It seems like a simple question with an obvious answer, doesn’t it? It shouldn’t be difficult to figure out how long to run a pool pump. And really, it’s not.
But before you just turn it on, walk away, and forget about it, you do want to consider a few important factors into account like circulation, chemical balancing, and cost. Especially cost. Because this is one of those parts of pool care that, if you get it wrong, can cost you quite a bit of money.
The “How Long to Run a Pool Pump” Dilemma
The ideal answer to this question is all day, every day, all year, all the time, forever.
And then go out and get three more jobs because your electric bill is going to be ridiculous if you do that.
So while that would be ideal, it’s not practical, or even completely necessary. The key is to understand your pool pump’s purpose, the type of pump you have (or could have), and how best to take advantage of its features.
What Does a Pool Pump Do?
If the water in your pool didn’t move, it would quickly become a stagnant swamp, host to algae and all kinds of other yucky stuff. One of the most important factors in keeping your pool clean and swimmable is pool circulation. And that is generated by the pump, which is the first component of your pool’s filtration system.
The pool pump pulls water in, and then pushes it out through the filter. No matter what kind of filter you have, it only works if water moves through it. That’s how the filter is able to capture debris and bacteria.
To keep all the water in the pool clean and clear, it must run through the filter system at least once a day. This is called the turnover rate.
You can skip this whole process by investing in the pool care video course and finally master pool water chemistry and maintenance for good! It’s time to take control of your pool and save a ton of money in the process.
Frustrated by adding chemicals and trying to keep your pool clear all the time?
We cut out all the confusion of pool maintenance in this easy-to-read illustrated ebook and video course. It'll help you save $100 right away on pool care!
Click Here to Learn More
How to Calculate Turnover Rate For Your Pool
First, if you don’t already know it, you’ll need to calculate your pool’s volume. If you’re not sure how to do this, you can use our pool calculator to figure it out:
Pool Volume CalculatorClick on your pool shape to calculate the volume of water.
Once you have your pool’s volume, divide it by eight to determine the number of gallons per hour (GPH) that need to be pumped.
Most pool pumps go by gallons per minute rather than GPH, though. So to get that number, divide the GPH by 60 to determine how many gallons per minute (GPM) need to be pumped for full turnover.
So your formulae will be:
Total Pool Volume ÷ 8 = GPH
GPH ÷ 60 = GPM
Choose the Right Pool Pump
This part’s easy once you have all the numbers. Simply find one that pumps at least the same GPM as is required for your pool. If the one you choose pumps a little more than you need, that’s fine. Just don’t go below your required GPM.
This will ensure your pump will run at the appropriate rate to turn over your pool’s water in one eight-hour period.
When Should You Run Your Pool Pump?
Just as important as how long to run a pool pump is when to run it. Sure, you need to run it for at least eight hours. But is that consecutive hours? Daylight? Nighttime? What are we talking about here?
Running Your Pool Pump During Non-Peak Hours
Did you know the rate you pay for electricity changes throughout the day? It’s based on what electric providers call peak hours, meaning when more people are using more power, and putting more strain on the grid.
Peak hours vary from location to location. For example, in warmer climates, peak hours most likely correlate to when people have their air-conditioning cranked, maybe late afternoon or early evening when people are getting home from work and turning up the A/C.
All it takes is a call to your provider to find out the peak hours where you live. Once you know that, try to schedule your pool pump run time around those hours to keep your cost lower.
You can make this really easy on yourself by using a programmable pool timer to turn the pump on and off at the right times.
Running Your Pool From Sunrise to Sunset
It may seem logical to have the pump running during the day, while people are swimming in it, so the water stays clean. And that’s a good thought. But consider a couple of other things too.
Those non-peak hours your utility has may be at night, especially if you live in a warm climate where people are more likely to run their air-conditioning during the day.
Also, running your pump is usually necessary after you’ve added chemicals to your pool. In order to get the chemicals dispersed throughout the water, it has to be moving. Otherwise, you may end up with super-sanitized spots and pockets of not-so-clean water, and that’s not the kind of Marco Polo you want to play.
But there’s one chemical that needs to be added at night, or at least at dusk: pool shock. Add it during the day, and the sun will just burn most of it off, reducing its effectiveness.
