pumps and energy consumption

August 11, 2008

I'm trying to get my ducks in a row for when my pool contractor comes out to sit down to go over all the equipment. In my looking to upgrade to the intelliflo, I started playing around with this calculator.

I was trying to use it to compare the energy cost of a 1/2 HP to a 1 HP. My thinking is this would be reprsentative of a 2 speed pump. However, the 1/2 HP run cost more than the 1 HP run, all other variables being equal (15k gallons, $.14 per kWh and 1 turn per day. I thought the whole idea is to reduce the HP (lower speed), run longer and reduce energy due to non linear current reduction?? This calculator doesnt seem to show that.

I'm really torn between upgrading to the intelliflo, a 2 speed or just the standard 1 HP that is being offered with the pool.

Here is a link that might be useful: energy calculator

Comments (150)

  • flchad

    Racket - "Your builder was ripping you off on the $1600 for 2 variable speed pumps against 2 speed pumps. The difference on a wholesale level is about $250 per pump."

    Are you saying here the upgrade cost to go from a 2 speed to the VF is $250 dollars? If so, WOW, are the retailers (or somebody) putting the screws to us. A typical 2 speed pump is around $600. The VS is around $825 and the VF is around $1200. These are web prices. I hope you're not saying the wholesale cost to go from 2 speed to VF is really $250, where retailers are charging closer to $600 in cost difference.

    IMO - the builders want to mark up the equipment on you, above and beyond the cost difference, if you upgrade. I think this is poor business practice and greedy. PB should make the money on the pool build, not double charging for equipment. It costs the same to install a single speed or an intelliflo, so labor isnt a factor either.

    Luckily, I was thinking enough to write in the $500 for the VF on the contract, but I didnt have that much foresight on the automation (didnt think I wanted it at the time of contract) and had to go through some pains to not get totally hosed on that upgrade...and still paid more than what I honeslty thought was fair (which is the cost difference in equipment).

  • deeker

    As I have mentioned I do work Pentair and I do enjoy the board and have learned many things from the posts by homeowners on this board.I will take information from the board, learn from it and try to keep you informed with answers as we move forward.

    The bad thing about this board is someone can write anything and give out bad information. My own personnal opinion is trthought has motives to continue to hump jandy products. He says he does not work for them but reading through his posts it appears to me that he does But I will take him at his word twhen he says he does not.

    I do want to clear up how 2 speeds and IntelliFlo's work on solar and highlight the differences.

    Here is how the solar systems work with 2-speed and IntelliFlo pumps with automation ( SunTouch, EZ or IntelliTouch).
    The pump is wired thru a 2-speed relay and then the system is told it has a 2-speed pump. When solar sensor (on the roof) senses a diferential between hot air tempature and current water tempature, the solar valve is told to open. At the same time, the controller automatically turns the 2-speed pump to HIGH. It runs HIGH the entire time solar is active. Low speed is half speed/half flow and not enough to lift solar water to the roof. It always runs on HIGH. The 2-speed pump is only about 60% efficient on HIGH speed.

    You set the Intelliflo at whatever speed or flow you need to fill the solar panels ( usually just 3-5 gallons per panel) Averge Calif. solar has 8 panels so you only need 40 gpm. As solar sensor tells solar valve to open, IntelliFlo immediately ramps up to the speed/flow you programmed...does not go to full speed of 3450 rpm. The IntelliFlo is 90% minimum efficiency always...40 % savings if matching flow vs 2-speed. In most cases solar installs are needing 2700-3000 rpms...not full speed.
    Best way to determine proper speed/flow is to run your solar until the air bubbles stop coming back in the return lines...this means that the solar drain vacuum breaker on the roof is closed shut and solar is running properly.
    IntelliFlo is the best pump for solar! You can custom any job to be efficient regardless of the size of solar system.


  • Related Discussions

    New construction...better design ideas for energy efficiency...


    Comments (7)
    Heat rises....Your radiant heat idea is probably better than a heat pump with a 94% efficient boiler like the Baxi Luna in your climate. The Luna can do double duty as a hot water heater too. Here in coastal California we don't get as bitter cold, but the heating season is all year long in some micro-climates. I agree about using high efficiency framing and an exterior thermal break of closed cell foam. There are waterproofing/intrusion issues when placing foam on a buildings exterior. Benjamin Obdyke makes a weep fabric that we use in conjunction with a moisture barrier. With stucco a double moisture barrier with the weep in between is pretty bombproof (and specified by the manufacturer). Windows and doors get a little built out with the foam and additional moisture proofing. If you can fit it into the budget, replacing any fiberglass insulation with spray foam is better. We are required to use a minimum 2X6 exterior wall for an R19 value. The heat recovery from drains is usually workable on two or three story buildings. With a slab on grade, you wont be draining hot water down a long vertical pipe (I've only seen the system with a copper coil run around a vertical pipe as a preheat for the hot water heater). With a boiler, the preheat may not be worth it anyway. Electrical use is energy consumption too, so occupancy sensors on all lighting, high efficiency light, LED or florescent through out the house. There are numerous articles and books on home energy efficiency...do your homework and be an informed buyer. Take a look at the Building Science Corporation's website for building tech issues (www.buildingscience.com). They are based in Boston, so maybe a little closer to your climate than NorCal.
    ...See More

    Need reviews/experiences with heat pump pool heaters


    Comments (1)
    Well, in Maryland, our clients are big fans of swimming pool/spa heat pumps! We have been selling this type of heater for many, many years now. Personally, we keep our pool around 80 degrees with our heat pump. Not really sure why there were negative experiences as you described above. You should really do some research at the link below to learn more about these systems and what they can offer. In addition to heating your pool, one heat pump model can even cool your pool! On the site below there is a heat pump operating cost estimator, where you can compare it to other types of heating. I hope you find the best heating solution for you. Good luck! http://www.aquacal.com/
    ...See More

    Walk-out basement - most cost-effective energy option?


    Comments (2)
    Energy consumption in cold open spaces is massive. This is part of the reason Eurpeans have been building homes that are "compartmentalized" with walls and doors. My one and only suggestion (being that I'm in flooring...I'm going to stick with what I know) is to look at that "heat sink" we call a basement floor. Concrete floors (aka: cement slabs) have a nasty tendancy to remove heat from an area. If you insulate the floor, you might find you can reduce energy consumption in that area by as much as 30%. I have plenty of Canadian homeowners who have used cork underlay+cork floating flooring as their "insulation" in their basements. Many have found a 1/4" cork underlay underneath 1/2" cork floating flooring have raised the temperature in their basements by as much as 8 degrees Celsius (15 F). Simply by insulating the floor, they found the space increased in heat....no change of thermostat...just change in residual heat retention. I have one person in Northern Saskatchewan who's basement is now the warmest place in their home. She has to turn down the temperature in the winter to watch TV.
    ...See More

    Air Source Heat Pump system on Long Island


    Comments (4)
    Because refrigerant is naturally much colder than outdoor temperatures even on a very cold day, it actually absorbs heat from outdoors, and transfers the heat it absorbs outside to within your home. The refrigerant's physical properties do this naturally. What you pay for is the electricity to pump refrigerant via copper tubing from outdoors to indoors. Because we move the heat rather than create it (as electric baseboard or resistant heat does), we can deliver up to 4 times the heat for the energy we consume! Heat pumps are more efficient than some other forms of heating because heat pumps do not actually create heat - they just move it from one place to another. For example, the output of an efficient 10 EER heat pump is triple that of an electric heater. Go to Fujitsu’s web site to search for local rebates, consumer loans and utility bill discounts. We provide a listing of rebates and offerings on qualifying Fujitsu mini-splits by state. www.fujitsugeneral.com/utility_rebates.htm Please see system models 12RLS2H and 15RLS2H heat pump units
    ...See More
  • trhought


    If you want more disheartening news about variable speed technology, the only difference between the VS and VF is programming features in the drive. Any industrial drive has the features that Pentair is hyping for the VF, its just a matter of unlocking them through programming. This is what manufacturers love about variable speed technology..it allows different price points for essentially the same product cost and it is all done with a program key! Same thing with the "new" Intelliflo VRS.its just unlocking another feature in the drive and bingomore money has been added to the profit margin. Its a little bit more complicated than this, but believe me, the cost differences between the different variable speed platforms in any industry is almost negligible. The consumer is paying for the features.

