What is a Swimming Pool Pump?
The swimming pool pump and motor (commonly referred to as the "pool pump") is one of the most important parts of the swimming pool. Just as it would be impossible to swim in a pool without water, it would be impossible to keep that water clean without proper circulation and filtration.
Basically, the swimming pool pump is the piece of equipment that draws water out of, and pushes water back into, your swimming pool. The pipes and additional pieces of equipment (known as plumbing) that the water passes through after leaving the pool, will determine the size and power of pool pump & motor you will need. For that reason, the most important issue involving swimming pool pumps is sizing your pool pump correctly. If this task is carried out successfully, your swimming pool will run at an optimal level and you'll experience fewer problems, easier maintenance, lower utilities costs, and longer equipment life.
How Do Swimming Pool Pumps Work?
We all know that swimming pool pumps move the water in our swimming pools but how is that task accomplished? First, water is drawn from the pool through a hose called the "influent line". The influent line leads into the pump where water is usually passed through a strainer basket and then on to the impeller. The impeller, a rotating piece of the pump that is attached to the electric motor shaft, creates centrifugal force by spinning. This centrifugal force - meaning the outward movement of the water caused by the impellers rotation - is what forces water out through the hose leading to the next piece of equipment (usually the pool filter). This hose is called the "effluent line".
What is Meant by "Priming" a Swimming Pool Pump?
The word "prime" when referring to pool pumps is the act of filling the influent line with water so that the pump, once started, will force any air in the lines out the effluent line. If a pool pump fails to prime or does not prime completely, air pressure will keep your pool pump (and the rest of your filtration and plumbing) from working correctly. All inground pool pumps must be self-priming as the pump usually sits above water level. Although many a above ground pool pumps are also self-priming, some are not, allowing the water that inevitably drains from the pool into the influent line and thus to the pump, to prime the pool pump.
What are Standard Pool Pump Circulation Rates?
Swimming pool pump and motor are sized by their capacity to circulate the entire volume of pool water in 8 hours. The specific pump you choose will need to have this capacity for proper circulation (and thus filtration, etc).
If you are replacing an existing pump on a pool you did not install yourself, remember that there is no guarantee that your pool's current pump was sized properly to begin with. For example, some pool builders are notorious for installing 2 horsepower pumps on every pool simply because other installers do (and they don't want to lose a sale because they sized the pump smaller). If you are installing a new pump on an existing (or new) pool, properly sizing the new pump will help you avoid wasting electricity and extra wear on the other equipment.
How Do I Properly Size my Pool Pump?
The larger the pump, the greater your pumping and maintenance costs will be. Therefore, you want to use the smallest size pump possible for your swimming pool. To choose the right size pump, you can simply consult us! Give us a call at 1-800-983-7665. We'll help you match the hydraulic characteristics of the pump to both the piping and the pool's flow characteristics. If you plan to utilize a solar heating system with your pool, remember to consider the need to pump the pool's water to and through the collector(s).
How Can I Run my Pool Pump Most Cost-Effectively?
Pool pumps often run much longer than necessary. Circulating your pool's water keeps the chemicals mixed and removes debris. However, as long the water circulates while chemicals are added, they should remain mixed on their own. And generally, it's not necessary to re-circulate the water everyday to remove debris (since most debris can also be removed using a skimmer or vacuum). Furthermore, longer circulation doesn't necessarily reduce the growth of algae. Instead, using algaecide in the water and scrubbing the pool walls are the best methods to reduce algae growth. Here are a few tips on maximizing your pump's cost-effectiveness:
- If your filter is good sized, you may be able to reduce filtration time to 8-12 hours per day, depending on the season. If the water looks cloudy, increase the time in half-hour increments until it clears. Most people who reduce pumping are still happy with the water's quality. On average, this can save you 60% of your electricity bill for pumping.
- You can also install a digital timer to control your pump's cycling. If debris is a problem, use a timer that can activate the pump for many short periods each day. Running the pump continuously for, say, 3 hours leaves the other 21 hours a day for the pool to collect debris. Several short cycles can keep the pool cleaner all day.
- Keep the intake grates clear of debris. Clogged drains require the pump to work harder, which uses more energy.
- Backwash your filter appropriately. Backwashing too frequently wastes water, while not backwashing wastes energy by requiring the pump to work harder. Waiting until the pressure gauge rises 7-8 psi, is the general rule.