So when you shock your pool, you’ll definitely want to run your pump at night, and for a minimum of eight hours to fully distribute the shock.
Our Top Pick
This fast-acting, quick-dissolving swimming pool shock from DryTec kills bacteria, controls algae, and destroys organic contaminants in pools. It comes in easy-to-use 1-pound bags.
Use the entire contents of the bag when opened. If any granules settle to the bottom of the pool use brush to disperse them. Add the right dosage of this product during evening hours while the filter pump is running.
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Run Your Pool Pump For Non-Consecutive Hours
Yes, you want to run your pool pump for at least eight hours every day to complete at least one turnover cycle. But that doesn’t mean it has to be eight hours straight.
Again, refer to those non-peak utility hours. Working around those, you can run your pump for two hours here, seven hours there, and then three hours there. As long as it runs for at least 8 hours in every 24-hour period, you’re covered.
Our Top Pick
This pool pump has a really simple digital control panel with 3 programmable speeds. And it's extremely quiet thanks to the enclosed fan-cooled (TEFC) motor.
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
02/05/2023 12:55 am GMT
What’s The Best Pool Pump Type?
Aside from time of day and non-peak utility hours, how long to run a pool pump also depends on the type of pump you have.
It’s only logical, but it may be something you hadn’t considered. The more powerful your pool pump is—the more horsepower it has—the faster it will turn the water over, which means you can run it less often and for shorter periods of time.
But this is also dependent upon the size of your filter and the filtration system’s pipes. A too-powerful pump can be too much for a small filter. Also, a one-horsepower pump will work more slowly, but if your system uses three-inch pipes, it can accommodate a three-horsepower pump, which will work more quickly.
But there’s another but. Three horsepower can be too much if you have a small pool, and it will only waste energy and cost you more money. Be sure to get a pump that isn’t too powerful for your filtration system, but is powerful enough to turn over your pool’s volume at an adequate rate to hit that magic GPM number you need.
Single, Dual, or Variable Speed
If you have a single-speed pool pump, we recommend you upgrade to at least a dual-speed. You’ll get more efficiency and faster turnover. If you’re going to buy a new pump, we highly recommend you get a dual-speed or better. In addition to the energy savings and better efficiency, some states, such as California and Arizona, actually prohibit the installation of new single-speed pool pumps.
But to really get all the benefits from your investment, we recommend choosing a variable-speed pool pump. They consume less power, help turnover and filtering go more quickly, and you may even be able to get a utility rebate for using one. They also run at lower revolutions per minute (RPM) than single- and dual-speed pumps, so they’re quieter.
Yes, they’re also more expensive. But they’re a long-term investment in your pool’s efficiency and maintenance.
Our Upgrade Pick
For bigger inground pools needing a 3 horsepower motor. Built-in control panel with 8 programmable speed settings and a timer. Best for pool owners looking to save money on their energy bills.
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Is Your Pool Pump Running? You’d Better Catch It!
Have you been letting your pool pump run 24/7? Stop the insanity! Now you can look forward to a lower electric bill and turn some lights back on. Or if you haven’t been running it enough, you can look forward to a cleaner pool now that it’s circulating more often.
And the next time you and your neighbor debate how long to run a pool pump, you’ll be armed with good information. Now if you could just get him to trim that tree limb that keep dropping leaves into your pool …
Matt Giovanisci is the founder of Swim University® and has been in the pool and spa industry since 1995. Since then, his mission is to make pool and hot tub care easy for everyone. And each year, he continues to help more people with water chemistry, cleaning, and troubleshooting.
A Cheat Sheet For Perfectly Balanced Pool Water and Crystal Clear Swimming
Download this FREE printable cheat sheet to keep your pool clean and clear without any fuss. You’ll never worry about your pool again with this easy-to-use guide.
Click Here For The FREE Cheat Sheet
When's the last time you thought about your pool skimmers? Give them their due because they're one of the most important parts of your pool and its health.
Keeping every part of your pool plumbing system in mind will help you maintain your clean, sparkling pool, and extend your equipment's longevity.
Is your pool moving? You'd better catch it! Actually, you'd better just make sure the pool jets keep things moving, or you'll have a mess on your hands.
A clean, cared-for pool is already beautiful. But why not add a little pizzazz with a couple of pool fountains? Your pool will be cooler, and so will you.