    We have been doing the same thing in HVAC for a long time. If the consumer is given a choice and still wants the technology and is willing to pay for it, then everyone wins! Thats why Im not a big fan of Pentairs approach to selling variable speed and I feel they are taking advantage of the average consumer. In HVAC we offer customers a choice: the basic 1 speed products for standard efficiency, the 2 speed products for ultimate efficiency and if the customer still wants more features beyond efficiency, like humidity, comfort control and air quality, we up-sell to the variable speed products. The variable speed customers are willing to pay the extra money up front and have the means to pay the extra money down the road to keep the technology alive.

    Variable speed technology is not cheap to purchase or cheap to maintain and thats why it remains a niche market product. If Deeker is successful and Pentair offers their 2 speed pumps in their energy calculator then the consumer can see this choice for significant energy savings also. My guess is Pentair will see an increase in their 2 speed sales as a result. In the end, if the consumer is presented choices and has made an informed decision then both the manufacturer and the consumer win!

    OK..Ill get off my Marketing 101 soap box now!

    Hope this helps!

    Deek - welcome back! 18 years experience with variable speed technology in HVAC and I get accused of being a pool industry insider....sorry I'm just a happy pool owner with a little insight on variable speed technology. By the way, a large 2 speed pump with proper allowances in plumbing size, flow control and priming ability will work for solar on low speed. Yes, it's true, the variable speed can be adjusted to run higher than 1725 rpm for solar, but at what cost to the homeowner.

    Have you learned anything yet about the Intelliflo drive KV rating that you would care to share?


  • mas985


    First, the VS and VF have different control pads and display which accounts for some but not all of the cost difference. Besides, there are many products on the market today which have value and not cost pricing so these are pumps are not unusual. In fact, most products are priced not based on what it cost to make but on what the market will support. There is a large range of margins on different products.

    Second, just because you may be able to get solar to work with low speed doesn't make it a good idea. Solar panel efficieny drops off at low flow rates. Most manufactures recommend a minimum of 0.1 GPM/sqft of panel. Low speed might be enough for a small set of panels but for most installations, it really isn't enough flow rate. This is the reason why most controllers will auto switch the pump to high speed when the solar is engaged. You may be saving money but losing a lot of heat gain.

  • trhought


    Absolutely...the consumer is paying for the added features like I stated....and by all means, the product has to be packaged in a different wrapper....Marketing 101.

    The problem I have with Pentair is their marketing campaign discounts any other technologies and positions the variable speed as the only option for significant energy savings and if you don't buy this revolutionary technology you are missing out on a big opportunity....what a bunch of marketing BS. If their campaign educated the consumer on the different technologies and offered different options for energy savings, then the consumer can make an educated decison and decide for themselves if the extra features are worth their hard earned money. Just my opinion, but I think most consumers will see it this way.

    Regarding solar.....that's a tough decision in my book. Run the variable speed at 2700 rpm and use more energy to heat the pool faster or run the 2 speed at 1725 rpm using less energy and heat the pool slower. With solar heat being free, I think I would chose the latter, especially since a longer pump run time at lower speeds is best for filtering and turning the pool.

    Just my perspective!

  • Rack Etear

    "Regarding solar.....that's a tough decision in my book. Run the variable speed at 2700 rpm and use more energy to heat the pool faster or run the 2 speed at 1725 rpm using less energy and heat the pool slower. With solar heat being free, I think I would chose the latter, especially since a longer pump run time at lower speeds is best for filtering and turning the pool."

    Again, you are assuming that this will actually work. Many pumps simply stall out at low speed trying to get water up to the roof.

    The 2700 rpm would be while the pool actually needs heat to achieve the proper set point. So how much would this really cost to operate when you can have it say drop to 1200 when its done heating.

    Then again you are assuming that it will need 2700 rpm to run the solar. If a 2 speed 2hp would work at a low speed wouldnt the larger impeller in the intelliflo move more water at the same rpm?

  • trhought


    Properly designed a large 2 speed will work at 1725 rpm for solar applications.

    Pump power is dependent on speed regardless of technology. By running the variable speed higher to get better heat exchange with the solar panels, this is using more energy.

    Even if 1725 rpm on a 2 speed was not optimum for heat exchange, it will consume less power than the variable speed set at 2700 rpm to optimize heat exchange as deek describes. I would rather run the 2 speed at 1725 rpm and give up some heat exchange than run the variable speed at a higher speed to optimize heat exchange at the cost of more electricity than the 2 speed.

    Now, if you are making the point that the variable speed will use less power at 1725 rpm than the 2 speed at 1725 rpm, I agree. But the difference is marginal for the additional cost of the variable speed technology and risk of $500 drive failures down the road.

    If designed properly, a 2 speed will allow low-cost, efficient operation of a pool even with a solar setup. A variable speed pump is not the only solution here, it is just the more expensive solution.

    And, I ask again...if Intelliflo is so great....do you have one yet? You stated in another posting you have had 3 drive replacements with 50 installs. That is a 6% failure rate, not exactly world-class reliability in my book.

    deek - any word on the reliability of the Intelliflo drive related to lightning strikes. KV rating is what I'm looking for. And...just curious....do you own an Intelliflo pump?


  • deeker

    All I am trying to do is keep the facts straight.
    trthought who must be monitoring the board by the minute with all his responses has been virtually wrong on all his facts to date: cost differences of products, solar, 2 speeds, turnovers, power usage, etc.
    Very hard to take him seriously but I think it is important that the consumers on the board are at least offered facts vs. the distortions that he throws around.
    One thing that has not been mentioned is noise. This pump runs extremely quiet so quite in fact that Nothe Clark County in Las Vegas recently voted, due the small home lots, that the IntelliFlo was the ONLY pump that could be used on a pool. I would have loved to see the look on trthought face on that ruling. I do have an idea of what the expression looked like as there were 2 Jandy salesman at the meeting and it was not a pretty sight when they had to take their ball and go home. By the way Nevada Power thought so much of the product that there are now Nevada Power commercials on TV highlighting the pump and the savings and Nevada Power is offering rebates back to homeowners and installers to use this pump the LV market has almost completely turned over into IntelliFlo sales.

    Again when he gets into price he sounds just like any Jandy salesman calling on a PB. He claims he is a HVAC guy, the pool business is full of ex HVAC guys, as that industry has really gone in the tank due to new home construction down turns.

    Jandy specializes in price with PB's because they have slipped so far behind the product development curve that have do not much else at this time to hang their hat on.
    By the way, they were recently sold and merged with a couple of other companies at a VERY high price. The Carlyle Group is the principal owner and finally to the delight of our entire industry they now have a owner who is holding them responsible to profits. The give away programs like cash and free product, guaranteeing equipment prices to a builder for 3-4-5 years no matter how much they went up in price, free warranties extensions that were offered for 5 years to select builders are over as these give aways were consuming them financially. These guys are now going to have to sell on something other than price.

    As far as his marketing 101 theories he may need to hang around that class room a little longer. The IntelliFlo has many common parts no matter what you unit you select. The issue in what the price is going to be today on a unit is driven by programming but it is very new programming that cost loads of money to write and develop - it is not cheap.
    I look at pricing technology like a laptop - some laptops that look exactly the same cost more than another model based on more programming which allows more applications and a more powerful unit overall. Same thing on the pump.
    Enough said as this is capitalism at its best.

    Lastly, and we will let the market determine this, but the new VS SVRS pump orders have been overwhelming. So large in fact we may have to make a decision that this pump with all the new features is cannibalizing the other models sales to the extent we need to discuss if we even need the other models.

    Again we are working on a 2 speed calculator for the website. As per the suggestions on the board I think this was a very good idea. The designers are working on a way so that it is easy to use and understand. The energy efficiency results of any comparison between an IntelliFlo and a 2 speed pump have been well known since the pumps inception. You will see that at lower flow rates the IntelliFlo really shines and we hit what we cal the real sweet spot of the pump.

    Again I will not be addressing anything else written by this guy and only respond when he posts inaccurate and misleading information.


  • flchad

    Deek - thanks for the continued good info. I do believe that it is pretty clear that the intelliflo can be run at a lower speed than the 2 speed and, over time (and not 15 years) save you enough money in energy to pay for itself and then some and this is largely my reasoning for making the investment.

