11 Most Common Questions About The Pool Pump

The pool pump is a crucial part of any pool system, and you should inform yourself thoroughly before buying a new pump.

In this post, you will find frequently asked questions about the pool pump.

#1 What size pump do I need for my above-ground pool?

The pump you have now is very likely not enough to circulate the pool water efficiently.

The rule of thumb seems to be that an above-ground pool needs about 1 horsepower per every 2400 gallons of water.

That being said, other factors complicate the question of which pool pump do you need.

The pump must be suitable for use with your filter, and your filter will affect how well it cleans the water.

Also, if you have a salt water pool, you will need a special pump designed for a salt system.

#2 Location and installation of the pool pump

The pool pump has arrived, and you wonder where it should be placed most safely?

Ideally, the pump is located in the pump house and is installed below the water level to be operated under load.

If there is no space for a pump house, get a technology box.

When installing the pool pump, make sure that the suction line is installed with a slight slope to avoid the formation of air bubbles. In addition, the diameter of the suction pipes must not be smaller than the diameter of the pump opening.

Do not place the pump above the pool water if you can avoid it.

The pool pumps are built to operate under load and always get their water.

If the pool pump is installed above the water level and the skimmer runs dry, this can lead to a stall and even a total loss – with a pool pump below the water level, the floor connection would still be there.

If there is no other way and the pump has to be installed above the water level, ensure that the suction line is guided below the water level and only leaves the level when it is vertical (not higher than 2 m).

This construction makes it easier for the pool pump to restart because the water flows towards the pump.

But this is only an emergency solution. An excavation in the ground combined with a weather-resistant technology box would solve the problem.

Tip: To avoid annoyance from loud noises, the pool pump should not be set up at the same height as an apartment. A technology box also contributes to noise suppression.

#3 How to turn on the pool pump?

It is easy to turn on the pool pump. Just slide the switch on the power cord to the start position.

After a few seconds, the motor will start, and you can hear a buzz. The pump has been turned on successfully.

To turn off the pool pump, slide the switch to the off position and pull out the electrical outlet plug.

You should always keep the pool pump power cord away from water to protect yourself against possible electrical shock.

You should also buy a pool pump timer to allow you to rest from operating a pool pump.

#4 How to set the pool pump timer?

With a pump timer, you can set a schedule for your pool pump, and it will turn on or off at the right time.

But how to set the pool pump timer?

It always depends on which timer you use. Using the example of an electronic timer, I will explain how to set the time.

  1. First, you need to put the time in (time of day). You can set the hour by pushing the + and – keys on top of the unit. Then, use the minute key above it to adjust that time. After setting these two times, press the Set Time button next to them.
  2. Next, set your pool pump schedule by pressing the Timer button on top of the unit. Use the * key to change it from off to on.
  3. Then, press Start On or Start Off, depending on when you want your pool pump to come on or go off.
  4. Once you have all this setup, you can press either of the green buttons next to these. Pressing the Timer button will turn on the pool pump.
  5. When you press the green Start On or Start Off buttons, your pool pump will come on or go off precisely when you have it scheduled to do so every day.

This is how you can easily set up a pool pump timer.

However, you need to know which pump timer you have before trying this.

#5 What rpm should I run my variable speed pool pump?

The answer to this question will vary depending on the application, but some basics should be followed.

Swimming pools require a high flow rate and pressure to maintain water quality and flow for filtering and heating equipment.

This is why you use a high-speed pump, which needs good head pressure (the vertical distance from the pump to filter, heater, pool liner).

But what rpm should you approximately run the variable speed pump?

The rpm should be close to the head pressure but not too far. What I mean by this is that if your pump has a head pressure of 10 feet, you want to set your rpm to approximately 1050 to 1100 to give you the best flow and pressure in the pool.

The higher the head pressure, the more flow, and pressure you will achieve.

A reason for this is that the variable speed pump will not build as much back pressure when running your pool pump at low rpm (under 600) since it is running at a slower speed.

A more comprehensive speed range would be better, but not all motors can accommodate such a wide range without sacrificing head pressure or flow rate.

The rpm of a variable speed pump is not the only consideration when sizing a pump.

Most manufacturers have a chart that will give you the exact height of your pool or equipment, as well as your desired flow rate, to determine what pool pump you need.

#6 How long to run the pool pump?

The running times of the pool pump and the filter system are an essential part of water treatment.

The general rule is that the water should be circulated at least once a day within 6 to 8 hours.

That is correct, but depending on the season, the water temperature, and the number of bathers, the running times of the pool pump must be adjusted.

This fact is neglected by many pool advisors.

With an optimized running time of the pool pump, the water stays clean, and you save extra electricity costs.

Simply use this table with the pool pump running times as a guide – provided that the pump performance is optimal.

