Author Topic: Constant Pressure Pump (propaganda)  (Read 15300 times)

Cary Austin

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Constant Pressure Pump (propaganda)
« on: July 16, 2008, 02:14:02 PM »
Variable speed well pumps, booster pumps, and pool pumps are a scam. These Constant Pressure Pumps use computerized controllers, also known as Variable Frequency Drives or VFD’s, and are designed to separate people from as much of their hard earned money as possible. Many government agencies, electric utility companies, engineers, manufacturers, suppliers, and installers are either part of the scam, or just caught up in the lies themselves.

Government agencies and power utilities want you to believe they are trying to help you save energy and money. Manufacturers, suppliers, and even some installers wish to sell you equipment that cost a lot and doesn’t last very long. Many engineers want to vary the speed of the pump because it is easier, or they don’t know how to properly design and size a pump system. Make no mistake about it, most are lying about VFD’s to line their own pockets.

These Variable Speed type pumps do not save energy, and do not make pumps last longer. To the contrary, varying the speed of these type pumps can increase the energy used by as much as 500% per gallon produced. Likewise, varying the speed increases the heat in motors, causes excessive vibration, and shortens the life of motors from other undue stresses.

So how do these people get away with lying? As they say, the Devil is in the details. Read the fine print carefully. Comparing a VFD to the most inefficient pump system possible is the usual way to show it saves energy. Many articles will barely mention discontinuing the use of a dump valve, lowering the pressure required, or even installing a smaller pump in the system. Although these are the real reasons for the documented energy savings, the VFD added to the big pump wrongfully gets all the credit.

So called “energy saving calculators”, especially for pool pumps, will not allow you to simulate turning the pump off. A pool pump only needs to run 6 to 8 hours a day. If you can’t turn the pump off, of course a VFD is going to show $2,000 a year savings. But slowing the pump down with a VFD is not doing any good. At really low flow rates the skimmers don’t skim, the vacuum won’t vacuum, and the filter won’t filter. Turning a standard pump off with a timer, instead of letting a VFD run it slowly all day, WILL save thousands of dollars a year.

Other so called “energy saving calculators” won’t let you put in the head or pressure required. This way they can show tremendous energy savings when the pump speed is reduced by 90%. However, because the pump still has to produce head or pressure, the pump can only be slowed by 10%, which actually makes the pump use more energy than a properly sized pump without a VFD.

Still others will make a big deal about how the motor amps are reduced as the RPM is reduced with a VFD. However, they conveniently forget to mention that the flow is reduced 5 times faster than the amps, which makes the VFD cause 500% more energy use per gallon.

The Cycle Stop Valve is a good alternative to a VFD or big pressure tank. However, the pump industry will do anything they can to dissuade you from using a CSV. The CSV is a disruptive product. It really does make pumps last longer and use smaller pressure tanks. The CSV really does eliminate cycling and water hammer. The CSV really does save you money, which is why it is disruptive to the pump industry.

Don’t let a fast talking salesperson force you into a money pit. Don’t let an electric utility pay you an incentive to install a VFD. It will cost you many times that amount in frequent equipment (VFD/motor) replacement. Demand your installer or supplier to get you an original Cycle Stop Valve. The CSV is disruptive to the pump industry because, it may well be the last time you need spend any money on your water system.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2012, 07:29:25 PM by Cary Austin »

Cary Austin

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Constant Pressure Pump (propaganda)
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2008, 02:15:55 PM »
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The following is typical of what many pump installers believe after listening to the manufactures.  I hope this helps clear up some of the misinformation that is causing some people to fall for a Constant Pressure Pump.  The principle is so technical that even the pump installers do not understand.  I am sure they think they are selling you the best technology available.  You should study the facts before making that decision.  Doing what the pump manufacturers recommend is not usually what is best for the end user, just for the manufacturer.

from  Driller
Junior Member   Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 6

"Constant pressure pumps work great, we have sold hundreds of them. They aren't a new concept they have been out for 15+ years going back to the old Hays Pumps days." Driller

You are right, variable speed pumps are an old concept going back about 30 years. The "old Hays Pump Days" were only about 10 years ago, and none of them are still working.

Then came the Grundfos SQE. These pumps are still on the market after 9 years but, there have been so many upgrades to that system that I can no longer count them. The latest upgrade makes the pump cycle on and off like a standard pump for 1000 cycles, to see if it can again regain communication with the motor before faulting out. This is probably the best of the variable speed pumps available. However, only a tiny fraction have lasted 9 years, and the average life is less than 4 years. BTW, none of the upgraded stuff works with the older stuff so, if you have a problem, the whole thing has to be replaced.