    I would REALLY like to see you comment on what Pentair feels the average pump life will be. I do think, since this thread has invoked so much discussion and technical data, this is a piece of info we should hear commented on. Obviously no on is asking for a guarantee in writing here, but given that is one of the big unknowns, it does deserve some comment on your part please....

    Lastly - ohhhh did you open a can of worms on the Las Vegas thing ;-). Forever the cynic, all you did was just tell me that Pentair put money in the right people's pocket to get something like that passed.

  • deeker

    flchad - Fair question as I am a cynic also, but but Pentair is a NYSE (PNR) company and beleive me there is no way we would be involved with any thing like that.
    Many energy companies have rebates on applicances -dryers, washers, light bulbs, A/C, dishwashers, stoves, etc.
    Pool equipment is being added to these rebate programs due to the amount of consumption of energy being used by pool pumps (second only to A/C on residential homes.

    Look at your own power company web page and see what rebates they offer. As utility companies are owned by the public - grants are given to support consumer rebates.

  • Rack Etear

    Deek, Being on the NYSE doesn't mean your company wouldnt bribe people =).

    I agree though energy companies have had their head in the sand as far as pool equipment for way to long.

    They give you $75 on a dishwasher that may save 100kwh a year

    "And, I ask again...if Intelliflo is so great....do you have one yet? You stated in another posting you have had 3 drive replacements with 50 installs. That is a 6% failure rate, not exactly world-class reliability in my book."

    We were relatively early adopters of this technology, but during the same time I had a 30% failure rates on other motor technology.

    My scrap pile is filled with AO Motors that barely have the paint faded.

  • deeker

    flchad - Sorry to keep posting but I missed your question on expectancy of pump life.
    Please keep in mind that the pump is just barely going into its third year so what I am about to say is based on accelerated testing in labs at our plants

    We expect that the motor part of the pump will have at least a 15 year life span. This was done through internal testing. The tests include, amongst other things, running the pump at temperatures extremes of 160 degrees on the high side as well temps as low at 32 degrees. The pump is run for hundreds of hours, on/off over and over again. We quit testing when we reached 15 years.

    Many reasons for this success but this motor is on a different planet when compared to the other pool motors being sold in our industry. The motor is totally enclosed, no vents that allow condensation to enter the motor like standard pool motors, internally fan cooled, etc. Heat is one of the biggest reasons motors fail - pool motors run extremely hot - so hot in many cases you cannot touch them. Heat is nothing but lose of energy. The IntelliFlo can runs 24 hours a day and has no heat loss and is cool to the touch.

    The drives which are on top of the motor have the same life expectancy as the motor. We have encountered a few issues particularly with the gasket around the drive and are working to improve that design. Any issues have all been covered by warranty.

    Again like any successful product it is important to try and keep making it a better product and I can assure you we are. The reason is simple: Greed - we got us a winner and no one else has one or has been able even to duplicate it. They have been trying for 3 years. In those years the pump has changed the dynamics of the plumbing and equipment sizing on pools. Throw in a little luck like soaring energy cost, green initiatives and a little rebate money coming back from energy companies all the planets have aligned for us on this one.

    Lastly the release of units with SVRS (anti entrapment), lock out controls, built in timers, etc. have moved this pump a notch and made it available to be used in all pool applications.


  • mas985


    I think you do a disservice to the board members when you imply that low speed will work for any solar installation. It will not.

    Low speed will work when the panels are on the ground or on a one story roof but when installed on the second story roof, there will be problems with trying to make it work as I have discussed before. Just because someone got it work doesn't mean they should continue to operate that way.

    Second, believe it or not (I know you won't) but the Intelliflo operating at 2700 RPM will use less energy than a 1 1/2 HP Whisperflo at low speed but have 70% more flow rate!

    An Intelliflo operating at 2600 RPM will use less energy than a 1 HP Whisperflow at low speed but have 75% more flow rate!

    An Intelliflo operation at 2400 RPM (required for a typical two story solar installation), will use about the same energy as a 3/4 HP Whisperflo at low speed but have 80% more flow rate!

    Why do you continue to argue performance when there really is no comparison at all? Your reliability arguments are valid given the pumps are less than 3 years old but you really should not try pretend that a 2 speed pump has anywhere near the performance of a variable speed. There is no comparison.

  • flchad

    Deek - again - thanks a bunch for the info. I hope you all did hit the home run you are projecting becuase it is a win for consumers too. I'd like to not have to replace a rusted out motor in my pump every 3-4 years. It's great to hear that you have lots of lab tests and not just analysis.

    Last question - what about corrosion issues. Does this pump get salt fog tested? Just curious. I live near the ocean and corrosion and rust are the biggest problems here.

    This motor housing is aluminum correct? I suspect you would estimate this motor on the whole to outperform against environmental elements as well? Can you comment on that too? Thanks a bunch - it's great to be able to get this info on here from a Pentair representative!!!

  • mas985

    Let me clarify one thing on my post just above flchad's last one.

    For each of the three scenarios, each pump has the same kwh/turnover. So the Intelliflo has more flow rate and more kw and the 2 speed less flow rate and less kw. So the ratio's for both pumps are the same so the energy use per turnover is the same.

  • deeker

    Yes it does get salt fog tested and you are right corrosion is a beast on motors particularly in Florida, Louisiana and So. Texas.
    This motor will not even come close to corroding like the standard pool motors.
    Also mas985 for jumping in - as he is doing a real diservice to all with the nonsense he writes.

  • trhought


    Thanks for the history lesson on Jandy. Didnt know that about them. True, HVAC sales are down this year but the HVAC market dwarfs the pool market by a wide margin.sorry, the pool industry is a small fish in the US manufactured equipment market. By the way the company I work for has more international sales than domestic sales, so we are doing quite fine this year despite the US downturnthank you. By all markers, the pool industry is also slow these days with downturn in new home starts and tight credit for home upgrades. Why would a HVAC person jump from one market to a weak and smaller marketmakes no sense to me but hey Ill take your word for it.
    Again, Im not a Jandy employee and we do not sell any equipment to Jandy..keep guessing.youre not even close yet.

    Regarding sound, now youre grasping for benefits here.Anyone who has been around a 2 speed at low speed can also attest to how quiet these pumps are also.

    Related to drive reliability, do you know what the designers used as a goal for KV rating of the drive? This is the biggest weakness of variable speed technology with unprotected drives on the power grid and my 18 years experience shows a 5:1 drive to motor failure rate due to surges in the power grid.

    Thanks for listening and having the energy calculator updated. This will be a big step forward in my opinon allowing the consumer to make an informed decision and not be mislead. Please take my other comments constructively also. I am not trying to bash Pentair or persuade potential customers away from the technology or mislead them as you say..just sharing the voice of the customer and shining a light on the realities of variable speed technology from my experience.

    Again, I ask, are you a proud owner of an Intelliflo?

    mas985 - I would also say you are doing a dis-service to this forum by indicating the variable speed is the only option for significant energy savings with solar setups. The consumer has a choice despite your opinions.

    Racket why is it that my PB, who only sells Jandy equipment, has no significant problems with AO Smith motors but you keep sighting significant early failure rates with Pentair pumps. This does not sound like an AO Smith problem to me, but a Pentair problem since both Jandy and Pentair use the same motor.

    At this point, I have to assume you dont have an Intelliflo since you have not shared any of your experiences as a proud owner of this technology.

    Flchad heres some failure rate numbers from the HVAC industry. High speed rotating equipment (like motors and compressors) has a 1 yr. failure rate of .5-1%, a 5 yr. failure rate of 2-3% and a 10 yr. failure rate of 15-20%. We make all different variations of motors (totally enclosed fan cooled designs like the Intelliflo, open designs, drip-proof designs, hermetically sealed designs, air over designs, etc.) We have failure data for each family and the failure rates are similar. No one construction technique stands out predominantly over the others and the failure modes are similar for each family. Bearing failures are the biggest failure mode followed by spot burns on the copper windings.
    So from some of the drive failure data posted by racket, his failure rate is 6% for the 1st and 2nd year which means his motor failure rate will be about 1-1.5% which is about what we see in the HVAC industry for the first 2 years. If racket were to report his Intelliflo motor failures in 5 years, my guess would be 2-3% of his sales and his 10 year motor failure rate would be 15-20% of his sales. At the same time, his drive failure rate is 6% now, 10-15% 5 years from now and 75-100% failure rate 10 years from now.

