What's The Best Time To Run Pool Pump?

best time to run pool pump
Written By: Chris Tebbutt
Date Published: August 17, 2022

Cleaning your pool is essential to pool maintenance. A widely known fact is that running a pump helps to keep pool water clean and free from dirt. But pool owners tend to argue, when is the perfect time to run the pump?

Most experts that specialize in cleaning pool water suggest running your pump at night. But is that the most suitable time to do it?

In this article, you will learn the best time to run a pump and how many hours you should run it in a day.

The Perfect Time To Operate Pool Pumps?

When deciding which hours are great for a pool’s filtration system, whether it’s the late afternoon, evening hours, or daylight hours, the essential part to consider are other factors such as algae bloom, filtration cycle, water chemistry, water flow rate, variable speed, average pump running off hours, pulling water rate, and even energy bills and electricity rates. The variable speed pump operates with less energy consumption during non peak hours, but has the same effect and same results as other types without the additional cost. However, this is offset because variable speed pumps cost more money, and its full cycle runs for eight hours and accounts for the entire volume of commercial pools.

In an ideal world a cheap pump basket can pull water circulation, capture floating debris, and prevent algae growth resulting in a clean pool without losing the water quality during a single filter cycle. However, often times this is not the case, and you have to account for the other half of the pool’s water.

With that being said, disregarding the model, the perfect time to run your pump is when the weather is hot during the day. However, you should consider the fact that doing that means you will use more power during peak hours and that your electricity bill could go up as a result.

Alternatively, you can run your pool pumps at night outside peak hours if you wish to save money you would have used to pay the extra electricity bill.

If the water is not in use, you can let the pool pump run throughout the night. When you do this, you will wake up to a sparkling pool free of contaminants the following morning.

It is also suggested that you can test-run various pool pump schedule settings to quickly determine the exact time of day that will be suitable for you to run your pump.

Is It Better to Run a Pool Pump at Night or Day

There are several opinions about when you should run your pool pump. Let's review the advantages and disadvantages of both sides.

Benefits of running your water pump in daylight

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Swimming pool at sunny day

It is more reasonable to run your pool pump when the heat from sunlight is at its brightest, i.e. within the time before noon, because of algae development.

With that in mind, assuming you want the pump to run for 8 hours daily to ensure that the pools are filtered, you should start the pump by 8 AM and let it run till 4 PM.

Positive effects of running the pool pump during the day:

  • helps the skimmers function
  • removes any floating material like dust and insects from the water at their peak time
  • the ultraviolet radiation from the sun dissipates chlorine
  • saves money on chemicals
  • debris tends to be more

Benefits of running your pool pump at night

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Swimming pool by night

Although there is only one major benefit to running the pool pump at night, it is a substantial one: save energy and lower your electricity cost.

The majority of the countries provide low-cost electricity during specific times of the day, especially at night when usage and demand are less, compared to peak hours of the day.

Therefore, running your pool pump at such times will reduce your electricity costs. However, you should measure this advantage against the numerous reasons for using the pool pump during the daytime.

The Verdict

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Dirty swimming pool

On one hand pool pumps usually run at night. Although it is very ineffective and, it does cut your bills. However, if mismanaged it may ultimately costs more in terms of effort and cost. On the other hand, you need chlorine to be filtered through your pools during the daytime hours when the sun is shining on your pool and when it is in use.

Additionally, debris and other impurities tend to be more during the day, which is detrimental to pool maintenance, and can cost more money.

If you run the pool pump at nighttime, you are saving on your electric bill and increasing your energy savings, but you are giving the algae - which dwells in the water, an environment to thrive.

Although it would cost less to run your pool pump at night, you need to run it for long hours for it to filter the water effectively.

You should only consider running the pump at night when you want to carry out a chemical treatment, like an algae clean-up.

Water microorganisms like algae don't develop as much at night as in the daytime. Your pool is much more susceptible to contaminants during the day, so it is best to run the pool pump at that time. So our advice is to base your decisions on multiple of factors, including electrical bills, frequency of use, and build up of debris and algae. Ask yourself whether you would prefer a more effective way to clean up the bacteria and algae, or cheaper electricity bills.

Frequently Asked Questions

You may also be wondering some of the common questions people have regarding a pool pump and some of the best times to run it. Here are the answers.

