When it comes to a swimming cleanliness is very important. For cleanliness in a pool, ideally you would just run your pool pump all day every day to keep it spotless. Yes chemicals are important and necessary to keep it clean, but a pool pump is a must have to keep it clean.
The problem, however, is your energy bill would skyrocket making it difficult to afford a pool. So how long and when should you run your pool pump in order to keep it clean and still be able to afford the energy bill?
The extreme basic rule of thumb is to run the pump for eight hours per day during the day. However, there are actually a lot of basic factors that go into the equation to determine if this amount of time is actually optimal or not. You could still be running it too long and therefore be wasting energy.
On the other hand you could still not be running it long enough and your pool not be properly cleaned. Things like the size of the pool, the type of pump you have, and the time of day you run your pump will all determine how to optimize your pump.
Why Run A Pool Pump
Some may ask why it is necessary to have a pump at all. With chemicals today why even use a pump? First of all, the pump is what helps distribute the chemicals throughout the pool. It is sort of the big spoon that stirs up the water.
Second, moving water is generally cleaner water. If you let your pool sit still bacteria will begin to grow turning the water green. This is clearly not an ideal pool to swim in. Third, the pool pump also has a filter on it. This filter grabs and cleans out dirt, leaves, and any other unwanted particles in the water. A pump is a must have.
Determining The Length Of Time
In order for your pool to be properly cleaned the pump must run all of the water through at least once per day. There is a simple way to figure this out. First you need to find the gallons per hour (GPH) your pump says it sends through the filter.
Then if you want your pump to run eight hours you need to multiply that GPH by eight. This number should equal your pools volume or amount of gallons it holds.
Here's an example.
Your "average" pool is roughly 14 feet wide by 28 feet long being roughly 6.5 feet deep. This comes to 19060 gallons of water. So if the GPH of your pump is 245 multiply that by 8 and you get 19060. This is the perfect size pump for your pool.
If you aren't sure of the conversions from cubic feet to gallons simply multiply it by 7.5 or there are all kinds of calculators found online to help you with the conversion process. Either way you need to find out how many gallons your pool holds to help you find out if your pump is doing the proper amount of work.
Clearly if it turns out your pump runs a higher or lower GPH you can adjust the run time to get the optimal solution. However, just because it is the optimal time, doesn't mean it is optimal on your energy bill.
Different Types Of Pool Pumps
In order to help your energy bill you need to consider a few things about the pump. Clearly different pumps are made different ways. There are single speed pumps, and variable speed pumps. The most basic of the two are the single speed.
This means the mechanism inside that circulates the water spins at one consistent rate. This rate of speed has often been found to be a higher rate than necessary causing energy to be wasted and therefore a higher energy bill. Some of these pumps are considered so wasteful that certain states have actually banned new single-speed pumps.
The other option, variable speed pumps, are adjustable. You can find out how much water is being circulated at the different speeds, slow down the process, and save energy. This slower speed and GPH rate may cause you to run the pump longer during the day but there are two benefits to this.
One, the pump actually runs quieter. Many single speed pumps are noisy because of the high speed they run. On a variable speed model you can slow that down making it quieter and more enjoyable. The second benefit is even though you are running the pump longer during the day it still saves you money.
With a little math and experimentation you can find the optimal speed to run your pump. This not only results in the quieter performance but it maximizes the amount of water going through the system with the amount of energy being used. That results in energy saved and the bill going down.
While the variable speed pumps are more expensive up front, this optimization will result in you saving money in the long run. Many estimates show that the pumps pay for themselves in less than two years with the optimization of speed and GPH.
Pool Plumbing Considerations
Something else to be considered when running your pool pump is the size of your plumbing for the system. The size of your pipes are a variable in running your pool pump. Sometimes a pump with more horsepower, not to be confused with speed, may seem more attractive.
The horsepower is the amount of strength so to speak. Speed slows down when it meets resistance. Horsepower is the ability of your pump to maintain such a speed when met with resistance. So one would think that more horsepower is better. Not so if your pipes are too small. Only so much water will fit through your pipes.
If your pump has more horsepower to handle more water than your pipes can handle then you are back to wasting energy. Find the best combination of just enough power to run your pool's water through the system but it doesn't have to work too hard using too much energy.
When To Run A Pool Pump
What about when? When should you run your pump? The answer that often comes to mind first is when you are going to swim, so during the general hottest eight hours of the day. You want your pool cleanest when you are in it. While this is a decent idea, financially it may not be the best.
Your power company charges for electricity different amounts throughout the day. There are "peak" hours for power. These peak hours generally cost more. You can put in a phone call to your power company and find when those peak hours are. Then this will help you determine when financially it makes the most sense to run your pump.
A tip that some offer to help mitigate using the grid during peak hours is split up your pump running time: you don't have to run it for eight hours straight. You can do a little on each side of the peak hours, even three times per day, or whenever is optimal financially. While you may not see a drastic difference at first, you will see a difference financially over time.
There is a lot to think about and consider for when and how long to run your pool pump. But putting in the time and effort to research all of this in the beginning will save you in the long run when it comes to keeping your pool clean.