Pool Pump Schedule Guide

Pool Pump Schedule
Written By: Chris Tebbutt
Date Published: August 17, 2022

A pool pump is a vital piece of equipment that keeps your water circulating and pool clean. The water undergoes heating, filtration, and other treatment before returning to the swimming pool as part of proper pool maintenance.

Ideally, you want your pump to work at peak efficiency, but a bad performance can be a result of ineffective scheduling. You need to understand how to schedule pool pumps to get their maximum benefit.

Otherwise, a poor pumping schedule can result in unsanitary water that could be considered dangerous for people's health, so it's vital that pool owners understand the best practices.

Calculating Pool Turnover Rate


To figure out the appropriate pump and filter for running your pool, you need to first determine the total pool volume i.e "how many gallons".

If it is listed on the paperwork, you may already know. But if you don't know, you have to determine the volume of the pool. The calculation of the volume is based on the shape of the pool. With the volume, you can also calculate other things like how to add chemicals, how many hours should you keep the pump running, and the flow rate of your pool. The pool volume depends on the pool shape and pool size, but in general below is how you can find out.

Here is how to determine the total pool volume.

  • For a round pool: Average depth (ft) x Diameter (ft) x Diameter (ft) x 5.9
  • For a rectangular pool: Average depth (ft) x Length (ft) x Width (ft) x 7.5
  • For an oval pool: Average depth (ft) x Width (ft) x Length (ft) x 6.7

Using any of the calculations above gives you the number of gallons of water your pool holds according to the shape of the pool. 

Next, you should determine the turnover rate of the pool. 

It is the length of time it takes for all the pool water to pass through the filter.

This is how to calculate the turnover rate of your pool:

Pool's volume divided by Pump Filter Rate (Gallons Per Minute) divided by 60.

So if you have a 15000-gallon pool and a 30 GPM pump and filter, your turnover rate would be as follows:

15000 ÷ 30 GPM ÷ 60 = 8.3 Hours

The recommended turnover rate is 6 hours, so you would want a pool filter and pump that can handle more than 30 Gallons Per Minute (GPM) or 1800 Gallons Per Hour (GPH).

Something like Krystal Clear pump and filter or something from Intex, would be recommended.

In the example above, you would want a pump/filter that can handle 41.67 GPM or 2500 GPH.

GPM = 15000 (Pool's Volume) ÷ 6 Hours (Recommended Turnover Rate)

While the turnover rate could be a little higher for a private backyard swimming pool, it shouldn't be more than 8 hours and it's recommended to get 2 turnovers per day, if not, at least 1 turnover.

Single, Dual & Variable Pump Differences

Pool Pump Schedule Guide 1

Another thing to note is the different types of pumps. Depending on the kind of filter pump you buy, the schedule for running it might also vary.

Here are the three types of pool pumps:

Single-speed pump

A single-speed pool filter pump is a type of pool pump that is designed to operate at a single speed. A single speed pool pump is ideal for small to medium-sized pools and can typically be used with most filtration systems. Any new pump influences some water features like average depth, variable speed, and flow rate, as the reading device might be not tuned to the filter pump. Meanwhile, single speed pool pump run time is consistent, unlike the variable speed of the variable speed pool pump. This is why most pool pumps run are the one speed pump model.

Dual-speed pump

A dual-speed pump is a type of pump that can operate at two different speeds. This provides a number of advantages over a single-speed pump, including increased energy efficiency and quieter operation. Dual speed pumps typically have a lower speed for filtering and circulating water, and a higher speed for heating, backwashing, or draining the pool. This allows the pump to run for longer periods of time without overworking, which can improve its lifespan.

Variable-speed pump

A variable-speed pump is a type of swimming pool pump that is able to operate at different speeds. This type of pump is beneficial because it uses less energy than a traditional pump and is quieter. In addition, a variable-speed pump can extend the life of your pool filter by up to 50%. This type of pump is also easier on your pool equipment, as it puts less stress on the system overall. As a result, a variable-speed pool pump can save you money in the long run.

Which pump to choose

If you have a simple kiddie pool or a pool volume no larger than 10,000 gallons, then if you run a pool pump at single-speed, it might be better suited for you. It's much cheaper and usually comes with a pool filter.

However, for medium to large-sized pools, dual or variable pumps might make more sense. While the initial investment will be higher, over the long run of operating a pool, you will save a lot of money on electric bills and incur less depreciation on your pool filter and equipment.

