Swimming Pools and Spas Helpful Videos

Pump Motor Efficiency - Intelliflo Variable Speed Pumps

Pentair INTELLIFLO Variable Speed Pump
Replace your old pump with a variable speed pump and start saving a minimum of $550 and up to $1,500 per year.

It's probably safe to say that no innovation in the pool industry has generated more excitement and discussion than the introduction of an intelligent variable pumps with permanent magnet motors by Pentair Water Pool and Spa.

Never before there been products capable of so dramatically reducing the cost of pool ownership. As a result, Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pumps has been a sensational success, tens of thousands are already installed as the industry discovered how they literally obsolete old pump designs, and it's also safe to say that the introduction of Intellipro and Intelliflo has to - put it mildly - rock other swimming pool pump manufactures.

The energy savings being meticulously documented by third parties are significant and in some cases downright phenomenal, even in light it is proven performance there's a good deal of misinformation and half-truths being spread about these remarkable pumps.

This video will set the record straight by explaining the fundamental differences between conventional single and two speed pumps with induction motors and intelligent variable drive pumps with permanent magnet motors. We'll also compare the energy use of the new energy variable drive pumps with older technology to prove how dramatically variable drive pumps cut energy use. The savings will vary of course depending on which comparisons you choose to make, but the facts are clear and undeniable. These new pumps have changed the game in terms of energy conservation.

First, let's review some basics of older pump technology and new variable drive technology to set the stage. And the first big difference is seeing the old-style induction motors and the newer permanent magnet motors used in variable drive pumps. The fact is permanent magnet motors on average are 30 percent more efficient than induction motors. In recent comparison test with induction motors ranging from 1/2 to 3 horsepower, permanent magnet motors confirms 17 to 44 percent less energy when run at the same performance levels as you can see the savings are greatest when comparing 1/2 to 2 horsepower motors and somewhat less when comparing two and a half (2 1/2) horsepower motors and higher. However, as you review this information, bear in mind that ninety percent of the pump installation involves induction motors that are 2 HP or less, where a permanent magnet motor delivers the greatest savings.

So, to repeat, permanent magnet motors used in variable drive pumps deliver significant energy savings and are the first chapter of the total saving story.

The next key concept to understand is the Pump Affinity Law. This law states that when you reduce the motor speed by 1/2, you reduce the power requirements to 1/8 of the amount of power previously used. In short, the slower you run the motor, the less energy you consume. This pump law is of course central to the idea of being able to vary the speed or flow of a pump. The slower the speed or flow then the bigger the energy savings! And as we'll soon show you the savings can be very large. Also remember, these savings are added to those already gained by the use of the permanent magnet motor.

As a general rule you can expect to cut energy use up to 90% when using a variable drive pump compared to a single speed or two speed pumps because:

  1. the more energy efficient motor
  2. you can program a variable drive pump to run at lower motor speeds and take advantage of the pump affinity law.

The savings will depend on number of factors such as plumbing, fittings, the number and type of pool and/or spa features and the filter media used. But make no mistake, the savings can be significant.

Now let's talk about how competitors have tried to discredit these facts. They claim that when an Intelliflo variable speed pump operates at its top speed of 4,450 RPMS, there are no savings when compared against the 3 HP single speed pump at the same performance. They base this erroneous conclusion on the amperage draw all information contained on the product label. So what's the truth? In the first truth, amps aren't the proper bases for making energy cost comparisons. The power and watts is the real power measurement that matters. Amps or Volt amps for what is known as the apparent power! Watt rating refers to the actual power purchased from the utility, while Volt amp rating is used for sizing, wiring and circuit breaker.

Also remember that comparing one of the new variable pumps to a 3 HP pump applies to less than 5% of all pumps installed. In fact, in some states like California, 3 HP pumps are banned for use as a residential filter pump. But for argument sake let's see what happens when you do run Intelliflo pump flat-out and you measure how many watts that uses compared to a three horse power pump and the same performance. As you can see the variable drive technology concerns 9.4% fewer watt than a single speed pump. Also consider that you simply wouldn't set a variable drive pump at its maximum speed to accomplish most water moving task. To do so negates the ability to exploit the energy savings based upon the pump affinity law.

So now if you come across this or any similar comparisons you'll understand why it is - first, not true - second, not representative at the HP pumps installed in the field.

Now let's turn our attention to a more realistic and accurate comparison to see what happens when we start to tap into the affinity law but altering the speed of an Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump.

Look what happens when the technician reduces the motor speed on an Intelliflo pump from 3,450 to 3,332 RPM's, a tiny 3% reduction! As you can see, the watts drop from 2,880 to 2,420, a 16% reduction. Now remember, you probably wouldn't be running the pump at this high speed either but you can certainly see the impact when you control the motor speed and drive energy use down.

Now let's look at when happens to energy consumption when the Intelliflo is set for filter mode and a 20,000 gallon pool with a 12 hr. runtime. The RPM's drop from 3,332 to 1,110 RPM while the Watt usage decreases from 2,420 to 157, a whopping 94% reduction!

Finally, let's go to the opposite extreme and compare an Intelliflo variable speed pump with a less powerful 1 HP pump running at a speed of 3600 RPM's. Here you'll notice that the Watt usage decreases from 1,670 to 1,196 which is a 28% energy savings. But also remember, you have the ability to reduce the speed of the Intelliflo and further and further reduce power requirements for different routine throughout the day, week or season. A 28% savings is actually the worst case scenario because the more you customize Intelliflo performance for each pool function, the greater the savings potential.

So there are 2 key points to remember:

  1. First, the permanent magnet motors used on new variable drive pumps are much more efficient than induction motors used on static speed pumps. On average, you'll reduce electricity used by 30%.
  2. Second, static speed pump inevitably runs a significant amount of time at a speed well beyond what's actually required to power most of the jobs that most do. It cannot take advantage of the Affinity Law. A Variable Drive Pump by contrast it can be programmed to run at its best efficiency point for every task, and by exploiting the Affinity Law it can typically reduce energy used up to 90%.

With this in mind, we encourage you to be cautious when other manufactures attempt to dismiss the savings by distorting the facts.

Bottom line, you should replace your old pump with an Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump because:

  • Saves Energy (Pool Pumps are the second-biggest consumer of energy next to the air conditioner)
  • Good for the Environment
  • Quiet

Contact Steve at (949) 243-4312 today to replace your old pump and start your incredible energy savings!