Best Setup For Variable Speed Pool Pumps

33 thoughts on “Best Setup For Variable Speed Pool Pumps

  1. What RPM would you suggest for my Pentair Superflo 1.5 HP 115/208-230v pump attached to my 8,000 gallon pool?

    I currently run it at night from midnight to 6 a.m. , yet at 3100 RPM, which I’m sure is extraneous.

    Could you advise me on a more apt flow rate/RPM for my Pentair 1.5 HP VSP?

    Thank you! :)) – Brett

  2. Hi-

    All things being equal, is it better to run the pump 24/7 at a speed that will turn the pool over the desired number of times per day, or run the pump at a higher speed to turn it over the same number of times and then have it shut off for a few hours (both from an economic as well as a filtration standpoint)? I’ve had mine in for about three weeks now, and been running it 24/7. I put a flow meter in so I could set it to the desired GPM, with a couple hours at a higher speed, a few hours at a pretty low speed, and 16 hours at a rate that will turn the pool over once. I do have to bump it up a bit if I want to run the heater, but I do that manually as needed.

    As far as filtration goes, the water looks good with the current schedule (though the pump basket doesn’t look “full” when it’s running on low speed – doesn’t seem to be sucking air, so I assume that’s OK).


  3. I call BS! Few of us run our pumps at 3 and 4 different speeds during the day…We find one speed to cover our needs and leave it. You have water features you need x amount of rpm. Unless you retired and bored and you make this a hobby then maybe you have your pump set to play music for you but not here

    1. Doug, you can set these schedules to automatically run. You don’t have to change the speeds manually everyday. That would be ridiculous.

    2. The article doesn’t tell you to run your pump at 3 or 4 different speeds during the day (though I do like the idea of general filtering at low speed topped off with a couple of hours of higher speed to help skim the surface better). The concept is to program different pump control buttons at different speeds for different purposes. On my pump, I can set up 4 different functions on 4 buttons: 1. standard low-speed cleaning 2. higher speed cleaning 3. A program I’m going to use for when I add chemicals 4. A program for when I run my robot cleaner.

      And that’s just my setup. You can set up the programs/buttons however you please.

    3. Doug I have 4 different settings a day on my multi-speed speed pump. The speed changes are pre/programmed. The 4 speed pump saves over $75 a month VS running a single speed at 3400 Rpm. My minimum speed is 1000RPM and max is 3250RPM (for cleanup – never has needed to use). The pool cleaner runs at 2600RPM for 6 hours automatically. Then 1500RPM for 8 hours. Then 1000RPM the 10 hours balance.
      My pump runs 24/7 year round. My water stays crystal clear. I have had a salt pool with a variable speed pump for over 8 years.

    4. A year later, and a couple weeks into my Variable Speed experience, this post stands out. One speed is pretty much all we need. Then, manually (or via phone app, in my case) we can increase speed to improve surface skimming and pool cleaning.

      I’m retired and, yes, I like to play with the app that runs the pump…but a lot of this seems to be “boys with toys.” But that’s just me! 😉

  4. I think this article is great and want to thank the Author for putting it together, I have two Pumps on my System, and has they stated my SWG seems to need about 1800 rpm, to activate, Also the pool builder put my skimmers and my popups on the same pump.
    I need the popups to run for a few hours to push the Dirt down to the main drain but then want my skimmers running the rest of the day at a lower speed, so this article gave me some great jumping off places for adjusting the RPMS, to get constant flow, during my off peak.

  5. Variable speed pump love it, on 1700 minimum unless using vac or for a quick boost.
    Anyone have magic stream pentair fountains? If the pump shuts off the fountains keep running and overflow from the base I woke up and the pool was half empty. Cant set up Pentair to automatically shut off fountains before turning off the pump? Unless of course I have them set on the timer, but if I turn them on and forget they don’t shut off when the pump shuts off?? Makes no sense.

