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Thinking Man's Pool > Multi-Speed Pump >  |   Cartridge FilterSalt System  |  Pressure Side Cleaner  

The Thinking Man's Pool

Option #1 - The Multi-Speed Pump

As a pool man of 20 years, people often e-mail or call me asking for advice on pool equipment.  While there is no one set of equipment that fits every single pool, there are some options that every pool owner should consider. 

These are options that pay for themselves over and over again in terms of pool operation and maintenance expense.  They also provide the pool owner with excellent water quality with minimal hassle.

FIRST OPTION:  MULTI-SPEED PUMP

The benefits of a two-speed, multi-speed and variable speed pumps  have to be seen to be believed.  Most pool guys will never even think to recommend this, but it just makes way too much sense to be ignored.

Think about it . . . multi-speed pumps address the biggest concerns that pool owners have about their pumps, that being cost of operation and quietness of operation.

Concern #1 - Cost of Operation

Energy efficiency is a big issue with consumers and with power companies these days, although many pool guys still don't think much about it. 

Consider the following real-life comparison:

Pool #1 - The Traditional Approach                 Cost:  $51.90 per month

This 25,000 gallon pool has a normal 1.5 HP pool pump.  It runs 8 hours per day.  It pumps about 80 gallons per minute, which means that it circulates 38,400 gallons each day.  The pump draws 9.0 amps at 240 volts.  At a cost of 10 cents per kilowatt hour, that translates to a cost of $1.73 per day or $51.90 per month to operate the pool. 


Pool #2 - The 2 Speed Approach                     Cost:  19.50 per month

This 25,000 gallon pool has a 1.5 HP two speed pool pump.  It runs 12 hours per day in low speed. In low speed it pumps about 40 gallons per minute which means that it circulates 28,800 gallons each day.  (Remember that the pool only needs to turn the water over once each day).  The pump draws 2.25 amps at 240 volts in low speed.  At a cost of 10 cents per kilowatt hour, that translates to a cost of $0.65 per day or $19.50 per month to operate the pool. 


Pentair IntelliFlo VS 3050 Pump 4-Speeds 4 X 160 Variable Speed (011013)
Pool #3 The Variable Speed Approach          Cost:  $6.00 per month    

The same pool; 25,000 gallons, but with a variable speed pump. The pump can be programmed to operate several different ways. If programmed to turn the pool over once per day and run for 12 hours per day, the electricity used, at .10 per kilowatt hour, is 20 cents per day. Save $45.90 per month or $550.80 per your on the electric bill. That alone is enough to justify the extra cost of buying a variable speed pump, without even considering the pump has built-in electronic controls and protects itself against such perils as running dry and over-heating.

The only time you really need to turn a two or variable speed pump to high speed is for backwashing or vacuuming, or if you need to increase the flow rate temporarily.

Take a look at the chart to see how this works out:

Pool

Hours/Day

Flow Rate

Gal/Day

Amp Draw

Daily Cost

Cost/Flow*

Pool #1

8

80 GPM

38,400

9.0

$1.73

4.5 cents

Pool #2

12

40 GPM

28,800

2.25

$0.65

2.25 cents

Pool #3

12

40 GPM

28,800

-

$0.20

.68 cents

*cost per thousand gallons of water pumped

In example #2 and #3, you are moving less water, but the reality is that most pumps are oversized and as a result the pools are over-circulated.  The Two Speed or Variable Speed pump provides just the circulation that your pool needs at a fraction of the cost.

Keeping the pool circulating a longer period of time each day has a couple of advantages:

  • The longer periods of circulation will help to reduce the occurrence of algae.
  • If you have a salt system, you can run the system many more hours per day and get increased chlorine production if needed.

WHAT ABOUT SOLAR SYSTEMS?  When a pool has a solar system mounted on the roof, a two speed pump may not be the answer.  This is because the rise to the roof creates 10 ft or more of static lift, and that number does not change when you put a pump in low speed and reduce the flow through the system.  With a solar system, it is often better to use a smaller single speed pump, such as a 3/4 HP pump that will give you adequate lift at all times, however the variable speed or multi-speed pump can be programmed to increase water flow when needed.  

Concern #2 - Quietness of Operation

The 1.5 HP pump will typically make quite a bit of noise.  This is partly the result of pump noise but more the result of water flowing through the pump and the piping.

The Two and Variable Speed pumps on low speed will make very little noise, just a low hum.  This is because it is working under much less pressure and the turbulence in the piping is non-existent.The variable speed pumps all use the diffuser design of pumps like the Pentair Whisperflo, Hayward TriStar and Jandy Stealth for the quietest possible operation.

OPTION 2:  CARTRIDGE FILTRATION

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