Pentair IntelliFlo or SuperFlo?

GJB

Member
Mar 17, 2017
9
San Diego, CA
Experts,

This is my first post on this forum so go easy ;) I just bought a house with a 15K gallon inground pool and spa and am looking to replace the aging single speed ¾ HP Whisperflo that’s currently in there. Two reasons behind my thinking; the cost of power here in So Cal on Tier 2 rate (~0.40kwh) and the noise. As an added bonus SDG&E are giving a $200 rebate. Currently looking at Pentair since all of the pool equipment (Spa Jet pump, DE Filter, MiniMax Heater) is Pentair and thus would like it to match. The two models I’m thinking about are the IntelliFlo VS 011018 ($898) or SuperFlo VS 342001 ($699) and I’m hoping that you good folks might be able to suggest the correct course of action. It seems that for 200 bucks more I can get a pump that is capable of 8 speeds vs the 3 and more HP. It’s also supposed to be up to 90% more efficient vs the 80% on the SuperFlo. Both seem to respond to automation (I don’t have any currently just a small timer) so I’m future proofed there but can’t quite figure out if it’s worth an extra 200 bucks for the flexibility of 8 speeds and a Max HP of 3. I can’t imagine that I need 3 HP although I do have 2” piping but maybe 8 speeds give an added flexibility in cost savings down the road? Anyone have any experience with these pumps or any recommendations on which way to go and thanks for your time!

Best
GJB

P.S. Learnt tons about pools from this forum this last month – Invaluable! J
 

CJadamec

TFP Expert
Apr 29, 2016
2,272
Quaker Hill, CT
Its up to you either pump will work. The amount of preset speeds won't matter to you all that much without automation. Make sure to apply for the power company rebate for switching to a VS pump.
 

pooldv

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 10, 2012
25,179
FL panhandle
Welcome to TFP!

Each of the 3 speeds can be set to any speed you want. Most folks only use 2 or 3 speeds anyway. The Superflo is plenty of pump for you and it is very efficient.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
11,467
Bedford, TX
GJB,

Welcome to TFP... A Great resource for all your pool and pump questions... :testkit:


Both pumps may respond to automation, but in a very different ways.. The Intelliflo is designed to be controlled by Pentair automation via a serial cable. With automation you can set the pump to whatever speed you want. The quoted 8 speeds is really only used when the pump is not being controlled by automation. If you are even thinking about automation, then this is the pump for you.

The Superflo pump is really designed to be a standalone pump, but does have a pretty clumsy way that you can connect it to any automation system that has four unused relays. In this case, you can select 4 speeds and then as the relays close they enable one of the four speeds. Basically this then makes your variable speed pump into a 4-speed pump.

Don't let the 3 HP throw you off. It matters little as it is the max HP rating, something you will not be using most of the time. I have a couple of these running at rent houses with 1.5" plumbing and there is just not any problems.

Cost wise, I can run an Intelliflo, at 1,200 RPM, 24/7, for less than $20 bucks a month...

Noise??? When running at 1,200 RPM I almost have to touch the pump to make sure it is still running..

Not that I am biased of course..... :cool:

Thanks for posting,

Jim R.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
13,360
The IntelliFlo will be quieter at the same flow rate because it runs at a lower rpm for the same flow rate.

VS pumps are TEFC (Totally Enclosed Fan Cooled). They have a back mounted fan. At full speed, the fan can get loud. At lower speeds, the pump is super quiet.
 

GJB

Member
Mar 17, 2017
9
San Diego, CA
Thanks for the quick replies. I really appreciate the input. It sounds like that I can't go wrong with either pump but if I want to plan for automation then the IntelliFlow is the winner. The Intelliflow may also be slighter quieter at the slower speeds given it can shift the same amount of water at a lower RPM than the smaller pump just because its well bigger! I'm not sure either benefit really warrants the extra 200 notes though. Do you know if its the same motor technology in both? They both say they are the TEFC technology and I feel like I'm leaning toward the SuperFlo since I'm not sure I'll ever get the 200 dollar benefit out of the IntelliFlo....
 

pooldv

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 10, 2012
25,179
FL panhandle
They both have similar efficiency. Folks on TFP run their Intelliflo at 1100-1200 rpm and it uses 150-170 wattts. And folks running the Superflo at similar speeds use similar watts.

