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What Size Pool Filter Pump Do I Need

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Pressure Head & Max Head

How To: Size A Pool Pump

Pressure head is the resistance from devices that use pressure to operate. You may need to include pressure head if your pump is going to power a pressurized filter, UV clarifier, or spray nozzle.

After adding up all your sources of head, youll need to find a pump that supplies the right flow rate at that height. If you need 3,000 GPH at 10 feet of head, a pump that can give only you that flow rate at 5 feet wont be strong enough. Manufacturers usually list the flow rates their pumps provide at several head heights. One of these will be the max head height, which is the furthest distance a pump can lift water. At the max head height, the flow rate is basically zero. You can use pumps max head heights to compare how strong they are.

These general guidelines are useful for understanding what flow rate and head height can tell you about a pump. The next step is applying them to your particular setup. Below, weve laid out some specific details about sizing pumps for water features, and for filtration and circulation.

Add In Total Dynamic Head

So far weve covered the ideal flow rate your pool needs and the limits of the pipes and filter. There are several other factors we need to take into account that can impede the flow of water.

Factors such as:

  • distance of the pump from the pool
  • the number of corners or bends in the pipes
  • height difference i.e. a pump may be installed higher or lower than the level of the pool
  • the size of pipes
  • other equipment installed such as heaters and water features

All of these factors create friction losses, which means the pump will use more energy to make the water flow. In fluid dynamics, this is whats known as Total Dynamic Head.

Its not easy for the DIYer to calculate the impact of these things without a working knowledge of fluid engineering.

What should you do then?

Heres a table showing an average of the total dynamic head for residential pools.

Above-Ground Pool

If your pool is a fairly standard pool and your pump is not 50 feet away or located well below or above the water level of your pool, use these measurements. Otherwise, you may need a larger pump and a professional to help you choose the right size pump.

What Size Swimming Pool Pump Do I Need

When trying to find the right size pump for your swimming pool, there is generally one specification that you should be aware of – flow rate.

Flow rate

Flow rate is the volume of liquid that passes through the pump per minute.

For swimming pool pumps, flow rate will range from 30L/PM to over 5000L/PM.

To find the correct pump size for your swimming pool, you need to find the flow rate that corresponds with the volume of water in your swimming pool.

To do this, follow the simple steps below.

Step 1: Multiply your pools volume in litres by two

This will give you the litres per day that the pump needs to circulate so that the water will turn over twice.

Step 2: Divide your new swimming pool volume by 1440

This will give you the number of litres per minute that the pump needs to circulate so that the water will turn over twice.

Step 3: Match the L/PM with the correct swimming pool pump

When purchasing a swimming pool pump, your pump will have a Maximum Flow Rate in the specifications tab. Make sure to match your L/PM with the correct swimming pool pump.

If you found the above confusing, then take a look at the calculations for a pump below.


Step 1: Multiply your pools volume in litres by two

My pool is 25 metres in length, 10 metres in width and 1.5 metres in depth.

I then times my new swimming pool volume by two – 375,000 x 2

This equals 750,000 litres.

Step 2: Divide your new swimming pool volume by 1440

There are 1440 minutes in one day.

750,000 ÷ 1440

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Determine Above Ground Pool Filter Size

The size of your system is mostly determined by the size of your above ground pool. The gallons found inside your pool will give you the horsepower needed for your pump. A simple rule to follow is you should be able to clear all of the gallons of your pool in an 8 hour period of time. You can use the following as a guideline.

Pool Size
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Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump For Above Ground Pools

How to Find and Buy The Best Pool Filter
  • Pump flow Rate: 12100 GPH. System flow Rate: 1, 600 GPH
  • 6 function control – enables pool owner to filter, backwash, rinse, recirculate, drain & close system
  • 24 hour automatic timer Maximum pool size : 12,800 gal
  • Strainer basket – easy cleaning, prolongs life of sand

Last but not least, we recommend this Rx Clear Radiant Sand Filter System pump and filtration system. It uses a one-piece tank, universal base, and top-mount six-position multi-port valve. This system is appropriate for pools up to 16,000 gallons and comes with a three-year limited warranty. This filter is designed to handle the filtration needs of many of todays pools. It provides an efficient, easy to use, simple to install and operate system that will keep pool water clean and sparkling. The core of these systems is the one-piece blow-molded tank that sits atop a universal base that accepts most pumps. Includes a top mount, 6-position multi-port valve and has a high capacity sand bed to catch more debris and extends filter cycles.

