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how long should I keep my pool pump running
how long should I keep my pool pump running

Pool Care

How Long Should I Keep My Pool Pump Running?

Should I Keep The Pool Pump Off Or On?

We all love a good pool day, especially when you have your very own in the backyard. However, outside of splashing and relaxing, there is quite a bit of maintenance that needs to happen. If you don’t properly maintain your pool, it can develop problems that range from uncomfortable to deadly. One of the most important parts of maintaining your pool is ensuring that you have working equipment.

One such thing is keeping your pool pump running. This pumps the water to and from the filter, which keeps it sparkling clean and free of debris. The unfortunate part is that while we want our pools clear, we don’t want the hassle of increased energy costs.

So how long should you keep your pool pump running?  Most pool pumps should be run for at least 4 to 8 hours per day. To accurately answer the question, we must know what type of pool pump motor you have. The two types of pool pump motors are single-phase and three-phase.

  1. Three-phase motors are best suited for large pools because they use less energy to deliver more power. If you have three-phase, then 4 hours of run time is recommended.
  2. If you have a single-phase pool pump motor, it is best to keep the power running for at least 8 hours per day.

This gives you a general answer but there is much more to discuss about pool pumps that are important to keep in mind. So let’s dive in deeper to make sure all your questions are answered and that your pool is always running smoothly.

how long should I keep my pool pump running

Why A Pool Pump Is Necessary

One of the most important parts of your pool is the pump. The water in your pool needs to be moved constantly for your enjoyment. Without a properly working pump, it can make for some uncomfortable swimming conditions.

The pool pump is there to push water through your filter, which keeps it clear and clean. Without the pump, there is no circulation of water and it can develop algae growth, cloudy water, and other unsightly things.

This also means that if you have a pool heater that needs to be filled with water, then it will not function properly without a working pump.

Another thing your pump does is help maintain proper chemical levels in your pool. Without a pump, the chemicals used to keep your water safe and clean can become too diluted or too concentrated.

If this happens, then you will need to drain the water and refill it all over again to get things back in working order. Using an accurate test kit is important because these levels should not be left up to guesswork.

Different Types Of Pool Pumps

As I first mentioned, different pumps will have different guidelines. These differ first on the type of pool you have.

Above Ground Pool Pumps

If you have an above-ground pool, then it likely has a single-phase pump. These are best for small pools that don’t use chemicals or heaters unless they come with their own set of pumps.

For the most part, these should be kept running for eight hours per day. However, other factors may change this, such as the size of your pool and how often it is used.

In-Ground Pool Pumps

If your in-ground pool has a three-phase pump, then you need to allow four hours of run time. These are more powerful than above-ground pumps which makes them better suited for larger pools.

They also use less energy to deliver more power which is why they are often used for pools that also use heaters or chemicals.

how long should I keep my pool pump running

When To Turn Off Your Pool Pump

Now that you know you should keep your pool pump on for a certain amount of time, you may be wondering when it is safe to turn off your pump.

There are a variety of factors that determine when you can turn off your pool pump.

  • How Long You Run Your Filter – One major factor to consider is how long you run your filter. If you never turn it off, then it does not matter what else you do because the water will always be filtered. However, if you only occasionally run it, then you should keep your pool pump turned on for at least eight hours.
  • The Size Of Your Pool – If you have a smaller pool, then it can be cleaned in four to six hours. This means that if you clean it every day, then the pump only needs to be off for two or three hours at a time. Larger pools, however, will need more cleaning which means that they should be kept running for eight hours in order to fully clean them.
  • How Often Your Pool Is Used – If you own a swimming pool but rarely swim in it, then it can usually be turned off for most of the day. However, if you use it frequently then you should keep your pump running for a full day.

Maintaining Your Pool Pump

Even if you are keeping your pool pump running all day, there are some steps that you can take to make sure it stays in optimal condition.

