Swimming pool pumps are essential for keeping your pool water fresh and clean. To make sure you’re swimming in the highest quality water possible, you need to use the right pump. Some people mistakenly think that upgrading to a larger pump is the best way to do this but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, a larger pump is less effective and can end up costing a lot more in operating costs. I know what question you have in mind, what size above ground pool pump do I need?
Below are the necessary information you need about above ground pool pumps.
What Does a Pool Pump Do?
An above-ground pool pump has one very important job: move the water in the pool through the filter. Think of it as the heart of your pool. The pump circulates the water, cycling it through the filtration system where dirt and debris are removed. The filter is also where the water is sanitized and the chemical reactions that keep your pool water safe take place. Without a pump, the water wouldn’t be able to travel through the filter and stay clean and safe.
What Size Pump Do I Need?
Ideally, you want a pool pump that can cycle all of the water in your pool through the filtration system once every 12 hours. To figure this out, you need to know how many gallons of water are in your pool.
This is pretty easy to do with some simple math using the following formulas:
- Rectangular Pools: Length x Width x Depth x 7.5 = gallons
- Round Pools: Diameter x Diameter x Depth x 5.9 = gallons
- Oval Pools: Width x Length x Depth x 6.7 = gallons
So, when considering some of the more popular sizes of above ground pools, a 24-foot round pool has roughly 13,593 gallons of water and a 15 x 30-foot oval pool has about 10,000 gallons. This means for a 24-foot round pool, you need a pump that circulates 27,186 gallons per day. For a 15 x 30-foot oval pool, the pump has to circulate 20,000 gallons a day.
Now, here’s where it gets a little tricky. Some above ground pool pumps are specified in gallons per minute and not gallons per hour. So, you’re not quite done with your calculation. To convert to gallons per minute, you have to divide the gallons per day by 24 hours and then by 60 minutes. In our examples, the 24-foot round pool, you need 27,186 gallons cycled per day. This is about 1,132 gallons per hour or 18.8 per minute.
The 15 x 30-foot oval pool is a little easier to figure out. You need a pump that circulated 20,000 gallons a day, or 833.3 gallons per hour, or about 14 gallons per minute.
Are There Other Options?
Yes! It’s generally better to start with the highest recommended filtration and taper down. Once you have an algae bloom or the water chemistry gets too far out of whack, it can be very difficult to get things under control.
How the water in your pool behaves depends on a lot of different factors – how often you use it, how many people use it, how much direct sunlight it gets, etc. Some people feel that cycling the entire pool once in a 24-hour period is enough and you may find that it is.
Some people run the filter for eight hours overnight and turn them off during the day. Others do leave the filter off at night and do eight hours during the day or you can try four hours in the morning and four hours in the evening. It all depends on what works best with your swimming pool. That’s why it’s good to find a pool pump made with these options in mind. Most of them have different speed settings as well as timers so you can customize it to your needs.
Best Above Ground Pool Pumps and Filters
This highly rated above ground pool filter from Sand Master is suitable for pools as large as 9,600 gallons and cycles at 20 GPM. It’s a great choice for above-ground soft-sided pools and features a four-position multiport valve, 12-inch corrosion-proof filter tank, and is easy to install. Plus, it’s covered by a one-year warranty.
The Hayward XStream full-flow cartridge filtration system is a great choice if you’re looking for something with adjustable speed. At high speed, it has an 80 GPM flow rate; low speed, it’s 40 GPM. The extra-large filter body gives the water plenty of time to cycle through the filter cartridges and an industrial-sized strainer basket collects a large amount of debris with minimal maintenance.
For above-ground pools between 4,800 to 15,000 gallons, this pump and filter from Intex is a great choice, especially if you’re looking for something with a timer. This system automatically turns off and on in 12-hour cycles. The E.C.O. system helps keep the pool water clean without the traditional problems associated with traditional chlorine. Plus, this pump is covered by a two-year warranty.
One of the great things about this filter and pump from Intex is that you have a lot of control over when and how long it’s running. You can set the auto-timer for two to 12-hour cycles and it’s appropriate for pools between 4,000 and 15,200 gallons or any above-ground pool up to 24-feet in diameter. Installation is super easy and they even include a filter cartridge so you can get set up and started right away.
Last but not least, we recommend this pump and filtration system from Rx Clear. It uses a one-piece tank, universal base, and top-mount six-position multi-port valve. This system is appropriate for pools up to 16,000 gallons and comes with a three-year limited warranty.