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What Size Of Pump For My Pool

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What Size Pump Do I Need For My Pool

How To: Size A Pool Pump

A common question we get from our customers is What size pump do I need for my pool? As a general rule, you should choose a pool pump that filters all water in your pool in an eight hour period. Its important that you dont buy a pump bigger than your pool needs because it leads to higher operating costs and overpowering your filter system.

The standard hours a pool pump should take for total water circulation varies. The following turnover times for residential pools are accepted in the pool industry:

Indoor pools 4 hours

How To Pick A Pool Pump

For a first time pool owner, shopping for a pool pump can be a very daunting task. With terms to memorize and items to consider, its no wonder that many of us end up at the mercy of the local pool maintenance guy or pool shop. In order to level the playing field as you work to find out just what you need and what you dont, weve put together some helpful information on how to find the best pool pump for your needs.

What Is A Pool Pump?

Before you begin the process of choosing a pool pump, it is helpful to understand what a pool pump is, and what its function is in the pool. Often called the heart of the swimming pool, a pool pump circulates water through your pool, just like your heart pumps blood through your body. Without proper circulation, pool water cannot be properly cleaned and filtered, resulting in dirty, stagnant pool water that is unsafe for swimming.

A pool pump works by using an electric motor to spin an impeller, or turbine, inside an airtight housing. This creates suction, pulling water from the pool, forcing it through the pools filtration system, and pushing it back out into the swimming pool. The pipe leading into the pump is called the influent line, while the hose or pipe leading out of the pump and back into the pool is called the effluent line.

Self-Priming vs. Non Self-Priming Pumps

What Size Pool Pump Do I Need?

Buying A Swimming Pool Pump: The Complete Guide

This is the complete guide to buying a swimming pool pump. It covers:

  • What is a swimming pool pump?
  • Do I need a swimming pool pump?
  • What are the key components of a swimming pool pump?
  • How does a swimming pool pump work?
  • What size swimming pool pump do I need?

So, if youre looking to ensure your swimming pool is filtered, circulated and clean, then this is the guide for you.

Lets get started.

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Why You Need A Proper Pool Pump Size For Your Above Ground Pool

When it comes to finding the best pool pump size for above ground pools, most people tend to simply go for the highest rated GPH pumps. However, this shouldnt be the case if you want to enjoy all the benefits of having a suitable pool pump size.

Notice that finding the right pool pump size will be critical when you are looking for peak performance. Notice that the pump is considered ineffective when the power is significantly less than what your pool needs. In such cases, you will move less water which increases the chances of more bacteria growth in your above ground pool. A weak pump will translate to stagnant water which is a breeding place for diseases and can lead to chemical imbalance.

You might be wondering whether there is any harm if you pick a pump that is too big for your above ground pool. Well, in such cases you will end up spending a lot of money on bills when most of the energy is simply wasted. Notice that a big pump will also increase wear and impact your pool filters performance.

Size Your Pool Filter Accordingly

What Size Pump Should I Get for My Pool?

As our pool water makes it through the line to the pump, it is passed to another restricting element known as the pool filter. Every filter has a maximum flow rate as well, and if you go over that flow rate your water will not be filtered properly. We have included a chart so you can size your pool filter properly.

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Min And Max Flow Rate Range

Almost there! Now that we have the minimum and maximum flow rates for your pool setup, put them together to get to your flow rate range: one of the two main specs for determining the pool pump size you need.

So, lets say you have a 15,000 gallon inground pool. With two turnovers per day, your minimum flow rate comes to 20.8 GPM.

Lets also say that you have a 2.3 square foot sand filter and 1.5 plumbing . You have to take the lower of those two values to make sure you dont overwork any components of your pool, so your maximum flow rate comes to 43 GPM.

In this example, our flow rate range comes out to 20.8-43 GPM.

Lets figure out the last main spec you need for your pool pump: total dynamic head.

Look At The Pool Pump Ratings To Find The Right Pump

Once you have decided to buy a new pump, take some time to research your options..

Don’t just assume that you need the same horsepower pump as you now have.

The sample pump chart on the right shows the pump curves for different sized pumps.

Suppose your system has 60 feet of head and you want a pump that will deliver 50 gallons per minute.

We have added a yellow line denoting 60 ft of head, and a blue line denoting 50 GPM. Find where the two lines cross and you will see the pump that will deliver the desired rate of flow.

From this chart, you can see that a 1 horsepower pump will give you 52 GPM flow on a system with 64 feet of head.

We have tried to give you the flow information on each pump so that once you come up with a rate of flow, you can come up with the proper pump, the first time.

