Calculate Your Pools Turnover Rate
The first step in figuring out how long to run a pool pump for your pool is to determine your pools volume. In other words, how much water your pool holds in gallons. You may already know because its listed on your paperwork, but if you dont, you will determine it by the shape of your pool.
Here are the formulas to calculate your pools volume:
For a rectangular pool: Length X Width X Average Depth X 7.5 = Total Pool Gallons
For a round pool: Diameter X Diameter X Average Depth X 5.9 = Total Pool Gallons
For an oval pool: Length X Width X Average Depth X 6.7 = Total Pool Gallons
After you know how many gallons of water your pool holds, its time to calculate the turnover rate, which is the number of hours it takes for all the water in the pool to go through the filter.
To calculate the rate, use this formula:
8 = Gallons per hour that needs to be pumped.
Your pool pump may go by gallons per minute instead of GPH. To arrive at this figure, use this formula:
GPH ÷ 60 = GPM
Now that you understand your turnover rate, its important to ensure that your pool pumps rate matches the speed. If it pumps a little faster, thats okay, but you should never use a pump that pumps below the appropriate speed for your pool.
Where To Find Pool Pump Flow Rate
Were going to ignore horsepower and choose a pump using the pumps performance graph. After all, what the pool needs is not increased horsepower, but an increased flow rate.
Each manufacturer will publish a graph like this one below. The colored lines represent a model of pump and their respective performance. That is their flow in gallons per minute with different amounts of total dynamic head.
Heres how to read a pool pumps performance graph.
To work out the correct size pump, you need the idea flow rate, we worked this out earlier, and the total dynamic head . Remember for average inground pools use a TDH of 50-60 and for above-ground pools, use a TDH of 20-30.
Lets assume your TDH is 50, simply look at the axis that has TDH, find 50 and slide horizontally across the graph until you hit one of the pump lines .
Now, follow this vertically down and look at the flow on the horizontal axis. If the flow is about what you need, then the pump is suitable. Its ok for it to be a little larger or smaller but not too much. Find the pump closest to what you need.
In this example, if we needed a flow rate of 65GPM, using a TDH of 50, slide across the graph horizontally and check both of the colored lines. The green line pump only has a flow rate of about 46GPM so its too small. The purple/blue line has a flow rate of approx 70GPM perfect.
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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Sizing Your Above Ground Pool Pump
Sizing your above ground pool pump is crucial to the overall performance of your swimming pool. An undersized pump lacks the power needed to circulate your water properly to prevent algal blooms. Adversely, a pump that is too large will completely bypass your filter altogether. This, too, creates a dirty pool. In a way, its similar to the likes of Goldilocks and The Three Bears. You dont want a pump that is too big or too small, you want one that is JUST right.
How can you determine which size pump is right? Lets explore.
Time To Purchase An Above Ground Pool
Now that you know the answer to What size above ground pool pump do I need?, are you ready to buy a new above ground pool? If so, check out our selection for the best above ground pools on the market. Once the ground has been leveled and your above ground pool is installed and filled with water, be sure to check out our picks for accessories. Must-buy add-ons include the best above ground pool lights and solar-powered pool heaters to heat your above ground pool. Or if winter swimming doesnt appeal, learn how to winterize your above ground poolso its ready to go next spring!
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Is It Better To Run My Pool Pump At Night Or During The Day
The time of day you should run your pool pump is during daylight hours. Its when the sun is hitting your pool which is one of the requirements for algae to survive in your pool.
Some may argue that electricity costs more during the day, and thats a good reason why you should pick the right time during the day to run your pool filter.
If you use your pool in the early morning and late afternoon, you may opt to run your pool pump during those times.
Having the best pool pump for your above ground pool can also save you a lot of money on energy costs.
Fountain Pump Calculator & Guidance:
The size of your pump directly affects the appearance of water features like fountains and waterfalls. For simplicity, well stick to setups where the water feature is the only thing connected to the pump. If you want to include other components, like extra filters, youll need to account for them as well.
For a fountain, the pumps strength determines how high and forcefully the water climbs. To figure out the flow rate youll need, measure the diameter of your fountains outlet. For every inch, add 100 GPH to your flow rate.
