How To Program A Pentair SuperFlo Pump
If you want to learn how to program your Pentair SuperFlo variable speed pump what you need to realize first is that a proper pool filtration schedule is more than simply letting the pump run at one speed all day long. I mean, sure, you could just do that but you would be giving up most of the potential for electrical savings that you invested in when buying this pump. As an example of the dynamic nature of swimming pool filtration schedules you can read this article that looks at a hypothetical situation where you were to run your pump at 1000 RPM around the clock. This will give you a good idea about the potential for electrical savings with this pump, but it will also highlight why you need a more dynamic filtration schedule if you want the best of both worlds - reduced electrical costs, but also reliably clean and clear water.
Traditionally pool owners were relegated to tactics like only running their pump for a few hours per day to get the absolute minimum filtration needed to keep the water clear. This was because running a single speed pool pump consumes a massive amount of electricity per hour. For more information about the limitations of trying to save money on electricity like this you can read this article about running a pool pump four hours daily. In this article you can see that when running a pump at full speed you use a great deal of power. This is the first critical component that you need to understand in order to reduce your electricity bill as much as possible. You need to run your pump at high (higher) speeds for at least a few hours every day, but doing so will consume a great deal of power.
Set high speed running for off-peak hours - The few hours per day that your pump needs to run on high speed will probably consume as much power, or more, than the remainder of the day running on a much lower RPM speed. This is why you need to find out when your variable electricity rates are the cheapest, and then program your pump to run the high speed part of its schedule during this time. For most areas the cheapest time for electrical rates is in the middle of the night so this would be the optimal time to run your pump at high speed, so long as the noise from doing so is not a problem.
Set the majority of the day for low RPM operation - A variable speed pump uses so little power at low RPM speeds you no longer need to turn off your pump at all. Instead you should be running your pump 24 hours per day, but the vast majority of the time it should be operating at the lowest RPM setting that still moves some water in your pool (between 10 to 20 gallons per minute). In the 1000 RPM example article above we learned that the Pentair SuperFlo VS cost only around 1.8 cents per hour to operate at 1000 RPM (based on $0.13 national average per kWh). At less than two cents per hour don't bother turning your pump off at all, and instead get as many hours per day of low RPM running as possible. This is where you really save money on your water filtration.
Allow time for medium flow rates - Most pools these days have peripheral items like heaters and salt water chlorinators that require many hours per day of running time in order to meet the needs of your pool. For a very basic pool a few hours at high speed and the rest of the day at minimal RPM might work, but most pools will need a few hours of pump running time every day above the minimum RPM value that you are using for filtration. The RPM that you need will depend on what device you are trying to operate, as well as how many hours per day it needs to run. Simply increase the RPM of your pump until the peripheral device you are considering turns on (and stays on). This represents the minimum RPM that you need to achieve a sufficient flow for your peripheral device to operate. Be sure to account for a few hours per day running at this medium RPM, and if possible you should also try to have this period of higher RPM fall during off-peak electrical hours.
Now that you have a better idea about what your 24 hour filtration schedule should look like, and why you should program your high speed and medium speed running cycles to fall during off-peak hours, we can look at how to program the Pentair SuperFlo variable speed pump to operate on this schedule. Fortunately the programming of this pump is very easy and only takes a few minutes to accomplish. The three speed buttons are where you will program your three operating speed for your 24 hour day. This schedule operates starting with number one, followed by two and three. Whatever speed and time that you program number one to be will represent the beginning of your 24 hour schedule.
Programming speed one - Press number one and it will now show the current RPM speed that is programmed. I like to start with my high speed running schedule so this value will be something like 2500, 3000 or 3450 however you want to choose the minimum RPM speed that will accomplish the job. If you have a 240V electrical service to this pump then your maximum speed is 3450, and if you have a 120V electrical service to this pump you are limited to a top speed of 3000 RPM (even though the display does show 3450). If 3000 RPM is enough flow for your pool then use this instead of 3450. Especially at these top end RPM speeds every little reduction makes a big difference to the electrical consumption. Once you have your RPM selected press number one again and now the time of day that this program will start will be flashing. Set the time of day you want your pump to run at high speed, usually late at night or very early in the morning is best. After you have selected the time of day to start cycle one, you will need to select how many hours (in 15 minute increments) that you want this first cycle to run. Remember you want to run your pump at high speed for a little while each day optimally, but since the majority of your 24 hour electrical cost will come from the few hours you run at high speed, you want to choose the minimum amount of hours the pump will operate like this. In the attached video example I programmed the pump to run cycle one high speed for only two hours. Press one again to save your time of day, RPM and duration settings for number one.
Programming speed two - Programming of speeds two and three follow the same process as speed one. Press number two and then select the RPM that you want to run your pump at after cycle one at high speed finishes. Press two again and now you will select the number of hours that cycle two runs at. For most pools this should be a fairly large number like 18 ro 20 hours. In this attached video example I went with 18 hours at a very low RPM as this will provide significant filtration over this time period, while only costing a fraction of what it would cost to run the pump on full speed for only an hour or two. Be sure to not set your RPM so low that the pump can not overcome the resistance to flow inherent in the system. Without a flow meter installed on your plumbing system then you will have to guess at your flow rates, but you want between 10 to 20 GPM during this low RPM setting, which means that you should be able to feel water flow coming out of your return lines in the pool. Press two again to save these settings.
Programming speed three - Not all pools will need to have three speeds programmed, but if you have peripheral items like salt water, a gas heater, an electric heat pump, or pretty much any other bolt-on optional items then you will need to account for this with your 24 hour programming cycle. Most peripheral items will not run when you have your pump RPM at or near a minimum value. Additionally many peripheral items require a few hours every day to operate, or more, and so you will need to likely revisit and revise your third speed RPM and running time should you find that your peripheral items are not running often enough (salt systems fail to make enough chlorine, pool heater can not keep up with heating demands). In any case you will want to also attempt to run your medium flow cycle also during off peak hours. This is why I have my initial schedule starting at 2:00AM with the high speed, as this allows for the end of my 24 hour filtration schedule to also fall late at night during off-peak electrical hours. Press three and then select your motor RPM speed. Press three again and you can set up to the remaining amount of time left on your 24 hour program. Press three again and you have set the final speed. Be sure to press "start/stop" once you have finished programming your three speeds as this will lock in the program you have just completed into the memory of the pump.
Motor RPM: 3000
On time: 2:00 AM
Run time: 2 hours
Motor RPM: 1200
On time: Following completion of cycle one
Run time: 18 hours
Motor RPM: 2000
On time: Following completion of cycle two
Run time: 4 hours
During peak times of day my electrical cost is close to $0.18 per kWh but the off peak price is just under $0.08 per kWh. This means that running the high speed in the middle of the night costs only $0.29 for those two hours of operation versus $0.66 if I were to run that high speed cycle during the peak of the day (based on 3.7 kW being consumed during those two hours of high speed running). That means we take the high speed portion of our pump running costs from $19.98 monthly to only $8.70 monthly just by choosing the best time of day to use the high speed setting. In conclusion it is very realistically possible to reduce your electrical costs by more than 75% while actually increasing the quality (and volume) of your water filtration schedule.
Swimming pool flow meters
How much electricity does a pool pump use
What happens if you run a pool pump at 1000 RPM
Running a pool pump 4 hours per day
How does a variable speed pump save you money
Variable speed pump schedules
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