Easy to use operating system.
Best above ground pool pumps and filters

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What Size Pump Should I Get For My Pool

If you’re looking to build a new pool or simply looking to replace a pool pump you may find yourself asking, “Is a larger horsepower pool pump always better?”

PRO TIP: No matter which type of pump you choose, youll want to make sure you properly select the correct pump and filter combination. The pump needs to be sized appropriately compared to the filters flow rate. Choosing a pump with a higher flow rate than the filter will put strain on both the pump and filter, reducing life and efficiency of each. This means that you would not want to choose a pump designed to be used with 2″ plumbing piece, and then use a filter designed to be used with 1 1/2″ plumbing piece. Proper pairing of these two units is essential for a pleasant pool experience.

For example:

If choosing a pump with a 1-1/2 inlet/outlet, you should choose a filter with a 1-1/2 inlet/outlet as well. However, a pump with a 1-1/2 inlet/outlet can work with a filter with a 2 inlet/outlet if needed to.

X You would not want to attempt to use a pump with 2 inlet/outlet with a filter that has a 1-1/2 inlet/outlet as they would not be sized correctly or efficient when used together.

You can also learn more about Single Speed and Variable Speed Pumps Here!

Choose An Ideal Flow Rating For Your New Pump

After you have calculated the MINIMUM FLOW RATING required to meet the turnover requirements of the pool, and after you have calculated the MAXIMUM FLOW RATING based on the limitations of the filter and piping, you are ready to select the proper size pump.

Draw a simple chart like the one below. Mark the MINIMUM FLOW RATING and the MAXIMUM FLOW RATING. The space between the minimum and maximum flow rate is the ideal range.

If you have a pool with no attached spa, you can choose a pump on the lower side of the ideal range. It will be sufficient to properly filter the pool without wasting energy in the process. In that case, we would look for a pump in the 50 – 60 GPM range.

If you have a pool/spa combination, you need to consider the flow requirements of the spa jets. This will often push you towards a pump on the higher end of the acceptable scale. In that case, we would look for a pump in the 75 GPM range.

If you have a pool/spa combination, you might want to consider a 2 speed pump. It can run on low speed while it filters the pool, and then switch to high speed when using the spa.

Recommended Reading: Does The Fire Department Fill Pools

What Size Pond Pump Do I Need For My Pond Waterfall Or Fountain

The right pump can be a crucial part of a garden ponds ecosystem. By circulating the water in your pond, a pump helps keep fish healthy by maintaining safe levels of dissolved oxygen. Keeping the water moving also helps to promote aeration and nutrients throughout the pond and discourages the growth of pests like mosquitos and algae. Equipment like filters, waterfalls, and fountains each need specifically sized pumps to function well.

Most pumps are either submersible, meaning they sit on the bottom of the pond, or external, meaning theyre positioned above the water line. Pumps come in a variety of sizes and strengths, and the type you choose should depend on what you need it for. You wouldnt use the same engine to power a diesel truck and a compact car. In the same way, youd need a different pump to circulate water in a large, heavily stocked pond than you would to supply a small waterfall.

To size a pump, you need to consider two important numbers: flow rate and head. Together, they tell you how much water a pump can move and how much resistance it can overcome. In this guide, we attempt to break down the complex calculations associated with flow and make it easier to correctly size pumps for all sorts of water features and fish ponds.

Bringing It All Together

How do I choose the right size pump and filter for my above ground pool?

The best pool pump for you then, is that particular pump that can deliver the flow rate to match your pool filters design flow rate while overcoming the resistance in your system.

That may be the exact same pump that you are replacing. Unless you had real performance problems with your pool pump, the best pump for you may be the same make, model and horsepower pump.

Bigger is not Better! If two pump curves come close, choose the smaller pump. When it comes to pool pumps people tend to think bigger is always better. Indeed, this is not true with pool pumps. A larger pump will cost more money to operate and if too large it will start to cavitate, making lots of noise, and overworks the motor. Pool pumps that are too large also compromise filtration and can even damage a filter that is too small.

The same pool pump will also match up to the plumbing pipes, but a different pump will have a slightly different height and depth where the pipes connect.

Another option with less math involved, is to buy a variable speed pool pump. You can set multiple speeds to match your existing equipment, and at the same time cut your electrical usage in half. Prices on VS Pool Pumps have come down to the $750 range.

our Techs for help in selecting your next pool pump, or send an in with all the pertinent information about your pool and pool equipment and our guys will give you some options for the best pool pumpfor you and your pool.

