How Long Should You Run Your Pool Pump?

how long should you run your pool pump

How long should you run your pool pump?

This is the most common question that confuses almost all pool owners.

Well, my answer is very very simple. All-day.

Obviously, that’s not realistic, so let me give you a better practical answer.

Ideally, you would want to run your pool pump all day because the more you run your pump, the more the pump is pumping water through your filter, the more the filter is filtering out bacteria and other debris, and everything is going the be great.

But that makes your electric bill hike, I don’t know, a million dollars a year or something.

So, Let’s think about it and find out a better option.

What is the ideal time to run your pool?

That’s eight hours a day, this is the minimum recommended duration.

If you can run it more, more is always gonna be better.

What Does a Pump Actually Do?

A pump pulls water in from your swimming pool and pushes it through your filter and then back into your swimming pool. That’s really it.

It’s like the heart of your entire pool and depending on what kind of filter you have, whether it’s sand, DE, or cartridge, your pump is going to be pushing the water through that at a certain speed and your filter is going to either filter it or not.

We’re trying to create the ideal situation where you’re pulling enough water from your pool and pushing the right amount of water through your filter system, so that it can work effectively and finally, push that clean water back into your pool.

Now ideally, our aim is to move all of the water from the pool through a filter system at least once a day. This is called turnover rate.

So, the turnover rate is what we need to calculate in order to find out if you have the right size pump and the right filter for your pool.

So let’s calculate.

The first thing we want to know is,

How Many Gallons Are Actually in Your Swimming Pool?

This is very essential in order to determine what the turnover rate is going to be, and you can use online pool volume calculator to find it out.

You can calculate pool volume by simply entering the size of your pool, length, and width and what kind of pool you have, and it’ll give you the number of gallons.

Once, we have the number of gallons that are in swimming pool, we need to divide that by eight, which is eight hours, and that is going to give us the gallons per hour.

Turnover Rate (gallons/hour) = Pool Volume (in gallons) / 8

Now, you know the turnover rate, when you buy a pool pump it’s usually calculated in gallons per minute, so we’re going to have to do some more calculations which means take that gallon per hour number and divide it by 60

which is 60 minutes in an hour, and that will give you your gallons per minute.

Gallons Per Minutes (gpm) = Turn over rate / 60

Okay, now you have the gallons per minute (gpm)

if you’re looking for the right pool pump, there’s one more calculation you need to do that is called the feet of head. 

In order to to calculate feet of head, you need to determine all of the pipe lines that are going into your pool.

For example, You might have a main drain line, you might have a line from your skimmer or you might have a line from two skimmers.

  • If you have an above ground pool, you just have one line, and so you measure the length in feet to the skimmer or the main drains all the way into your pump.
  • if you have multiple things, let’s say you have a main drain and you have two skimmers, so
    that’s three different things and you’re going to take all of those, you’re going to add them all up in feet, and you’re going to divide it by three because you have three things.
  • If you have two things, maybe you just have a main drain and a skimmer, then you’re going to take the length of those two going from those places back into your pump and your going to add them together, divide by two, because you have two things.
  • If you have a above ground pool and you just have one line from your skimmer, you just measure that and that’ll give you your feet of head.

Now that you have both the values, the gallons per minute and your feet of head calculation,

Either you can go online, or you can go to your local swimming pool supply store, and you can figure out which pump is going to work best for your swimming pool to turn over all that water into eight hours.

There are a couple different types of pumps available in the market i.e. single speed, dual speed, dual speed, and variable speed pumps.

I think in California and Arizona they actually forbid adding in single speed pumps to your brand new pool or if you’re buying a brand new pump and the reason is because it just goes one speed.

It’s not very efficient or you know, energy saving, and so they suggest dual speed which comes with high setting and low setting options.

But even better option is the have variable speed pumps which can do all types of different flow rates.

Now, the next question is pop up in your mind is,

Does I have to run it in eight hours consecutively like just an eight hour period?

No, you don’t have to do that. In fact, you can run it multiple times a day.

As a little tip, sometimes in the middle of the day, when it is hot out in the summer and everybody around you running off the same electrical grid is all running their air conditioning, that’s gonna raise the price of your electricity.

If you’re running your pump during the day, you are running it at the peak electrical hour. So you are running it and you are going to pay the most for that.

Now, if you have a bunch of people in the pool, and you’re running it while they’re all in there, that’s great, but we actually like to run it at night, sometimes.

You add chemicals to your pool, and when you add chemicals to your pool, you need to run your filter system to mix them in. In this case, you need to run your pump, and when we add something like shock to the pool we want to add that at night.

This is the reason we add shock chemicals at night is because the sun’s gonna burn off like one part per million every hour because shock is unstabilized form of chlorine, and that’s just a waste of money.

You’re gonna shock your pool, preferably at night and with best pool shock chemicals.

But if you want to shock your pool you’re going to do it at night.

You should run your pump at night and so you need to run it at least eight hours at night and when people are swimming, no pump is running. 

Alternatively, you can split it up. There are few options as given below:

  • You can buy yourself an automatic pool timer and you can have your pump turn on maybe four hours during the day, four hours at night.
  • Seven hours during the day, one hour at night. 
  • You can have it run you know two hours in the morning, two hours in the afternoon, two hours in the evening, and two hours in the middle of the night.

It’s totally up to you as long as you run it at least eight hours a day, you should be good to go.

You don’t need to run your pool pump 24 by 7. You can run it just eight hours a day as long as it’s turning over all the water in your pool.

Make sure that you have the right horsepower for the size pool that you have, doing all the things that we talked about

Make sure you got a good filter system that’s filtering the water, and you can run it eight hours a day. 

what’s the harm if I going to run pump 12 hours a day?

You could run it up to 12 hours a day. There is no harm. It is better because it is more than recommended duration.

Hope, This article is clarify all your doubts & confusion about how long should you run your pool pump.

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