2020 Pool Pump FAQ: How Long Should I Run My Pool Pump?

Pool pumps are the heart of your entire swimming pool system. Humans and animals are nothing without their hearts, and this holds true for pool systems. They are not just necessary for enabling water to flow within the system. Instead, they also support even distribution of chemicals that sanitize pool water.

The pumps also ensure that water flows seamlessly from the pool to the filter before making its way past the heater and all the way to the chlorinator. All these processes are effective at filtering, heating, and sanitizing pool water. Consequently, it is important to watch the pumps closely and ensure that they are in top condition at all times. One way of doing that is by asking, “How long should I run my pool pump?”

How long should I run my pool pump?: The Challenge

Normally, as long as the pool has water, then the pump has to be running 24/7. However, the challenge with this is the reality of it all. First, the utility bill is likely to shoot up considerably thus forcing you to get 3-4 more jobs to keep up with your expenses. Because of that, you have to think about the practicalities of running the pump round-the-clock.

Furthermore, the answer to the question, “how long should I run my pool pump?” is not limited to issues regarding practicalities of it all. Instead, you also have to consider the necessity. Is it really necessary to keep the pump running non-stop? Not unless you can afford the cost of electricity.

Therefore, answering this question requires examining the following factors:

  • Understanding the purpose of the pump
  • Appreciating your kind of pump
  • Grasping the measures to take to maximize its use

What does a Pool Pump do?

The first factor, as stipulated above, is to understand what the pump does. Once you know this, you would not struggle with the question of how long you should keep it running. To explain this requires looking at the pool water. If pool water never moves, you would be at risk of living next to a stagnant swamp with all its attendant risks such as hosting algae and all manner of yucky stuff. In this regard, the pump plays a critical role in ensuring that effective circulation proceeds unhindered. Secondly, the pump is the primary component of the filtration system in your pool.

Thirdly, the pump is responsible for pulling water in before pushing it out via the filter. Here, the filter is not too important. Any kind of filter would do a good job. However, the filter works effectively only when pool water is able to flow smoothly without interruptions. As long as water flows, the filter would be able to capture all the debris and bacteria attempting to make its way to the pool. Moreover, you have to watch out for the turnover rate, which means running the water through the filter system at least once every day to ensure that not only the water but also the entire pool remains clean and clear.

Calculating Turnover Rate

Back to the issue of turnover rate, it is essential to learn how to calculate it. To do this, you would have to bear the shape of your pool in mind. Most pools are either rectangular or round. Next, determine its volume; that is, how much water is the pool capable of holding at any given moment?

With that in mind, you now have to divide the pool’s volume by eight to calculate the number of gallons that it needs to pump every hour. The industry rates pool pumps based on gallons per minute (GPM) rather than gallons per hour (GPH). Therefore, divide the number of gallons it pumps per hour by 60 to determine what this translates to in terms of GPM.

Choice of Pump

Your next target is to consider your choice of pump carefully. With all the information above, you should not struggle choosing the right kind of pump. Since you know your pool’s requirements – the GPM calculated above – you ought to limit your options to a pump that is nearest to the number you got previously.

As you choose the pump, remember to go with one with a higher or similar GPM to the one that your pool needs. One of the worst mistakes you could make is to go for one with a lower GPM. In such instances, your pump would struggle and the pool would be a collection of dirty water and debris.

How Long Should I Run My Pool Pump?

At this stage, it is clear that you have a ton of information. With it, you can answer the “how long should I run my pool pump” question. Before considering the how long, you should also remember to think about the when. Typically, the pump should run not more than eight hours each day.

However, does that mean running it for eight hours non-stop? Does it mean running the pump during the daytime alone or at night? Again, answers to these questions require serious and deep thinking, which is only possible once you have all the necessary information. Some of the factors worth considering to answer this question accurately include:

  1. Non-peak hours – when the cost of electricity drops
  2. Sunrise vs. sunset – sunset is better since you must add a chemical called pool shock at night while pumping water too
  3. Non-consecutive hours
  4. Horsepower – more horsepower calls for reduced pumping hours
  5. Choosing a pump with variable or dual speed rather than single speed

Our Final Thoughts

As shown above, one of the most insane mistakes you could make is to run the pool pump 24/7. You would be slapped with a huge energy bill that proves difficult – if not impossible – to pay without probably taking a loan or messing up your finances. Essentially, you should limit the pump to 8 hours, which should be during non-peak or off-peak hours when the cost of electricity is much cheaper.

Also, remember to go for a variable or dual speed pump rather than a single speed one. A pump with more horsepower is also great since it reduces the hours you run it. Additionally, spread the eight hours across the day/night to save money.