When it's running, it keeps the water moving; otherwise the water would become stagnant and things like algae and bacteria could grow. The pump also clears debris from the water and keeps those pool chemicals mixed by pushing water through the filtration system.Can I run my pool pump 24 7? ›
Some commercial properties require 24-hour a day pump circulation, but as a homeowner, this is not advisable. If you are lucky enough to own an Energy Efficient, Variable Speed swimming pool pump (VSP) then , yes, technically you could run your pump for 24 hours a day.What is a good pool pump schedule? ›
We want to aim for 1-2 turnovers per day at a minimum. We can then run a couple of hours at a medium-to-high speed in the mid-to-high 2,000 RPM range to take care of any debris that may have been blown into the pool during the day.How long should pool pump run in summer? ›
On average, you should run your pool pump around 6-8 hours per day during winter and 10-12 hours per day during summer. Note that you need to run your pool pump longer during summer because algae grow more in warm temperatures.Do pool pumps use a lot of electricity? ›
One of the most significant consumers of energy in homes with swimming pools are pool pumps, which keep pools clean by circulating water through filters. Pool pumps can consume 3,000 to over 5,000 kWh per year.What is the minimum time a pool pump should run? ›
Run the circulation system one (1) hour for every 10°F of air temperature. Example: If it is 100°F, the pump should run 10 hours a day minimum. Of course, if the pool is full of algae or a major weather event has occurred, the pump may need to run for 24 hours until the water clears.Is it better to run pool pump at night or day? ›
It's best to run your pool pump during the day
Not only does sunlight give fuel for algae to grow, it also destroys your pool chlorine and this is why you should always run your pool during the day!
It may be cheaper to run the pump at night, but honestly you should run it 1 hour a day per 10 degrees of temperature at least, and it should be during the day. Running the pump at night should only be when you are doing a major chemical treatment such as algae clean-up.How many times should a pool turn over in a day? ›
A Rule of Thumb
This is based on the assumption that your average pool pump has a turnover rate of about 8 to 12-hours. That means that the total volume of your pool water will filter through your system 2 to 3 times per 24-hour period. For a residential pool the water should turn over at least once per day.
The rule of thumb is generally 8 hours, although it could be anywhere from 6-12 hours, depending on your pool's size. Each pool is unique, so to keep your pool pump efficient and effective, you need to figure out exactly what your pool's turnover rate is.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I SHOCK MY POOL? Shocking your pool regularly will help to keep the water clean and free of contaminants. You should aim to shock your pool about once a week, with the additional shock after heavy use. Some tell-tale signs that your pool needs to be shocked are cloudy, foamy, green, or odourous water.Should I run the pool pump while swimming? ›
One of the biggest questions when it comes to regular maintenance is the swimming pool pump. It's not necessary to have your swimming pool pump running at all times, as this can be a serious expense on your electric bill.Should I run my pool pump when it rains? ›
Should I run my pump while it's raining? Zagers says yes! We recommend that our customers run their pumps rain or shine UNLESS you have an electrical storm. In that case, lightning could strike an outside circuit, which could damage your pump and other equipment.How often should I backwash my pool? ›
As a general rule, you should be backwashing your pool about once a week or in conjugation with your scheduled maintenance. Another industry standard is to backwash when your filter's pressure gauge reads 8-10 PSI (pounds per square inch) over the starting level or “clean” pressure.How can I lower my pool pump energy bill? ›
6 Ways to Reduce Pool Energy Costs
- Invest in a variable-speed pool pump. ...
- Cover your pool. ...
- Skim regularly. ...
- Clean strainer baskets and filters regularly. ...
- Reduce the pump's run time. ...
- Avoid running the pump during “on-peak” hours.
On average, pool pumps last eight to 12 years before needing replacement. Over time, it's normal for pool parts to begin to wear down. In addition, swimming pool technology has come a long way in the last decade.How much electricity does a pool pump use per month? ›
That's around 24 kWh per day, or around 720 kWh per month, just running only 10 hors per day. During the heat of the summer, many pumps need to run longer to maintain clear water. And remember, pool pumps never get to take a day off.Is it OK to turn pool pump off while on vacation? ›
Keep the pump and filter on while you are away.
