How frequently/long for should I run my pool pump? it's a standard single speed 1.5 hp electric motor pump.

I've heard different answers from various people and I am left wondering what is correct. Factors seem to include: lifespan of pump; cleanliness of water; power consumption.

Some have said running the pump on a timer is bad because it will prematurely wear it out (from all the extra startups). Others have said it is good due to power savings (especially running it at night when electricity costs less)

It also makes sense that the water will not remain as clean running on a schedule since it's not cycled through the skimmer/chlorine as often. But is this a true factor?

So what is the optimal method to run the pump? 24x7? Nightly? 12 hours a day? Please cite anecdotes or any research/articles you've seen. Thanks!

  • Bear in mind that depending on the condition of your pump and piping, the pump may need to be primed after a few start/stop cycles. So running it on a timer may cause problems. Apr 12, 2013 at 21:39
  • 1
    Although this has an accepted answer there is NO 1 solution for all pools. The local conditions, how many kids / adults using the pool? How could local conditions affect a pool, close to a dirt road, large grass or other Agricultural can cause a heavy load on top of normal ussage. A timer is the best way to keep a pool clean and I use large 3" dry chlorine tablets in the skimmer. If the level drops I add a second tablet, two high pull the tablet out, the tougher part is keeping the PH balanced as a grandfather of 11 I can tell you little people do make it hard to keep the ph balanced.
    – Ed Beal
    May 9, 2018 at 18:42

3 Answers 3


In general the point is to filter your water. If you want to be sure about it, check the volume of your pool, and the flow rate of your pump. Run it long enough to go through that much volume 1-2 times a day. In practice, that's probably around 6-8 hours.

Make sure your chemistry is good, and then try it. If it looks nice for a few weeks, try lowering your operating time and see what happens.

As a side note, 1.5 HP is 1120W. That's probably peak power not normal consumption, but you should still assume it consumes somewhere around $0.10/hr or so.

  • 2
    troublefreepool.com/pool-school is a good source for information about maintaining your pool. Every anecdote I've read about pool filtration (including the site above) states to run the pump long enough to filter a volume of water equal to your pool capacity at least once like zebediah49 stated above.
    – kkeilman
    Jun 20, 2012 at 18:14

We had a few pools in our life and without a timer we would have gone crazy trying to keep up with when and how long it ran.

It is true that starting stopping a pump wears it more than when it is not running.. but the purpose of a pump is to start, pump and stop (drop, rock and roll.. lol)

You need not worry about that ware in long term. We stayed at one place over 10 years and never had issues with the pump, it ran, like recommended 6-8 hours -- and sometimes when we had parties it run 24 hours on override (ooops)

More importantly in keeping a cleaning pool is looking after ph, ensuring you have alkalinity buffer when using acids and chlorine.


Most pool filtration systems are sized to circulate and filter the water twice in a 8 hours. We recommend that you run your pool pump 6-8 hours in the winter and 10-12 hours in the summer. AllPool Service and supplies


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