Read Also: What Time Does The Mandalay Bay Pool Close

Above Ground Pool Pumps

What about above ground pool pumps? Pool pumps for ground pools are just as important. Luckily though, they are much easier to calculate because for the most part, above ground pools are pretty standard in size.

All you need to know is the length across the pool and how many gallons of water the pool holds. You can use the volume calculation for circular pools above to figure it out which is not a bad idea because you will also need to know the flow rate.

Finding out the right size pool pump is pretty straight forward. You can actually use this cheat sheet below.

1-horsepower pump: Up to 24 feet across and 15,300 gallons or less

1.5-horsepower pump: Over 24 feet and 15,301 gallons or more

Yes, it is that simple. Just like the inground counterparts though, it is essential to the pools cleanliness and clarity that you have the right size pump. This is why you need the flow rate. When choosing a pump, just make sure it can handle the flow of water per minute.

Other than that, check to make sure you have the correct size filters, and you will be swimming in no time.

Calculate The Total Dynamic Head

Now that we have the flow rate , we need to calculate the TDH in metres to determine the performance of the pump needed to turn over the water. TDH refers to the total equivalent height that fluid will be pumped by taking into consideration any friction losses in the pipe. Essentially dynamic head is the measurement of resistance working against your pool pump as it pulls water from your basin and pushes it back to the pool. Most inground pools will be somewhere around 15 metres TDH. Above ground pools typically fall around 9 metres TDH.

For example:

Head Loss – Pipe = 3.80 + Head Loss – Valves & Fittings = 6.20 = 10 Total Dynamic Head

Now that you know the Total Dynamic Head and the flow rate , you can use this information to find the size of pump you will need to efficiently turn over your pool.

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Calculate Feet Of Head

If you are curious about what size pump do I need for my above ground pool, you can stop with the computation above. However, if you want to be more technical, then theres another thing that requires your attention feet of head.

The total resistance to flow is the feet of head. This refers to the average length that it takes the skimmer to reach the above ground pool pump. This is the number if you have a single skimmer. If you have multiple pool skimmers, on the other hand, you need to find the average. However, as you can see above, we were able to calculate the pump size without dealing with feet for head, so we wont talk about its formula to keep things simple.

Determine The Gallons Of Water Per Minute

Top 10 Best Sand Filter Pump for Above Ground Pool Filter ...

The next step in the process is to determine how many Gallons Per Minute the pump needs to pump to turn over the water in your pool at least once a day. To find this number, you need to first figure the Gallons Per Hour . To do that, follow this formula:

Pool Volume in Gallons ÷ 8 = GPH

Since most pool pumps come with a Gallons Per Minute rating, you now have to convert the GPH to GPM. Heres the formula you need to do that:

GPH ÷ 60 = GPM

Also Check: Filling Intex Pool

How To Measure The Minimum Flow Rate

You might already know a thing or two about turnover time, which is essential information to determine how long to run your pool pump every day.

In case youre new here, just know that the sweet spot should typically be around eight to ten hours. If you have a heavily-used pool, youll want to reduce that turnover ratebut thats a rare exception.

To determine your minimum flow rate, all you need to understand is your pool sizethat is, the number of gallons in your pooland your desired turnover rate in hours.

Not sure how many gallons of water your pool contains? Its simple geometry anyone can do. You just have to multiply the length, width, and depth of your pool in feet, and then multiply that figure by 7.5 to convert the number to gallons. Prefer formulas? Follow the one below:

x x x 7.5 =

Now that you have your pool size and the turnover rate, find your values in the chart below to determine your minimum flow rate. Relaxno algebra needed for this step.

If you think better in graphs, you can also follow the one below.

Our above-ground recommendation? This Copper Force Above Ground Pool Pump runs at the coolest operation on the market, meaning its built to lastand has a lifetime warranty available, so you dont have to take our word for it.

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.

Also Check: How Much Chlorine For My Pool

What Size Pool Pump Do I Need

  • Pete Ortiz

A new pool is a great thing to have and an exciting time for homeowners. There is nothing better in the hot and humid weather than being able to walk right out your backdoor and dive right into a pool. A common concern of homeowners, however, is the pool pump.

Many people do not know what size pool pump they actually need, and they generally end up going for one that is too big. While a pump that is too large and powerful will filter the water at a faster rate, the spike to your energy costs can be great.

To help residents find a cost-effective pool pump to filter their water, we have compiled the information below to help. We will share how to calculate your turnover rate, capacity, and flow rate. We will also tackle topics like feet of head, the amount of pipe you need, and even go over pool pumps for above ground pools.

Read on below so you can choose the perfect pool pump fit for your pool.

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