Yes, the Intelliflo will integrate better into Pentair automation. But, the Superflo will integrate reasonably well into any automation offering speed selection via relays. To be able to select speeds via relays in other brands of automation the Intelliflo requires Intellicomm.
 

CJadamec

TFP Expert
Apr 29, 2016
2,272
Quaker Hill, CT
The motors are basically the same not exactly the same but very close. I'm very happy with my superflo and there is very little chance you would ever recoup the 200 extra premium for the more expensive pump in electricity savings. The intelliflo is more efficient but not by enough to matter in your situation.

If you end up with either one of these pumps you should add a surge suppressor to your pool electrical panel to help protect the electronic drive in the pump. It should be installed as close to the pump as practical. The HEPD80 from square D is readily available and offers a lot of protection for its cost.
 

Sammy2

Well-known member
Aug 30, 2016
378
Riverside, CA
Yes.. I ran some numbers on these two pumps and at the electricity rates in my area it was out in year 11 or 12 that the IntelliFlo actually beats the SuperFlo on cost due to it's slightly higher efficiency. This analysis did not include the additional cost I would incur to incorporate either pump into my automation system but that up front cost is less with the SuperFlo so that makes the break even point out even farther than 11 or 12 years. By that time it will be time to replace the pump I would think anyhow and most likely a re-do of the automation would be in order as well.
 

GJB

Member
Mar 17, 2017
9
San Diego, CA
Thanks again all. I'm thinking of shooting for the SuperFlo for all the reasons stated above. Plus this online store has it 50 bucks cheaper than Amazon with free shipping http://www.hydropool.com/cgi-bin/hydro/item/Swimming-Pool-Pumps/Pentair-SuperFlo-VS-Variable-Speed-Pool-Pump-15-HP-115v-230v/342001.html

I've read on some other posts about the surge protector recommendation. Do you think if its installed on the main panel it will be adequate or should it be dedicated to the pool sub panel? I see you note that it should be installed as close to the pump as practical. For the 100 bucks it be great if I can get it to protect across the whole system. I could see though that the pool panel taking some level of fluctuations when the pumps start up etc. outside of the other circuits in the house.
 

GJB

Member
Mar 17, 2017
9
San Diego, CA
That is my thinking Sammy and with my simple pool setup I'm not going to get any of the "advanced" benefits! :) What speed do you folks run your pump at for Circulation and Sweeping? I appreciate every pool is different but I'm guessing there are some rough guidelines based on peoples experiences...I think I read on another post no slower than 900 RPM...
 

CJadamec

TFP Expert
Apr 29, 2016
2,272
Quaker Hill, CT
For the surge protection to protect the pump it should be in the pool panel. Having it in you main house panel will offer some protection but not nearly as much as having it closer to the pump. That's not to say you cant put one in both panels. I had one installed in my main house panel before I built my pool because all of my major appliances have VFD motors and electronic controls. When I put the pool panel in I put a second surge suppressor in out at that panel specifically to protect the pump.
 

Sammy2

Well-known member
Aug 30, 2016
378
Riverside, CA
Thanks again all. I'm thinking of shooting for the SuperFlo for all the reasons stated above. Plus this online store has it 50 bucks cheaper than Amazon with free shipping http://www.hydropool.com/cgi-bin/hydro/item/Swimming-Pool-Pumps/Pentair-SuperFlo-VS-Variable-Speed-Pool-Pump-15-HP-115v-230v/342001.html

I've read on some other posts about the surge protector recommendation. Do you think if its installed on the main panel it will be adequate or should it be dedicated to the pool sub panel? I see you note that it should be installed as close to the pump as practical. For the 100 bucks it be great if I can get it to protect across the whole system. I could see though that the pool panel taking some level of fluctuations when the pumps start up etc. outside of the other circuits in the house.
$640 shipped but you and they are in California so there'll be sales tax. Upside is you'll get it sooner from Semi Valley than from Maryland.