How long should I run my pool pump every day?

Is that just a question that can be answered easily? Before you turn on it and leave it out you should be looking at some important things including circulation, chemical balance, and cost. Particularly costs. Because these things can be incredibly expensive in a swimming pool.

Is there a best time to run a pool pump in summer?

Finally, you have a pool installed inside. However, before your summer pool party, you get your bills and are shocked.
It's still generally advised to keep pool filters running during the day, but during summer electricity bills tend to be higher. Therefore, it is essential to account for both the energy costs and the additional time required, with more algae and dirt accumulating during this season.

Can I keep the pool filter running while swimming?

The best choice for keeping your swimming pool clean and pure is to keep running your pump while it is in use. The pool pump will sift the water and give you clean water that also has extra chlorine protection for use.
The filtration process can only remove contaminants effectively when it is turned on and functioning. To maintain a hygienic and safe pool, it is preferable to run the pump for as long as possible.

Can I let my pool pump run continuously?

The right idea is that the pump should operate continuously for effective pool water filtration. However, doing that will increase electricity costs, and you might spend more than necessary.
To save cost, you can run the pump for about 8 to 12 hours which invariably gives the typical turnover rate of a pool pump - implying that the entire liter of water will pass through your filtration three to four times within 24 hours.

Should You Use Your Pool Pump When There is Rain?

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Heavy rain

You can keep your pool pump running under the rain if the pool pump manufacturer designated the pump as rain-safe. To avoid any expensive and irreparable destruction to your pool's equipment, you are strongly advised to turn off and disconnect your pool pump when there is a thunderstorm.

Using your pump after rainfall or thunderstorm is vital to remove any dirt and contaminants in the water brought by the rain. Doing this within 24hrs after the rainfall will give you sufficient time to sift the water multiple times.

Before stepping into the water after heavy rainfall, make sure that the water is suitable for use by checking the pH levels, adding sanitizer if needed, and keeping the pump functional.

How Long Can I Leave My Pool Pump To Run During Winter?

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Outdoor pool during winter

How long you should run your pool pump during winter depends on the climate of your residential area.

There is little risk of the water in your pool and pipes freezing if you reside in a warm area where temperatures do not fall below the freezing level. To keep the water moving in this situation, you can leave it running every day.

Things get trickier if you reside in a cold climate with periodic freezing temperatures. Your pool pump will likely damage if you just keep the pump on a schedule and the water in your pipeline freezes.

When the temperatures are a little higher, it is preferable to turn off the pool pump and turn it back on later, manually. If you wish to learn what temperatures can pumps withstand visit https://www.pentair.com/

Ensure that you run the pump sufficiently to stop algae growth and prevent yourself from dealing with a green pool after winter.

How Can I Save Energy On Pool Pumps?

1. Automate your pool pump functions

If your water pump has the latest automatic control option, pool owners should operate your pump automatically. You can schedule it to work whenever the energy cost is less. Learn more about the technical aspects at https://www.swimuniversity.com/pool-pump/

2. Make use of bigger pool filters

A bigger surface area allows water to pass through relatively large filters, which reduces the volume of work your pump must do to circulate the same amount of water.

Bigger filters not only reduce the pump's power usage but also increase the pool pump's lifespan, which saves you cost.

3. Keep your filtration system up to date

Your filtration system requires occasional cleaning. Aside from cleaning the filtration system regularly, you should also update your pool pump software if it has any.

Most pool pump manufacturers provide upkeep software to examine your water filter and provide maintenance tips to keep the pump in good functioning condition.

Final Thoughts

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Close up of a swimming pool on a hotel grounds in a resort

Many people prefer to operate their swimming pools pumps at night, especially when trying to save electricity costs. However, this isn't the best option.

Running the pool pump under the sun's UV rays and when it is in use is the best alternative. In addition, running the pump at night might not give the needed result because the sun is necessary for algae to bloom - and you can only remove it when it is active.

Article written by Chris Tebbutt
In 2016 I got my first house that had a pool and I had no idea where to begin. Over time I have learnt how to do most things myself (I am really into DIY) and wanted to share my information with other. I was one of the people who thought if water smelt like chlorine, that meant there was too much chlorine in the water!