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How Long Should I Run My Pool Pump For?

Ideally, you should run your pump for 24 hours a day, but we know that’s unrealistic (and pricey), so let’s look for an answer that keeps your pool clean and your wallet full.

A Rule of Thumb

Generally running your pool pump for 12-hours a day is a good option. 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.

So, you can feel confident if you decide to run your pool pump for 12-hours a day.

The Precise Way

For those looking for an exact answer, you can find it with this equation:

(Pool Volume / Filtration Rate) = Hours for 1 Turnover

Let’s break the equation down a little further:

Pool Volume: reach this number by multiplying length by width by average depth. Then multiply this number by the standard multiplier for your pool shape (7.5 for rectangles or squares and 5.9 for other shapes).

Example: A rectangular 20x40 pool with an average depth of 5 feet.

20 x 40 x 5.5 x 7.5 = 33,000

Filtration Rate: for this you need to know the flow rate of the pump, which includes the resistance to flow in your plumbing (larger pools and pools with water features will have more resistance). Your pump’s manufacturer should be able to tell you the flow rate of your pump. An average 1 HP pump will pump 50 gallons a minute which is 3,000 an hour.

Calculate the Turnover Rate by Solving the Equation

(Pool Volume / Filtration Rate) = Hours for 1 Turnover

(33,000 / 3,000) = 11

In this case one turn over takes 11 hours. That’s pretty close to our rule of thumb, but depending on your pool and pump you may need to run your pump more or less than the 11-hours given in this example.

Investing in a Variable Speed Pump

An alternative to both these options is investing in a new pump. The great thing about a variable speed pump is that you can run it for 24-hours straight without breaking the bank.

For regular filtration you can set your variable speed pump on a low setting, then adjust it to a higher setting when cleaning or adding chemicals to the water.

Even though they can come with a high up front cost, nothing beats a variable speed pump when it comes to striking a balance between clean water and low energy bills.

When to Run Your Pump

If you decide to stick with a one speed pump it’s generally best to run it overnight. That way you keep your energy costs low by avoiding premium use times. Just remember you still need to run your pump when you add chemicals, so you might have to deviate from you schedule now and then.

Find the Right Option for Your Pool

When it comes to how long to run your pool pump, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. There are a number of options and ultimately you need to find the right timing for your pool and pool equipment.

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