    1. I agree, Brian. My installers for the Jandy 1.85 hp VS pump with a wireless controller and iAqualink phone app didn’t quite understand why you need a “cut-off” switch before connecting power to the auxiliary relays onboard the pump. In my case, I run usually hours a day at 1700. If I want to automatically start up my Polaris booster pump, I only need to bring the speed up to 1725 and “auxiliary 1″ will fire up the booster pump.” I can turn if off from the iAqualink app in the same way, bringing down the speed to BELOW 1725. But this morning, after heavy rains, I want to backwash the filter at a higher speed…I have to disconnect the Polaris cleaner, manually set the filter function to backwash and then run TWO PUMP motors…the main and the booster! No sense at all. I’m asking a qualified electrician to wire in a cutoff switch that will allow me to run at any speed without having to needlessly power that extra Polaris booster pump.

  6. I love in Florida, have a pool cage so not a lot of debris. I have a Hayward suction auto pool cleaner attached. I have a Hayward variable speed pump and currently run it for about 5 hours during the day at 3000 rpms. The suction/ skimmer valve is about 90% suction to get the correct wheel RPM on the cleaner. This is about a 12000 gal pool. I would like to be able to run the pump at different times and speeds but at lower speeds the cleaner will not operate. Any suggestions?

    1. If you want to run the pump at lower speeds then you would need to remove the cleaner from the suction line. The cleaner does not need to be connected all the time for a pool to work and clean itself properly. Use the cleaner when there is enough debris to warrant it.

  7. Size of pool, bather load and type, temperature and type of pump all effect filtration cycle.
    Filtration 1000 RPM without SWG for X number of hours per day (.25-2 turnovers a day). Example: San Diego in August, 20K gallon, high head pump, would go for 10-12 hours at 1000
    SWG then set a second speed schedule so it kicks up till flow light goes out and run at 100%
    Auto cleaner, 2200 for 30 minutes. Observe cleaner and skimmer for action. Adjust accordingly.

  8. I’m new to pool care so I’m busy learning. I have an 18000 gallon pool in southern Florida with a hot tub that flows down to the pool. The pool guy set the variable speed pump at 3200 24/7. My questions:
    1. Can I connect a robotic cleaner to the only skimmer and leave it? (I leave the house for weeks at time.)
    2. Is my #1 concern turning the water over at least once a day?

    Any help and additional advice is greatly appreciated.

    1. Suction cleaners require a certain flow rate for them to operate correctly. So, during those times your cleaner should be working, I would set the VS to a speed that allows it to do so.

      Your pump only being set to 3200 RPM completely negates having a variable speed motor, as we cover in this guide. You should take the time to figure out the RPM necessary to keep your pool clean, while also keep energy usage down.

      The water should be turned over at least once to keep the pool properly chlorinated/sanitized.

  9. When going from high speed to low speed or the other way around on a schedule. Is it better to have the pump off for a few minutes before changing the speed? For example from 12pm -2pm I run the pump on high starting at 2pm the schedule changes to low. Would it be better to start the low speed schedule at 2:05pm and have it off for 5 minutes. Thanks for all your help

  10. What do you recommend a 10k gallon screened in pool with skimmer and cleaning bot? I was thinking 12 hrs a day 900 rpm and 2 hrs in the middle for the bot to operate efficiently as lower speeds don’t give the bot the adequate suction. Also have a salt system. I’m looking to balance efficiently with effectiveness. Is 2 hrs sufficient for the bot and skimmer to do it’s job? Also curious what speeds and time at speed others run for salt conversation to chlorine?

  11. Recommendation for running vgreen 165? Just got it. We have a large pool, 33,000 gallons, no other water features. We live in California and it gets a a lot of sun, but I’d like to avoid our peak time (4-10pm) at a high or medium speed if possible and have that time period be the lowest. Any help is appreciated!

  12. Is it ok to run a Pentair Superflo VS for 24hrs a day at it’s lowest RPM settings as a way to guard against freeze protection during the colder winter months?

