Do You Run The Pool Pump While Swimming (3 Pros and Cons)

A pool pump should be used in every larger pool so that the water stays clean. The pump is operated electrically, and many pool owners are unsure whether the pump and the sand filter system must be switched off for safety when swimming or whether it can continue running.

Sand filter systems are considered safe if set up at least 2.5 m from the pool. Furthermore, the pool pump should have a GS test certificate to minimize safety risks. The pool pump does not necessarily have to be switched off when swimming, but it is advisable because of the risk of electric shock.

In this article, you will find all the safety risks that emanate from a pool pump and how they can be minimized for your own protection.

Switch off the pool pump and sand filter while swimming?

Opinions differ when making a clear statement about whether the pool pump can run while a pool is in use or whether it is better to switch off.

Some users are safe and prefer to switch off the sand filter system, and others like to lean against the return flow and enjoy the water flowing out.

But what is right when it comes to using a pool pump while people are in the pool?

My personal opinion: The best thing to do is turn off the sand filter system while swimming.

Outside of the swimming times, the pool water is filtered 2 to 3 times a day for 2 hours each. This way, the pool stays clean, and the dangers of the filter system are eliminated.

Apart from the practical experience, the manufacturer Bestway warns in its operating instructions against running the sand filter system and pool pump while swimming.

ELECTRIC SHOCK HAZARD – The sand filter system must not be operated while people are in the pool. If the sand filter is defective, the pool may no longer be used.


The sand filter system poses a potential risk of electric shock.

However, the risks due to modern technology, a GS test certification, and a good distance to the pool are relatively low.

As already mentioned, many pool owners use the sand filter system while swimming, and there is nothing wrong with that if basic points are observed.

But now, it depends on how old the sand filter system is.

A system from the 70s will not have a GS test certification and needs a corresponding service for security.

Since this service is usually expensive, it is best to invest in a new sand filter system with appropriate safety precautions.

In the further course of the text, you will find more reasons why you should switch off a sand filter system when swimming and why it would be practical to keep the system running.

Why you should switch off the pool pump when swimming

Compare what happens if you don’t switch off the pool pump while swimming.

Switch off the pool filter system when swimming:

  • Electric shock: If the sand filter system has not been installed correctly, there is a risk of electric shock.
  • The danger of explosion: Excessive pressure can arise with old sand filters from the 70s and incorrect operation.
  • Hair catch: There is a latent risk with long hair at the suction point if the system has not been tested following the standard DIN EN 13451-3.
  • Pool cleaning: The dirt is whirled up by the ongoing bathing and is not properly filtered.

Let the pool pump run while swimming:

  • Circulation: The operation of the pump continuously circulates and purifies the water.
  • Bathing: Bathing fun can take place flexibly.

Now you know all the risks involved in running the pool system while swimming and hopefully understand why the pool pump should be switched off.

Please understand the article: Nobody wants to scare you with this post, and I only want to inform you about the dangers that come from a pool and the sand filter system.

In numerous forums, you can read that the pool community is not scared and that many users keep the pool filter system running while swimming.

It is your free decision and responsibility whether you let the sand filter system run while bathing or switch it off.

What you should definitely do, is to reduce the dangers by using a sand filter system with appropriate safety precautions.

Safety precautions for a sand filter system

Sand filter systems offered and sold in the US, Canada, and the UK are relatively safe.

In addition to the modern technology, this is also because they must have a GS test certification.

For a sand filter system to receive a GS mark, it must be tested following the standard DIN EN 13451-3, and the test procedure must be passed 10 times.

Nevertheless, there is a danger from a sand filter system, and for this purpose, you will find some safety precautions so that swimming in your pool remains safe.

  • Installation: The sand filter system should be set up professionally and stand at least 2.5 m away from your pool, as there is a risk of electric shock. It is often wrongly claimed that the distance does reduce the performance of the pump.
  • Time switch: A sand filter system with a time switch is very practical for regular bathing times. Ideally, the pump starts circulating the pool water in the morning and is ready around noon. If the sand filter system does not have an integrated timer, this can be retrofitted externally.
  • Earthing: If the sand filter system is combined with a steel wall pool, it is recommended to earth the pool accordingly – although this is not a must. For this purpose, you should hire a specialist and not try to ground the pool yourself.
  • Keep it dry: The subsurface should be level and stable so that the sand filter system does not tip over. Above all, however, it should be in a dry place such as the garage. If the system cannot be set up that far, the sand filter system should be protected with a suitable cover.

In addition to the safety precautions for operation, safety when backwashing the sand filter system also plays a role.

To do this, the pump should be brought to zero in the operating position before the multivalve is adjusted – you will find detailed instructions on this topic under the link.

How long should the pool pump run in the pool?

The guideline is that a pool pump should run for around 6 to 8 hours a day to keep the pool clean and prevent algae from forming.

But as already mentioned, these are only rough guidelines.

You can use the following formula as a guideline for a precise time measurement of how long your pool pump should run per day.

Operating time in hours = (2 x water volume of the pool in m³) / pump flow rate in m³/h.

Example: A sand filter system depending on the pool size with a pump flow rate of 8 m³/hour should therefore run for so many hours:

Pool volume Operating time per day
20 – 39 m³ 5 – 10 hours/day
39 – 55 m³ 10 – 14 hours/ day
55 – 65 m³ 14-16 hours/day

From a water temperature of 77 °F (25 °C), the sand filter system must run for another 4 hours a day. Otherwise, algae will breed.

Conclusion: The running time of a pool filter system depends not only on the pool volume but also on the pump’s flow rate.

Accordingly, a more powerful pump runs a little less.

However, this does not mean that you have to buy the most powerful pool pump, but rather that it is adapted to the volume in your pool – under the link, you can read how to buy the best pool pump for your pool.

When should the pool pump run?

One thing is sure: A pool filter system must be running to keep the pool clean.

The question is, when should the pool pump run best?

Basically, the pool pump is recommended to run before or after swimming.

Depending on the size of the pool and the water flow rate of the pump, a pool pump should run for 6 to 8 hours a day so that the water in the pool is circulated.

Due to the relatively long running time of the pool pump, many users are hesitant to switch it off while swimming.

That is understandable somewhere, but with regular pool maintenance, it is no problem to let the filter system run for a few hours every day – a timer can help.

It is best to run the pool filter system early in the morning.

If the system starts at 7 a.m., the pool is ready to be used from 1 p.m.

A time division of 2×3 hours/day is even more practical.

Of course, these are only guidelines for the running times of the filter system in the pool, which you can use as a rough guide.

Do you have any further questions about the pool pump?

Contact me at @contactswimfool on Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube. I am happy to help you personally.

I wish you a safe swim!

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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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