Most pumps come have an automatic timer that makes this very easy. Set it before you leave to ensure the pool filter system will run at least 8 to 12 hours per day.
Example 115 volts X 15 amps = 1725 WATTS. MULTIPLY the hours per day that you run your pool pump by the kW. This total will be the kWh -kilowatt hour per day Example 24 hours a day X 1.725 kW = 41.40 kWh per day.Should I run my pool pump twice a day? ›
It's generally recommended that all of the water in a pool needs to be filtered at least once every 24 hours. If the pool is being used heavily (like, for example, if you host a pool party), you'll probably want to cycle it through the filter twice that day.
Generally you will want to wait at least 4 hours, but ideal is waiting for one complete turnover of the water (the time it takes all the water to go through the filter).How long after putting chlorine in pool? ›
You may have asked at some point, "How soon can you swim after adding chlorine?" or "How long do I need to wait between adding pool chemicals?" It is recommended to wait at least 20 minutes to an hour after adding water balancing chemicals.Can you put chlorine tablets in skimmer? ›
A better method is adding chlorine tablets directly to your swimming pool skimmer. When your filter is running, water will move quickly over the tablets in the skimmer basket, dissolving them much more effectively than the floater does.Does a pump for an in ground pool have to be off while it rains? ›
There is no need to turn off your circulation system during a rain storm. We need the chemicals to still work and want the dirt and debris to be filtered out just like under normal circumstances. Never try to change settings on the pool pump or at the timer when it is raining.
So whether you winterize your pool or just tone things down, you can absolutely run your swimming pool pump in the Winter.Should I put chlorine in my pool every day? ›
They also help you manage pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness. Each chemical level can be managed by adding different compounds to your pool. Under normal circumstances, you should add a tablet of chlorine every 3-7 days, depending on the results of your water tests.How many inches of water does a pool lose per day? ›
The average pool water evaporation rate is about a quarter of an inch of water per day or more than two inches in a week, which on a 33′ x 18′ swimming pool (an average pool size) is more than 2500 liters or approximately 600 gallons a week; this may vary depending on your climate and the factors listed above.How much water should a pool lose in 24 hours? ›
What is the normal evaporation in a swimming pool? Generally speaking, pools lose approximately 1/4” of water per day on average, though this can vary due to factors like wind, temperature, humidity and of course, the pool's total surface area.Can a pump be too powerful for a pool? ›
The more powerful your pool pump is—the more horsepower it has—the faster it will turn the water over, which means you can run it less often and for shorter periods of time. But this is also dependent upon the size of your filter and the filtration system's pipes. A too-powerful pump can be too much for a small filter.How long does it take to circulate a 15000 gallon pool? ›
Here is an example to help you understand: For a 15,000 gallon pool, the pump is able to push 40 gallons per minute of water through the filter. That equates to 2,400 gallons per hour. At this rate it will take your pump 6.5 hours to filter the whole 15,000 gallons.
How Often Should You Backwash a Pool Sand Filter? As a general rule of thumb, you should backwash and rinse your filter about once a fortnight. The optimal time is right after you vacuum the pool. However, if your pool has had a lot more use than normal, it may be necessary to backwash once a week.What goes first shock or chlorine? ›
While shocking and adding algaecide is effective in getting rid of algae, it should not be done together. This is because when you mix chlorine and algaecide together, it renders both of them useless. Hence, you should first shock the pool and wait for the chlorine levels to fall below 5 PPM.How often should I put chlorine tablets in my pool? ›
To recap, you typically only need around 2-4 per week, and using them is as simple as adding them to your skimmer. From there, your pool pump does the rest of the work for you. Of course, always remember to buy the right tablets for your pool size and set up.What is the difference between shock and chlorine? ›
Chlorine is a sanitizer, and (unless you use Baquacil products) is necessary for maintaining a clear and healthy pool. Shock is chlorine, in a high dose, meant to shock your pool and raise the chlorine level quickly.Do you brush a pool with the pump running? ›
Be sure to brush the pool while the pump is operating, and to cover the entire pool from the tile line to the main drain. Sweep slowly and push the brush toward the main drain so that the debris will be pulled into the drain and then into the filter, where it will be removed from the water.Is it OK to run pool pump in storm? ›
Turn the Power Off
To prevent potentially dangerous electrical issues, it's imperative that you turn off the power to your pool equipment, including pump and filter systems, heaters, certain chlorinators, and lighting fixtures.