    Thats what I mean by variable speed technology being expensive in both up front costs and cost to maintain with the higher drive failures. Variable speed customers know they are purchasing technology and are willing to pay for it and most clients in this market segment have the means and will to maintain the technology for its lifetime. Single speed customers buy on price only and want low maintenance costs, 2 speed customers buy on price but also want the efficiency in addition to low maintenance costs. Variable speed customers want it all and have the will and means to support the technology now and down the road.

    Hope this helps!

  • afnajs

    I remember sometime back in 2003/04 attending the western pool show and Pentair was demonstrating the soon to be released Intelliflo. At that time, while energy conservation was mentioned, the Pentair engineers were more concerned with it's ability to solve a much larger problem. That problem was with the large number of builders out there that did little to no hydraulic design, put in big pumps, and undersized pipe. The Intelliflo was seen as a solution to that issue, especially in retrofits, since the pump could be tuned to the installation. It was seen as a plus for items such as laminar jets that require very precise flow.

    That said, in reading this very interesting discussion, I see truth in both arguments.

    For the two-speed pumps, I think given a properly engineered system, it can be close enough in efficiency to a variable speed pump that the return on investment between the two will be pushed out far enough to come down to the actual failure rates between the two. I think it's likely a coin toss, although the added complexities of the variable speed may result in it having a higher failure rate, but only time will tell. The 2-speed is inflexible (static), so if need changes and/or there was something unexpected, it's a rip and replace.

    For the variable speed pumps, while I agree that they are being priced to take advantage of a consumers desire to have the latest gizmos, there is no discounting the flexibility they offer in operation. For the average cost of a pool, the cost up-charge is negligible. If folk are willing to spend 2K+ on a Viking BBQ that has maybe $200 in parts, I consider the variable speed pumps a bargain.

    When I saw the Pentair Intellflo back at the western pool show, energy savings was not even on my "why I must have a pump like this" list. I saw several compelling reasons to own one.

    1) Precise and auto-adjustment of flow. The fact that the pump can adjust based on need, filter cleanliness, etc. is a plus to me. With a suction cleaner, it eliminates the need to adjust it's valve based on how dirty the filter is. Also, having the ability to fine-tune spa jet output was a plus.

    2) Water feature control: A waterfall with a single speed pump has little flexibility. If it's two much flow, the excess must be bypassed and returned to the pool. With a variable speed pump, precise control is available, with the ability to change flow based on customer desire. What I really want to see (not sure if the Pentair has this yet), is a "show mode" for the variable speed pumps when used with say a waterfall, where the pump is randomly cycled up/down in flow rates so that the water passing over the feature has a little more life to it. For laminar flow jets, having precise control over flow is a must as any bypass solution can introduce turbulence.

    So in my mind, the variable speed pumps have less to do with energy savings and more to do with flexibility. Given the choice between a 2-speed perfectly designed (at the moment) system, and a well designed variable speed setup, I'm going for the flexibility of the variable speed.

    No, I don't have the Intelliflo. My entire setup is Jandy, so I'm waiting on Jandy's solution. I had considered transplanting in the Intelliflo, but there are other stupidly nagging issues with the Pentair pump design that made me skip it. First, don't like the pipe connection points. The Jandy quick-connects with support for up to 3" pipe are a big plus for hydraulic design, and for servicing. Second, I prefer the large basket on the Jandy as we get a lot of leaf debris in the pool. Third, and totally superficial, the color of the Pentair equipment fades to pink-ish color over time (yuck).


  • mas985


    I don't ever remember saying a variable speed was the only solution to solar cost savings. Let me be clear right now. A two speed pump operating at low speed will work just fine for panels on the ground or on a one story house AND will save the owner money over a single speed pump.

    I showed the economics of a two speed and compared it to my single speed and showed the cost savings. So in fact, I did show that a 2 speed will save money. However, I also showed that a VS will save the owner even more money.

    In the many pools that I have analyzed with solar and the example I gave many posts ago, each and every one would run at a lower cost per month with a variable speed than a two speed pump. I cannot find an example where a 2 speed pump will run more cost effectively than a variable speed pump. But that is not surprising given the efficiency difference of VS over a two speed at low speed.

    So just to make sure you are clear with what my statements have been, here is a summary what I am claiming and I have have detailed analsysis to back them up:

    1) For a given plumbing system, a properly programmed variable speed pump will out perform a 2 speed pump on low speed in terms of kwh/turnover in all of energy saving applications that I can think of solar or not. Please give me an example of one where it won't. High flow applications are an exception but could still benefit from a VS.

    2) A two speed pump should not be used on low speed for a two story solar installation and based upon solar suppliers own statements, could actually damage the panels. I also showed why it wouldn't even work for installations where the vacuum release valve is on the top of the two story house.

    So please do not put words in my mouth.

  • trhought


    Thanks for sharing another consumer's perspective on this topic. You are definitely the type of buyer I would categorize as a niche market candidate for variable speed. Not many people have laminar jets due to high costs. My PB showed me a laminar jet job he did and they are really cool, especially at night! You've done your homework, made an informed decision and know exactly what features you want and don't mind paying for them.

    I too get lots of leaves during the fall and winter and really like the larger baskets. The larger baskets also help with efficiency because they do not plug as fast and restrict suction flow like the smaller ones. Didn't know the Intelliflo could not accept 3" pipe directly....amazing to me, especially with all the focus on hyrdraulic design in 2004! Regarding control, it seemed so convoluted to me when I was doing my homework 2 years ago....sounds like nothing has changed.


    Is the motor housing really aluminum? This would be highly unusual for a motor housing to be made of aluminum due to coefficients of thermal expansion. Please confirm. For our compressors and motors, we also are very attentive to corrosion especially in sea shore environments. While aluminum does better than painted steel in UL salt spray testing, the best corrosion resistance is achieved with steel that is phosphate coated then powder coated with epoxy paint and then cured in an oven. Every one of our motors and compressors are treated this way and this is fairly common these days. A UL auditor also witnesses the salt spray test results once a quarter at our plants and this is a UL requirement for all durable good manufacturer's these days, including the pool industry.

    Totally enclosed motor designs are not immune to bearing wear and vibration which are the 2 largest contributors to motor failures in the field.

    Accelerated 15 year lab durability testing is industry standard for baseline comparative testing. Field testing is where reliability issues come to the surface. I know Intelliflo was just introduced to the market 2 years ago, but surely there had to be some field testing before that....Pentair did not just throw this technology out there cold turkey did they? There must be some longer term field data on drive failures and and motor failures? I would expect them to be about the same as the HVAC numbers I posted above.

    Are you an Intelliflo owner?

    Do you know the KV rating for the Intelliflo drives?


    mas985 - sorry I touched a nerve. A 2 speed will work for solar if properly designed even on a 2 story application. It may not work at it's optimum, as you pointed out, but I would rather run at lower speeds and heat slower using less energy. That's my only point.

    Hope this helps!

  • mas985

    Sorry but a 2 speed on a 2 story application will only work "properly" if the pump is elevated to the first story. Otherwise, the panels will be operating in a vacuum. I would say that is improper operation.

    You not claiming that it is ok to operate solar panels under negative pressure are you? That is contrary to what most supplier's recommendations and will probably void any warranty.

  • deeker

    I think you mean KVA not KV - IntelliFlo is 3.2
    Motor is bare coat/powder coat similiar to car paint. Very long lasting unlike what you have on your pool.
    I have 3 IntelliFlo's on my pool.
    One for spa booster pump - one for pool filtration - and one for infloor cleaning pump. All operate at different RPM's. I get to set the speeds where they are most effective - nice to have more than 2 choices like a 2 speed. And I get to set the speed so they are running at the most efficient, effective speed. One of the IntelliFlo's also is set to operate a water slide on my pool when that is called for the IntelliFlo simply ramps out to a higher speed, valve opens and some water is diverted to the slide - this saved me from buying another pump for the slide.
    That answers your questions - good luck on your new 2009 Zodiac Dealer programs.

  • trhought


    Thanks for sharing your setup and experience with your Intelliflos. Wow, 3 of them!

    I didn't think the housing was aluminum and it sounds like the finish is not epoxy cured which is the best protection against the elements. Can't speak to differences between Intelliflo finish and other pool pumps and will have to take your word for it.

    You lost me on the Zodiac Dealer Programs! My guess is this is some kind of Jandy thing that must be putting some pressure on Pentair these days...oh well...not my worry.

