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How Long Should I Run My Pool Pump Each Day?

Pool owners throughout the world seems to have a simple yet dilemmatic question. “How long should I run my pool pump?”.

The question probably has an obvious answer but many pool owners fail to get an appropriate understanding. Thus they end up running pool pump all day long, or not long enough to make one turnover. This exactly becomes a problem for your swimming pool, and particularly your savings.

You know that running pool pump costs you money. The longer it runs, the higher bills you pay. In addition, forcing your pump to work too hard can wear the pump sooner than it should.

On the other hand, running the pump in short time could not make one turnover. This may result to unclear and unsafe water to swim as the water is not well circulated. So, how long is the ideal time to run the pool pump?

How Long to Run Pool Pump for the Best Result

Water flowing in a swimming pool
Water flowing in a swimming pool

So, how long should you run your pool pump? Ideally, this can be answered with all day long, every day, and every time. But as consequences, you have to set aside thousand dollars for electricity bills each month. To get an appropriate understanding related to how long you should run pool pump each day, you need to really know type of pump, purpose of pool pump and rate of turnover.

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Type of pool pumps

There are at least two type of pool pumps, single speed pumps and variable-speed pumps. As the name indicates, single speed pump has single flow rate. It is also known as an old pump as people start to leave this type of pump. When using this pump, pool owner usually runs the pump for 6 to 12 hours per day. Designed as single speed, you do not need to worry about turning the speed up or down.

There is also two speed pump that becomes a step up from single speed pump. Using two speed pump, you can switch the speed between high and low. This allows you to save energy by running the pump at low speed. Or else, you can also make quicker water circulation at high speed.

Meanwhile variable speed pump is a real innovation for pool pump. This pump enables you to change the flow rate as desired. The pump does not consume too much energy, at the same time it can move many gallons of water.

Purpose of pool pump

What does actually a pool pump do? In principle, a pool pump circulates the water. Stagnant water may host bacteria, algae, or debris. Surely you do not want to swim with those things. Thus the pump keeps your swimming pool clean, safe, and swimmable.

A pool pump works by pulling the water in and push it out through a filter. The filter is where debris, algae, bacteria, and other materials are captured. To ensure the water clean and clear, the pump must run at least once in a day. This is known as turnover rate.

Turnover rate

If you do not already know what turnover rate is, you would better figure it out. Turnover rate is the time needed to pump and cycle all the water in the pool. Turnover rate is dependent to pool size, water quality, and pump speed.

A swimming pool in standard size typically requires 7 to 8 hours to make a cycle of water circulation. It means you should run the pool pump for 7 to 8 hours each day. Running the pump less than turnover rate does not give optimum result for water quality as well as clarity. On the other hand, running the pump more than turnover rate wastes your money.

An important thing to note that the water requires to run at higher speed or longer if the pool is used by more swimmers or has a lot of particles. When the pool receives a lot of sun, it also requires more run time.

In a condition that you want to know exact turnover rate, you can use a formula to calculate. This is the formula that you can use: 

Pool volume ÷ flow rate = hours for one turnover

When using the formula, you need to know the volume of your pool. The volume is expressed in gallons while the flow rate is expressed in gallons per hour. Pool material also influences the turnover rate. For instance, concrete pool typically requires twice more circulations than fiberglass pool. It means twice electrical energy is required to keep the water clean and safe.

Right Time to Run Your Pump

Your question of “how long should I run my pool pump” has been clearly answered. In fact, it is not only the matter of how long the pool pump should run. Going further, it is also about choosing the right time to run the pump. As eight hours is not a short time to run a device, you need to really optimize its work by choosing the best time. When to run a pool pump?

Non-peak hours

Avoid running your pool pump during peak hour unless you want to get a shocking electricity bills at the very last moment. Peak hours is a specific span of time when people are using electricity more than usual. This often puts more strain on the grid. When running the pump during these hours, the cost can be higher than expected.

You need to really know the peak hours of your location as it varies widely. For example, peak hours can happen in the afternoon when people start to turn on their air conditioner. Or else, it can be in the evening when most lights are switched on.

To get to know the exact peak hours of your location, you can call the electricity provider. Thus you can make a schedule to run the pool pump in the right time. Interestingly, pool timer is a good device to help you turn on and off the pump at the right time.

Day or night?

Considering peak hours actually is not enough to determine the right time to run the pool pump. Logically, you may think that running the water during the day while people are using it helps keep the water stays clean. It is a good thought, though there are some other things to consider.

Your swimming pool needs to be added with chemicals to keep it clean and sanitized. When you add the chemicals is the right time to run the pump. This enables the chemicals to disperse evenly throughout the water. Otherwise, the chemicals may stay in some spots while some others do not receive chemicals at all.

Some chemical, such as pool shock, requires to be added at night. If you add the shock during the day, it will be burnt by the sun and reduces its effectiveness. When you plan to add pool shock, make sure to run the pump at night for 8 hours at minimum.

Consecutive hours

How long should I run my pool pump? When you already know that 8 hours is a standard turnover rate for swimming pool, another question turns up. Should it be consecutive hours? While some people say that it does not have to be 8 hours straight, consecutive running gives you a better result.

When you pump the pool, the water is pulled in then pushed out to the filter. When you pump for eight hours consecutively, chances are that the water can circulate perfectly than non-consecutive pumping. This gives no chance for bacteria or algae to thrive as they will be captured in the filter in one turnover.

How to Reduce Pump Electricity Cost

Reduce your pump electricity cost
Reduce your pump electricity cost

Running your pump for 8 hours consecutively does cost energy and money. But there are few ways that you can do to reduce energy as well as bills. Take these ways into account and you will not be shocked by electricity bills at the end of the month.

Do regular cleaning

Ideally, pool pump should run every day. It helps keep your swimming pool clean and safe. Surprisingly, running the pump each day also helps save energy cost. Pool pump needs more energy to circulate dirty water, so it requires less energy to filter clean water. When you run the pump only if you notice a big change in pool clarity, you push the pump to work harder. It means more energy is cost.

Know the required runtime

Eight hours is the standard runtime for swimming pool in standard size. If you have smaller pool, it surely requires shorter runtime. To reduce electricity cost, make sure to run the pump at the right time. To know the exact runtime of your pool, calculate using the formula that has been mentioned above.

If you want to shorten the time, choose pool pump with overrated horse power. Using this pump, you can cut the runtime into 6 hours or 4 hours. Cutting 2 hours of runtime will save about $10 per month.

Choose oversized pool pump

Oversized pool pump does not only ensure pool clarity but also lower cost. When you choose oversized pump with lower horse power, it allows the filter to work more properly to give clearer water. Meanwhile lower horse power does not hurt your purse.

So to answer your question “how long should I run my pool pump?” is actually depends on the pool volume but it typically requires 8 hours each day for clean, clear, and safe swimming pool.

Running your pool pump each day helps reduce energy cost as the pump does not work too hard to filter the water. Besides, you also need to pay attention to the right time to run the pump.

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