Season Runtime in hours
Spring 2×2/day
Summer 2×4/day
Autumn 2×2/day
Winter 2×1/day

In general, you can also orientate yourself on the water temperature and adjust the running times of the pump in the pool accordingly.

Up to 68 degrees Up to 73 degrees From 74 degrees
2×2/day 2×3/day 2×4/day

In practice, you can deviate from the values without compromising the water quality.

If the water temperature is below 62 °F, reducing the filter time to 1 hour/day is acceptable.

#7 Calculate the running costs for the pool pump

Most of the costs for pool maintenance arise from the operation of the electrical systems.

So before you blindly buy a pool pump, it would be interesting to know what costs you have to consider so that you don’t end up having a nasty surprise with your electricity bill.

To do this, you have to find out how many kilowatts (kW) your pool pump consumes per hour.

Let’s assume you have a standard pool pump operated with 220 volts, and the type plate says P1 = 1.2 kW. This means that the pump consumes 1.2 kWh under maximum load.

Therefore, the real consumption can differ due to the actual load on the pump motor.

The average electricity price was 10.66 cents per kWh. With 8 hours of operation/day, we come at the following mathematical formula: (8 x 1.2 kW) x 10.66 cents = 1.02 $/day.

This is rounded up to 31 dollars per month. These are costs that make an optimal running time of the pool pump appear interesting.

Couldn’t you just take a weaker pump and let it run longer?

That would not be advisable, as dead zones are always expected when operating the pool pump. If the water is not circulated at least once a day within 6 to 8 hours, algae growth and cloudy pool water will occur in the pool.

This leads to additional costs for pool chemistry, which is necessary to remove the cloudiness.

In addition, increased electricity costs can be expected if a poorly performing pump has to run for 24 hours.

#8 Which pool pump manufacturers are the best?

Only high-quality and durable pumps are listed in my pool pump comparison.

The following pool pump manufacturers are among the best.

  • Hayward
  • Pentair
  • Jandy
  • Sta-Rite
  • Intex

These manufacturers are highly reputable and offer high reliability and efficiency. They come with good warranties that will cover pump breakdowns in the future, except when caused by harsh conditions such as debris caught in the basket.

They all have an easy-to-use control panel and a wide range of functions. For example, you can set your pool pump to run only at certain times or during the night when electricity rates are lower.

But don’t be influenced by brand names because most pumps are often of the same quality. Individual pump tests and testimonials are more helpful before buying.

#9 How much does a pool pump cost?

This is a difficult question because pool pumps come in many sizes and styles.

How much water volume the pump needs to cover will determine how powerful a pump should be.

How often you want it to run will determine your energy costs, and whether or not you require any other special features (such as a timer) will make a difference in what you pay.

  • Standard above-ground pool pumps provide low to medium performance and typically cost between $150 and $300. They generally have an energy efficiency rating of 3 or better.
  • More powerful pumps provide medium to high performance and typically cost between $300 and $500. They usually have an energy efficiency rating of 4 or better.
  • High-performance pool pumps typically cost between $500 and $700. They typically have an energy efficiency rating of 5 or better.

#10 What to do if the pump does not work properly?

The pool pump is a technical device that can malfunction over time. The reason for this is often incorrect handling of storage over the winter or a wrong location.

If the pump malfunctions, it is essential to identify and solve this problem quickly to avoid damage to the pool.

In almost all cases, a malfunctioning can be diagnosed easily.

In my blog article, you will find the most common malfunctions and causes of errors in the pool pump and how you can eliminate them – just click on this link.

#11 How to winterize the pool pump?

The pool pump is a crucial part of any pool system, and you should winterize it to protect it from damage.

But how do you winterize a pool pump?

It’s pretty easy, but you have to know what steps to follow during the colder months.

  1. First, remove any debris, leaves, etc., from the pump impeller cover with a brush.
  2. Ensure you drain all water from the pool and any other equipment you want to winterize (pump, filters, skimmers).
  3. Turn off the pump and remove the circulation hose when you are done.
  4. If there is no acid inside your pool pump, you can remove the plugs and flush them under water to clean them before storing them away. You should also place a rubber or PVC washer over the suction port of the pool pump if you choose not to drain it.
  5. Finally, make sure not to leave any plugs or tools inside your pool or pump house and close the entrance door or cover your equipment. This way, you prevent animals from entering and damaging it over the cold months.

Your pool pump is now winterized!

You only have to take care of the equipment you are storing away for the colder months because it could be damaged if left outside in bad weather conditions.

In addition, make sure your pool filter is clean and working correctly to avoid future problems with the pool water chemistry.

Do you have more questions about pool pumps?

Ask me your questions at @contactswimfool on Twitter.

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 swimfool.com, 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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