    Regarding drive rating, I do mean KV rating....this is the withstand voltage that the drive has been designed to tolerate during a power surge. If the KV threshold is too low, the drive will not survive surges in the power grid due to nearby lightning strikes and other things that can happen in the grid. Hope this makes sense.


  • productmanager

    All right "trthought".. or may I call you Mr. Jandy propaganda man! First and foremost you are wrong on just about everything you think you know so I don't even know where to start. I am going to assume you are some sales guy that is on a tech posting for Waterpik Jandy Zodiac or whatever you people call that give away business of yours and are getting this info reading the big bold bullets that come from your "engineering group"...

    Myth Dispeller:

    The PM Motor used on the IntelliFlo does not come from Smith... it is made in Europe by a manufacturer who also makes electric motors for cars, scooters, and windmills. It is the highest quality motor in every regard to be used in the pool business "BAR NONE" and was custom designed specifically for this pump with this impeller for the performance we create (can you say that about your tired inefficient prone to failure two speed motor?)... Your AO Smith knock off that Jandy is getting ready to pawn will fit the bill as you have described variable speed above, however, the IntelliFlo is nothing like you described in any fashion what-so-ever and you are doing this product and the pool market a dis-service by spreading these untrue technical opinion's.

    The drive gives up less than 1% efficiency in transferring the AC voltage to DC voltage and then creating Pulse Width Modulation on a controller with a active front end. Pulse Width Modulation is the act of digitally processing DC voltage to look like a Sinus wave whereby you have a perfect power factor and we correct voltage so the motor is always receiving the necessary voltage for peak efficiency output and using all the power it is given from the utility. (Two speeds have a power factor of less than 70% at full speed and less than 30% at low speed)

    The only thing you had right is two speeds are higher in efficiency at high speed than they are at low speed but there is no two speed in the world that is more efficient than the IntelliFlo at either of them... Most two speeds run about 70-75% Efficient at high and 15-30% efficient at low. The reason for this is the conventional two speed that is used today is optimized to two different laminations. One is 2 pole (~3450 RPM) and one is 4 pole (~1750 RPM)with one rotor that runs in both. The motor is optimized for high speed run but not low speed and also uses one cap to correct at high speed but uses INDUCTION RUN FOR LOW SPEED OPERATION! This design will net you a highly unreliable efficiency for pool operation coupled with the fact that it becomes a space heater at low speed which is also what makes them very prone to failure. The average life of a 2 speed is 3 to 4 seasons at best. The IntelliFlo was going to be expensive; we knew this, so we made a motor and control that is tested to last 15+ years in service. We have been selling the IntelliFlo since 2003 and have experienced not one motor electrical failure in the more than six figure unit numbers we have installed world wide.

    Also a note.. we work with all large utilities on energy reduction and demand reduction programs and HVAC is the top of the list for energy demand at peak load. All the good HVAC companies out there are part of this development i.e. variable speed and energy conservation. Three of the worlds largest HVAC companies have taken an interest in our controller and what we have been able to accomplish in both reliability, cost per power capability, communication, and the design and execution of our PM motor. If you don't work for Jandy I am going to assume you work for one of the least favorable HVAC manufacturers out there... Deek and I admit we work for Pentair... who pays the bills on your mouth?

    I could go on and on about how wrong you are but we are working on releasing an IntelliFlo with SVRS protection that covers the VGB act. Unfortunately for you it will be the lowest cost option out there now for multi speed legislation and government requirements for SVRS protection on a pool.. If you work for Jandy like I suspect you do you might want to focus on some product development instead of running your mouth without knowledge of the facts. Your decisive dribble is the reason we don't have electric cars today and oil companies make record profits!

    Please keep in mind we are also the worlds largest source of two speed pumps for pools and I am directly responsible for this business. I still in good conscience cannot endorse what you are saying about 2 speeds. They require drastic technical improvement before I will get behind them coupled with the fact that PB's do not spend the required time to size them as they are needed... with these two facts in mind there is no substitute long term or short term than variable speed.

    Causes of pump death:

    Poor Voltage (intelliFlo monitors voltage and only operates in a window that will not harm the motor; much broader range capability than induction motors as well)

    Freeze (IntelliFlo monitors temperature and has its own internal freeze protection along with protecting the plumbing system from freeze)

    Overheating (IntelliFlo runs so efficient this has never been a issue, however, in conditions where it could heat up i.e. poor ventilation etc.. in monitors it's own internal drive and motor temp and will speed up to cool off or shut down in the worst case scenarios; this worst case is 200 degrees external temp and even Arizona doesn't get there)

    Water ( IntelliFlo employs a IP60 Nema 3X enclosure that is totally enclosed fan cooled.. if water can get in water cannot fail it... conventional two speeds use ODP or open drip proof motors that any lawn sprinkler or sustained rain will penetrate)

    Please also remember that Flow control and Speed control are two totally different things. To try and compare cost savings, which we have certified with major utilities and government agencies, is not a fair comparison. No two speed or variable speed pump in the world can outperform the IntelliFlo VF (variable flow).. This pump is the benchmark for the 90%+ savings message we have and I will challenge anyone to any pool comparison against this technology. Better organizations than Jandy have run this pump through every possible test and it always comes out smelling like a rose. Our competition doesn't even have a reliable product for variable speed yet and are looking towards AO Smith for help and people like you and this post is strictly out there to confuse other people seeking real knowledge until your company Jandy, can try to reverse engineer our sincere effort and mass produce it with AO Smith! Just remember that IPR on this product is strong and if AO has to do a work around you know what you are going to get; purely land fill potential!


    Tell Steve Gutia I said hi : )

  • deeker

    Oh boy trthought has been outed - hey Steve hi ya doing.

    I was wrong Steve does not work for Jandy and but does work for an HVAC company. He is up to his eyeballs with Jandy trying to get them into the variable speed market and has been for a few years.

    He personally picked the wrong horse a few years ago, made some bad MARKETING decisions while with a motor company and is now in the HVAC division - hey Steve that EMOD motor is really making much of an impact? Due to all this he has a real bone to pick with Pentair.

    Anyway Steve is not to happy with Pentair as he life has become "complicated" due to the success of the IntelliFlo.

    Hey Steve it was not to hard to figure out you were when doing a little search on your posts you tipped your hat a few times telling us about 2 different versions of a variable speed pump, etc.
    You are pretty late with the AO Smith Jandy version of IntelliFlo how come? Have Jandy run out of money or engineers?
    You all have been talking about it for 2-3 years or at least until Pentair told you to take your ball and go home. Hey Steve how are those Jandy motor sales this year? Tough year too bad.

    Dear Board: Sorry to bore you with all the intrigue but after all the stuff he has been spewing on Pentair and IntelliFlo and not being forthright to the board all the while taking advantage of the board with idiotic, completely misleading statements it deserves to be told what he is all about. Steve and his company have a big stake and have lost substantial business due to Pentair and the IntelliFlo and the impact this product has made in the pool market and to his company.

    Lastly Steve during a few of the tirades during your posts you mentioned a few things that your should not have mentioned about Pentair and this will be followed up on at higher levels.

    A suggestion: It is probably a very good career decision for you only to post in the HVAC forum.

  • afnajs

    Pentair Folk,

    There is a way with this forum to find the posting persons IP address. I checked for trhought and the company it runs back to is not Jandy or A.O. Smith. I will say that it is a company that has many divisions including HVAC, and one (under a couple of names) does seem to manufacture motors for pools.

    That said, I can't find any past/present relationship to Jandy, unless they are somehow working with them on some current development.

  • deeker

    As far as IP addresses you do not know what computers he has available to him.
    We know who he is and now he knows we know who he is.

    It was not hard to figure out due to his comments on things only someone who is very close to POOL MOTOR industry and works with Pool Equipment MFG.s would know. Also tracing other comments through threads it all added up quickly and easily.
    You, being a pool builder would never know or care to know, the things he was commenting on.

    Bottom line he has financial stake in knocking Pentair but never shared that with the board. They are working with Jandy on current development.

    I think we have probably heard the last of him as he has much explaining to do with others within his own organization and trust me this has not been his first time in the hot seat because of things like this.

    Steve just has not figured out you never should bite the hand that feeds you due to vendetta's and personal emotions. That should of been, quoting him, in his Marketing 101 class.

