Pump replacement question: Variable speed pumps for above ground pools??

OHcabanaboy

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2016
87
Delphos, OH
My old single speed pump was on its last legs when I pulled it last fall. I have been doing a lot of reading on variable speed pumps and I'm not finding anything listed for AGP's. I have found several sites that state an IG pump can't (or shouldn't) be used for an AGP. I have seen several 2 speed pumps listed for AGP's but have yet to see any variable speed listed for AGP.
Any advice from the pro's here would be appreciated!
 
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OHcabanaboy

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2016
87
Delphos, OH
For what it's worth, I found a Hayward VS 300 for AGP's. Looking for others. This model must be new on the market. I called a few stores that are Hayward dealers and they said Hayward doesn't make a VSP for AGP's . I gave them the model and product number and suggested they call Hayward to verify. So far this is the only variable speed I have found for AGP's. I will pass along more info as I find it.
 
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CJadamec

TFP Expert
Apr 29, 2016
2,390
Quaker Hill, CT
Any VS pump, or any "in ground" pump, will work with an above ground pool.

The only thing that makes a pump and "in ground pump" is that it is self priming. This allows the pump to be mounted above the surface of the pool.

With above ground pools the pump is mounted below the water level in the pool so it doesn't have to self prime. A non priming pump is cheaper to make.

I've had a superflo pump on my pool since day one and it has been great.
 
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OHcabanaboy

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2016
87
Delphos, OH
Good Info and exactly what I was hoping for! Someone using one to chime in. All of my research online comes up with "You can't use an in ground pump for an above ground pool" and the calls I have made to pool stores end with the same statement. It would be nice to have more here with VSP's on an AGP chime in.
The thing that is confusing to me is why a pool store would tell me that it shouldn't be used on my pool and try to sell me a cheaper pump when I'm calling about a pump costing $800 or more?
 

CJadamec

TFP Expert
Apr 29, 2016
2,390
Quaker Hill, CT
Because pool store employees often have no idea how a pump works. They just read what the box says.

They also have to deal with an un-educated customer base that often has no idea what they want or need for a pool. Let alone how any of it works.

There are lots of us here with VS pumps in above ground pools. More often than not it's those of us with heaters and or solar panels. Also those using SWGs. 2-speed pumps don't always move enough water on low speed to make all the add on equipment work. Running on high speed wastes electricity and moves too much water for a lot of that equipment.

That's the whole point of a VS pump is to move only the water you need to move and to do it with as little energy as possible.

Just a few years ago the cheapest VS pumps were around 650 if you bought online and did your own install. That's a steep price to pay to save some electricity.

Even if doing a full pump replacement or buying all new equipment there was a solid 200-400 price premium for a VS pump for an above ground pool.

Prices have come down quite a bit and now you can find some VS pumps as low as 400 which starts to make them a much more tempting option to a lot of homeowners.

As for which one to get, virtually any of the VS pool pumps that are 1.5 to 2 hp will work on any above ground pool. On low speed of around 1000-1200 rpm they will move plenty of water and only consume around 110 watts of power to run. That less than 1/10 the power a typical single speed "above ground" pump uses to move roughly the same amount of water.
 

CJadamec

TFP Expert
Apr 29, 2016
2,390
Quaker Hill, CT
Is your pump 120V or 240v?

Many AGP pumps are 120V while most inground pumps are 240V.
You can easily find a VS pump that will work on 110 or 220 volt power. My superflo pump runs on both. The smaller VS pumps more often than not run on both now to increase the number of pools they will work with.
 

OHcabanaboy

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2016
87
Delphos, OH
I've been doing a lot of looking and it seems the 120v choices are limited in variable speed (Pentair was the only 120v rated pump I've found so far). 240V... sky is the limit! I'm looking at a Blue Torrent 1.5 HP for $359 shipped vs a 2 speed AquaPro 1.5 HP for $299. The plug and play of the AquaPro using 120 or 240 is attractive but the potential savings of the VS pump is attractive for $60 more but there's going to be some extra work on my part. I'm considering doing some piping work too with a bigger eye to get more flow to use my C4025 filter to it's fullest potential. The filter is capable of 150 gpm flow. I know I'm not getting to that flow with my pool setup but I'd like to get more flow to better use my filter setup.
Any thoughts?
 

