How Long Should I Run My Pool Pump Each Day

An optimized running time of the pool pump is important for the water quality in the swimming pool and can save electricity costs. But how long should a pump run in the pool every day?

The pool pump running time is set according to the season or ideally according to the water temperature. The pool water must be circulated at least once a day within 6 – 8 hours. If the water temperature is below 68 °F (20 °C), it is acceptable for the pump to run 2×2 hours per day.

In this article, I explain how to calculate the correct running time of the pool pump for your own pool and what you have to pay attention to so that the pool water remains crystal clear.

How long should a pool pump run?

There is no general answer to how long the pump should run in your pool every day because every swimming pool requires an individually adapted running time.

To get a concrete answer, the following question is important. How often does the water in the pool have to be circulated?

A rule of thumb says: The pool water must be circulated at least once within 6 – 8 hours/day.

As a rule, for most swimming pools, it is sufficient to set the running times based on the season. A different running time for the pool pump is necessary for each season.

Season Daily running time in hours
Spring 2×2/Day
Summer 2×4/Day
Autumn 2×2/Day
Winter 2×1/Day

Orienting yourself based on the seasons – for the pump’s running time in your pool – is a method that you can’t go wrong with.

But determining the running times based on the water temperature in the swimming pool is much more reliable.

In which climate zone is your pool, and how warm is the pool water?

Water temp. °F Runtime hours/day
up to 68 °F 2×2 hours/day
up to 73 °F 2×3 hours/day
from 73 °C 2×4 hours/day

A floater with a digital temperature display is suitable for determining the water temperature in your pool.

Here I have to mention that adjusting the filter run times based on the water temperature requires more control, and the timer on the pool pump has to be reset almost every day.

Tip: If the water temperature is below 62 °F (17 °C), it is sufficient if the filter time is reduced to 1 hour/day.

This saves electricity costs and still keeps the water in your pool clean.

Of course, the performance of the pool pump in relation to the water volume also plays an important role. Therefore, you should calculate the filter runtimes based on your pool size and performance.

If you want to avoid 100% cloudy pool water and do not want to take any risks, you can let the water in the pool circulate 1.5 to 2x a day.

In the following text, I explain how you can correctly calculate the running times for the pool pump per day in your pool and check whether the pump is optimally set.

Tip: If the pool is milky and cloudy despite the optimal running time of the pool pump, then I recommend my helpful pool care guide for beginners.

Calculate the running time of the pool pump

The equipment used in the swimming pool is individual, and therefore pool owners need to learn how to calculate the pool pump running time themselves.

  1. Calculate the volume of water in the pool – The volume must be estimated for free forms.
  2. The water volume in m³ is divided by the pool pump’s output (m³/h).
  3. The result is your individual filter run time in hours for one circulation once a day – see example below.
  • Rectangular pools: Length x width x average depth of the pool.
  • Round pools: Radius² x 3.14 x depth (r² * π * h).

For a better understanding, the following is an example of calculating the filter run times in the swimming pool:

Assume the pool has almost 48,000 (48 m³) liters of water and the installed pool pump has an output of 8 m³/h.

Calculation: 48 m³ / 8 m³ /h = 6 hours the pool pump has to run daily.

I mentioned above that ideally, the pump should circulate the water 1.5 times a day.

In this case, we multiply the water volume by a factor of 1.5 and divide the result as usual by the delivery rate of the pump.

If the pool water is circulated 1.5 times/day, the daily running time of the pool pump is 9 hours.

The 9 hours/day running time is above the recommended 6 to 8 hours a day. That result shows us this pool pump with an output rate of 8 m³/h is too weak for a pool with 48,000 liters of water.

The solution: A more powerful pool pump must be installed in the pool.

In my blog post, I show the best pool pumps in comparison and explain what to look for when buying a new pump. Just click on the link.

When is the best time to run the pump in the pool?

Another question that is often asked in addition to the pump running times is when to run the pool pump.

The exact run time does not play a major role in normal pool maintenance and can be freely selected.

It is only important that the pool water is completely circulated at least once a day within 6 to 8 hours.

Some advisors even recommend a running time of 12 hours per day – this makes perfect sense if the output rate of the pump is too weak. But in this case, the pool pump should be replaced.

In the following chapters, I answer specific questions regarding the timing of the pump runtime.

Can you run the pool pump at night?

After a pool shock, you have to run your pool pump for 24 hours. In order to guarantee this, it must be operated overnight.

So, it is allowed to run your pool pump in the night – The electricity costs also fall at night.

But, if your pool is near the neighborhood and the pool pump exceeds the limit of 35 dB(A), maybe you should not run the pool pump during the night to not disturb your neighbor.