I never knew I needed external surge protection for the new VS Pump I just got. Why is this necessary?
 

Rollercoastr

Gold Supporter
May 18, 2016
811
West Bloomfield, MI
While my pool is covered, I'm only using two speeds on my SuperFlo: 1,200 for daily circulation and 2,800 (programmed to the Quick Clean button) for heating, vacuumimg, swimming and add chems. I plan to program 2,200 to a button to use for skimming/circulation when the cover is off.

Comments above about noise level are spot-on. My new pump HOWLS at full-bore. It really surprised me how much louder it is than my antique single-speed, but at 1,200 I can barely hear it. I can't hear it if a nearby water heater is firing.
 

CJadamec

TFP Expert
Apr 29, 2016
2,272
Quaker Hill, CT
I never knew I needed external surge protection for the new VS Pump I just got. Why is this necessary?
The surge protector is the same idea for the pump electronics as plugging your home PC into a surge protected power strip. The one I referenced will give a level of surge protection to the entire electrical panel it's connected to. You can get electric surges from a number of sources and these surges can damage the electronics driving a VS pump the same way they can a computer or other home electronics you would normally plug in to a surge protector strip.

You don't need a panel mount surge protector for your pump to work, nor is a guarantee that your pump motor wont fail, but compared the cost of replacing the motor on a VS pump its cheap insurance against surges.
 

Sammy2

Well-known member
Aug 30, 2016
378
Riverside, CA
So do you put it in the pool panel between the breaker and the pump motor? We don't have too many surges here to my knowledge. I have my PC and sensitive electronics in my Family Room on UPS with surge protection and the only time it logs a surge is when I use the printer which sends a decent surge but only to the same circuit because the other two UPS' in the house don't respond at all. We have pretty stable power and don't get electrical storms very often here but I suppose is all it takes is one surge to blow the circuitry on the VFD. BTW, all our lines are buried so lightning strikes to a pole near us is basically impossible.

Pentair doesn't mention anything about this in their manual and I have a 5 page thread about selecting the right pump for me where it wasn't brought up so I'm wondering if it is internally protected?
 

CJadamec

TFP Expert
Apr 29, 2016
2,272
Quaker Hill, CT
The surges that shorten the life of electronics you will never see or notice. They can be as short as half a cycle ( 60hz power is 1/60th of a second per cycle). Having buried utility lines is nice but it wont prevent lightning that is striking the ground from generating surges in them. I operate a power plant and trust me when I tell you it doesn't take a direct hit to the lines from lightning to generate a line surge.
 

Sammy2

Well-known member
Aug 30, 2016
378
Riverside, CA
Agreed. I understand. It is basically an inductive current sent down the line. I'm contemplating this now for sure but does the one you linked get installed in the panel after the breaker for the pump? It looks like it may go in a knock out and protrude out the side of the panel though. Thanks.
 

Sammy2

Well-known member
Aug 30, 2016
378
Riverside, CA
As I understand it a typical 20 amp breaker has a fault current rating of 10kva but a lightning strike can venture up to 10 times that with 80Kva being about 95% of what can occur so an additional surge protector rated orders of magnitude higher than the AIC of the breaker to protect from higher surges.

Maybe I'm not even close!?
 

GJB

Member
Mar 17, 2017
9
San Diego, CA
Are you thinking that a breaker will trip and protect the pump when the surge is over 10Kva Sammy? If that's true than then 80Kva surge protector doesn't necessarily help? I don't know the answer by the way just trying to understand what you wrote...Hopefully CJ will know. I suspect if that was true there would be no need for protectors since the breakers would protect the circuits. Don't know if they can trip in the time frame that CJ mentioned above though.

On another note. One thing I did not think about with the pump choice. The spa is actually raised up above the pool. I would say maybe 3 ft between the top of the waterline of the spa and the top of the pools waterline. Normal operation has the return water mostly going to the pool but with maybe 10% going back to the spa to keep it refreshed. It overflows back into the pool down the tile. Will the smaller pump be OK with that requirement? I mean at the lower RPM's for circulation and thus power savings.
 

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