My basic principle of setting the run time of a Variable Speed pump is to keep it simple. Yes, you can set up to 8 different speeds and run times in most pumps but why bother with that? I prefer to just set two different run times and call it a day.
I like just using a low and medium speed. A high-speed program is not necessary in most cases. What I mean by low is 1700 to 1800 RPM or if you are using percentages to set your speed that would be 50%. Going off of 3450 RPM being 100%, half of that would be around 1,700 RPM or 50% in the menu. Then I would set a medium speed of 2400 RPM to 2600 RPM or roughly 70% if you are setting it that way. You really are not saving anything if you set the speeds any higher.
Basically, you can set your low speed by simply taking your current single-speed pump run time and doubling it on the low-speed mode. So if your pool ran for 8 hours per day at 3450 RPM you will need to set your low speed (1700 RPM) to run for 16 hours. This will give you that one full cycle at a low speed. Then you will set a medium speed and run that for a few hours each day – mainly to get the surfaced clean and to get any automatic cleaners moving in the pool. I would say 4-6 hours per day depending on your pool size. Of course, if you have a very large pool, 25,000 or larger you will be running your VS pump almost 24 hours a day if not 24 hours per day.
Not to worry since the pump is designed to run 24/7 so if you have to run it longer for a larger pool it won’t damage the pump in any way. You may also need to increase the medium speed to circulate the water better in a larger pool. But for most average size pools you shouldn’t need to run your pump more than 14 to 18 hours per day.
One thing to keep in mind is that even if you need to run your pump longer your energy use will not be impacted negatively. For example, if you are running your pool for 10 hours a day at 1700 RPM you probably are using about 130 watts per hour. Compare that with a single speed 1.5 hp pump which uses about 1200 watts per hour. So that 10 hour period is about equal to one hour of run time from a single-speed pump. So it is a bit of an illusion really and running a VS pump for that long does not translate into more energy use. In fact, a VS pump should save you 80%-90% in energy cost.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you notice any water quality issues like algae or cloudy water, you may need to increase your run time and or run speeds. It may be a lack of chlorine or a dirty filter but it could also be too short of a run time. It is not an exact science and the water quality or general look of the pool is a good indicator of your run time. Installing a flow meter is a smart move and this can give you a more exact run-time since a flow meter will give you more exact gallons per minute. I always suggest a flow meter for variable speed pumps to help fine-tune the scheduling and run speeds.
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