Well-known member
just curious... on average, how long do y'all run the pump? i don't like leaving the pump run while i'm at work, so i usually run it from 5:00pm till i go to bed (around 10:00) durring the week, then on the weekends i usually run it pretty much all day. just curious as to what others do.


TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
Silver Spring, MD
The ideal pump run time varies quite a bit from pool to pool depending on the relative sizes of the pump and pool. I run mine 8 hours a day in the summer.


LifeTime Supporter
May 27, 2008
Jamestown, ND
I run mine 8-10 hours a day. I usualy split up the run time if possible. 6-noon and then 5 to 10 or 11. It still runs while I am at work in the am, but my daughter is home in the summer time to keep an eye on it. This is the second season I have had the pool and havent had a problem yet. :-D


LifeTime Supporter
Jul 15, 2007
Summerton, SC
I'm definitely a newbie at this but I have a timer on mine and it runs from 6:30 AM till 11:00 PM every day. I run my pump during the hottest part of the day with the temperatures we have been seeing in SC. So far the water is crystal clear so I may be able to back off a little more.
I run mine 3 hours a day year-round. I'm a cheapskate and don't want to buy more electricity than necessary.

The pool is in a pool cage so little debris gets in the pool. Chlorine maintained with SWG. Water is always crystal clear and tests within all the proper ranges.



Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Dec 22, 2007
Central New York
I run my pump 24/7. Right now it is pumping 25 GPM at 282 watts. With these cold nights(mid 40's) and cool days, no one has been in the pool. School is still going on.

The snakes are happy I leave the pump on. These morning there was atleast 4 wrapped around the pump. Don't know where the other 2 came from. They don't seem to be bothered by me in the pump house.


LifeTime Supporter
May 30, 2008
NE North Carolina
I am currently running on a 12 on 12 off cycle. Once I get the new trip arms for my time switch, I will drop to two four hour "on" cycles per day.

Oh yeah...I don't know how you do it. ANYTHING but snakes!
Jun 27, 2007
Snakes? Ack!! I am not scared of them but that doesn't mean I'd enjoy finding them wrapped around my pump. I am in Central New York also. I hope your snakes aren't too close by. :wink:

I had a mustard algae problem last year, so I ended up running the pump 24/7 for most of the summer. This year, so far, the water has been beautifully clear. I'm experimenting with the pump-run time. I've been running it overnight and turning it off in the daytime, but maybe I'll try just running it in the evenings and see how that works out. Our electricity is NOT cheap.


LifeTime Supporter
Aug 26, 2007
I run mine 10 hours on low speed of a 2 speed pump but I do run the pump on hi speed for about a half hour of that 10 hours each morning when I add the bleach. Water is clear as can be and I often wonder if I could run it even less(but I'm not using much electricity on low speed anyway)


LifeTime Supporter
May 27, 2008
Jamestown, ND
Does anybody swim in the pool without running the pump? Does that really matter?

I usually like to run the pump while we are in it anyway so our pump run time is a bit more when we are swimming in it and thats mostly on the weekends while during the week its after work and we run it during that time anyway.

I would like to know what others are doing?


LifeTime Supporter
Aug 2, 2007
Austin, TX
11 hours seem good for me at this time. I have been slowly reducing the times. electricity here is not cheap, so I am always looking to cut pump time.

4am - 7am (3hrs): I use my solar to cool my pool during this time.
Noon - 8pm (8hrs)


LifeTime Supporter
Jun 15, 2008
My pool owner's manual contains a copy of the National Swimming Pool Institute's Suggested Minimum Standards for Residential Pools Compliance by January 1, 1974.

Section 9.1 states, "A recirculation system ... shall be provided for complete and continuous circulation of water through all parts of the pool designed to provide a minimum of two (2) turnovers in twenty-four (24) hours."

Note that that doesn't really say you should run the system continuously, nor that you should try for two turnovers per day, just that the system should be sized that way. Codes for commercial pools say they should be run continuously.

It's not easy to find authoritative web references for residential pools, but a few stated running the pump for one turnover per day.

This one contained the interesting statement, "It has been proved that at least 7 complete turnover periods are needed before 99% of the pool water has actually passed through the filters."

I'd also note that at the point in time that the pump is turned off, the water is still circulating for some time so some mixing would still be occurring. Also, even when the water becomes still there is diffusion mixing occurring.

In the end I guess it just comes down to "guess and test", with the ecological and financial goal of finding the minimum time required. Perhaps start with one turnover per day and reduce or increase as needed. But what will indicate the "as needed"?


TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
Silver Spring, MD
The normal design rules for residential pools are to size the pump and filter to have between two and three turnovers per day when running 24/7 but to actually run the pump for one turnover per day. In practice it is difficult for a pool owner to know what the actual flow rate is, unless they have a flow meter (which is rare), so the one turnover per day rule is impractical for most people.

In any case what really matters is the cleanliness of the water. If you pay close attention to the appearance of the water you can actually see the difference between really good filtering and OK filtering. Really good filtering should leave the water sparkling and transparent. In comparison merely OK filtering gives a slightly dull appearance to the water. Based on this you can figure out a good pump run time for you pool.

Start, when there is no algae and no problems with the chemistry, by running the pump 24/7 for a week and then carefully note the appearance of the water. Then reduce the pump run time to 12 hours a day for a week and note the appearance of the water. If the water appears identical, try a shorter pump run time. If the water has taken on a slightly dull appearance, try a longer run time. Repeat this cycle until you have narrowed in on a good pump run time. After a couple of weeks you can get a fairly good idea of what an appropriate run time is for your pool. Keep in mind that higher water temperatures will require more pump run time and lower water temperatures will require less pump run time.


LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
SE Louisiana
Jason and sks23cu have given the best answers: It's a matter of filtering the water enough to get the results you want (or to get the heating you want). I run my filter pump from 3 hours a day in the off-season up to about 6 hours a day in the summer. I also run it whenever someone is using the pool and I run it more following heavy use.

I've also read and heard that you'll generally get better results from splitting your run time into two or more chunks each day. This seems intuitive for those chlorinating with SWGs or inline chlorinators. Outside the flatter chlorination curve, I think the idea is that organics that get into the water won't be there so long eating up chlorine.

There's no advantage to 24/7 operation unless your water needs that much filtering to stay as clear as you want it. The argument about wear-and-tear-from-twice-or-thrice-daily-startups is bunk.