How Long Should You Run a Pool Pump

How Long Should You Run a Pool Pump

A pool pump plays a crucial role in your swimming pool as it helps circulate the water to ensure pool chemicals mix in properly and allow the filters to trap the contaminants. Therefore, every pool owner should know when and how long to run their pool pump.

The length you need to run your pool will depend on your specific pool condition and situation. Hence, there is a learning curve if you are a new pool owner. However, understanding a few key things will make it easier to figure out what to do.

How Long Should You Run Your Pool Pump Each Day 

Most pool owners know that they need to run their pump at least once a day to keep the water clean and clear. However, difficulties often come up when figuring out how long to run the pump, as there is no straightforward answer here.

That said, many experts will tell you that you need to run your pool for at least 8 hours every day. Although this should be sufficient time to clean most pools, sometimes it might not be enough and can be a little too long for some swimming pools and lead to electricity wastage.

Each swimming pool is unique, and to make sure you will not under or overuse your pump, you need to keep the following points in mind.

1. Know the Pool’s Volume

The more water you have in your pool, the longer it will take to complete an entire cycle regardless of your pump type or capacity.

Therefore, the higher the pool volume, the longer you need to run your pump. For example, a 30,000-gallon pool will require you to keep the pump running for up to 12 hours, while a smaller 5,000-gallon pool requires as little as 6 hours or less.

Most pools will have the volume indicated somewhere on the paperwork, so you should not have difficulties figuring it out. If you cannot find the volume information, you can easily calculate it with an online volume calculator or use this formula: length x width x average depth x 7.5 to get the volume in gallons.

2. Understand the Pump Flow Rate

Next, you need to know the pump’s flow rate, which measures the amount of water it can filter per minute or hour. This information should be available in the pump’s manual, and it will be in either GPM (gallons per minute) or GPH (gallons per hour).

Pumps with a higher flow rate can filter more water within a short time, meaning you will not need to keep them running for a long time.

Sometimes simply dividing the pool volume by the pump’s flow rate should give you a clear idea of how long you need to run a pump. For example, if you have a 10,000-gallon pool and are using a pump with a flow rate of 1,000 GPH, you have to run the pump for 10 hours (10,000 gallons/1,000 GPH=10).

3. Figure Out the Turnover Rate

The turnover rate is the number of hours it takes all the water in the pool to run through the filter. Therefore, if you know the turnover rate, you can quickly determine how long to run the pump.

For example, if your turnover rate is 8 hours, you will need to run the pool pump for at least 8 hours every day to ensure all the water in the pool is cleaned.

The turnover rate typically depends on the volume of your pool and the pump’s flow rate. You can easily calculate the turnover rate using an online pool calculator or with the simple formula below.

Pool Turnover Rate = Pool Volume ÷ Pump Flow Rate

If you have a 10,000-gallon pool and use a pump with a 1,000 GPH flow rate, the turnover rate will be 10 hours (10,000 gallons ÷ 1,000 GPH). Therefore, you will need to run the pump for 10 hours daily to ensure you clean all the water in the swimming pool.

When You Need to Run Your Pool Pump 

Besides knowing how long you need to run your pump, another crucial element you have to figure out is when to run your pump.

This mostly depends on how you use your pool. However, here are some of the best times to run the pump.

During Off-Peak Hours

Off-peak hours are always the best time to run your pool time. In most places, electricity is cheaper during the off-peak hours.

Therefore, you can make significant savings in your electricity bills if you run the pump during this time.

Your electricity provider can help you figure out the off-peak hours in your region, and you can also use a programmable timer to ensure that your pump only runs during these hours.

When Shocking the Pool

The chances are you will need to add pool shock almost every day or at least a couple of times every week if you have a bustling pool.

A pool pump has to run for at least 8 hours to circulate the shock. Therefore, you can take advantage of this pool shock time to meet your daily pump run time requirement. You can leave the pump running for a few extra hours if 8 hours is not enough.

Use a Non-Consecutive Schedule

Whether you need to run your pump for 6 or 12 hours, you do not have to do it consecutively. Therefore, if you do not have enough time, you can follow a non-consecutive schedule to ensure you attain the necessary pump run time.

For example, you can run the pump for 3 hours early in the morning, 2 hours during the lunch break, and another 3 hours in the evening to fulfill an 8-hour run time requirement.

Bottom Line 

Running your pump is essential in ensuring your water remains clean and clear. If you combine this with keeping the pool chemistry in good balance, you can be sure your pool water will stay in great shape.

You will need to run the pump anywhere from 6 to 12 hours, and the actual time you need should be easy to figure out once you know your pool volume, pump flow rate, and turnover rate. Also, try to run the pump during off-peak hours as this can reduce your electricity bills significantly.

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