Note: Figuring out feet of head is difficult. Typically a in-ground pool will have 50-60 feet of head pressure and an above ground pool will be somewhere around 30 feet of head. These are only approximations.

What about ‘FEET OF HEAD’ ? What does that mean?

The total resistance to flow is measured in “feet of head”. As you can tell from looking at the pump charts, the greater the resistance to flow , the lower the flow rate. The greater the resistance to flow, the more powerful the pump needs to be to overcome it.

The resistance is measured in “feet of head”. The best way is to approximate the resistance is as follows:

Start shopping for your new pool pump.

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What Size Sand Filter Do I Need For My Above Ground Pool

After figuring out the right pump size, the next thing that you should do is to think about the right sand filter size. With the right pool filter, you can be more confident about cleanliness and safety.

A lot of sand filters are undersized because pool owners opt for the cheapest option possible. This should not be the case. When it comes to sand filters, bigger is always better. As long as it is matched with the right pump, you will not have a problem when you choose a sand filter with a large capacity.

It is safe to go for a filter that is at least one size larger than what you think you will need. This will allow it to capture more debris, making it more efficient. This is also a good thing because it means that it will require a longer time before cleaning or replacement of the filter.

Finding the right size of the sand filter is similar to finding the right size of the pump. First, you determine the volume and the capacity of the pool. Once you have the values, divide it by eight or ten depending on the turn-over. Then, you will divide it by 60 to get the gallons per minute, and this number will be your basis as you look for the right sand filter that matches your needs.

The size of the sand filter is referred to its design flow rate, which is often expressed in gallons per minute. Check the Pump Flow Chart, which is included in the technical details that you can see in the manual.

Check Pool Filter Min/max Flow Rates

HowTo: Size a Pool Pump

For pools, the maximum flow rate of the pump has to be equal or less than the maximum flow rate of the filter. It must also be greater than the minimum flow requirements.

If the pumps flow rate is greater than the filter maximum ratings, pool filters do not work well. This is because the pumps flow rate will be greater than the filter media rate. The Filter Media Rate refers to the volume of water that the filter pleats or sand can handle.

The increased flow rate will force debris deep into and sometimes, through the pool filters and back inside the pool.

Eventually, it will result in poor water filtering and cleaning. Youll also have a reduced lifespan of the filter media, whether thats a cartridge, sand, or diatomaceous earth .

If the pumps flow rate is too low, this will lengthen the time it takes to turn over the pools water. And in addition to this, the filter will not perform backwashing properly.

You may have to do some searching for this information. Grab the model number, which is hopefully written on the side of the filter, Google it and search for the filters specifications. They will have min and max flow rates.

Make a note of these numbers.

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Calculate Flow Rate And Turnover

Flow rate is the number of gallons the pump moves per minute, and turnover is the minimum about of time to circulate all water through the filter.

Use this formula to determine your turnover rate:

Pool Volume in Gallons ÷ Turnover Rate in Minutes = Flow Rate

Example: If you have a 25,000-gallon pool, and you want the water to turn over once every eight hours:

25,000 ÷ 480 = 52 GPM

Your 25,000-gallon pool needs an output of 52 gallons per minute to circulate the water once every eight hours.

What Size Pool Pump Do I Need For My Pool

If you are like most people, when you are trying to keep your swimming pools water crystal clear, you focus on adding chemicals and doing regular tasks such as vacuuming and brushing off the walls of your swimming pool.

While these are hugely important pool maintenance steps, they can be made much more difficult and less effective by having a pump on your swimming pool that is not sized correctly.

If you have an undersized pump on your pool, then you will not be circulating the water in your swimming pool as often as you should, you will have less suction when using your pool vacuum, and the surface of your pool will not be cleaned by your skinners as effectively as it could be.

Thats why having a properly sized pool pump is so important and unfortunately, many pool owners dont. Now that you realize this, you may be asking yourself what size pump do I need for my pool.

Its a question that I am about to answer for you.

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Average Pool Pump Flow Rates

And if that is all too much for you, lets compare some average flow rates of different pumps to get an idea of which pump size youll need for your pool. These arent 100% accurate because it depends on total dynamic head, but it will give you an idea.

A table of pool pump sizes in hp and the expected minimum flow rates:

Pool Pump Size Expected Flow Rate

Never Go Through These Hassles Again

Pool Pumps

I take a bottle of pool water to Leslie Pools.

Wait in line.

Then in a few days, take another bottle of water to get tested.

Repeat the process a few more times while going crazy.

