Recommendations/advisibility of changing from single speed pump to variable speed pump

swamprat69

Well-known member
Mar 30, 2019
600
Las Vegas, NV
Seems to be about time to replace my pump. Should I consider a variable speed as a viable option? As you can see from my signature, I think that my filter is oversized and that my pump at 2.5 HP is sized so that the in floor cleaning works correctly. The pump is run off an intermatic timer, but I am assuming that if I went to a variable speed that pump that control would transfer to the onboard pump controller. Would I actually gain any efficiency with a variable speed pump since I would guess that the in floor cleaning would have to run at maximum or near maximum pump speed in order to work correctly. The in floor cleaning seems to work very well as is and is useful in quick mixing when adding liquid chlorine and muriatic. Have had no problems with the water side of the 15 year old heater except having to replace water header O-ring for a leak and when I had the header off I did not notice any sign of excessive flow or scaling in the heat exchanger. If a variable speed is a viable option do you have any recommendations as to brand/size for reliablility ease of service?
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
17,715
Evans, Georgia
Hey there Swamprat... thanks for your service (y)

The law says you have to buy a VS pump now and I'm sure you can benefit from one. A large one gives you the option to run at a higher speed, say for your infloor system, while the lower speeds can allow you to run 24/7 at a fraction of energy use that now are using.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
23,522
Bedford, TX
SR,

There is not much of an advantage to buying a VS pump if it is run at high speeds most of the time..

That said, there is a huge advantage to a VS pump when run at low speeds.

The key for you is how long do you normally run your pump and what part of that time is for your IFCS??? Let's say you run your pump for 10 hours a day now.. If the IFCS cleans the pool in 3 hours, that means that you could be running at low speed for 7 hours.. In that scenario it would makes sense to go with a VS pump.

But, if it takes 7 hours for the IFCS to clean the pool, then you would not see much of an advantage to going with a VS pump.

Another thought is how much water does it really take to run your IFCS.. Right now, your 2.5 HP pump is running at full speed, but your IFCS might run just fine at half speed.. If true, then a VS pump would save you money.

If you decide to go with a VS pump, I would recommend the Pentair IntelliFlo, which is the gold standard of pool pumps.

Just for reference, I run my 3 HP IntelliFlo 24/7, most of the time at 1200 RPM for less than $20 bucks a month.. Easy for me as I have no IFCS or heater..

At that speed, it is so quiet that you have to almost touch the pump to make sure it is still running. Unfortunately, as full speed it is just as noisy as your current single speed pump. The good news for me is that I never need to run my pump anywhere close to full speed.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
44,864
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
FYI - Nevada Energy will provide a rebate if you get a VS pump. It must be purchased from an authorized dealer and installed by them. So if you planned to go DIY -- the rebate is not of use.
 

swamprat69

Well-known member
Mar 30, 2019
600
Las Vegas, NV
Not really sure how long the IFCS needs to run as the only options that I have for returns are for cleaning system or spa and I have the actuator covered and don't lift the lever on the lid to stop the cleaning action. I usually run the system 4-6 hrs overnight in the winter and about 8-10 hours in the summer, so I am not really sure about the minimum time needed for actual throrough cleaning. Also not sure about how the IFCS would react to running at a lower speed without lifting the actuator lever (covered with fake rock and secured to ground to help with UV deterioration, making it a pain to change with pump speed changes). Usually run with cleaning system return open and suction split between main and skimmer.
 

swamprat69

Well-known member
Mar 30, 2019
600
Las Vegas, NV
So I guess what I am asking is if there is any downside to running the IFCS at a lower speed without deactivating the acuator and then adjusting the pump speeds to find the minimum timing needed for the IFCS to do thorough cleaning?
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
23,522
Bedford, TX
SR,

What does the "Actuator" do???

I'm pretty sure that you can run an IFCS at lower speeds to just filter your pool water through the system.. I doubt it will "clean" well when running at a low RPM...

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

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mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
14,802
Pleasanton, CA
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
Seems to be about time to replace my pump. Should I consider a variable speed as a viable option?
You may not have a choice. Manufacturing of larger single and two speed pumps have been regulated out of existence so finding one at a decent price is getting more difficult. As old stock gets depleted, prices tend to go up and they are getting closer to a VS cost, if you can find one at that size.
 
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proavia

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Feb 6, 2015
2,566
Chandler AZ
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
You can run a VS pump at any speed while using an IFCS. The IFCS won't clean as well, but water will still circulate. You can determine the lowest speed to run the pump with the IFCS to get it to clean well. This will usually be several hundred rpm below max speed (3450 rpm). This saves electricity.

I believe the "actuator" is the IFCS water valve which cycles thru the different zones.

