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Swimming Pool Pumps – The Basics

Swimming pool pumps are electric powered motorized products designed to circulate the water in your pool. They work in tandem with attached filter systems—or when applicable, automatic pool cleaners—to clean swimming pools by circulating water through a cleaning and filtration system which removes dirt and other contaminants. Pool pumps also operate to keep the chemicals your pool requires properly mixed.
Pool pumps are typically classified in two ways: whether they are for above ground or in ground swimming pools, and by amount of horsepower (e.g. ½ hp, 1 hp, 1 ½ hp, et cetera).
Proper maintenance technique suggests a pool filter must run approximately 8 hours per day, which means your pool’s pump must run for this long. This will ensure the water’s clarity and cleanliness. If you are looking to increase your energy savings by reducing the number of hours per day you run the pump, cut back to 6 or so hours and evaluate the result. If the pool water is not adequately clean and clear – i.e. your filtration system isn’t given enough time to operate – then increase pump operation time in 30 minute or 1 hour increments, each time doing a post-test evaluation of the pool water.
You should make sure your current swimming pool pump, or any that you are considering to buy, have the capacity to circulate every drop of water in the pool every 8 hours. If your existing pool pump cannot complete this, then your pool is at risk of developing contaminated water because it ends up lacking adequate filtration. The details of the available filtration systems can be found elsewhere in the PcPools Online Library, but here is a brief summary:
  • Sand Filtration: utilizes a fine bed of sand to trap contaminants and debris as the pool water circulates through the filter. This is the most popular type of pool filtration system.
  • Cartridge Filtration: utilizes a replaceable and washable filter made of polyester to catch debris and other contaminants.
  • Diatomaceous Earth Filtration: utilizes filter grids coated with D.E. powder to trap debris and contaminants.
Important tip: do not buy a bigger pump (i.e. one with greater horsepower) than is necessary to circulate the volume of water in your swimming pool. You will merely increase your energy bills by running a larger motor, and run the risk of pushing sand from your filter into the pool water. Additionally, you will pay more for the larger pool pump during the initial sale.
In order to choose the correct sized pump for your swimming pool, consult a PcPools customer service representative at 1.877.PcPools.