  • afnajs


    I'm not a pool builder... Just a pool owner, and a computer nerd.

    It's clear from my research that he's working for a company that does have ties to the pool motor industry, but I don't think he works for A.O. Smith or Jandy. In fact, the company he appears to work for is a competitor to A.O. smith, so it's unlikely that he'd have access to a competitors network. So, maybe it's the same guy you're thinking of, just with a different company.

    Then again, you could be wrong, and you're bashing the wrong companies.

    So, I agree that he's working at a company with ties to the pool industry, and there is probably a conflict of interest there and benefit to knocking other companies products. I think we all get that.

    That said, when I see personal attacks waged from a competitor, it's not what I want to see. I'd rather see Pentiar take the high road, present the technical facts about their products vs competitors, provide the research data, and let it stand at that.

    Pentair has a great product so stick to that message.

  • trhought

    Pentair Guys-

    This is getting out of control. As afnajs has indicated, I'm in the HVAC industry and have been so my entire career....never have changed companies. It is true, one of our divisions not in the HVAC industy, sells aftermarket motors to the pool industry and motors to some OEM portable spa companies that I know of. But this business is a tiny, tiny, tiny sliver of our companies overall annual sales. We have no intention on growing this business as far as I'm aware either due to the competitive market. I just happen to be a happy pool owner who knows a little about variable speed technology.

    It is good to see some of the answers to my questions answered and I only intended this to be an education for anyone who is trying to make an informed decision on variable speed vs 2 speed vs 1 speed....period.

    If you are taking offense by the questions, or can't answer the questions for some good reason, please just state that it is intellectual property and can't be shared. Making accusations that I'm someone else and threatening to contact my company is not professional and there is no conflict of interest here.

    And, please know, my name is not Steve and I have never even met anyone by the name you mentioned above. Please leave this guy alone, whoever he is because he is not me.

    Sorry guys for pinching a nerve here. Just feel the consumer should be presented all options before making a decision and I think you do also with your intentions on adding the 2 speed calculator to the website.

    This is the last you will hear of me on this subject and if you intended to scare me, mission accomplished.....this is not very professional behavior and with your statement about your drive entering the HVAC market, I will have to take your word for it and can't comment anymore due to potential conflict of interest.

  • eaa795

    productmanager -- when's the new pump coming out?

  • deeker

    Good Bye Steve

    eaa795 - pump will be shipping week after next. Response from pool distribution has been overwelming


  • landa_mac

    Interesting discussion going on here. I stopped by the PIE (Pool Industry Expo) show Friday in Monterrey, CA. I thought it was interesting that a representative from Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) was parked right in front of the trade show entrance with his truck that had a trailer on the back with pumps mounted including IntelliFlo, Hayward's new variable speed, and a couple other standard pumps from Pentair and Hayward. There was no offering from Jandy. Get this, the PG&E utility worker had a large tank of water that was connected through 4" flexible tubing to each pump through a series of valves. He could also simulate head pressure.

    He would run each pump and show the watt, amp, etc. draw of the pumps. Net result? IntelliFlo won by a mile. It was a fascinating display and backed up what deeker and productmanager have said above.

  • productmanager

    This was no PG&E Utility worker that you met... That was Gary Fernstrom the father of California title 20 and a great man. He has worked for PG&E for years and been involved in all kinds of energy reduction efforts for them. We have worked very closely with Gary over the years on pool pump energy reduction and he is a great supporter of all kinds of ways to save everyone energy and a very smart man.

  • trhought

    This has now turned into a bunch of Pentair marketing propaganda and anyone reading this will probably agree.

    There is a reason I don't post on the HVAC forum due to conflict of interest. Maybe you Pentair guys should consider the same with the pool forum.

    If you want to come on here and answer questions about your product (or not answer questions) that is fine, but don't come on here and identify yourselves as Pentair and then slam your competition. Customers can see through this. I now view Pentair in an entirely different light and it is not an ethical one.....thanks guys.

  • productmanager

    First off I apologize for thinking you were Steve from AO. After discovering your identity today I withdraw my previous statement, however, I still point out that you need to tone down your attack and please get the proper information before so passionately attacking others who may not be as technical as you but have the proper information.

    The reason I post here is that we found this to be a large forum for this product and people had several legitimate questions and concerns and we tried our best to educate and answer them. I apologize if I shot at you so hard but I have been fighting this for 4 years now and when someone shoots off with such conviction it confuses people to the facts and distorts the truth.

    To cover all your previous points:

    1) The IntelliFlo uses Pulse Width Modulation to control the motor. Pulse width modulation is the expression of digital manipulation to the DC voltage whereby it is reconfigured to represent a sine wave instead of a flat DC pulse. In doing this we are able to control power factor to a staggering 1.0 at full speed and do not start to deteriorate until we fall to very low speeds and only give up about 3-5% all the way to 400 rpm. Pool two speeds and single speeds running 2 pole speeds are roughly 70-90% depending on model, however, 2 speeds on low use induction run and have a very low power factor of 50% or less. Residential properties do not pay for power factor, however, when you understand it what better can you do for the environment?
    2) The motor is 92% efficient at high speed and also has a extremely flat efficiency curve. At 400 RPM we see it hold electrical efficiency of near 80% compared to conventional two speeds that we have seen to 30% or lower. The argument of high speed operation is another matter, however, in the 2 HP two speed at high speed we see about 32% in favor of the IntelliFlo when the two are compared at the same head pressure and flow using a conventional PSC pool motor.
    3) Our cost calculator is built to support Flow Control as used in the IntelliFlo VF. We included our competitors pumps when we built the algorithm. This calculator represents 1 turn per day comparisons and does not include two speeds since it is highly subjective to compare the two. I have done the comparison of the new Jandy two speed and here is a flow control comparison if you only use low speed all the time on your two speed and represents a 60% improvement on a 15,000 gallon pool @ $.20 KWH:

    Week 1:

    Brand X
    Flow: 65 GPM
    Head: 7 Feet
    Power: 510 Watts
    Turn Over: 1.56
    Hours: 6
    Cost: $.62 day / $4.28 Week
    Total: $4.28 Week 1 Total

    Pentair IntelliFlo

    Flow: 40 GPM
    Head: 3 Feet
    Power: 125 Watts
    Turn Over: 1
    Hours: 6.25
    Cost: $.15 day / 1.09 Week
    Total: $1.09 Week 1 Total

    Week 2

    Brand X
    Flow: 61.5 GPM
    Head: 10 Feet
    Power: 510 Watts
    Turn Over: 1.4
    Hours: 6
    Cost: $.62 day / $4.28 Week
    Total: $8.68 Week 2 Total

    Flow: 40 GPM
    Head: 5 Feet
    Power: 155 Watts
    Turn Over: 1
    Hours: 6.25
    Cost: $.19 day / $1.33 Week
    Total: $2.44 Week 2 Total

    Week 3

    Brand X
    Flow: 58 GPM
    Head: 12.5 Feet
    Power: 510 Watts
    Turn Over: 1.3
    Hours: 6
    Cost: $.62 day / $ 4.28 Week
    Total: $13.02 Week 3 Total

    Flow: 40 GPM
    Head: 7 Feet
    Power: 210 Watts
    Turn Over: 1
    Hours: 6.25
    Cost: $.26 / $1.82 Week
    Total: $4.27 Week 3 Total

    Week 4
    Brand X
    Flow: 48 GPM
    Head: 15 Feet
    Power: 500 Watts
    Turn Over: 1.1
    Hours: 6
    Cost: $.60 day / $4.20 Week
    Total: $17.22 Week 4 Total

    Flow: 40 GPM
    Head: 10 Feet
    Power: 271 Watts
    Turn Over: 1
    Hours: 6.25
    Cost: $.33 day / $2.31 Week
    Total: $6.58 Week 4 Total

    Week 5
    Brand X
    Flow: 42.5 GPM
    Head: 17.5 Feet
    Power: 490 Watts
    Turn Over: 1
    Hours: 6
    Cost: $.58 day / $4.12 Week
    Total: $21.34 Month Total

    Flow: 40 GPM
    Head: 12 Feet
    Power: 290 Watts
    Turn Over: 1
    Hours: 6.25
    Cost: $.36 day / $2.53 Week
    Total: $9.11 Month Total

    Here is the difference if you run high speed and low speed and shows a 70% improvement same elements of install:

