Choose the Right Pool Pump for Your Swimming Pool

by Pool Builders on 03-28-2011 in Articles

A swimming pool is an object of affection of its pool owners. It is not just an accessory to the house but also a necessity for every summer occasion. A swimming pool is a great venue where family, friends and children can hang out and enjoy each other's company.

Building a swimming pool doesn't end with filling the pool with water. Having a swimming pool is an investment and like any other investments it requires maintenance. One of the most important part of the swimming pool is a pool pump which keeps the water clean and crystal clear. It circulates and filters the water to keep it clean and moving. A stagnant pool may promote the growth of algae and will make your water green.

Pool pumps vary in size, and power. Choosing the right size and kind of pump for your pool can make a big difference in your energy consumption and will save you money in your electrical bills and effort in maintaining your pool. So how do you choose the right kind of pool pump for your pool? What are the factors to consider?

1. Size of your pool. The size of the pool determines how much gallons of water it holds. Having this knowledge, the owner can calculate the pool's flow rate. A flow rate is the amount of water that can be moved within a specific period of time. This is measured by gpm or gallons per minute.

An average pool needs to circulate the equivalent of all of the water in the pool about every four to six hours at least once or twice a day. This does not mean that all the water will be circulated, but it ensures that a large portion of it will be. To figure out the flow rate, the owner must decide how often they want the water to fully circulate.

To illustrate, for a 12,970-gallon pool, an owner decides they would like the pool to fully circulate every six hours. So divide the total gallons by six. That would be equivalent to 2,160 gallons per hour that need to circulate. Then divide that number by 60, (the number of minutes in an hour) to find the gallons per minute. For the example here, the flow rate would be about 36 gpm. Given in this example, the owner may need to buy a pump with 36 gpm. If you're in doubt, about your calculation, you may need to contact your contractor to do the job for you and recommend the best pool pump.

2. Power is also a crucial element in making your selection. Naturally, pool owners want as much power from their pump as possible, but it can actually bring more harm than good. A pump that is too powerful could prevent proper filtration from occurring. An overly powerful pump can even damage the swimming pool's filter and heater. A high-power pump installed in the wrong swimming pool could even blow pipes or fittings apart. Any of those issues could cause damage and will bring more expenses than savings.

3. Size of the pump. Choosing a pump that is too large can result in damage to the plumbing and equipment. It can also result in cavitation, which can seriously damage the pump itself.

Cavitation is the formation of bubbles in the water, very near the impeller that occurs when the water is intensely vibrated. As the bubbles pop, shock waves are created within the pump that not only make noise but also burst with enough force to damage the impeller and other pump parts.

Cavitation occurs when the discharge capacity of the pump exceeds the supply of water available. The vacuum created within the pump is enough to literally suck the oxygen out of the water, causing bubbles to form. The condition can occur when you install a pump that is too large for the suction side of the recirculation system or when there is an excessively long suction line.

An oversized pump can also create excessive flow, which can erode the system's piping.

4. Pool Features. The features of the pump purchased should also match with the features of the existing pool. The horsepower and head flow of the pump are the two factors all pool purchasers should consider when buying pool pumps. It is always advisable to select the pump with the right horsepower. A pump with an average horsepower will be ideal for a residential pool. Small sized pools don't need pumps with high horsepower. A pump with an average horsepower will save on energy.

5. Available space. The available space on the yard surrounding the swimming pool should also be considered before purchasing a swimming pool pump. An indoor swimming pool will have a limited space around it therefore the ideal pump size for an indoor pool will be a small-sized or medium-sized pump. An outdoor pool on the other hand will have sufficient space in the yard around the pool for placing a large pump. A large-sized pump will therefore be ideal for an outdoor pool.

6. And last but not least, pool owners may want to take the option of getting a variable speed swimming pool pump. This type of pump can be adjusted to run at different speeds and capacities depending on what is needed. For example, running a manual pool vacuum or a pool robot vacuum in order to get sediments to the pool filter may require more power than simply circulating the water, which is often all that is needed when heating the pool. Therefore, looking into the option of a variable-speed pump may help save energy and cut costs associated with pool maintenance.

Picking the right pool pump for your pool will not only save you money on energy consumption but you will prolong the life of your pool pump as well.

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