  13. Hi. I have a VSP and a heat pump connected. Never know what speed and how long to keep this on for. Feel like every time I play around with it I never think it’s Right. I live on Long Island in New York. Any thoughts or recommendations? My heater usually doesn’t turn on until around 1750 rpms.

  14. Our pool lady suggested that we run our pump on high speed as we try to get it clean for summer. I have a Pentair super flow VS variable speed pump. Can you put me to directions on how to make a stay at 3450 for 24 hours?

  15. I’ve added a variable speed pump and am curious if any testing has been done to identify the best flow rate for filters. Mine is a Hayward DE. I understand the concept of faster water flows at higher pump speeds, but is the filter equally efficient at each flow rater or pump speed?

    1. If it is a robotic cleaner, it would not matter what your pump schedule is, as they are independent of one another. If you have a suction cleaner, you need to test the RPMs needed to get your cleaner to work, then you know which RPM to set it on.

  16. South Texas here. I just added a 1.5 hp variable speed to my 25,000 gallon pool. I also switched from pressure side to a separate 3/4hp pump for a Polaris cleaner. It made sense at the time to separate the two (and I always had issues with the pressure side cleaner). I was thinking about running the Polaris at night for few hours and the main pump during the day. But in thinking about that, the tail of the Polaris will be dusting the pool bottom and the skimmers won’t be running much at all to filter the kicked up dirt. So should I kick it into cleaning mode for the whole time the Polaris is running then leave it on at a low speed? Maybe both from 4am to 8am, then low speed filter from 8am to 6pm (adjusting as needed for water quality)? Thoughts? Thanks!

  17. I just got the Jandy VSPro 1.85 HP Variable Speed pump and I’ve experimented with it for the last couple weeks. (The old single speed pump was dying.)

    During the winter, what speed would you run the Freeze Guard Feature? You could go as low as 600 rpm.

    I find my Polaris 380 (With Booster Pump) gets TOO MUCH power above about 1800 rpm. Tail foam tip flies off, even connections in the hose line separate. So I’m going to have to adjust the Polaris by unscrewing the pressure relief valve and tail screw.

    But using this pump’s “Auxiliary” connection (basically 2 optional relay switches that activate at 1725 or 2250 rpm) to power the Polaris booster pump means I can’t go above 1725 rpm without turning on a second pump. I thought a cut-off switch to the booster pump would help. The pool installer didn’t want to wire a new switch. They weren’t electricians. I’ll hire one to fix it. You need a good electrician to take advantage of all the features of Jandy’s phone app. (I could even have him wire up a second relay to shut down the booster remotely with a key fob — the pool is a good distance from the house. 😉

    At 1725 the Polaris runs great and I can activate it or reduce the RPM’s and stop it from my phone. But that doesn’t always clear the leaves on the surface to the skimmer.

    Mine is a vinyl pool (around 25,000 gal) with a sand filter. I don’t yet see any reason to run this pump at 3450, the max speed. Seems to be cleaning the pool well. Currently on a 12-hour daily schedule at 1700 rpm.

  18. I just installed a Pentair SuperFlo 1 1/2 HP pump. I was using a 1 1/2HP fix rate pump for the last 25 years. I have a Jacuzzi 24T 60GPM max sand filter and a RayPak 300K heater (which I only turn on manually when I needed it. No other equipment or water features. I have been running the pump at 1800 for 8 hours and 1500 for the other 16.

    I am concerned about the sand filter. I have been told the slower the water the better the sand filter will clean. I have been also told that the sand filter should always run between 8 to 12 PSI. At 1800 it is at 10 PSI. However, at an RPM setting below 1800 the sand filters PSI is below 8. AT 1000 RPM it is only 2 PSI. Is there a minimum PSI that I should keep the sand filter at so it filters properly? If its 8-12PSI then all these great discussions about running your pump at 1000 to 1500 RPMs would not apply to my system. Thanks in advance for the help.

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