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A Hayward pool pump, newly installed next to a home.

Understanding the Ins and Outs of Pool Pumps Before You Buy

Pool pumps are essential for the cleanliness and safety of pools. They are responsible for moving water through pool filters. These pumps thoroughly circulate pool water at least every 12 hours when working at peak efficiency.

But if your pool pump isn’t running like it used to, it compromises the cleanliness, condition, and enjoyment of your pool. If your pump shows any of these signs, it’s in need of an upgrade:

  • Makes noise
  • Overheats and shuts off
  • Doesn’t start right away (or at all)

If your pool pump is older (around 7 to 10 years old), it could be costing you more to run than newer energy-efficient pumps. If so, it’s time to replace it!

Here’s what you need to know to help you choose a new, efficient pool pump.

What Sort of Pool Pump Do You Need?

Any pump that suits the size and type of your pool should effectively circulate the water. But some pumps pose headaches for pool owners, especially when they are noisy and costly to run.

The type of pump you need will depend on several factors, such as:

  • Ease of use and convenience
  • Budget
  • Pool size and type
  • How much energy you’re willing to consume/pay for each year

What Types of Pumps Are Available?

Single-Speed Pumps

Single-speed pumps are the most common pool pumps. These run continuously and at a maximum high speed. Their motor spins an impeller at the specified horsepower of the motor.

These pumps use more energy than other types of pool pumps. In fact, some regions in North America even prohibit the use of single-speed pumps due to their high energy consumption.

Dual-Speed Pumps

As their name says, dual-speed pumps have two speeds, high and low. The high speed is used for cleaning pools and addressing water issues. The low speed, meanwhile, is used to save energy while circulating water during typical cycles.

While on high speed, these pumps often consume the same amount of energy as single-speed pumps. But the option to run these pumps on low speed, especially during peak energy usage times, makes these pumps more energy-efficient.

Variable-Speed Pumps

Variable-speed pumps are the most energy-efficient type of pool pump on the market. These pumps use permanent magnetic motors (PMM) that are digitally regulated to any speed.

Variable-speed pumps also produce less friction than other types, making these pumps quieter while improving their energy-efficiency and lifespan.

The speed changes automatically based on a set timer, which improves control over water flow, circulation, and energy consumption during peak times.

Energy-Efficient Pool Pumps

Energy-efficient pool pumps, like the Hayward pool pumps that we carry, help pool owners save energy, money, and the environment.

These reliable smart pumps allow for greater control over the pump’s schedule and integrate effectively with other pool equipment, such as lighting or temperature control.

Here are some of the benefits of using smart pool pumps:

  • Can control your entire pool pad on up to four devices
  • Pool and spa scheduling
  • Adjust pump speed, water temperature, and pool lighting remotely
  • Use with Amazon Alexa voice control
  • Energy Star® certified

Save Energy

While traditional pool pumps can make up 25% of your energy bill, energy-efficient pumps can reduce your pool energy costs by 90% each year by changing speeds and flow, and using timers to reduce energy use during peak times of the day.

Automated pump systems allow pool owners to control and schedule their pumps and other pool equipment from their smartphones, devices, and smart home systems.

What’s more, energy-efficient pool pumps use less horsepower and create less noise—or no noise at all. Both you and your neighbours will be glad you no longer have to hear the constant humming of a pool pump.

Understanding Water Circulation

When choosing a new pool pump, you must first calculate your desired turnover rate for your pool. In other words, how long it takes for a pool pump to completely cycle all the water in your pool. Ideal turnover times are around 8 to 10 hours.

How to Calculate Gallons Per Minute

The formula for calculating a pool’s turnover rate is as follows:

Pool Volume in Gallons ÷ Turnover Rate in Minutes = Flow Rate in Gallons per Minute (GPM)

Say your pool is 30,000 gallons, and your ideal turnover time is 8 hours (480 minutes), your calculation would look like this:

30,000 ÷ 480 = 62.5 GPM

Thus, to reach your ideal turnover time of 8 hours, you would need a pool pump with a 63 GPM rating.

Smaller pools usually need pumps with around 40 to 50 GPM ratings, while larger pools typically need pumps with around 80 GPM ratings.

Also, keep in mind that the pump’s GPM will decrease the further it is from the pool. Note that the pool’s plumbing, along with additional water features, will also affect the GPM.

To reduce strain on your pump’s motor, make sure the pool filter’s GPM is higher than your pump’s GPM.

Maximum Flow Rate

Pool pipes can only handle a certain amount of pressure and movement, which is determined by the size of the intake lines:

For a:

  • 1.5-inch intake line—42 GPM maximum flow rate
  • 2-inch intake line—73 GPM maximum flow rate
  • 2.5-inch intake line—120 GPM maximum flow rate
  • 3-inch intake line—160 GPM maximum flow rate

Since your pool will likely have multiple intake lines of different sizes, use the smallest sized line to determine your pool’s maximum flow rate. For example, a pump with a 100 GPM rate will place too much pressure on a 1.5-inch intake line with a maximum flow rate of 42 GPM.

To increase the energy efficiency of your pool, opt for:

  • Larger intake lines—e.g. switch from a 1.5-inch PVC pipe to a 2-inch PVC pipe
  • A pump timer
  • A dual-speed pump motor
  • A variable-speed pump for optimum energy efficiency

Finding the Right Product for Your Needs

Using the sizing information above, you can narrow down your search for the right swimming pool pump. But also take the following information into consideration when shopping for pumps:

Top-Mount vs Side-Mount

The location of the filter intake will determine the style of pump you need. If your filter intake is located above ground, you’ll need a top-mount pump. But if it’s located beside your pump, you’ll need a side-mount pump.

Saltwater Pools

If you have a saltwater pool, you should opt for a variable-speed pump. Saltwater pools rely on water passing through the saltwater chlorinators to effective sanitize the pool water. Without a proper turnover rate, your chlorine levels will be too low.

When it’s time to replace your outdated pool pump, look for pumps that will suit your pool’s size and type. Remember, you can save energy and money with the right variable-speed pump! Finding the right product will help you keep your water clean and circulating without the added noise and energy costs and with the extra convenience of automation.