Pool Pumps: The Best Time to Run Your Pump

There’s nothing more refreshing than jumping into your crystal-clear pool on a hot summer day. When your pool becomes cloudy or algae-filled, it can be stressful, frustrating, and just a major pain. Knowing the best time to run your pump can help reduce your worries and increase your family’s fun in the sun!

Pool pumps and skimmer systems work to keep pools clean and free from algae and other debris. If a pump is running enough, all the water should filter and circulate through. If proper cleaning and maintenance procedures are being followed, then running the pump should be enough to keep the chemicals circulating and the debris and other matter at bay. Let’s look at how long to run your pump for and what time of day works best.

How Long Should I Run My Pump For?

Pool and pump sizes largely influence the duration of time that a pump should run for. Other factors include:

  • What type of pump do you have?
  • Is the pool covered when not in use or exposed?
  • The number of plants and organic matter around your swimming pool.
  • The season and climate.
  • How often your pool is used.
  • Hygiene of swimmers- do they shower off or just jump on in?

Pumps need to run for longer times when they are:

  • Let open and exposed
  • Surrounded by plants/ trees or lakes
  • In hot climates
  • Frequently used.

A pool pump is intended to allow all water to filter through, circulating all chemicals through and enhancing their ability to perform while reducing the number of algae and debris present. All the above factors influence the function of the pump, so times may need to be increased or maybe decreased as needed. So, how do you know how much time is enough? 

Your pump size should directly relate to your pool size. The volume of your pool (in gallons) can be calculated by knowing the shape and length of your pool and using the following formulas:

  • Rectangular: length x width x 7.5 gallons
  • Circular: diameter x diameter x depth x 5.9 gallons
  • Oval: length x width x 5.9 gallons

Run with Efficiency

Increase the lifespan of your pump, decrease your electricity costs, and maximize efficiency by following proper cleaning and maintenance routines.

  • Cover your pool when not in use
  • Use proper chemicals and keep the water balanced
  • Vacuum, skim, and brush your pool to remove debris
  • Empty straining baskets daily to reduce risk of clogs
  • Install (or set) a timer to automatically have the pump run several times a day in short intervals rather than all at once.

When Should a Pump Run? Day or Night?

There are pros and cons for each option. There are also differing opinions among experts about which time of day helps achieve optimal results. Let’s compare the pros and cons together.

Day Time
Reduce the amount of chlorine. During the day, UV rays from direct sunlight reduce the amount of chlorine in your pool’s water. This can lower chlorine levels by up to 90% in just a few hours the pump running.Higher energy costs
Counteract Effects of the Sun by running your pump and keeping as much chlorine from being altered by the sunlight.
Kill bacteria faster by keeping water moving and creating an uninhabitable environment for bacteria.
Run the pump during high traffic times. Since most people will be swimming during the daytime, get ahead of the bacteria and debris by running the pump while you have swimmers in the water.
Night Time
Save money running pump by operating during non-peak times.Pump again in the daytime because bacteria thrive in warmer, still water. Pumping is recommended for at least one hour during the daytime.
Save time by running your chlorinator for 6 hours at night, the equivalent of 9 hours during the day.Not as effective

How About a Hybrid Model?

Why not try running your pool pump for portions of the day and night? There are many pros for running your pump both during the daytime as well as at night. Splitting your pump’s running time may help you achieve optimal filtration!

Properly circulated water is easily compared to properly circulated blood flow in your body. Without circulation, the healthy environment is directly and negatively impacted. While energy saving, duration and efficiency weigh heavily, how about creating a hybrid model to increase the function of your pump?!?

If the pump can run for half of its needed run time during the day and the other half at night, the benefits of both run times can be achieved. For example, an 8-hour schedule could be achieved by running the pump from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm when the sun is shining, and water is at its warmest then and again from 1:00 am until 5:00 am when it is dark and chlorine production can be at its peak just in time for the sunrise.

This hybrid model can allow you to add the benefits of filtering during sunlight peak times, keeping the pool cleaner and slowing down algae growth by increasing chlorine effectiveness and then running after midnight when most people are sleeping and there are lower electricity rates. The best of both worlds could be at your fingertips!

So- What Is the Best Time to Run Your Pool Pump?

Pool pumps increase the chemical balance and overall hygiene and sanitary conditions of your pool. It helps to circulate chemicals, trap debris, and keep water from hosting bacteria and algae.

Run times vary depending on the size of the pool, but it is important for all the water to have the ability to circulate through the filter at least once. Typically, 8 hours of run time is sufficient but the longer, the better.

Running the pump during the hottest parts of the day helps to combat the effects of the sun, especially with deterring algae growth and removing bacteria and debris during peak swim times.

Splitting up time into shorter intervals and running during the morning as well as in the evening may help to maximize efficiency. You could also consider running the pump during the day unless treating the water. Treatments are typically best done overnight. On those days, you could filter the water at night according to instructions for chemicals to have your pool conditioned and crystal clear by morning.

Aaron Pools and Spas

At Aaron Pools and Spas, we have everything you need to maintain your pool throughout the year. Since 1972, this family-owned-and-operated business has been dedicated to helping families have quality time together in the comfort of their own homes. We’ve installed more than 2,000 pools and hot tubs in our more than 50 years of service from the Cape Cod to Connecticut areas. Our knowledgeable team is always available to help you find exactly what you need to maintain your pool.  Our expertise can help you maintain a stress-free routine to keep your pool crystal clear! For more advice on maintenance, pump procedures or any other pool or hot tub needs, call 508.784.1160 or contact us today.

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