Our house and pool were built in late 1999, so the equipment was getting pretty dated. I had told my wife, “the next time the pool pump has a problem I’m going to replace it with one of those high efficiency pumps.” Well, it happened. The pool motor quit…again. I seem to buy a new pool motor about every 3 years and I’ve been buying the last two or three Advantage pump motors from PoolBargains.com. Perhaps should’ve been paying a lot more for a motor, but I don’t think it would make much difference as we live in Texas and the heat is just plain hard on a motor. The last one just quit in a humming mode. It’s probably just a starting capacitor, but it didn’t matter…I was upgrading!
Let me just start by saying this is what I was going for…a web-based controller for my pool that I could control from just about anywhere…and it’s exactly what I ended up with.
See how cool this is? I’ve gone from a Hayward Super II 2hp single speed pump, sucking about 2400 watts, to a Pentair Intelliflo VF which, at 35 gallons per minute (GPM), is running about 600 watts. I will divulge that I purchased the Intelliflo at PoolSupplyWorld.com for about $1130. The upgrade for the Jandy Aqualink RS, the IQ900-RS, was also purchased at PoolSupplyWorld for about $480 (they’ve since gone up to about $531 at the time of this writing). Currently our electric rate is about $0.09/KWH (Kilowatt Hour) and I run the pump for about 14 hours/day. This equates to .6 KWH * 14 = 8.4KWH * $0.09 = $0.756/day. With 30 days in a month, that would be $22.68 and with 365 days in a year, it would equate to $275.94. That compares with $1103.76/year for the 2400 watt pump, running the same time. However, the old pump I would only run 12 hours/day in the summer and 8 hours in the winter, so let’s split the difference and say 10 hours/day. That would still be $788.40/year at $0.09/KWH. I know our rate in the past has been closer to 13-14¢ per kilowatt-hour (it’s gone down recently due to the declining price of natural gas). So, that still comes out to over $1100/year, so I ‘m looking at a savings of $1100-$275=$825/year. Even at 9¢, it’s a savings over $500. Very reasonable to have payback in about two years.
I was asking a pool guy about the difference between the Intelliflo VS and the VF…something I was having a hard time understanding from reading about them. What he told me was, while they both have variable speeds, everything on the VF is based on actual flow rates. That is, they measure the actual flow and the controller tells you, very accurately, how much water is flowing instead of simply a speed from which you might calculate the flow. This allows you to “tweak” the settings on the pump very easily to find the optimum flow rate for your pool. Based on my limited knowledge of fluid dynamics (it’s been a long time since I was in college), as soon as you get turbulent flow in your pipes, you start to lose efficiency due to the increased “resistance” caused by trying to force too much water through a certain diameter pipe. So, the main takeaway from my experience is the VF will display the actual flow rate in gallons per minute (as well as the speed), while the VS will simply display the speed. If you have a water feature it’s pretty easy to gauge the change in flow rates, but I really like knowing the flow rate in gpm.
In fact, when you manually set up the pump using its integrated controls, you tell it the number of gallons in your pool and the number of times you want the pump to turn over the water in a day. It will then calculate the speed/flow rate of the pump and adjust it accordingly. While that certainly is neat, it all goes out the window when you connect the Jandy to the Intelliflo. On the Jandy iAqualink system, when you set up the VSP (variable speed pump), you’ll notice you set the speed, not the actual flow rate or gallons and desired turnovers. Not a big deal, since you can see by the previous status screen you can easily read the power consumption (watts) and the pump flow rate and RPM.
Overall, I’m liking the setup, especially the ability to control it from anywhere via a computer. It certainly makes it easier to set up compared with using the dedicated controller in the kitchen. Perhaps those with a complete Pentair system might comment on how the pump works with a complete Pentair system.