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5 Easy Steps on How to Choose a Swimming Pool Pump

Here are some common questions that people ask when they’re trying to choose a swimming pool pump: What size of the swimming pool do I have? How many gallons does my pool hold? Is it an in-ground or above-ground pool? This article will answer these and more. We’ll also cover what you should look for in a good quality pump and how to troubleshoot problems if your current unit breaks down on you.
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The swimming pool pump is a crucial component of the filtration system.

Pool pumps do a lot more than just circulate water, they also filter it and keep debris from going back into the pool. That’s why choosing a reliable one for your family to enjoy should be an important decision that you don’t take lightly.

We’ll answer common questions about swimming pool pumps, show you how to choose the right one for your needs, and provide troubleshooting information in case anything goes wrong.

What does a pool pump do?

A pool pump circulates water through a filter and heater

A pool pump is essential to keeping your swimming pool clean, clear, and free of bacteria that will cause it to become an unhealthy environment for everyone using the pool. A pool pump can also be used to circulate water through various other equipment including a waterfall, fountain, or spa.

a pool pump

Pool pump types

There are three main types of swimming pool pumps.

Single-speed pumps

These are the cheapest type. They work as an air conditioner – run all the time and use a lot of energy.

They don’t need to be primed (filled with water before you turn it on) but will wear out quicker than other types. These pumps might not be suitable if your pool is over 15ft deep as they simply won’t pump enough water or pressure for it. Single-speed pumps can often only push 100 gallons per minute at maximum capacity so consider this when sizing up your pool pump size based on volume needed.

The upside of a single-speed pump is that they are cheap and easy to install. For small above-ground pools, these work just fine. They do tend to be noisy though so if you’re in an area with noise restrictions then this might not be the best option for your pool. 

Dual-speed pumps

Dual-speed pumps

Dual-speed pumps are great for when you want to save on electricity. They are good at maintaining the water temperature during colder months, but still, have plenty of power to push through debris. If your pool filter uses minimal energy or is small in size (under 2000 gallons), then this may be an option worth considering. 

This type of pump also has two different speeds – low and high, which means that it can adjust its performance depending on what kind of job needs doing. For example, if you want to run your pool filter and top up the water at the same time, it can do both simultaneously. 

Also, this type of pump is available in single or three-phase power options.

Variable-speed pumps

Variable-speed pumps are considered a trend in pool pump technology, with many manufacturers offering new models every year. Variable speed options can increase energy efficiency and cost savings of your equipment by allowing you to adjust the flow rate according to water demand or ambient conditions. 

Variable-speed pumps are quieter than traditional single-speed models, and they can also provide higher flow rates at lower operating speeds. The initial cost of a variable pump is typically more expensive compared to fixed speed options, but the energy savings, in the long run, will offset these costs.

Pool pump features to look for

Pool pump features to look for

There are 5 steps on how to choose a swimming pool pump:

  • Pump flow rate 

This should be at least 30% over what your filter system requires, which means that if your sand filter has a flow rate requirement of 800 GPH (gallons per hour), then you need to get at least an 1100 GPH rated pressure side pool cleaner. 

It’s important because even though many pumps may claim they have 1200 or 1500 or 1800 gallons per hour capability; we know that most motors will not operate up to their full rated capacity. The pump must be sized properly for your pool, and the motor needs to stay below its maximum operating temperature which is about 140 F (60 C).

  • Energy-efficient motors

This allows you to run longer hours at a lower cost. It also reduces noise levels because of its ability to start quickly which enables them not only to shut off faster but come back on faster as well. This means less wait time before you can turn it on or after you’ve turned off your pool equipment. 

  • All-weather capable motors

The water pump has to run in both hot and cold weather. So look for one that uses liquid cooling or oil-lubricated cast iron construction which tends to be more durable than other types of pumps. 

A liquid-cooled pump will usually last longer than an air-cooled single-phase motor while also being quieter at start-up and shut down. 

Oil-filled motors are self-lubricating but they tend not to be as quiet during operation compared to liquid cool pool pumps however they operate fine in colder climates where other mechanical requires antifreeze solutions.