Next, find your fountains head height by measuring the vertical distance from the outlet to the height at which the pump sits. Remember that if your pumps max head height equals this distance, the water leaving the fountain will be only a dribble . A pump with a max head height thats about 1.5 times greater than this distance can supply a healthy stream of water to the top of the fountain. For example, if your fountains head height is 22 inches and its outlet diameter is 3 inches, youll want a pump that provides least 300 GPH and has a max head height of about 33 to 35 inches .
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How To Choose The Right Size Of Filter For Your Pool
Choosing the right size pool filter for your pool is not always a simple task, but it is crucial to ensuring that your pool stays safe, clean, and open. The first step when picking the right sized pool filter is picking the right size pool pump.
Choose the Right Size Pump
Many people err on the side of caution and purchase a pump that is far bigger than what they need. This can be a costly mistake. Larger pumps are more expensive, and may increase your energy bill compared to an appropriately sized pump. Worse, a pump that is too large can overpower your filter system. A pump that is too small may lack the power needed to effectively pump and filter your pool. This can lead to a buildup of bacteria and algae.
Choose the Right Size of filter
Even if you have the right sized pump, if you choose a filter that is too small, the pump will generate too much pressure, causing the filtering material to break down and rendering the filter ineffective. The pressure build-up caused by small filters causes pressure to build up in your pump, and in some cases this has resulted in explosions, or serious damage to your pump.
The correct sized filter and pump should be able to fully cycle all of your pool water in about eight hours. This simple guide will show you how to find the right sized pump and filter for your pool.
Step 1: How Much Water Does Your Pool Hold?
Step 2: Turn Cubic Feet into Gallons
Step 3: Gallons Per Minute
Step 4: Feet of Head
Step 5: Choose Your Pump
Some Final Words On Swimming Pool Pump Sizing
Pool pump size is by far one of the most critical aspects when it comes to keeping your pool water clear and having an efficient pool circulation system.
I will also tell you that just because your swimming pool was installed by a professional does not mean that you have the right size pool pump for your filtration needs.
This is something that should be quite obvious to you, so you do need to go through the pool pump size calculation steps just to be sure.
If your pool stays crystal clear with a minimum effort, you have good suction when vacuuming, and the skimmers keep debris and insects off of the top of the pool, then chances are you have the proper pump size for your pool.
On the other hand, if the opposite of the above-mentioned traits is true, then take the time to do the calculations necessary to determine if you indeed have a properly sized pool pump.
If after making these calculations the answer is no, you can save a lot of headaches, time, and effort by installing a properly sized pool pump.
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Here is a great tool to calculate the volume or capacity of your pool. Important! Remember to measure from the depth of the water rather than the height of your wall.
More complicated pool shapes will require multiple calculations and adding them together. For more detailed information on the calculations, read more below the calculator. For additional help, contact a swimming pool professional.
Capacity calculations involve calculating surface area and volume of the pool or spa. This article describes in detail how to calculate the size and capacity of the pool you are planning. Calculating a pool’s area in square feet is the first step in determining information including pool gallons, maximum capacity of persons and other important information about your pool.
Calculating Your Swimming Pool Water Pump Needs
Now it’s time for a little arithmetic. Get out your calculator to figure out what you need to properly circulate your pool water and squeeze out the most efficiency. Using the example below, substitute your pool’s volume and do the math:
Remember: Pool Volume × 2 = gallons required daily for a 12-hour turn
- We have a pool that holds 15,000 gallons of water.
- 15,000 gallons × 2 turnovers/day = 30,000 gallons/day
- We need to circulate 30,000 gallons of water every 24 hours – but remember, a pump has specifications of Gallons Per Minute
Now convert that to GPM:
- 30,000 gallons ÷ 24 hours = 1250 gallons/hour
- 1250 gallons/hour ÷ 60 minutes = 20.8 gallons/minute
A 15,000-gallon pool needs about 20 GPM output if we want to run it 24 hours per day.
Most people run their pool on an 8-hour on/16-hour off cycle. That means for the majority of the day, the pool water is just sitting there, not circulating. It is during this stagnant period that bad things happen:
- Algae outbreaks
- Debris build-up
- pH swings
Not only will running your pool around the clock cost less, but it will also be much easier to maintain. The reason is that you will no longer let the pool sit idle, where it drifts out of that “perfect pool water” condition. This makes you think back to that 2 HP upgraded pump you received when building your pool. Perhaps it wasn’t such a good deal, after all!