In the end, you want to sleep yourself peacefully at night, don’t you?

Tip: High-quality pump brands are quieter than inexpensive models and enable a quiet overnight operation.

When does the pump have to run in the pool?

It was briefly mentioned above that the pump needs to run for 24 hours in the pool in some situations.

Extended runtimes of the pool pump are necessary in the following cases:

  • Shock chlorination: If the water in the swimming pool is overchlorinated, the pool pump must run for 24 to 36 hours to bring the chlorine level down.
  • Green pool water: A pool shock is not always necessary, and the solution to green pool water can be to extend the pump’s running time in the pool.
  • Weak pool pump: If the pump is too weak, a continuous operation may be necessary until a more powerful pool pump is upgraded.

It is recommended that the pool pump runs through during a pool shock until the chlorine level drops to an average level under 1.5 ppm.

However, this is only a recommendation and not an absolutely necessary procedure.

As shown in the table above, if there is no other way, you can spread the operating time over the day.

What else should you watch out for when running the pool pump?

The general rule for the running time of the pool pump is not only based on the season and the water temperature.

Other factors also play a role in setting the running times of the pool system.

  • Pool volume: How big is the pool, and how much water does it contain?
  • Delivery rate: Which pump is used in the swimming pool, and what is the flow rate?
  • Location: Is the swimming pool near trees, and does the running time have to be extended?
  • Usage habits: How often is the pool used, and how many users are in the water? If the swimming pool is used a lot, the running time of the pool pump must be increased to prevent the water from turning green.
  • Season: Does a lot of pollen land in the water in spring, or are there many leaves to be expected in autumn?
  • Pool cover: Is a pool cover used to protect against dirt, and can the running times in the pool be reduced?
  • Maintenance and care: You have to take care of the pool pump to keep its performance high.

FAQ on the running time of the pool pump

Here you will find further questions and answers about the running time of the pool pump that other readers have asked.

The publication is intended to clear up further obscurities.

How long do you run a pool cartridge filter?

It doesn’t matter whether you use an Intex cartridge filter, a Bestway pool pump, or a large pool pump connected to a sand filter system.

The filter run times are calculated using the same formula: The pool pump’s water volume/delivery rate.

Learn more in my blog post on how to clean an Intex swimming pool. Follow the link to read my free guide.

Do I have to turn off the pool pump when swimming?

If the water in your swimming pool is often cloudy, then a continuous runtime makes sense and is particularly necessary when filling the pool for the first time.

But do you have to switch off the pump when you want to swim in the pool?

Most pool pumps sold have a GS test certificate and have been tested by EU standard DIN EN 13451-3. This enables safe use of the pool during the filter run times.

Warning: That still does not mean that you should swim in a pool during the pump running times.

It is advisable to switch off the pool pump when using a pool, as there is a general risk of electric shock.

You can read more about this topic in my detailed blog post.

Can I run the pump in the pool with a cover on?

Basically, nothing speaks against running the pool pump while covering the pool.

Here you should be careful that the pool water does not get too warm, as certain pumps are only suitable up to a water temperature of 96 °F (36 °C).

Should you run the pool pump when it rains?

Of course, you can run the pool pump when it drizzles.

But, it is advisable to switch off the pool pump in extreme weather as it can be damaged.

You should also ensure that the timer cannot start the pool pump during the storm.

What is the lifespan of a pool pump?

The lifespan of the pool pumps varies depending on the manufacturer.

Well-known pool pump brands have a service life of 15 years but – according to customers – can suffer a defect after 6 months.

WilTec pool pumps last an average of 3 years, which corresponds to the general life expectancy of a pool pump.

With appropriately good maintenance, regular backwashing, and correct storage over the winter, the service life of the pool pump can be extended.

How high are the costs of a running pool pump?

To calculate the costs of a pool pump, the maximum load in kWh is multiplied by the operating time and the electricity price per kWh.

With an electricity price of 10.54 cents per kWh and a running time of 8 hours/day, a pool pump with an output of 1.2 kWh consumes around 1.01 $/day.

An average cost of around $10 per month can be expected. The pool maintenance costs can be reduced if the running times of the pool pump are optimized.

Do you have any further questions about the pool pump running time?

Contact me at @contactswimfool on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Pinterest – I’ll be happy to help you personally.

Happy swimming!

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Hi. I'm Max Berg. I've been in the pool industry since 2015 and have always felt drawn to water. I'm the author behind, where I share my years of experience in pool maintenance and give helpful tips on keeping a swimming pool or hot tub clean. My tips reduce the costs of water treatment and protect the environment.

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