Then came Franklins CP Water, which had water running through the electric controller to try and keep it cool. These were only 7 years ago and everybody in the industry knows these didn't last very long. Next was the Frankin Sub Drive in the black box about 5 years ago. Apparently the black colored box was the reason these units were getting hot and failing so quickly, so after a year or so they started painting these boxes white. This change about 3 years ago was supposed to keep the controllers from overheating. Reports from the field show that the white boxes quickly turn black and even discolor the wall they are mounted on.

In the last 3 to 5 years there have been many other brands of these variable speed controllers come and go on the market. Problems with cooling, low flow, communication, voltage spikes, and many other things have made these type systems unreliable.

Since you agree that variable speed pumps are "not a new concept", you should be aware that the Cycle Stop Valve has been replacing these variable speed pumps for about 15 years now. This makes the Cycle Stop Valve the most advanced technology available. Since 1993, when Cycle Stop Valves first started replacing variable speed pumps, every time a VFD system is discontinued, it has been replaced with a CSV.

"Read this press release from 15 years ago that I found on this website called xxxx this proves that constant pressure (CP) has come along way." Driller

I don't see anything about constant pressure on this web page except for the ConstaBoost for centrifugal pumps, they make no mention of the Sub Drive or Mono Drive. Maybe this company has already learned their lesson about constant pressure pumps.

"The CP controller converts your 1-phase power to three-phase (which three-phase is cheaper to run on) It is variable speed and ramps up and down depending on your demand."Constantpressure

A 3 phase motor is a little more efficient than a 1 phase motor but, the heat losses of the VFD itself, the loss of motor efficiency running on current with harmonic content, and the 40 watts of power used by the VFD when the pump is not even running, more than add back any energy saving that could have been available from varying the speed.

"A standard pump just kicks on full blast until it can shut off. The standard pump when it kicks on runs twice the amperage and slams the pump, motor, pipe, & wire against the well casing when it torques on." Driller

Actually starting a standard pump against a Cycle Stop Valve delivers the same reduced amp soft start as when ramping up the speed slowly with a VFD. 

I have heard a lot more problems with rubbing holes in the pump, motor, and wire, from the two million switches on and off per month, that happen when the system is controlled by the Franklin Drive, because it has a small bandwidth pressure switch instead of a pressure transducer.

"Constant pressure pumps require a much smaller tank which saves you money.
CP pumps because they run on three-phase you are able to use smaller wire which can be a huge savings." Driller


A CSV uses the same small tank as a CP pump. However, all the water in this small tank can be utilized with the CSV, while the CP pump has such a small pressure bandwidth, that it does not allow any of the water in the tank to be used. This means that a CP pump must start for every glass of water or even to fill the ice maker. It also means that any water in that tank gets stale and contaminated, and this does not happen with the CSV. Using a three phase motor so you can reduce the wire size, only helps a little with the extra cost of the VFD controller.

"They save power, you could say they are more "Green" than a standard pump." Driller

A CP pump DOES NOT save energy, compared to the energy reduction of a standard pump being controlled by a valve. To say that CP pumps are more "green" is incorrect. Actually the energy used to manufacture these computerized controllers exceeds any energy savings that might have been saved by there use.

"The only problem ever had with the constant pressure pumps were the check valve they put in the head of the pump. The checkvalve was cheap and the water coming out so fast and spinning right out of the pump would ruin that spring." Driller

I am sorry but, spinning is not what is wearing out the check valves. The switching on and off of the pump by the "pressure sensor" of the Sub drive, which can happen about two million times per month, is also opening and closing the check valve two million times per month, which equals check valves not lasting very long.

"Don't get me wrong constant pressure pumps aren't ideal for every situation I just wanted to clear some things up because ALOT of people want to knock the pump systems with little or no knowledge of them and without ever installing or owning one." Driller

I am knocking the "Constant Pressure" pumps because I have A LOT OF EXPERIENCE with them. I was building and installing them about 20 years ago, and can go back 40 years if you want a real history lesson. We have had so many problems with Variable Speed Pumps, that we devised the Cycle Stop Valve to replace them about 15 years ago. Ever wonder when the "old Hays Pumps" failed, what was used to replace them. We have been replacing every brand of variable speed pump or controller with Cycle Stop Valves for 15 years now. Everyday we use Cycle Stop Valves to replace SQE's, Sub Drives, Mono Drives, Balance Flows, Aquavars, ABB's, Toshiba's, Allen Bradley's, AC Tech's, and countless other brands of Variable Speed Pumps and controllers.

