How Long to Run a Pool Pump

How Long to Run Pool Pump

Your pool pump is designed to circulate the water through the filtration system so that debris, and contaminate particles are filtered out of your pool water. This allows the water in your pool to stay sparkling and beautiful. If your pool pump is not operated frequently enough the pool water has a tendency to become discolored, often it turns green, and the water can develop a foul or putrid odor.

Of course we all know that running the pool pump requires electricity and we want to operate our pool pumps as little as possible so we can consume as little electricity as possible and reduce our energy cost.

How Long to Run Pool Pump?

The following information is designed to help you determine exactly how long you should operate your pool pump in order to keep your water clean and smelling fresh. This information is intended for people who are using fresh water pool systems. If you have a salt water pool you may have to operate your pool pump more or less according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

On a daily Basis

Your swimming pool pump should be operated for a minimum of eight hours each day. This minimum amount of circulation is required to keep the pool water clean and sanitary. If your pool is being heavily used, like in the height of summer, you will want to increase the length of time you allow the pool pump to operate each day.

During the operational period the pump should be able to circulate all of the water in the pool through the pump. To make sure that your pool pump is capable of doing this you can use the following equations.

To find the amount of water in your pool you simply multiply the length x width x the average depth x 7.48.

When you know how many gallons you have if you were to have a pool that holds 20,000 gallons and your pump can circulate 40 gallons per minute, then you multiply the gallons per minute by the number of minutes there are in an hour. That would be 40 x 60 = 2400.

So your pump would need an hour to move 2400 gallons of water, and if your pool holds 20,000 gallons of water then you divide the number of gallons per hour the pump can move into the total number of gallons of water in the pool. That would be 20,000 divided by 2400 to equal 8.3. So your pump would need to operate for 8.3 hours in order to circulate all of the pool water.

On a Weekly Basis

It is not recommended that you allow the water in your pool to sit for more than twenty four hours without the pump being run to circulate the water in the pool. When you do allow the pool water to stand for longer than twenty four hours algae and contaminants increase horrifically so you have to increase the amount of pool chemicals you are putting in the water in order to maintain sanitary water conditions.

Should I run a Variable Speed Pool Pump More or Less than a Traditional Pump?

A variable speed pump can run for longer periods of time and consume less energy. This is why the variable speed pump is capable of saving you money on your energy bill.

A variable speed pump can run on a lower speed when the temperatures are freezing or below freezing outside so your energy cost is less.

How Long to Run Your Pool Pump According to the Seasons of the Year

How long to run pool pump in winter

For maintenance purposes you can run the pool pump fewer hours each day as long as the following conditions apply:

  • The air temperature is above freezing but below 650 Fahrenheit.
  • The pool is covered and is not exposed to any debris.
  • You run the pump daily for no less than 3 hours.

Best time to run pool pump in summer

This is the height of the swimming season and the pool pump should run for a minimum of 8 hours every day, and during peak usage days you should increase the amount of time you operate the pump.

Most pool manufacturers suggest that you increase the amount of time that you run your pool pump to ten to twelve hours per day during the summer and during times the pool is heavily used.

You may also have to increase the amount of chemicals that are used in the pool water during the summer months because the oil from human skin, the sunblock and other contaminants that are introduced into the water are heavier during this time.


When the temperature begins to rise your pool pump will need to be ran more in order to keep the water pristine. Basically anytime the temperature reaches 650 Fahrenheit or above you need to run the pool pump for a minimum of six to eight hours.

A good rule of thumb to follow is run your pool pump one hour per day for every ten degrees of air temperature. So when the air temperature is fifty you will want to operate your pump for a minimum of five hours and if the air temperature is seventy then you want to operate the pool pump for a minimum of seven hours.


In the fall of the year when you are beginning to place the pool on standby you can reduce the amount of time you run the pump on a daily basis. You will want to run the pump for at least three hours each day unless the following conditions are applied.

  • If the temperature rises above 650 Fahrenheit then you must run the pool pump for 6 to 8 hours each day to keep proper circulation.
  • If the temperature reaches freezing or is going to go below freezing then you need to operate the pool pump continuously so the pump components do not freeze.
  • If there is a lot of debris able to get into your pool, like when a pool is uncovered, then you need to increase the amount of time you run the pool like you would in the summer time when the pool will be in heavy use.

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Kawsar Ahmed

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