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Size Really Does Matter
As with all pool heaters, if you go big, youre golden.
A smaller pool heater pump size wont necessarily be detrimental, but youll have to run it longer and may have problems keeping the pool warm.
Using the chart or calculation method above, you can figure out the minimum heat pump size your pool requires, and if you want, you can go bigger for faster heat times.
Why Is Pool Heat Pump Sizing Important
A heat pump works by drawing in warm air from the outside environment and injecting it into the pool water.
Measuring output in BTUs, it runs on electricity and therefore takes a longer time to heat your pool when compared to a gas heater.
Note: The British Thermal Unit is a unit of measurement that measures thermal energy. Electric heat pumps have BTU ratings in the range of 50,000 to 150,000. Calculating the amount of BTUs required will help you determine the size of the heater for your pool.Smaller inground pools and above ground pools can get away with using a 50,000 BTU heat pump, but if you have a large pool youll need something bigger. A small pump on a large pool means it will be very slow to heat and might not even reach the desired temperature youre aiming for.
Generally speaking, you should oversize the heat pump as much as possible. Youll never regret going too big, as doing so means warming the pool at a faster rate without running the heater as much.
With that being said, there are still some things you should consider when sourcing a heater for your pool, so lets talk about those.
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Sizes Of Residential Pool Filters
Filters are commonly sized by the square footage of surface area. It makes sense: The more square feet of filter media you have, the better the filter performance will be. But it gets tricky when you try to compare the three different types of pool filters to each other.
Thats because they all trap dirt and debris in different ways theyre like apples and oranges!
Dont let this confuse you, though. Within each filter type, there are typically four or five sizes.
Of these sizes, the smallest are suitable for aboveground pools, the mid-range ones can be used for small pools around 15,000 gallons, and the big filters work best for pools above 25,000 gallons.
To add to the confusion are the manufacturers listed turnover rates for their pool filters. These are usually listed on product information pages, and they show the maximum flow rates for the filters.
This snippet below, from our Hayward Star-Clear filter page, seems to suggest that a 25-square-foot filter can take care of a 12,000-gallon pool, and I can tell you that is not the case. Not even close.
For sand filters on in-ground pools, I like to use a 30-inch tank diameter, which has a 4.9 sq. ft. filter surface area and holds 600 pounds of sand. For small pools , I might advise the next size down if the budget is tight. But never go smaller than this for an in-ground pool.
How Much Entertaining Do You Like To Do
Pool parties are awesome. Especially if you really kit out your backyard with the works: barbeque grill, cabanas, and maybe even a slide. Your acreage and budget will dictate the limitations of your imagination here.
A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that even if you do like to have big blowout parties, usually no more than 50% of your guests will ever be in the pool at a given time. Even if you have tons of parties, you dont need to build a monster pool to accommodate your buddies. Even being near a pool lends a relaxing ambiance that really classes up any outdoor gathering all by itself.
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How To Select The Correct Filter Size For Your Swimming Pool
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Choosing the correct filter for your pool is not always easy. However, before purchasing your filter, it is best to know every detail about your pool so you can buy the best filter possible. Then, you can go out and get a filter so youll have perfectly clean pool water to jump into.
How Much Water Does Your Pool Hold
The first step in determining the proper size pump for your pool is to calculate how much water it holds. The reason for this is that your pool pump should be able to turn over the water in about 8 hours. In other words, all the water in your pool should run through your pump in that time span. And that should happen once a day.
To determine how much water your pool holds, start by looking at the paperwork that came with your pool. If you cant find the number of gallons it holds, dont worry. With a little simple math, you can figure it out on your own.
Just follow these formulas, depending on your pools shape, or use our pool volume calculator:
For a rectangular pool: Length X Width X Average Depth X 7.48 = Total Pool Gallons
For a round pool: 3.14 x radius squared x average depth x 7.48
For an oval pool: 3.14 x ½ Length X ½ Width X Average Depth X 7.48 = Total Pool Gallons
To determine the average depth in your pool, which you will need for the above formulas, add the shallowest part of your pool and the deepest part of your pool and then divide the number by two.
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