How Long Should I Run My Pool Every Day?

A pool pump helps keep your pool water clean, if it runs long enough to circulate all the water in your pool through the filter. The amount of time you need to run your pool pump depends on factors such as pool size, frequency of use and pump size.

Your pool pump is used for a few reasons. It pulls water from the pool and circulates it through the filter to remove particles, algae and bacteria, then circulates the cleaned water back into the pool. The pump also helps distribute the chemicals that keep the pool's water clean and clear and removes debris, carrying it through the pool’s main drain and into a basket, where it can be discarded.

The idea is to run all the water in your pool through the filter system at least once a day. This is called your Turnover rate, and it can be difficult to determine. An average filter system on your pool, if it was built correctly, should turn over the water around 2-3 times a day.

A pool pump should run for as long as necessary, to circulate all the water through the pump and filter system. Turnover rate varies based on pool size and the pump. Generally, pumps can circulate all the water in a small pool, within an 8 hour period, medium pools in 10 hours and large pools in 12 hours.

The simplest and safest thing to do is to run your filter for about 12 hours a day. That should (again, depending on your system) run all the water in your pool through the filter system at least once.

If you’re concerned about spending too much on your electric bill, you can try calling your energy company and asking about the “best times.” Usually, the best times to run your filter system, that will save you money, is between 9:00pm and 9:00am — this is when less people are consuming energy, which drives down the rates.  Cutting the time your pool circulates, to save on your electric bill, will ultimately cost more, because algae will quickly take over, in your pool.

If chemicals have been added to your pool, you need to have your filter system running. You can also split these times. For instance, you could run the pool for six hours during the day and six hours at night. This is perfectly fine, but you may want to get a programmable timer to help you regulate this.

When the pool water reaches 80 degrees, your water may need 2 full turnovers to keep the pool clean and clear. This may require you to add time to the suggested 8-12 hours.

In short, run the pump more when the air & water temperatures rise – but also consider other factors regarding filter effectiveness, water treatments and amount and type of debris and rain in the pool.

If you have a small filter you will need to run the filter longer, depending on how many gallons the filter can process in a given time.

Pay close attention to the water quality, or the condition of the water, and you can tell when you need to increase the amount of time that you run the pump each day. When the pool is clean, and the chemistry is good, but the water is a little dull or hazy, run the pool pump (to filter the water) a bit longer each day.

To calculate how many hours to run your pump, to filter the water a full 2 times, use this equation: (Pool Volume ÷ Filtration rate) x 2 = Hours to run filter.

Know the volume of your pool. How long you run the filter depends on the size pool to filter ratio.

Calculate the volume of your pool by multiplying the length x width x average depth in feet

Multiply this number by a standard multiplier which is 7.5 for rectangular and square pools and 5.9 for other shapes. Example 16*32*5*7.48= 19,149.

This would give the volume of the pool in gallons for this 16x32 pool that has an average depth of 5 feet.

Determine the flow rate of the pump. Include the resistance to flow in your plumbing system.

You can estimate your pool plumbing resistance to be 20ft/lbs for small pools, and 40ft/lbs for large pools or installations where the pool pump is far removed from the pool area.

Waterfalls and elevated solar systems will cause the ft/lbs resistance in the line to increase.

An average 1 HP pump will move about 50 gallons per minute. This would be 3,000 gallons per hour.

Calculate the turnover rate for your pool. The recommended turnover for a pool is two complete turnovers in any 24 hour period.

For example, using a pool volume of 19,149 gallons, and a filtration rate of 3,000 gallons per hour:

(Pool Volume ÷ Filtration rate) x 2 = Hours to run filter

(19,149 ÷ 3000) x 2 = 12.766, or about 12 hours and 45 minutes for two full cycles.

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