The people who use Cycle Stop Valves everyday, are those who have already been through a dozen different VFD pumps, with the promise that the newest model will solve all the problems of the previous models. They finally realize that VFD's are just "hype" designed to increase profits for the manufacturer, and reduce the life expectancy of the equipment (planned obsolescence). They soon realize that the Cycle Stop Valve is the newest and most beneficial technology available to deliver "Constant Pressure" dependably, and at an affordable price.

I would be happy to discuss any of these or other questions you might have, either here on the forum or personally.
Thank You
Cary Austin
800-652-0207
« Last Edit: September 03, 2012, 04:13:52 PM by Cary Austin »

Cary Austin

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Constant Pressure Pump (propaganda)
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2008, 02:17:41 PM »
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Of course I always see the worst cases.  By the time they call me, the customer is tired of being out of water and paying too much to keep a VFD system working. So where you have been to the Franklin classes and experienced the hype associated with Variable Speed Pumps, I see all the ones that didn’t work and made the customer angry. I am sure the truth is about in the middle of these two differing opinions, however even in the middle, these type systems aren’t lasting long. Most of the younger people these days just don’t realize that pump systems can last 15, 20, even 30 years without any problems. Just like a lap top computer, everybody thinks that if the pump system last 5 years, just throw it away and get a new one. Warranty of a Cycle Stop Valve has never been an issue, as most of the ones installed 15 years ago are still running.

The Franklin units DO NOT ramp up to the exact flow needed to produce constant pressure. They have a go/no go switch instead of a transducer. The only time they stay on at any speed, is when you are using max flow from the pump and the little switch cannot open. Any flow rate less than maximum, and this switch makes and breaks about 45 times per minute, or two million times per month. This also means that the check valve is opening and closing two million times per month. This alone should ruin the check valve but, you are right that spinning the check while the pump is spinning 4700 RPM instead of the standard 3450 RPM, would also ruin a check valve. If you haven’t seen the water in these little tanks become stale, then either the pump is not holding constant pressure as it should, or the pump is not lasting long enough for the water to even get stale.

 I hear more people with quotes like the following.

“I think I told you we have friends who are on their third VFD system in 4 years at the tune of $1100 a crack each time the VFD control panel got zapped.” Mickeysz

I don’t want to go into all the negative side effects of variable speed, such as harmonics and stray voltage, voltage spikes, resonance frequencies, and other things. These problems get a little over most peoples heads, especially when they don’t even understand little things like the fact that the switch can make and break two million times per month.

I know pump guys like to sell VFD systems because they are a high dollar item. Pump guys who have had a few more years experience with VFD’s, understand that making a few extra bucks now, can cost them customers in the long run. Nearly all of CSV’s best customers, have already been through the VFD stage. Constant pressure is a good thing, you just need a dependable way to produce it.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2012, 07:47:13 PM by Cary Austin »

Cary Austin

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Constant Pressure Pump (propaganda)
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2008, 02:20:22 PM »
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Those of you who do get stuck with a variable speed pump and end up replacing $1100 controllers too often, remember that the Cycle Stop Valve is the only real VFD or constant pressure pump repair kit. We have been replacing every "new" model of variable speed pump that has come out for 15 years, and it looks like we will have plenty to keep us busy in the future.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2012, 07:36:39 PM by Cary Austin »

Cary Austin

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Constant Pressure Pump (propaganda)
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2008, 08:14:45 AM »
I understand the marketing pressure that pump installers and the public are under to believe these things. Every trade show or Continuing Education Class (CEU) we go to, is inundated with “variable speed pumps”. I can understand this at the trade shows, as that is where companies go to peddle their latest wares. The CEU classes are supposed to be non promotional. However, they teach “variable speed pump classes” like it was something mandatory. After a few classes about how to sell up, using the latest technology to deliver “city like constant pressure”, while saving energy, and being more “green”, anybody would start to believe it. I fell for it myself!

It just takes a few years before you start to realize who is really benefitting from so called “variable speed technology”. I am afraid it is not the end user, the installer, or the environment, it is just the manufacturer.

The more money that is spent promoting a product, the more leery you should be. Products that make a lot of money for the manufacturer, get lots of money spent on promotion.

I have no doubt that some are trying to do the best job possible for the customers. I have no doubt they believe Constant Pressure Pumps will reduce energy and save the environment. Most Drillers and Pump Installers are very reputable people. We are usually hard working and honest people, which can also make us a little gullible. So when the company we buy product from and trust, is wining and dining us, and sending us on cruises for certain amounts of sales, all the while telling us this “newest” product is going to save the environment, we usually fall for it. Manufacturers are just taking care of themselves, while the end user pays for it, and the installer takes the blame for it. A little research is much better than reading the glossy advertisements.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2012, 07:39:00 PM by Cary Austin »