- Running the Pump without Water. Swimming pool pumps should never operate without water. ...
- Water level of Pool is to Low. ...
- A Clogged Skimmer Basket. ...
- A Cracked Pump Lid. ...
- Missing Pump O-Ring. ...
- Other Causes of Damage.
Since rain is diluting your pool, you may expect that it will reduce the acidity of your pool water. However, all rain in the US is acidic due to pollution, so rain actually decreases your pool's pH – in other words, the pool water becomes more acidic.Why is pool green after rain? ›
“Heavy rain dilutes pool chemicals, especially salt and chlorine, which causes the pool to turn green. This means the water is not sanitised or healthy, so it's vital to address this.Should I shock my pool before or after it rains? ›
Give your pool a good shock treatment 1 to 2 days before the storm hits. You can bring the chlorine level up pretty high to prolong the pool being depleted of chlorine. Run the pool for about 24hrs after the shock treatment to allow the treatment to make its way throughout the entire pool.
It's important to brush the pool on a weekly basis to keep algae spores in check and keep your liner from looking dirty. But at least once a month, it's important to do a "deep cleaning" of the pool, to make sure you hit all those hard-to-reach areas, like behind steps and ladders.Is it OK to run pool pump 24 hours a day? ›
Some commercial properties require 24-hour a day pump circulation, but as a homeowner, this is not advisable. If you are lucky enough to own an Energy Efficient, Variable Speed swimming pool pump (VSP) then , yes, technically you could run your pump for 24 hours a day.Should you always backwash after vacuuming pool? ›
Yes, we recommend backwashing after you vacuum your pool. This allows the filter to shoot out any dirt / debris you have vacuumed up. Don't forget to set your filter to “rinse” for 30 seconds after backwashing!What happens if I don't backwash my pool? ›
The build-up of unwanted particles often results in increased pressure to the filter reducing its efficiency – it can lead to damage. Backwashing a pool dislodges any contaminant and debris and pushes them out into a hose via the pool pump or the waste line.How long do I rinse after backwash? ›
Turn the lever to BACKWASH. Open the valves to the suction and return lines. Start the pump. Rinse the filter for about 1 to 2 minutes or until the water in the sight glass is clear.Do I need to run my pool pump every day? ›
Every pool should cycle through all of its water at least once a day, so most pool owners will want to run their pumps for at least 4-8 hours daily.Does it hurt a pool pump to run dry? ›
Swimming pool pumps should never operate without water. They will overheat and cause excess damage. Running a pump without water can also warp the lid, basket and the adjacent plumbing. If the pump continues to run without water, there is a high possibility of causing damage to the plate, seal and bearings.Can you turn off the pool pump for a few days? ›
Yes you can turn your pool pump off for a week. You can turn it off for a month, but there are consequences. The pool will get dirty—no pump, no filtering. The chemicals will not circulate and the water could start turning a nice shade of green as algae forms.Should I turn off pool pump when raining? ›
The Equipment. There is no need to turn off your circulation system during a rain storm. We need the chemicals to still work and want the dirt and debris to be filtered out just like under normal circumstances. Never try to change settings on the pool pump or at the timer when it is raining.Do you run pool pump while vacuuming? ›
You should not let your water line fall below your skimmer at any time. Therefore, you will need to put your garden hose in your pool to fill it up as you vacuum, or add fresh water again after vacuuming. Otherwise, leave setting on “filter” and turn pump on to begin vacuuming. You will not lose water this way.
On average, pool pumps last eight to 12 years before needing replacement. Over time, it's normal for pool parts to begin to wear down. In addition, swimming pool technology has come a long way in the last decade.What wears out a pool pump? ›
What causes it? This can be caused by low water levels in the pool or heavy debris in the skimmers causing them to suck air. It can also be caused by a “suction leak,” where there is a breach in the plumbing in front of the suction side of the pump.Should a pool pump be in the sun? ›
The plastic and rubber components of your pool pump can be quickly damaged by exposure to direct sun. In fact, exposure to direct sunlight over just one summer can reduce the life of your pool pump equipment by as much as 15-20%.