Should You Run a Pool Pump 24 Hours a Day?

There are lots of different ways to schedule the circulation of your swimming pool water.  There are many different types of swimming pool pumps out there, and no two pools are alike.  Even if the swimming pools are next door to one another.

Why Proper Circulation is Important

In order to maintain clean and healthy water, the water needs to circulate.  This means water entering into the system from your skimmer and/or main drain and then being pushed by your pool pump through your circulation system.  The water passes through various pieces of equipment you may have, including salt cells and heaters.  The most crucial part is when it passes through your swimming pool filter.  This is where all the dirt and debris gets caught by either a sand, cartridge or diatomaceous earth filter.

By not having proper circulation, you will not maintain proper chemical balance.  Remember, not only do the chemicals need to mix, the sanitizer only works when the water is moving.  If you don’t run your swimming pool pump long enough or at a high enough speed (with a variable speed pump) you may end up with what are known as “dead spots”.  These dead spots are where uncirculated water stays, and the dirt and debris in those areas will not make it into the filter.  If you have ever had a mustard algae bloom, you may notice you get it in certain areas of your swimming pool.

Above Ground Swimming Pools

In my experience, when a customer purchases an above ground vinyl pool, it comes with a tiny pump and filter.  They are generally undersized and would require 24-hour a day circulation to maybe accomplish a turnover of the swimming pool water.  If you have an above ground pool that you plan on keeping, I would suggest upgrading the pump and filter.  You may say, “But that costs more than I paid for the pool!”.  Be that as it may, even though above ground pools are significantly less expensive than in-ground swimming pools, we still have to care for them and maintain them the same way.  This includes circulation.  

If you live outside of California, a single speed pump is still a viable option for you.  While they are energy efficient single speed, they are nowhere near as efficient, or money saving, as installing an above ground variable speed pool pump. A great single speed available is this one

The Blue Torrent above ground pump works fast.  The part I like is it includes a Massive Fittings Kit that will retrofit nearly any above ground pool.  It is also one of the easiest pumps to install. Variable speed pumps are also available for those of you looking to save on that electric bill.  I like the American made BLACK + DECKER.  This pump is Energy Star Rated and comes with a 3-year warranty, depending on the model you purchase.

Inground Swimming Pools

If you have a single speed swimming pool pump, there is no need to run it for 24-hours a day.  In fact, due to the high energy costs, even with an energy efficient in-ground single speed swimming pool pump, it would still cost a fortune to run it 24-hours a day.  Some commercial properties require 24-hour a day pump circulation, but as a homeowner, this is not advisable.

If you are lucky enough to own an Energy Efficient, Variable Speed swimming pool pump (VSP) then, yes, technically you could run your pump for 24 hours a day.  Some of my customers do.  They run it on a very low  RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) and thus get a turnover each 24-hour period.  A turnover is when most of the pool water passes through the filter.  

A lot of my customers do a variation of speeds and run their pump from 10 to 16 hours in the Summer. And 8 to 12 hours in the Winter.  This sounds like a lot of time.  But because we are still moving the same gallonage of water we always have, but at a lower speed, we therefore have to run it longer.

Is it possible to get a turnover running it less than the hours I mentioned above?  Abso-freaking-lutely.  Just keep in mind, it will require a few hours on a much higher RPM and could cost you more money.  The only wrong way to run a pool pump is to run it for too little of a time or at too little of an RPM for too short of a time.

Variable speed pool pumps ARE available AND affordable for all pool owners.  This literally BLEW my mind when I found out such a creature existed.  I am a big fan of American made products.  I also like names I can trust.  This is a great inground VSP

And the best part is…you have reliability and won’t break the bank.  See you poolside!

How long should the pool pump operate daily, and how should we cut the energy cost of it? Learn here.