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Should Above Ground Pool Pump Run all the Time? Pump Time Limits

Keeping your above-ground pool clean is one of the best ways to protect you and your pool against algae and the elements. However, running the pump constantly could be hard on the equipment and a few other things you might have yet to consider. So should an above-ground pool pump run all the time?

An above ground pool pump should not run all the time. It may be better for the pool water, but it will burn out the pump and cost more in electricity. A pump should run about 8 hours a day total, running a few hours at night and a few during the day.

Owning and maintaining an above-ground pool is a task that takes time, effort, and money to get right. However, by learning the pump’s process and its impact on the pool, you know when you should run it and when you shouldn’t. Read on and learn if you should run an above-ground pool pump all the time.

Running an Above Ground Pool Pump Constantly

Keeping your above-ground pool clean is the best way to keep the liner from being infested with algae and the water to be clear and safe. You might think running the pump around the clock is the only way to accomplish cleanliness, but keeping it going isn’t the godsend you believed it was.

How the Pool Pump Works

Before you run the pump on your above-ground pool, you should know what the pump does and why it isn’t the best idea to keep it going.

The pool requires movement in the water, or it will become stagnant and attract bugs and algae. The current created also does a few other essential things for pool survival and longevity.

Some of the functions that the pool pump does are:

  • Circulation – The most significant thing the pump does is keep the water moving. Circulation works to keep water and chemicals moving and create a turnover rate for the pool. This turnover rate will keep your pool sparkling clean and the water fresh.
  • Chemicals – Another important pump task is to spread chemicals throughout the pool. Mixed with the water, these chemicals create a toxic environment for bacteria while remaining safe for people.
  • Pipe Protection – If you keep your pool up year round, there’s a good chance running the pump could protect the pipes against freezing. The moving water through the pipes will keep it from freezing and your pipes from bursting.

The pool pump is just a tiny piece of the cleaning process, but it is one of the most critical. While the pump keeps the pool alive and safe, running it too much could burden your wallet and the pool itself.

Here’s a video explaining the math behind how long a pump should run:

Here’s a link to some Pool Accessories from Amazon and the highly recommended Sand Filter Pump to upgrade any above ground pool setup.

Reasons the Pool Pump Should not Run Constantly

The pump and its turnover rate are what keep the pool in service. Running it constantly is the best way to keep it protected, but running it always has some drawbacks that could see it to fail prematurely or skyrocket your electricity bill.

Some of the reasons you should not run your above-ground pool pump all the time are:

  • Price – The number one reason you should run your pool pump sparingly is the price of your electric bill. Keeping the pump going 24/7 will increase your home’s electricity cost exponentially.
  • Wear – Another reason you should not keep the pump going all the time is that it will wear it out. As mentioned, the pump keeps the chemicals saturating the water and prevents the pool from going stagnant.
  • Pump Repair – If you keep the pump turned on constantly, you can expect to have it repaired more often than usual. Pump repair is expensive, and if you can find someone to work on it, you could miss the season.

The pump won’t last forever; you can expect a hefty repair or replacement bill when it fails. However, by running the pump at certain times, you can keep the pump’s protection while not breaking your wallet or damaging the pool.

Times to Run the Pool Pump for Best Results

Now that you understand why the pump must not be run at all times, you should figure out the best times to run it. There are a few reasons why running the pool at different times is appropriate, and by knowing them, you can keep your money where it belongs and enjoy the summer with your family.

Some times that are best to run your above-ground pool pump are as follows:

  • Daylight – One of the best times to run the pump is during the day. Algae needs sunlight to grow, and operating during the day gives you a better chance of keeping infestations at bay. Of course, running at night is also good, but daylight is essential for killing algae. Also, the extra movement will help reduce algae outbreaks if the pool is in use.
  • Eight Hours – You should shoot to run your pool pump for eight hours daily. This is the average turnover rate for above-ground pools, and if you have a smaller model, you can expect the run time to be shorter. These hours do not have to be consecutive, but you should shoot to have a few at night and during the day.
  • Higher Electricity Costs – You should run your pump when the cost of electricity is at its lowest. This saves you money and keeps the pool protected. In addition, this helps the grid in your area recover from overuse and rolling blackouts.

Running your pump eight hours daily is recommended to keep the algae and debris from overtaking the pool. If your above-ground pool is smaller, turnover and completing its tasks could take less time. Set aside the time to experiment with your pump to find the best and most cost-efficient times for operation.

Here’s a link to some Pool Accessories from Amazon and the highly recommended Sand Filter Pump to upgrade any above ground pool setup.


Running your above-ground pool pump around the clock is not a good idea. It can be hard on the pump and plumbing, as well as have impacts on the liner and walls. However, running it during specific hours saves you money and heartache.

There are good times to run your pump that will allow you to save money and protect against algae and cloudy waters. By keeping a steady schedule, you can prepare yourself for energy usage, protect your swimmers, and create a longer life for the pool.

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