    Week 1
    Brand X
    Flow: Low 65 GPM / High 125 GPM
    Head: 7 Feet / 40 Feet
    Power: 510 Watts / 2675 Watts
    Turn Over: 4.6 / 3 = 7.6 daily
    Hours: 18 / 6
    Cost: $1.83 low + $3.21 High day / $35.29 Week
    Total: $35.29 Week 1 Total

    Flow: 50 GPM
    Head: 5 Feet
    Power: 326 Watts
    Turn Over: 4 daily
    Hours: 20
    Cost: $1.30 day / $9.10 Week
    Total: $9.10 Week 1 Total

    Week 2

    Brand X
    Flow: Low 58 GPM / High 117 GPM
    Head: 12.5 Feet / 50 Feet
    Power: 510 Watts / 2650 Watts
    Turn Over: 4.1 / 2.8 = 6.9 daily
    Hours: 18 / 6
    Cost: $1.83 low + $3.18 High daily / $35.07 Week
    Total: $70.36 Week 2 Total

    Flow: 50 GPM
    Head: 10 Feet
    Power: 375 Watts
    Turn Over: 4 daily
    Hours: 20
    Cost: $1.50 day / $10.50 Week
    Total: $19.60 Week 2 Total

    Week 3

    Brand X
    Flow: Low 48 GPM / High 101 GPM
    Head: 15 Feet / 60 Feet
    Power: 505 Watts / 2607 Watts
    Turn Over: 3.4 / 2.4 = 5.8 daily
    Hours: 18 / 6
    Cost: $1.82 low + $3.13 High daily / $34.64 Week
    Total: $105.00 Week 3 Total

    Flow: 50 GPM
    Head: 16 Feet
    Power: 415 Watts
    Turn Over: 4 daily
    Hours: 20
    Cost: $1.66 day / $11.62 Week
    Total: $31.22 Week 3 Total

    Week 4
    Brand X
    Flow: Low 42 GPM / High 86 GPM
    Head: 17.5 Feet / 70 Feet
    Power: 490 Watts / 2495 Watts
    Turn Over: 3 / 2 = 5 daily
    Hours: 18 / 6
    Cost: $1.76 low + $3.00 High daily / $33.28 Week
    Total: $138.28 Week 4 Total

    Flow: 50 GPM
    Head: 18 Feet
    Power: 445 Watts
    Turn Over: 4 daily
    Hours: 20
    Cost: $1.78 day / $12.46 Week
    Total: $43.68 Week 4 Total

    As you see these comparisons make many assumptions on high speed and low speed operation and make putting this into a cost calculator very difficult. We also had to assume the same flow, however, this would not be the actual case in operation since the IntelliFlo would not attain the higher flow in the application, however, this extreme should show you how far different the flow control works versus current technology. Please remember that these turns are realistic and only filtration is being done.
    4.) The IntelliFlo motor is a aluminum framed TEFC IP60 motor compared to the open drip proof conventional two speed motor. It employs lip seals on both sides and does have a fan connected directly to the shaft of the motor. The fan does not cool the motor. The motor is capable of dispating its own heat to 200 degrees F at high speed. The fans purpose is to cool the drive. If for any reason the fan is disabled the drive will heat up to a temperature range and then start to slow down to keep itself from harm and alert the customer to a issue with a text alert.
    5.) Most importantly the IntelliFlo and a 2 speed have far drastic different efficiencies which I am sure you would agree lead to heat production. Heat production is the leading cause of motor failure and two speeds run very hot all of them we all use the same basic motor. This in itself not including all the aforementioned make the IntelliFlo a far superior product in terms of life.
    6.) The PM motor we use costs less to replace than a conventional 3 HP induction motor. There is no smoke and mirrors here. The fact is that the IntelliFlo, even with its aluminum enclosure uses less active copper and steel and the rotor and stator could actually be designed to fit the size of a coke can. We figured no one in the market would accept this so we designed it as a standard 56 frame motor.
    7.) The drive replacement cost is about the same as the motor cost
    8.) We have only had 1 confirmed motor failure and this motor was underwater for at least 2 days.
    9.) Safety: This pump has dead head protection and soon an internal SVRS system. Two speeds only work with a very select few SVRS devices presently and do not do well in a dynamic system.
    10) VERY IMPORTANT: Pumps monitors voltage and shuts off when the supply is to high or too low. The pump monitors temperature and can turn itself on to heat up or slow down or turn off to cool itself down.

  • trhought


    Thanks for the wonderful information and for your time addressing each of the points in this thread. I apologize also for my passion and conviction on this subject and only view this from a hobbyist point of view. After reading your perspective that you shared, I understand your reason for being on this forum. Your passion and conviction for the technology is admirable and thanks for sharing your expertise in this area.

    If you are looking for any field test sites in Louisiana for any of your new products, I know of a backyard that will support it!


  • peterl1365

    I just wanted to add to Productmanager's comment about the aluminum construction of the motor. Trhought implied on 10/2/08 that aluminum frames were somehow inferior due to thermal expansion.

    About 15 years ago, I worked for a major motor manufacturer (completely unrelated to the pool and hvac industries). While I was not a motor designer, I was an applications engineer so I have significant experience with specifying motors.

    The fact is that aluminum has been used on industrial high-performance servo motors for many years now. These motors probably see much higher temperatures and go through significantly larger and more frequent thermal cycles than any pool motor. Thermal expansion is definitely a factor, but it can be relatively easily accounted for in the design.

    Aluminum housings are probably more expensive that steel housings. Aluminum typically has to be cast or extruded, which means that there are large up-front costs. Steel housings are either cut from stock tube sizes, or they are formed from sheet metal. Either way, aluminum is more expensive.

    Aluminum is worthwhile, however, because it is so much more efficient at dissipating heat compared to steel. Throw in the greater corrosion resistance and it's a no-brainer.

    His comment about the stator and rotor size is also probably accurate. The servo industry rates motors by output power rather than energy consumption. The intelliflo is roughly equivalent to a 2.5 hp motor. This is roughly 2000 watts output power at the shaft. It is not difficult to get this kind of power into a small package. Even 15 years ago, we had NEMA34 size motors that produced around 1 kW. It would not be difficult to design a double or triple stack NEMA34 motor that produced 2000 watts, especially if you don't have to worry about speeds above 3500 rpm.

  • productmanager

    Aluminum is most definitely more expensive than steel in the case of a standard pool motor and it is great at moving heat, however, we made this decision based more on corrosion resistance than anything other. In Europe aluminum is king and this was a standard for the partner we designed it with. The IntelliFlo motor is actually a 6 pole motor designed for 6000 RPM native speeds and produces over 3KW of shaft power at 3450 based on the rotor and stator design which is similar to one that will be used in an unnamed manufacturer's automobile that will release very soon and a very popular windmill configuration sold globally. This motor is actually capable of 5.5KW at the shaft if running at a water load at 6000 RPM. I am sure you know the hardest part of all this is running 3+ KW through the controller and still make it affordable.

    This leads to one question I forgot to answer before. Why don't we offer various HP's. The answer is simple. There is no cost efficiency to downsizing this design. The only thing we can reduce is copper and the IGBT (Power Module) and the customer would see little cost benefit and loose all the performance that was possible and only benefit a small amount. The only way to make one smaller and less expensive was to go to a discreet power module configuration of old and this would have had serious implications of failure running on a US residential grid and this was the last thing I wanted to see.

    Trhought, I am trying to get in touch with a guy and I will get back to you on your offer! If I can prove to you what it is that I say I hope you will continue to post so passionately; )

  • mas985


    I was wondering if you would be willing to share some data on the Intelliflo pump. To date, I have been doing cost analysis based upon the pump head curves and energy curve that is in the manual. As you can imagine, getting accurate data off these curves is somewhat challenging but it is the best I have.

    I would be interested in a table of values which would have RPM, GPM, Head, Kw for a variety of values. Do you think that this would be possible?

    I would also be interested in similar data on the Whispeflo series of two speed pumps except for just two speeds of course.

    Hopefully Pentair is serious about showing the cost savings of these pumps and would be willing to allow independent analysis to prove it.

    One thing that seems to be missing from all pool pump head curves is an efficiency curve. Pump suppliers outside of the pool industry usually have much more detailed engineering head curves and efficiency curves.