  • Keep Your Pool Pump A Certain Distance From The Ground – If you place your pool pump on the ground, then debris can get into it and clog up your equipment. To prevent this from happening, make sure that your pump is raised up at least four inches off the ground.
  • Use The Right Type Of Filter Media – Using the wrong type of filter media can cause problems with your pool pump. When you clean your filter, make sure to only use the type of media specified in the manual for that particular unit.
  • Make Sure To Clean Your Filter At The Right Time – If your filter is not cleaned when it needs to be, then it can cause problems for your pump. Clean the filter at least once every three days if you are using sand or cartridge media and twice a week if you are using diatomaceous earth. This will prevent your pool pump from breaking down and ensure that your pool is clean and ready for use.
  • Keep Your Pool Pump Clean – Since you will not want to clean out your filter as often, it is a good idea to regularly clean the exterior of the pump itself. This will prevent any dirt from clogging up the unit and causing it to work less efficiently than before.

Knowing If Your Pump Is Running Too Much

Your pool pump may be running too much if you notice any of the following.

  • It Is Too Loud – If your pump is running but it sounds louder than usual, then this could signify a problem. An increase in noise can mean that there is something wrong with the equipment and that it will need to be fixed as soon as possible.
  • It Uses Too Much Electricity – If you notice that the electricity bill has suddenly increased, then this could be because your pump is running more than usual. You can also tell if this is the case if it takes much longer for the water to reach a certain temperature or if there are any problems with the water chemistry.
  • The Temperature Of The Pool Drops Too Fast – If you notice that the water is taking much longer to heat up or that it is cooling much faster than usual, then this could be a sign that your pool pump is running too often.

If your pool pump does not meet any of the above criteria, then you will not need to worry about when to turn it on and off. It will only need to be cleaned every few days and the maintenance required will be minimal. It should also not have a negative impact on your electricity bill.

how long should I keep my pool pump running

Is It Okay To Keep My Pump Running All Night?

Some people wonder whether it is okay to leave their pool pump running all night. While this will not hurt the equipment, it may waste energy which can cause your bills to go up more than necessary.

You can always leave your pump running until it cleans the pool, but then turn it off at night to make sure that it does not run all night.

If you want to make sure that your pool is clean before turning off the pump, simply run the system for two hours in the afternoon and two hours in the evening.

Should I Turn Off The Pump While On Vacation?

You can leave the pump running but it is usually unnecessary as long as you take some steps to make sure that your pool does not become too dirty during your time away.

Before leaving for your trip, make sure that the filter is clean and running so that it can catch any debris in the pool. Then, turn off the pump and use an extra filter to keep everything running smoothly while you are away.

Be aware that the longest amount of time a pump should be off is two weeks. If you will be gone for longer than this, then the pool must remain clean while you are away. You can keep your pump on but turn off the filtration system to avoid running up electricity bills.

Do Pool Pumps Come With A Timer?

Some pool pumps are designed to come with a timer that can be set for certain intervals. This is especially helpful for owners who have pools but rarely use them as it will prevent the pump from being on when no one is home.

However, not all pool pumps are designed this way so you should check your unit before purchasing one. If it does come with a timer, then you can set it to turn on for three hours each day so that your pool stays clean even if no one is using it.

Now that you know more about pool pumps, you also know how long to run them for. Again, they typically only need to run for a few hours each day. And remember that you can always turn them off at night or while you are on vacation. And if your pump has a timer, then use that to your advantage. Now go enjoy a nice pool day!

Written By

Hi there! My name is Matt. I've been a pool owner for over 15 years. I've owned a variety of above ground and in-ground pools. I've also had the pleasure of working with some swimming pool experts over the years. I enjoy writing about everything related to your swimming pool, pool care and products. In my spare time, I enjoy swimming in the pool and watching sports on our porch.

About Us

Welcome to Pool Owners Academy! I’m excited about helping pool owners learn how to take care of their pool. I created this site to be a helpful resource for you and your family. Pool Owners Academy is here to share helpful information about caring for your pool, pool tips and products. My goal is to create straightforward answers that make taking care of your pool easy!

~Matt with Pool Owners Academy

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