CJadamec

TFP Expert
Apr 29, 2016
2,390
Quaker Hill, CT
Lower flow and slower moving water uses your filter better than shoving the maximum amount of water it can handle through it.

Your goal of increasing water flow will do the opposite of what you want it to do in terms of using your filter better.

Multispeed pumps save you money by running them as slow as possible.
 

OHcabanaboy

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2016
87
Delphos, OH
Lower flow and slower moving water uses your filter better than shoving the maximum amount of water it can handle through it.

Your goal of increasing water flow will do the opposite of what you want it to do in terms of using your filter better.

Multispeed pumps save you money by running them as slow as possible.
Yep! Found that right after I posted the comment. Everything I have read has stated the goal is to cycle the pool in an 8-10 hour period. Looks like for my pool between 30-40 gpm would do the trick. Still trying to decide if I want to change the pump wiring for 240V or just go with a 2 speed 120v pump. Still haven't seen any variable speeds other than the Pentair that can run on either. Problem is, the Pentair is a bit "spendy" vs a 2 speed pump.
 

OHcabanaboy

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2016
87
Delphos, OH
Excluding here on TFP -- Turnover is a myth.

Read Pump Run time
Just when you think you're getting a grip on things.... :)
I have always started my pump at about 8 a.m and shut it down around 10 p.m. add chlorine to bring FC up to desired level in the evening which gives about 4 hours of pump run time. Seems like the rest of the day is just cleanup and keeping the bugs from collecting on the surface!
 

gonfishin

Gold Supporter
Jun 13, 2017
329
Rochester, MN
I'm trying to decide on VS vs 2-speed pump right now, too. I found this Amazon.com : Hayward SP2303VSP MaxFlo VS Variable-Speed Pool Pump : Garden & Outdoor in addition to the Pentair VS which will work on 110. I know I don't need to keep the water moving 24 hours a day, but I like to keep the water circulating so surfact crud goes into the skimmer rather than becoming water logged and ending up on the bottom. I'd like a VS I could run at lowest setting for most of the day and only crank it up for manual vacuuming or heating the water (if it's needed by my heat pump).

I was going to start a thread with opinions as to pros & cons of the 2 pumps since they are similarly priced (at least on Amazon).
 

OHcabanaboy

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2016
87
Delphos, OH
I'm trying to decide on VS vs 2-speed pump right now, too. I found this Amazon.com : Hayward SP2303VSP MaxFlo VS Variable-Speed Pool Pump : Garden & Outdoor in addition to the Pentair VS which will work on 110. I know I don't need to keep the water moving 24 hours a day, but I like to keep the water circulating so surfact crud goes into the skimmer rather than becoming water logged and ending up on the bottom. I'd like a VS I could run at lowest setting for most of the day and only crank it up for manual vacuuming or heating the water (if it's needed by my heat pump).

I was going to start a thread with opinions as to pros & cons of the 2 pumps since they are similarly priced (at least on Amazon).
I have been reading a lot here about variable speed pumps and the Pentair Superflo seems to be highly regarded. The only negative I have found on this site is that it doesn't work with automation. Some of the negative reviews on Amazon mention the 3 yr warranty on the Pentair is void unless installed by a "professional". The negative for me is $680. I can afford it... but I can't see how it possibly lowers energy consumption enough to overcome the cost differential between it and a good 2 speed pump.

On a side note: The Blue Torrent variable speed I found is a refurbished unit.

On the 2 speed front: I'm looking at an AquaPro 2 speed 115v for $299... or better than half the cost of the Pentair pump.
 

OHcabanaboy

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2016
87
Delphos, OH
Just to update: I have pretty much zeroed in on a 2 speed rather than variable. I found a calculator that estimates energy use and the 115 volt pump operating at 3.5 amps would cost about $22/mo to operate. The calculation breaks down like this Volts x Amps / 1000 = KWh take that times the estimated daily run time gives you daily Kwh. Multiply the daily Kwh by the cost per Kwh gives you cost per day. I multiplied by 356 days then divided by 12 months.
In my case: 115v x 3.5a=402.5 divided by 1000 = .4025 times 14 = 5.635 times cost per Kwh .13 (for me) = .7325 per day times 365 and divide by 12.

I ran the numbers on a variable speed at the amperage for the speed I thought I'd use the most and the savings wasn't enough for me to spend the extra $300.

Just in case I got that wrong, here's where the calculation came from How To Calculate the Cost of Running A Pool Pump - INYOPools.com