Pentair Pool Pump Review
From what I had read and heard about pool pumps prior to making the investment, the Pentair Pool Pump is the Cadillac of all pumps. It took me a while to get my brain wrapped around the features and timer for making the very best use of this product, but after having used it for a summer, I am beginning to agree. In fact, this is one of the best purchases I have made for my pool, right next to the Saltwater Pool System nearly 2 summers prior. Unfortunately, it also took me some time to get my mind wrapped around paying so much for a pool pump. Because my pool is very far and uphill from my pump-room, I tend to be very hard on pumps. My last pool pump cost around $465.00 installed and lasted about 5 years. The Pentair Pool Pump is in a whole new price league. I paid just under $900.00 for it on Amazon.
I got some quotes from pool installers and the installation cost was double that, so you can be sure that Amazon is giving you a great deal. However, if you are looking into this pump please look at the model and make sure you’re comparing apples to apples to what I am reviewing here. Here is my model and link for the actual product: Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo Variable Speed High Performance Pool Pump, 3 Horsepower, 230 Volt, 1 Phase – Energy Star Certified
Now that I have established the model number of the pump I am reviewing here, let me give you a basic overview of what makes this pump different than the rest. The Pentair Pool Pump is a variable speed pump. By variable speed, I don’t just mean that it has just 2 or 3 settings of speeds from low to high, or even 5, 6, or 10 settings. What variable speed means is that will run literally at any speed between its lowest and highest possible RPM of power. So, let’s talk about the power and range of the Pentair 011018 Intelliflo Pump:
Pentair Pool Pump Speed Range and Settings
The Pentair pump will run between 400 and 3,450 RPM. Manually, you can adjust these speeds in 10RPM increments to suit your own personal needs. The built-in, digital timer (See Picture), gives you automatic control with up to 8 programmable speed settings. This means that you can set the pump for different speeds at different times of the day and night. So, what is the advantage of having this variable speed and control?
Advantages to Pentair Variable Speed Pump
- Whisper Quiet Operation in low-speed modes
- Dramatic Energy Savings
- Automatic Priming
- Remote Control Feature
Advantage number one was what sold me most on the Pentair pool pump. Having converted my basement into a retirement suite for my parents, I needed something quiet because the pool pump happens to be right next to the bedroom. My previous pump was loud enough that it would be hard to hear the television in the room. I can set the Pentair for lower speeds (around 700-800RPM) and it cannot even be heard. In fact, when I first visit the pump room first thing in the morning, I used to mistakenly think that the pool pump had been inadvertently shut-off because I could hear no noise coming from the room until I opened the door and got right next to it!
The energy savings, according to the specifications in technical journals is substantial. Unfortunately, it was difficult for me to assess my savings from my previous year due to the major home remodeling I did over the summer which resulted in extra energy needs for the guest house. I would also like to add that my pool heater has always been the biggest source of my pool energy consumption costs. The cool nights in Colorado make pools rather expensive to keep heated. If you would like to get some more exact estimates on noise levels and energy savings, I recommend visiting this link: Chain Saw Journal Pentair Pump Review
My pool, being so far away from the pump has always been very difficult to prime. I’ve never had an easier time of it than with the Pentair Pool Pump. It primed much quicker than usual on my very first time opening the pool. This is probably because the high, 3,400RPM speed is much more powerful than the old pump. Also, whenever the pool loses prime, the high-speed RPM will kick in to make sure you’re pool is keeping prime. This alleviates some of the worries I use to have of the pool losing prime when I’m not home and burning out the pump.
The Remote Control feature will give you the ability to conveniently program the pentair pump operation and speed settings from your iPhone, other mobile, or proprietary Pentair device.
Disadvantages of the Pentair Intelliflow Variable Speed Pump
- Cost: $850 is a lot of money to spend for just a pump and that doesn’t include installation. Pool installers make most of their money in labor costs. I was quoted between $1,450 and $1,800 from two different installers for both parts and labor.
- Position of Control Panel: I’ve included a side picture of the Pentair Pool Pump to illustrate that the control panel faces the opposite direction of the pump basket. In my case, this puts the control panel right smack against the wall of my pump shed meaning that I have to look upside down at it to program the clock and speeds. Add to that the new confusion of learning how to navigate through the many programmable settings and function menu and I had a pretty steep learning curve on my hands for the first few days. Now granted, not all peoples pool equipment and layouts are the same, but why not make the control menu reversible, so it can be viewed from any angle?
- Loses prime at Low Speeds: This is not a biggie for me, but my pool won’t hold prime if the pump is set below 700RPM. This probably has something to do with the long-distance proximity from my uphill pool down to the pump room. Though the Pentair does have an automatic priming feature, I still feel a little bit uneasy about it losing prime during the night hours while I am sleeping. I will probably become more confident of this capability as I become more familiar with its operation over the next several weeks. For cleaning the pool, it is great to be able to set the Pentair to its very highest RPM setting. Below, I have listed some recommended programmable settings that worked pretty well for me last summer.
- Cost for Remote Control: The remote control upgrade requires additional money and setup. I am not ready for that just yet, but some of the reviews I’ve read on this feature were not that promising. Perhaps, overtime it will improve and I will be enticed to upgrade to this capability which will completely offset disadvantage # 2.
With a little bit of practice and tweaking, you can get the Pentair Pump to work just right for you and your pool. I will give a brief overview of how the speed settings work:
Programmable Speed Settings: 1-8
Speeds 1-4 are indicated by the buttons on the control panel and can be programmed in three modes: Manual, Schedule, and Egg Timer (Use similar to the manual timer on pools, sprinklers, etc.). Speeds 5-8, however, are limited to Schedule Mode only because the control panel has no buttons for these speeds. See illustration above. Suffice it to say, if you want to have 8-speeds, you can, but you’ll just have to use the schedule mode to program all of them at once. Below, is an example of how you might make use of all 8-speeds for your Pentair Pool Pump:
- Manual: 3,400 RPM Reserved for Cleaning Pool
- 6:00AM – 8:00AM: 1,500 RPM (To start the day)
- 8:00AM – 10:00AM: 1,700 RPM (Crank up the power as swimming begins)
- 10:00AM – 12:00PM: 2,000 RPM (A little more circulation as the temperature warms up)
- 12:00PM – 2:00PM: 2,400 RPM (More power for the mid-day sun)
- 2:00PM – 5:00PM: 3, 000 RPM (Heat of the Day – Crank it Up.)
- 5:00PM – 10:00PM: 2,100 RPM (Night Swimming
- 10:00PM – 6:00AM: 750 RPM (Sleep Hour Quiet)
I have no idea how long this pool pump will last. Because it does not have to operate at high-speed all day long, 24-7, I hope to get more than 5 years out of it. According to the energy savings boasted by the tech-specs, the energy savings will more than make-up for the cost. When it is time to replace the pump, a pool installer should not be required since the plumbing and connections are already in place. Hopefully, the model or a very similar model of this Pentair Pool Pump will continue to be available.
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