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Knowing how long to run a pool pump is not always very clear. The best way to know how long to run a pool pump is to calculate the size of your pool and determine your pump’s turnover and flow rate. Filtering your pool water every day keeps the water sanitary and clear!

A good working filter pump keeps a pool clean and ensures all the chemicals circulate in the water. It balances the pH levels, keeping the pool free from algae and bacteria.

If you want to know how long it takes to run a pool pump and how to keep your pool clean, we can help! Keep reading to learn all you need to know about pump run times and water sanitation!

What’s the Minimum Amount of Time You Should Run Your Pool Pump? 

Run your pool pump for 6-8 hours daily. Running your pool pump is essential for the following reasons:

  • Removing organic matter (small bits of branches, leaves, and grass)
  • Filtering algae spores from the water
  • Assists in dispersing chemicals like chlorine or bromine
  • Prevents bacteria growth in the water

The pool pump and filter are essential to your pool’s chemistry and balance. Without your pump and filter, the water chemistry will quickly become unbalanced. When the pool water is unstable, it becomes a breeding ground for mold, algae, and bacteria.

Organic matter, bodily fluids, and chemicals from hair dyes or other beauty products need to be removed from the water through the filtration system. By removing debris from the water, the filter pump prevents foreign objects from growing in the pool.

Ideally, you’d run your pool pump every day, but this isn’t a realistic goal. But it illustrates just how vital this system is to the maintenance of your swimming pool. Running your pool pump keeps the water balanced and cleaned while distributing the chemicals evenly.

What is Your Pool Turnover Rate? 

A pool’s turnover rate is the time it takes for all the water in the swimming pool to pass through the pump and filter once. In other words, if you have a 30,000-gallon pool and it takes 8 hours for the pump to filter all this water, your pool turnover rate is 8 hours.

While 6-8 hours is the average turnover rate for most 20-30,000-gallon pools, it can vary. Sand filters are usually the quickest but the least thorough. You can expect a slightly slower flow rate for a cartridge or DE filter pump.

To calculate your pool’s turnover rate, you’ll need to determine your pool volume first. If you’re unsure how many gallons your pool is, there are a few ways to figure this out. The easiest way is to check with the manufacturer or installation company or to visit your local pool store.

If this doesn’t get you the information you require, then you can find the pool volume by performing the following equation:

Length x depth x width x 7.5 (there are 7.5 gallons per cubic foot)

You might need a tape measure and a calculator to figure this out! But determining the flow rate is much easier once you have your pool volume. To calculate your pool’s turnover rate, divide the pool’s volume by gallons per minute on your pool pump’s meter.

In other words, Pool volume (in gallons, let’s say 30,000)/gallons per minute (let’s say 60). So your equation will look like this: 30,000/60=500 minutes. Your pool’s turnover rate is 500 minutes or approximately 8 hours.

Why is it So Important to Run Your Pool Pump For a Few Hours Every Day? 

The reason you’ll want to run your pool pump for a few hours every single day is to ensure the water’s filtered. As we explained above, your pool’s turnover time is the time it takes for all the water in your pool to be filtered. You want every drop of water to go through your pool pump and filtration system daily to prevent bacteria and algae growth.

Let th pool pump run for at least 4 hours, and do your best to reach 8 hours total. This will keep your water clean, the chemicals balanced and prevent contaminant buildup.

What Are Variable Speed Pumps?

Variable speed pumps are pumps with multiple speed options. They’re an excellent choice to prevent energy waste and lower energy costs. It’s easier to leave variable speed pumps on for longer since they won’t run up your electricity costs or waste energy.

They’re the most energy-saving variety and allow you to keep your pool running smoothly. If you want to learn all the ins and outs of variable speed pumps, check out our article on the subject!

Should You Use a Single Speed, Dual Speed, or Variable Speed Pump? 

There’s no exact answer if you’re trying to decide between single-speed, variable-speed pool, or dual-speed pumps. Some states in the U.S. will make the decsision for you since they require all pools to use a variable-speed pump.

Single-speed pumps only have a single-speed setting, as the name implies. Dual-speed pumps have a two-speed setting, which is usually slow and fast. Both of these pumps are easy to use and program. But they waste a lot of energy and cost more to run.

So, the perks of a variable-speed pump include the following:

  • Lower speeds cost less to run
  • Ability to change between various speed settings
  • Cheaper to run
  • More fuel efficient

The downsides of these pumps include the following:

  • Expensive upfront cost
  • More difficult to program

We recommend using variable-speed pool pumps since they’re more efficient and cost less to run.


Most pool pumps should be able to filter all your pool water within 6-8 hours. If you notice your pool meter is slower than it should be, then it might be time for some pool maintenance!

Your pump can slow down because of a clogged pipe or buildup in your filter media. Since your pool pump pulls debris from the water, these particles can slow your pump’s running speed.

Your pool pump run time is essential to keeping your water clean! If you want to learn how to keep your filter media clean and your pool pump running well, check out our articles on backwashing your filter pump!


Should Pool Pumps Run for 8 Hours Straight?

Run a pool pump for at least eight hours for the best results. This time frame is perfect for pools that are 30,000 gallons or more since eight hours should be enough time for all the water to filter.

Depending on the weather and how much your pool’s used, you should run it for eight hours consecutively. If the weather’s cool and you aren’t using the pool much, you can get away with running the pool pump for four hours twice a day.

If the weather forecast’s calling for temperatures over 80 degrees, then you should expect to run your pump for 10-12 hours. Bacteria and algae are more likely to grow in hot water, so keeping the pump running will help keep your pool clear and free from growth.

What’s the Best Way to Calculate Your Pool Volume?

Measuring your pool’s size is the best method of calculating your pool’s volume. The volume of your pool is the amount of water it holds, which is critical to know to calculate your turnover and flow rate.

The equation we gave in the above section is the best way to measure your pool’s water capacity: Length x depth x width x 7.5 (there are 7.5 gallons per cubic foot).

You want every drop of water in your pool to be filtered daily. That’s why it’s essential to know your pool’s size to guarantee your water’s cleanliness.