I run my VS pump 24/7. Two hours in the AM and two hours in the PM at 2900 rpm for cleaning, the other twenty hours it runs at 1100 rpm. For me, this provides adequate cleaning (four hours / day total) and also allows skimming at the lower speed. It costs me less than $20/month to run the pump 24/7.

My theory is running a VS 24/7 allows the unit to last longer by virtually eliminating the start/stop cycles (and associated wear and tear). My original Hayward Echostar (installed summer of 2012) lasted until late September of this year. It started making a screeching noise. The front bearing wore out - no seal leak though. Nine years on a 2012 version of the Echostar may be a record - especially given the electronic drive issues of these early Echostar pumps. I was able to trade just the motor out with an Echostar a neighbor had (his had the infamous drive error). Eventually, this unit will get traded out with a new Tristar VS.
 
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swamprat69

Well-known member
Mar 30, 2019
600
Las Vegas, NV
You can run a VS pump at any speed while using an IFCS. The IFCS won't clean as well, but water will still circulate. You can determine the lowest speed to run the pump with the IFCS to get it to clean well. This will usually be several hundred rpm below max speed (3450 rpm). This saves electricity.

I believe the "actuator" is the IFCS water valve which cycles thru the different zones.

I run my VS pump 24/7. Two hours in the AM and two hours in the PM at 2900 rpm for cleaning, the other twenty hours it runs at 1100 rpm. For me, this provides adequate cleaning (four hours / day total) and also allows skimming at the lower speed. It costs me less than $20/month to run the pump 24/7.

My theory is running a VS 24/7 allows the unit to last longer by virtually eliminating the start/stop cycles (and associated wear and tear). My original Hayward Echostar (installed summer of 2012) lasted until late September of this year. It started making a screeching noise. The front bearing wore out - no seal leak though. Nine years on a 2012 version of the Echostar may be a record - especially given the electronic drive issues of these early Echostar pumps. I was able to trade just the motor out with an Echostar a neighbor had (his had the infamous drive error). Eventually, this unit will get traded out with a new Tristar VS.
When I lived in Scottsdale (old Scottsdale) 2000-2005 I had an old (60s) pool that I had redone in pebbletec when rebar started showing through. Pool pad was in a shed. Is your pad exposed, and if so have you noticed any problems with equipment due to sun exposure? My pad is exposed but mostly gets any sun exposure in the AM as it is next to a north/south wall. Can you temporarily override the program to run a higher speed for cleaning when the occasional windy day blows a lot of junk into the pool? No Haboobs here! That was the only thing that made me regret having a pool in Phoenix (having to clean half of the Reservation out of the pool after a Haboob).
 

proavia

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Feb 6, 2015
2,566
Chandler AZ
Pool Size
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Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
My pool is 22 years old. The equipment was exposed to the sun daily until about 4pm until a couple years ago. My plumbing is painted and shows no signs of sun burn, except the paint is weathered a bit. I repainted the PVC pipes about 6 years ago. The pump, filter and Jandy valves show minor signs of fading but no other degradation. 2 years ago, I fabricated a cover out of sunscreen material. This certainly helps limit the sun exposure. You can build a frame out of PVC or light weight metal tubing and cover it with shade cloth. Do a search here for - equipment cover.

The control panel on a VS pump allows the present running program (on or off) to be temporarily overridden to change pump speeds or start/stop the pump. On the Hayward VS pumps, there are 4 programmable speed presets. Each press of one of these presets will run that speed for 30 minutes. Multiple presses of the same button will increase the run time by 30 minutes with each press. There is also a pause/stop button and a quick clean button - inaddition to the progtamming buttons. I would assume that the Pentair and other VS pumps have similar options.
 

swamprat69

Well-known member
Mar 30, 2019
600
Las Vegas, NV
My pool is 22 years old. The equipment was exposed to the sun daily until about 4pm until a couple years ago. My plumbing is painted and shows no signs of sun burn, except the paint is weathered a bit. I repainted the PVC pipes about 6 years ago. The pump, filter and Jandy valves show minor signs of fading but no other degradation. 2 years ago, I fabricated a cover out of sunscreen material. This certainly helps limit the sun exposure. You can build a frame out of PVC or light weight metal tubing and cover it with shade cloth. Do a search here for - equipment cover.

The control panel on a VS pump allows the present running program (on or off) to be temporarily overridden to change pump speeds or start/stop the pump. On the Hayward VS pumps, there are 4 programmable speed presets. Each press of one of these presets will run that speed for 30 minutes. Multiple presses of the same button will increase the run time by 30 minutes with each press. There is also a pause/stop button and a quick clean button - inaddition to the progtamming buttons. I would assume that the Pentair and other VS pumps have similar options.
TYVM for the input(y)
 
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