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How to Save Money by Running Your Pool Pump Right

 Energy efficient pool pumps

One of the questions that our swimming pool builders in Chattanooga get asked all the time is “how long should I run my pool pump every day?”

This is an important question! You want the water in your pool to be clean, pristine, and safe. And you also want to save money. Since you run your pool pump often, it factors into your monthly expenses. That's why it’s good to find the right balance. So, how can you save money – and how often do you need to run your pump?

Ask these 8 simple questions to find out how long you should run it each day.

1) What Is Your Pump's GPM?

The first step is to find out how much water your pump can process in terms of gallons per minute (GPM). The manual that came with your pump should have that info. If you don't have it, you can call the manufacturer or look up the serial number online.

2) What Is Your Pool’s Volume?

This may be something you already know. If not, there's no better time to find out!

To estimate your rectangular pool's volume, here's your formula:

Length x width x average depth x 7.5

For round pools, you can reach the volume with this equation:

3.14 x radius squared x depth x 7.5

Many pools have irregular shapes. So, this can be a bit complicated – depending on your pool's design. We’ve found a helpful pool volume calculator over at Pool Wizard that may be helpful.

3) What Is Your Pump's Average Cleaning Time?

After you know the rate at which your pump works and the volume of your pool, this should tell you how long it takes for your pump to clean all the water in the pool. The math is very easy.

Your pump's GPM x 60 = gallons per hour (GPH)

Now, divide your pool's gallon volume by the GPH, and you have the cleaning time.

For example, if the volume of your pool is 20,000 gallons, and your pump has a GPM of 40, then the math looks like this:

40 GPM x 60 = 2400 GPH

20,000 volume / 2400 GPH = 8.3 hours

While every pool is different, most pumps will be able to filter all the water in 12 hours or less. And most pools can be serviced by a 1 HP pump.

In fact, most of our pumps operate at 1.5 HP, because we also know that there are a few other things to consider when deciding how long to run your pump.

4) How Old Are Your Filters?

Older filters – or those of lesser quality – will cause you to run your pump for longer periods of time. The beginning of pool season is a great time to consider replacing your filter. Regardless, filters and pump baskets do get dirty and benefit from regular checks.

5) How Much Do You Treat the Water?

Supplemental treatments such as ozone, minerals, algaecides, and enzymes can go a long way. They break down much of the debris that can clog a filter and slow it down. That means your chemical treatment preferences can affect how long you have to run your pump. In general, the more your water is treated, the less your pump will need to run.

6) How Often Do You Clean?  

The cleaner you keep your pool, the less you will have to run your pool pump.

Organic debris can clog up the filters.If there are a lot of trees and shrubs around your pool, then it should be skimmed and cleaned regularly. If you don't have one already, you may think about getting a robotic cleaner. It will automatically vacuum up and clean out any of the debris that can block your filters. 

7) What Is Your Average Use? 

Do you use your pool mostly for looks, relaxing and entertaining? Do you swim regularly for exercise? Do your children often bring their friends over to swim? Do people shower before getting in the pool? The more people are in and out of the water, the more your pump will need to run to keep it clean.

8) What Is the Water Temperature?

The hotter it is, the longer you will need to run your pump. Once the water in your pool reaches into the 70 and 80-degree range, you will need to run your pump a little longer to make sure the water stays clean.


The answer is going to be slightly different for everyone. Not everyone has the same pool. And not everyone uses their pool the same way. On average, we recommend running the pump around 12 hours per day – especially during hot months or times of heavy use.

Use the average amount of time that your pump is able to filter your pool’s volume as a baseline, and then use the other factors to determine what amount of pump use is right for you. You want to be sure that your water is clean and clear, but you probably don’t have to run the pump all day.

As always, if you have any more questions, the professionals at The Great Backyard are happy to help you out any time. Ask away!

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