  • socaled

    Deeker and/or Productmanager

    This is a little off topic, but related. I have an Intelliflo VF. Pool/Spa/solar setup.

    Total requirements requires little automation. I keep hearing that a Suntouch controller will come out, that will work with the VF directly. Is this in the future or even being considered? If so, when would it be made available to purchase?



  • socaled

    Looks like I killed this thread?


  • banker74

    Anybody mind if I revive this with a vary basic question. I've got a very old 2hp motor for a roughly 35-40k gallon pool. Electric bill is hitting Tier 5 every month here in SoCal - and I kid you not that besides this pool pump my house is incredibly efficient (at least what we run).

    Anyways, spoke w/ a local pool store & inquired about the variable speed intelliflo. The comment back from him was he recommended the single speed .75hp whisperflo. Reason being we don't have a spa attached to the pool and no major water features. We don't use an automated pool cleaner and I never run the heater. He basically stated that we'll get plenty of efficieny out of this, and due to the basic nature of our setup we don't need to spend additional $$ on the variable speed.

    Almost everything I'm reading here is telling me regardless of what I'm running for water features or othrewise, in the long term the variable speed intelliflo will save me the most $$. Since we have no intention of moving, and my other alternatives is spending $10K+ on solar panels to generate electricity, I'm willing to spend more up front for a more efficient pump.

    So - my question to the pros here - do I listen to the guy at the store and accept that a .75hp single speed pump will be just about as efficient as a variable speed intelliflo? I'm having a hard time geting my arms around that given what I'm reading here. Thanks for any thoughts.

  • landa_mac

    Go with the IntelliFlo VS pump. It should get you into the high Tier 3 or lower Tier 4. It will probably pay for itself in the first year.

  • mas985

    A 3/4 HP Whisperflo will deliver about 2.7 gallons per Watt-hour of energy. An Intelliflo will deliver about 13 gallons per Watt-hour of energy at 1000 RPM. That is close to a 5:1 improvement and will drastically reduce your energy consumption. Not even close in terms of energy efficiency.

    At full speed the Intelliflo is less efficient than the 3/4 HP but you would probably rarely run it at full speed. For the same flow rates, both pumps will use about the same energy but at lower flow rates, the Intelliflo becomes much more efficient.

    However, the time it takes to pay off the extra cost of the Intelliflo could be quite long if your energy rates are low so you need to look at the total cost of running each pump to see if it is worth it.

    To give you an example, for a 10k gallon pool, 1 turnover per day, $.15/kwh and a $1000 price differential. Pay off is about 76 months of run time. Change any of the parameters and the payoff changes proportionally. Larger pool, more run time, higher energy costs or higher price differential shortens the payoff time.

  • trhought


    Your local pool store is thinking in the right direction...less horsepower to accomplish the same job as the 2HP. However a .75HP pump is still too big to circulate the water in your pool. Unfortunately, this is the smallest size pump available in a 1 speed.

    That leaves you with 2 choices, a variable speed pump or a 2 speed pump. At low speed, the 2 speed will get you down to 1/3, 1/4 or 1/5 HP depending on what size 2 speed pump is selected. From the pool description you provided, I would recommend a 1.5HP 2 speed pump which is 1/4HP at low speed and is 3 times more efficient than the .75 HP your local pool store is recommending. The variable speed will also allow you to reach the lower horsepower ratings and will save an extra 200 to 300 watts (2 to 3 100 watt light bulbs) over the 2 speed at these lower horsepower ratings.

    Based on the info jmas provided above, get a quote on the installed cost of a 2 speed and the installed cost on a variable speed and run some numbers to help you make the decision between the two technologies.

    Hope this helps!

  • Rack Etear

    You can get a 1/2 hp single speed.

  • poolguynj

    The Intelliflo will pay for itself in energy savings. It's won't draw as much current, will run slower, run cooler, last longer than any single or dual speed pump available today. Your question, IMHO is do I need the VF or VS? In your situation, I think the VS will suffice. THe main differences as I see it for you is "Do you need the extra capabilities the VF offers, such as the SRVS and self recognition that the filter is starting to cause increased back pressure is I should push a little harder to maintain my set GPM rate?

    The motor is the same. The drive/controller is what is different. The VS only knows it's been told to run at speeds a,b,c,and d for it's four user definable speed buttons. Those speeds can be any of 305 speeds, ranging from 400 rpm to 3450 in 10 rpm increments.

    Both will pay for themselves. Do you want a Chevy or a Cadillac? VW or Ferrari? etc...

    While yours is a single speed application, you'll save in energy and reliability.

    Oh, and thanks for bringing this thread up again. It happened while I was AFK last year. This was likely the best thread of the year and I never would have known it was there.



  • banker74

    Thanks for all of the responses. I think I came here wanting to hear that I should go w/ the intelliflo - I'm glad it seems that most (not all) people agree that's the way to go.

    As for whether I need the VS or the VF - I'm thinking I want the one that's easiest to install & run. It would seem to me the VF doesn't require an additional controller, so if I'm simply looking to swap one unit out for another and have all controls on the pump itself its probably the easiest. I may try to do it myself, however considering I'm no plumber I may hire somebody to do the install.

    I was also wondering if I have it running 24x7 on the super low flow setting (lets say 20GPM for arguments sake), then does that truly get enough movement in the water to circulate the water/chlorine/etc? Probably a stupid question, but since I'm new to the whole pool thing I figure it's a fair one to ask.

    One more question - what's a fair price in SoCal to pay a plumber to do the pump install? Alternatively, should I call a shop like Leslie's & see if they'll do it (so I can get some training while they're here?)

    Thanks again.

  • poolguynj

    Is 20 GPM for your pool sufficient. Too many dependencies for us to say. I would ask that you start a new thread on that. This one's already really long.

    Who should you buy from?

    Leslies stores by me don't do service directly. Check your Yellow Pages for local pool service companies. That should be a local dealer with trained techs who can install it. You have already acknowledged you've never done it and that you're a novice with pools.

    I recommend you go with a pool service that regularly sells Pentair products. They would also be able to give you an orientation on how run your pool and it's equipment. Expect to pay for that service. Typically, it takes an hour or two, depending on the pool, it's equipment, and your questions.

    Will you pay too much going this route? No, there is already enough competition that prices will be fair. You also get support when you go that route. That has value.

    Try getting support from the internet dealers. Email at the equipment pad? They won't be able to help if it turns out that the dog stole your son's GI Joe with Kung Fu grip and dropped it into an empty skimmer line and trips the SRVS. When you need support, the local guy will gladly be there when you need him.

    Establishing a trust with your local pool service is the way to go. When your car needs service, don't you take it to the same mechanic you went to last time? Why? Trust.

    As time goes by, you'll develop experience with your pool and be able to take on more tasks.

    A plumber that does residential and/or commercial plumbing is not a pool man. There are different rules for each and two different skill sets. Rule them out for most pool tasks.

    I hope this helps you and others reading this.


  • trhought


    Congrats! I think you made a wise decision being in SoCal where the utility rates are likely high. The variable speed pumps should return your extra investment in about a year or two.

    Regarding low flow, 20 gpm sounds too low for effective surface skimming action unless you have the venturi skimmers mentioned by sbedelman towards the beginning of this thread. Traditional skimmers require more flow to effectively skim.

    Once you get the variable speed pump, start experimenting with the right balance of low flow and higher flow throughout the day to both circulate/filter your pool at low speed and keep the surface clean with a higher speed.

    For example, my 2 speed pump at low speed is providing 45 gpm which does OK with skimming but I have a negative edge pit which does most of the skimming. If I didn't have the negative edge, I would have to use the higher speed periodically in between the longer lower speed cycles to skim the pool.

    This will be trial and error and your duty cycle (time in high speed and time in low speed) will depend largely on how much surface debris you get throughout the day. Just remember to include the higher flow rate in your turn/day calculation so you won't have to run the lower speed as long to get the proper turnover for your pool.

    Obviously you'll have more than 2 speeds to work with, so maybe these extra speeds can be used to your advantage during your trials to balance surface skimming and low flow turnover for your pool.

    Also, before buying, check for rebates on higher efficiency pumps such as variable speed and 2-speed. This may influence your decision heavily. In HVAC, the new stimulus package is offering very attractive rebates for higher efficiency systems. We are expecting our 2 speed and variable speed technology sales to increase significantly this year as a result.

    Hope this helps!

Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268