How Long Should I Run My Pool Pump?

How Long Should I Run My Pool Pump?

“How long to run pool pump every day?” This is a question I get asked by everyone, whether they’ve had a pool for years or just started taking care of one.

The best answer would be to run your pool’s filter system 24 hours a day. However, that could end up costing quite a bit of money, and more than you really need to spend.


The Turnover Rate

The idea is to run all the water in your pool through the filter system at least once a day. This is called your Turnover Rate, and it’s pretty difficult to determine. An average filter system on your pool, if it was built correctly, should turn over the water around 2-3 times a day.

With this assumption, you can safely run your filter for about 12 hours a day. That should (again, depending on your system) run all the water in your pool through the filter system at least once. I usually tell people to run their filter for 10-12 hours a day, and of course, the more the better.

What About Costs?

If you’re concerned about spending too much on your electric bill, you can try calling your energy company and asking about the “best times.” Usually, the best times to run your filter system, that will save you money, is between 9:00pm and 9:00am — this is when less people are consuming energy, which drives down the rates.

However, if you’re adding chemicals or cleaning your pool, you need to have your filter system running, and I doubt your doing these activities in the middle of the night. So it’s okay if you run your filter system during normal hours for a couple of days.

You could also split these times. For instance, you could run for six hours during the day and six hours at night. This is perfectly fine, however, you’ll want to get a timer to help you regulate this.

You COULD Invest in a Variable Speed Pump

Pentair Variable Speed PumpIf you have a variable speed pump, you can run your system for 24 hours a day without spending as much money as a standard pump. You can run at lower speeds when your just filtering the water and higher speeds when your adding chemicals or cleaning the water.

If you have the funds, I highly suggest you look into buying a variable speed pump. They are the best bet for keeping you pool clean and saving you money at the same time. I highly recommend them.

Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo Variable Speed High Performance Pool Pump, 3 Horsepower, 230 Volt, 1 Phase - Energy Star Certified
List Price: $1,575.28
Price: $935.00
You Save: $640.28 (41%)

Energy savings up to 90% vs. traditional pumps and worth the investment.

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So, How Long To Run Pool Pump?

So to recap, run your filter system for at least 12 hours a day. This is a good rule of thumb. Again, it’s okay if you don’t stick this schedule everyday, but be aware that the more your pool runs through your filter system, the cleaner and clearer it will be all season long.

If you have any questions about running your filter and pump, you can ask in the comments below and I will answer them quickly.

Happy Swimming!

How Long Should I Run My Pool Pump?

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  • Jane Stone

    I live in Costa Rica where the electricity rates are .30/kwh so it is prohibitive to run the pump 12 hours a day, especially since we use the pool year-round. What is the minimum to run the pump? My pool is appx. 13X34X5 in size.

  • Matt Giovanisci

    You can run 8-10 hours a day. And as low as 6 hours if you keep your pool clean.

  • Beth McKinney Romine

    Should I run the pump when it is raining?

  • Matt Giovanisci


  • PoliteLiberal

    I have a variable speed pump, the Pentair SuperFlo. What would be your recommendation as far as RPMs and length of time for each setting (there are three)?
    Currently I have it running at 2400 RPMs from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Then it goes down to 1200 RPMs from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and 1400 RPMs for the remaining 12 hours. Is that sufficient for a pool of approximately 15,000 gallons?

  • Matt Giovanisci

    Should be, yes.

  • PoliteLiberal

    Awesome. Thanks for such a prompt reply. Love the website and love the book. In fact I just received a new color cartridge for my printer today so now I can print the rest of it out!!
    I really love how you emphasize how fortunate pool owners are for having a pool. I never thought I’d be swimming 6 to 7 days a week when we purchased our home. My daughter loves swimming so much our pool season starts in April and lasts until October (I live in Las Vegas and have a solar cover).

  • Diane

    Is it ok to swim when the pump isn’t running?

  • Matt Giovanisci


  • Chris Onorato

    Hi, I have a SWG and just bought an intellichlor generator and the Pentair Superflo VS pump. I’m overwhelmed with how to operate this. My pool guy told me to run it at low rpms (1400), but I did overnight and the flow light and low salt light were flashing red this morning. I am now running at 2000rpms and everything seems fine. Does chlorine get produced more at higher rpms? The pool store said to never run lower than 2400rpms, bc the pump isn’t circulating water properly. This doesn’t sound right to me. My main question is, how long should/could I be running the pump for to produce ideal free chlorine levels all while saving a good amount of money?