Swimming Pool Pump Schedule

Pool Pump Schedule Guide 2

So now that you know the essentials, you at least would want to get 1 turnover per day during your 6-8 total hours of pool pump run time, but if you can get 2 turnovers then that is better and usually recommended.

If you generally keep your pool clean and if you live in a relatively litter-free environment, 1 turnover per day should be perfectly fine for most small to medium-sized private pool owners.

However, I recommend that you get 2 turnovers if the climate is rather windy and dusty on top of debris or if you operate a larger swimming pool that is frequently used by a lot of people.

You don't necessarily need to run the pool pump overnight or during the day for hours and hours. You can actually choose to run the pump during nonpeak hours in the morning, when you decide to take a swim or when cleaning the pool, then late at night for another few hours to get 1-2 turnover in a day. It will in fact save you money on your electric bill if you have peak hour and non-peak hour billing.

Single-speed pumps

For single-speed pumps, you should mostly run your pool pump when you are using the pool such as swimming, cleaning, etc, and also late at night for a few hours in order to get at least 1 turnover for a total of 7 or so hours.

Interestingly, the hotter the temperature is, usually during the day due to the sun, it degrades the effectiveness of chlorine, thus it's recommended to run the pump a bit longer during hotter days. For every ten degrees Fahrenheit of air temperature, ensure you run the circulation system for an hour.

For example, if it is eighty degrees Fahrenheit, the pump should run at least eight hours a day. However, if a major weather event such as a heavy storm has occurred or the pool is full of algae, you may need to run the pool pump continuously for twenty-four hours to clear the pool.

Dual / variable-speed pumps

Variable speed pool pumps can run for longer periods based on the operating speed. Most pool owners run the pump for about twelve hours every day. Usually, this is about three to four hours on high speed when cleaning the pool or when taking a swim, then eight to nine hours in total on low speed for filtration during the morning and late at night.

When you run your pool pump early morning or late at night during non-peak hours at low speed (RPM), you save money on your electric bill, so with a dual or variable speed pump, you can actually save a lot of money overall.

Pool Pump Schedule Guide 3

If you want to get 2 turnovers, then you can leave your pump on throughout the night on certain occasions, but use your own judgment whether it is necessary. If the pool water looks a bit murky, or cloudy, and whenever you take a swim if it doesn't feel clean, you should consider doing 2 turnovers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions a lot of people have.

Why is a Pool Pump Necessary?

Pool Pump Schedule Guide 4

A swimming pool pump is a very important piece of equipment. It is responsible for circulating the water in the pool, which helps to keep it clean and clear.

The pump also helps to circulate the chemicals that are used to maintain the pool water. without a pump, the water in the pool would quickly become stagnant and dirty. In addition, the pump helps to aerate the water, which keeps the pool temperature regulated.

As a result, a swimming pool pump is essential for any pool owner who wants to maintain a clean and healthy pool.

Should I Leave my Pool Pump on if the Pool is Not in Use for a Long Time?

Pool Pump Schedule Guide 5

You still need to leave the pool pump on even if you're not going to use your pool for a long time. It is quite easy if your pool has an automatic timer. Set it before you leave to make sure that the pool system will run for at least eight hours daily. 

Also, make sure that the chlorinator is full and properly working. This would prevent algae growth and ensure that your pool stays clean. If it is broken, further adding chemicals will be useful . However, make sure to consider the water chemistry.

However, it might be quite tasking if your pool pump doesn't have a timer. In such situations, you might have a pool company look after your pool and run the pool pump daily to keep the pool water clean and healthy.

Closing Thoughts

So to recap, a pool pump is a necessary part of a pool's filtration system if you want to keep your water clean and healthy.

First, you need to calculate the pool volume and your pool's turnover rate in order to know the size and flow rate for the filter pump you need.

While there are three different types of pumps: single-speed, dual-speed, and variable-speed, you should choose single-speed if you have a small pool. For larger pools, you should go with dual or variable speed pumps if you wish to save money on energy costs over the long run.

Pool Pump Schedule Guide 6

For the best result, you should run your pump in the morning for a few hours, during the day when it's hot and when people are swimming or when you are cleaning, then for another few hours during the night. The total run time shouldn't be much more than 8 hours and you should at least get 1 turnover.

If you sense that the water needs to be cleaner, then on certain occasions feel free to leave the pump on throughout the night and get 2 turnovers.

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!