How Long Should I Run My Pool Pump?


We normally don’t ask this important question—how long should I run my pool pump. Why? Because it always seems like a simple and self-explanatory thing to do. Just turning on the pool pump and letting it run and perhaps turning it off when we think that the water has circulated enough.

But there is more to the pool pump than gets attention. Chemical balance and cost are some of the factors that need to be considered.

If you don’t run the pump long enough the chemical balance might be off. Run it for too long and the costs might pile up quite high. Always ensure that the water is clean and free of debris when running the pool pump. A pool pole will help you reach the twigs, leaves, and debris that gets onto the water.

Let’s find out more about the pool pump run time.

How long to run the pool pump

To be completely honest, the longer the pool pump runs the better. The continuous circulation keeps everything balanced. You can say it wouldn’t hurt if the pump ran for a whole day, or a week, or month or even a whole year!

But alas! You shall have to forget your sleep and work for 200 hours a week if you are to manage to pay the surmounting electricity bills.

This clearly isn’t practical. It’s important to first learn the pool pump, what purpose is it for, and how to make the most of it. Understanding some swimming pool tips can help also help you save on cash.

The purpose of a pool pump

The main function of your pool pump is to circulate the water in the swimming pool. If the water remained still and stagnant, it would create the perfect habitat for algae, yeast, and other harmful bacteria.

We see this happen when the water turns green due to the growth of algae after it has been left covered and stagnant for a while. That said, there are still plenty of important reasons why you should cover your swimming pool.

You know, the same situation as you would find in a swamp, yucky, messy, and completely unhygienic.

The pool pump sucks water in and then releases it through a second opening. As it passes through the pump it also passes through a filter that clears the bacteria, debris, and other contaminants.

A good pool pump should filter all the water in the swimming pool at least once every day. This is referred to as the pool pump’s turnover rate.

But how do you find out your pump’s turnover rate to find the pool pump run time?

Start by calculating the total volume of water in your pool, sometimes you may already know this figure. Next, take the volume and divide it by 8 to get the GPH or gallon per hour that should be pumped by the pool pump.

If your pool pump model uses gallons per minute, take the pool water volume and divide it by 60. These figures should tell you how much water should run through the pool pump and can help you when you are searching for a new pool pump.

Picking a new pool pump shouldn’t be too hard after this. Just go out to the pool store and get a pump that has the same GPH or GPM as is required by your swimming pool. It’s okay to pick a pool pump that pumps more water per hour or minute than your pool needs but you should never go below the GPH or GPM.

These figures will tell you how long should I run my pool pump.  After 8 hours of running the pool pump all the water in the pool should have passed through the pool filter.

When cleaning your swimming pool, you may want to consider getting a robotic pool cleaner. It is one of the most efficient ways on keeping your swimming pool clean.

Best time to run the pool pump


You should run your pool pump for at least eight hours. But there is another important concept to consider and that is when you should run your pool pump. Should it be during the day or the night?

If you want to save on the costs of electricity, then you should understand your electricity provider’s peak hours. These are when the majority of people are using electricity which causes more pressure on the grid.

The costs of electricity during these peak hours are usually significantly higher than during off peak hours.

You can turn on your pool pump around these peak hours to save on some much-needed cash. You can also save yourself the hassle of always checking the time by using a programmable pool pump timer. This should turn on the pump at the pre-set time which is around the peak hours.

Running the different types of pool cleaner will also factor in the costs of electricity so this is also something to keep in mind.

Consider your region and the fact that peak hours are different from one area to the next. If you live in colder climates, then most people will have their air conditioning turned on during the day. In this case, you should turn on your pool pump at night.

Secondly consider the chemicals you need to add to sanitize your pool. One chemical in particular—pool shock, should be added at night as the sun may cause most of it to evaporate during the day. This also means turning on the pool pump at night to circulate the pool shock.

You do not always have to run your pool pump for a consecutive 8 hours. It’s a matter of understanding the peak hours and working around them. You may set the timer to turn on the pump for 2 hours, then shut it down and turn it back on again for 4 hours, then later for another 2 hours.

Sometimes pool maintenance requires you to repaint the pool. This will mean that you will have to drain all the water to use the right pool paint.

The horsepower

How powerful the pump is will determine the type of pump that you should get for your pool. If the pool pump has three horsepower, then this may be more than is needed for a small swimming pool and will only cause your energy bills to go up.

The filtration system also has a large role to play. Having a powerful pool pump means that it can turn more water at a faster rate which also means less pool pump run time.

However, if the pipes are small then the power will be too much for the filtration system. The trick is to pick a pump that hits or slightly goes beyond the GPH or GPM number. If you are new to pool maintenance the beginner’s guide to pool maintenance schedule in 10 steps will help guide you.

Globo Surf Overview

As you can see there are several factors to consider when trying to figure out how long should I run my pool pump. Once you understand the GPH and peak hours, however, you can pick the best time and pool pump for the task.

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Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!