? My dealer has both the new version and the old version for basically the same price. All of the energy star information that I can find lists the old version as almost three times the efficiency of the new one. I hate to pay the same price for such an old piece of technology at this point considering it's from 2010 but is it really more efficient? I called the company today and they had no explanation, they said the new one is actually higher horsepower pump that is down rated.