If you own a swimming pool or are thinking about getting one, one of the first things you might think about is how long to run the pump. Some people assume that pool pumps run all day, every day, but that’s just not true. While it’s possible to run your pool pump all day, doing so may bring you a shock when you get your electric bill!
Instead, it’s possible to determine the right length of time to run the pump for your pool, and then only run it for those hours. We have to warn you: you’ll need to do a little math to figure out how long to run a pool pump. But don’t worry, we’ll walk you through it.
But First, Let’s Talk About Why You Need to Run a Pool Pump
Your pool is filled with shimmering, blue water that begs you to dive right in and enjoy its coolness. But when the pump stops working and that beautiful water becomes stagnant, it’s not so appealing anymore. The pump moves the water, which is what creates the awesomeness that is your pool.
Did You Know?
Ever wonder how your pool pump works? It works like this: the pump pulls water in from your pool and then pushes it out through the filter. Then, the filter catches all the bacteria and debris—everything you don’t want in your pool—to keep the water pure and inviting.
All the water in your pool must run through the filter at least one time a day. This is called the turnover rate, and it’s an important aspect of figuring out how long to run a pool pump.
Calculate Your Pool’s Turnover Rate
The first step in figuring out how long to run a pool pump for your pool is to determine your pool’s volume. In other words, how much water your pool holds in gallons. You may already know because it’s listed on your paperwork, but if you don’t, you will determine it by the shape of your pool.
Here are the formulas to calculate your pool’s volume:
For a rectangular pool: Length (ft.) X Width (ft.) X Average Depth (ft.) X 7.5 = Total Pool Gallons
For a round pool: Diameter (ft.) X Diameter (ft.) X Average Depth (ft.) X 5.9 = Total Pool Gallons
For an oval pool: Length (ft.) X Width (ft.) X Average Depth (ft.) X 6.7 = Total Pool Gallons
After you know how many gallons of water your pool holds, it’s time to calculate the turnover rate, which is the number of hours it takes for all the water in the pool to go through the filter.
To calculate the rate, use this formula:
8 = Gallons per hour (GPH) that needs to be pumped.
Your pool pump may go by gallons per minute (GPM) instead of GPH. To arrive at this figure, use this formula:
GPH ÷ 60 = GPM
Now that you understand your turnover rate, it’s important to ensure that your pool pump’s rate matches the speed. If it pumps a little faster, that’s okay, but you should never use a pump that pumps below the appropriate speed for your pool.
So, When Do You Run Your Pool Pump?
Now that you understand your pool’s turnover rate and have ensured that your pump is up to speed (do you see what we did?), it’s time to begin planning when to run your pump. Every pool must turn over at least once a day, so most pool pumps should run approximately 8 hours a day. But here’s the thing: you don’t have to run your pool pump consecutively. You can choose to run it for three hours in the morning before you leave for work and another 5 hours in the evening.
Did You Know?
You can save money on your electric bill by running your pool pump during non-peak hours when electricity costs the least. Contact your electric company and find out which hours are billed at peak rates and which are billed at non-peak rates, and then plan to run your pump during those hours.
Another time to think about running your pump is when you add chemicals. For instance, when you shock your pool, you should do it at night so the sun won’t burn off the chemicals. And that means you will run your pool pump at night after shocking it so it can distribute the chemicals in your pool.
Even when you add routine chemicals to your pool, it’s smart to run the pump immediately afterward to properly disperse them.
Did You Learn When to Run a Pool Pump?
Running your pool pump is one of the most important things you can do to keep your pool clean and pure. And that’s why knowing when to run it is so important. Ensure that all the water in your pool goes through the filter at least once a day, and it will continue to shimmer and shine!