Here are the items from my water analysis that generally need fixing:

  • Free Available Chlorine
  • Total Dissolved Solids
  • Phosphates

Maybe youre a beginner dealing with pool chemistry problems for the first time and you want an easy solution? Keep reading for the answer

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What Size Pump Do I Need For My Above Ground Pool

The best pool pump will help keep your water running in the pool while also making sure that it wont be a breeding ground for bacteria. To maximize its benefits, it is crucial to choose a pump with the right size for your pool. When the pump is under or over-powered, the performance is compromised, and you wont be able to yield the full benefits of its use.

If you are clueless about what size pump do I need for my above ground pool, read on and we got you covered. As a bonus, you will also learn about what size sand filter for above ground pool is the best.

How To Calculate The Appropriate Pool Pump Size For Your Swimming Pool

Here is how you go about determining the best pool pump for your swimming pool:

Step 1: Figure Out Your Swimming Pools Water Volume

To come up with a pool volume in gallons for your swimming pool, you have to take into consideration several pool dimensions. These include:

  • The shape of your swimming pool
  • The length and width of your swimming pool
  • The average depth of your pools shallow end
  • The average depth of your pools deep end

You can use this handy pool volume calculator from to avoid stressing out over determining how many gallons of water are in your swimming pool.

For our calculations here, we will say our pool has a 30,000-gallon capacity.

Step 2: Determine the Minimum Flow Rate Necessary to Filter Your Pool Efficiently

This is a fairly easy calculation once you know your swimming pools gallonage. You use the following formula.

Pool gallonage x 2 ÷ daily hourly run time ÷ 60 .

So, for a 30,000-gallon pool that runs continuously , the formula is:

30,000 x 2 ÷ 24 ÷ 60 = 41.6 or rounded up its a 42 GPM minimum flow rate.

Step 3: Establish the Maximum Flow Rate Necessary to Filter Your Pool Efficiently

To establish the max flow rate needed for your swimming pool, I like to go by filter surface area.

Here is a chart containing filter surface area and associated maximum flow rates:

144 GPM

You should be able to find his information on the label of your pool filter or by referring to the website of the manufacturer of your pool pump.

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What Does A Pool Pump Do

An above-ground pool pump has one very important job: move the water in the pool through the filter. Think of it as the heart of your pool. The pump circulates the water, cycling it through the filtration system where dirt and debris are removed. The filter is also where the water is sanitized and the chemical reactions that keep your pool water safe take place. Without a pump, the water wouldnt be able to travel through the filter and stay clean and safe.

Above Ground Pool Pump
Check Pricing

How To Choose The Right Size Pool Pump

What size electric heat pump should you get for your pool?

To remain clean and clear, all the water in your pool must be completely filtered at least once a day. This is called the turnover rate. Your pump must be large enough to turn over your pools full volume at least once per day.

To calculate your pumps turnover rate, youll first need to calculate your pools volume. If youre not sure how to do this, use our pool calculator to figure it out:

Once you have your pools volume, divide it by eight to determine the number of gallons per hour that need to be pumped through the filter.

But instead of GPH, most pool pumps go by gallons per minute. To get that figure, divide the GPH by 60 to calculate how many gallons per minute need to be pumped for full turnover.

So your formulae will be:

Total Pool Volume ÷ 8 = GPH

GPH ÷ 60 = GPM

It wont be as accurate as using a calculator or doing the math, but you can also get an idea of your pools volume here:

Once you have all the numbers, you can find the size of pump that will accommodate the GPM required for your pool and turn over the pools water in one eight-hour period. If you have to choose one that pumps a little more than necessary, that wont cause any problems. Just dont go below the required GPM, and youll be fine.

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How Do I Choose The Right Pump

There is no guarantee that your pool builder sized the pump properly to begin with. In the Dallas area, for instance, the builders are notorious for putting 2 horsepower pumps on everything because the next guy does. Nobody wants to lose a sale because they sized the pump smaller.

Properly sizing the pump involves several steps as described below. If you do this, you will avoid wasting electricity and extra wear on the other equipment.

The Pump Motor Is Making Noise

All pump motors will make some noise. But if your pump is making a racket that sounds different from when its running normally, you could have a problem.

If its just vibration, placing the pump on a rubber pad may do the trick. But if its a low, growling sound, the problem could be cavitation, which means the pump isnt getting enough water, and is taking in air.

First, prime the pool pump.

If priming the pump doesnt stop the noise, check the intake lines for clogs, and make sure none of the lines are leaking. Once those things are fixed, the pump should quiet down.

If the pump is making a screaming noise, its likely the bearings have gone bad. Or its being terrorized by the neighborhoods feral cats. But its probably the bearings. If so, youll need to replace them.

While the parts are inexpensive, this fix will require quite a bit of labor as the motor will have to be shut off, disconnected, and disassembled. So have your tools ready for this one.

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