How long to run a variable speed pump for / Total Head?!?


Apr 16, 2020
Mission Viejo, CA
I have a 17,500 gallon pool with a Hayward SP2302VSP pump. I'm looking for some indication as to how long I should run the pump for (and at what speed) to ascertain when it's cycled all of the water in the pool. My exact model isn't available any more, but I've found a reference online and from that page, is a rather interesting diagram which I'll try to post:


I'm trying to work out what the Y axis is, this "Total head (feet of water)" - what does this really mean? I've Googled and from what I can understand, it's to do with the length and diameter of pipes that the water travels to/from the pump, how many twists and turns it makes etc etc etc. Is this really the case? How on earth, with an inground pool, is one supposed to work that out?!

Alternatively, I found this SwimUniversity link that explains simply to take your pool volume, divide it by 8 and that'll give you the gallons/hour (GPH) needed to cycle that volume, then divide that by 60 to get the gallons/minute (GPM) which is "what most manufacturers use". Well, sure enough, they do as the image above shows ... but again, it's related to this total head again!

I'm trying to keep a level head (of water) here, but it's somewhat confusing!! :)


Well-known member
Oct 4, 2019
The general idea is to run the pump at as low rpm as possible while still getting good skimming action and functioning equipment (chlorinators and heaters have flow switches and will only switch on at a certain flow speed).

Then just increase/decrease the number of hours runtime based on what you observe and need to keep the pool clean. The idea of targeting turnovers per day is not really done in the TFP method.

If you want to know what your actual turnover is, simplest thing is to add a flow meter, which will give you a rough idea of the flow rate at the rpms you are running the pump.
  • Like
Reactions: markayash
Thread Status
Hello , This is an inactive thread. Any new postings here are unlikely to be seen or responded to by other members. You will get much more visibility by Starting A New Thread