  • Troubleshooting

A pool pump should shut down automatically if there’s a problem. As well as having thermal protection or overload protection which prevents the motor from overloading and burning out because of the high temperatures that it has to run in.

  • Product warranty 

Look for a pump that has at least a three-year warranty and if possible, ask to see the pool pump house and how it’s built.

choose the right size pool pump

How to choose the right size pool pump

Picking the right size pool pump is important. It ensures that your pool gets enough water flow, pressure, and circulation to keep it clean all summer long. 

If you choose a larger than the necessary model, you will be spending more money on electricity or gas bills as well as energy costs. Additionally, an oversized unit can cause problems such as inadequate cleaning power and potential damage to the surfaces of your swimming pool if not properly adjusted for optimum efficiency. 

On the other hand, choosing too small of a unit might not provide adequate filtration and circulation which could lead to algae growth or poor sanitization, in general, resulting in cloudy water and unsafe conditions for swimmers. 

To determine what size swimming pool pump will best suit your situation:

Calculate the flow rate required by your pool. To do this, multiply the length of the pool in feet by the width, and then divide that number by 231 (US gallons per minute).

📌 Example: Determining Pool Pump Size for a 20 x 40-foot inground swimming pool:20 x 40 = 80080 ÷ 231 = 357 GPM (gallons per minute) 

Most standard full-size residential pools require at least 350 to 500 GPM’s minimum. But if it is larger or there are multiple waterfalls or fountains around the perimeter you might want something with higher performance capabilities such as an 18000-gallon pump which would be a great choice for most residential pools measuring to 30×60 in size. 

Pool pump troubleshooting

Pool pump troubleshooting
  1. If your pump motor doesn’t come on, check the circuit breaker and switch it back on.

There may be a problem with your pool equipment wiring if they don’t work as well.

  1. If your pool pump doesn’t seem to be pumping water, check the basket (filter) for obstructions.
  2. If your pool pump continues to hum, but not run the problem is likely with one of the following: it may be due to a faulty capacitor or motor failure.

It could also mean that you have an electrical problem. Inspect wire connections and ensure there are no loose wires in or around your equipment. Finally inspect all wiring for damage, if any problems exist contact a professional immediately.

  1. If your pool pump is blowing air there could be an obstruction in the basket of the equipment or another problem with your swimming pool equipment wiring. 

There may also possibly be problems with the motor itself, such as worn-out bearings on bad shaft seals which will need to be replaced. Parts can get expensive so remember that prevention is key when choosing new parts after repairs are made. 

  1. If your swimming pool equipment has trouble keeping the water clean, there could be a problem with either the impeller or its housing. 

Also, check for blockage in suction ports and ensure all hoses are connected properly.

  1. If you start to notice that your pump is leaking oil this usually means that one of two possible problems exist: either wear on bearings (usually caused by running dry) or insufficient lubrication causing overheating which leads to damage. 

Once again prevention will help here so remember to keep an eye out for any signs of problems before they happen – especially if it happens often.

pump is leaking oil

Summary

Pool pumps are an important part of maintaining a clean, functional pool. A pump moves water through the filter, heater, and back into the pool or spa. 

When choosing a new swimming pool pump for your home, there are many factors to consider. The size of the pump will depend on what you need it for and how big of an area is being covered. You also want to make sure that it can be easily installed in any space since this may not always be possible with every type of pump out there.  

FAQ

🕐 Can pool pumps run 24/7?

Yes, typically the pump runs 24/365 unless you are having other equipment issues.

📍 How often should I clean my pool pump?

As needed. Some people do it weekly while others only need to do so monthly or even seasonally. It also depends on whether you have a sand filter, cartridge filter, etc. If the flow rate slows down significantly then typically that means cleaning is required for optimal function of equipment.

♨ Can pool pumps overheat?

Yes, this is a very real possibility depending upon the age of your equipment and how well it has cared for over time. If you have not recently serviced or cleaned out your pool pump, there may be enough debris to restrict flow which can cause overheating as well as other issues such as reduced pressure through the filtration system.

🤔 How often does a pool pump break down?

Not very often however it depends upon how well care for they are. How much debris is getting into them can affect their life as well as whether people keep up on maintenance such as cleaning impellers, checking all connections, etc.

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