Cleaning the Skimmer & Pump Basket

Cleaning the skimmer and pump baskets regularly is important to the overall maintenance of your swimming pool. Clogged baskets make your pump have to work harder to try to cycle the water. This can decrease the life and stress the seals in your pump.

With water flow impeded by baskets full of debris, you are not getting the proper turnover rate to properly filter your pool water. For your pool to stay clean and clear the water must be filtered. With your skimmer and pumps baskets full of debris, you are not pulling as much water to the pump, and not filtering as much water as if the baskets were kept clean. This can have a negative effect on your pool maintenance.

Clean the skimmer and pump basket at least once a week by following the directions below:


Cleaning the Pump Basket

  1. Turn off pool cleaner pump and pool heater. If the heater was in operation you should wait 5-10 minutes for the heater to cool down before turning off the pool pump.
  2. Close skimmer and main drain valves.
  3. If the pool pump is located below the water level in the pool, then turn the filter valve to “closed”.
  4. Remove pump lid.
  5. Use a garden hose to wash the basket. Baskets become brittle over time and can break easily. It is easiest to clean a basket if the contents are allowed to completely dry. Having a spare pump basket to rotate with the dirty basket is the easiest way to perform this task.
  6. Inspect the pump basket for signs of damage and replace basket if needed.
  7. Re-install pump basket. Some baskets will twist-lock in place. Do not over-tighten the basket.
  8. Inspect pump lid and o-ring for cracks or damage and lubricate pump lid o-ring with petroleum jelly if it appears dry.
  9. Install pump lid and o-ring. Do not over-tighten.
  10. Make sure filter valve is in the “filter” position.
  11. Open the main drain valve all the way.
  12. Open the air relief valve on the pool filter.
  13. Turn pool pump on.
  14. Once the pump has caught a prime, open the remaining skimmer valves one at a time.
  15. When a steady stream of water is visible out of the air relief valve, close the valve.
  16. Turn pool cleaner pump and heater back on if desired.

Cleaning the Skimmer Basket:

  1. Turn the pool pump off.
  2. Remove skimmer lid.
  3. Remove skimmer basket and empty out.
  4. Install the basket back into the skimmer.
  5. Install skimmer lid and turn the system back on.

How Long to Run a Pool Pump Daily

If you own a swimming pool or are thinking about getting one, one of the first things you might think about is how long to run the pump. Some people assume that pool pumps run all day, every day, but that’s just not true. While it’s possible to run your pool pump all day, doing so may bring you a shock when you get your electric bill!

Instead, it’s possible to determine the right length of time to run the pump for your pool, and then only run it for those hours. We have to warn you: you’ll need to do a little math to figure out how long to run a pool pump. But don’t worry, we’ll walk you through it.

But First, Let’s Talk About Why You Need to Run a Pool Pump

Your pool is filled with shimmering, blue water that begs you to dive right in and enjoy its coolness. But when the pump stops working and that beautiful water becomes stagnant, it’s not so appealing anymore. The pump moves the water, which is what creates the awesomeness that is your pool.

Did You Know?

Ever wonder how your pool pump works? It works like this: the pump pulls water in from your pool and then pushes it out through the filter. Then, the filter catches all the bacteria and debris—everything you don’t want in your pool—to keep the water pure and inviting.

All the water in your pool must run through the filter at least one time a day. This is called the turnover rate, and it’s an important aspect of figuring out how long to run a pool pump.

Calculate Your Pool’s Turnover Rate

The first step in figuring out how long to run a pool pump for your pool is to determine your pool’s volume. In other words, how much water your pool holds in gallons. You may already know because it’s listed on your paperwork, but if you don’t, you will determine it by the shape of your pool.

Here are the formulas to calculate your pool’s volume:

For a rectangular pool: Length (ft.) X Width (ft.) X Average Depth (ft.) X 7.5 = Total Pool Gallons

For a round pool: Diameter (ft.) X Diameter (ft.) X Average Depth (ft.) X 5.9 = Total Pool Gallons

For an oval pool: Length (ft.) X Width (ft.) X Average Depth (ft.) X 6.7 = Total Pool Gallons

After you know how many gallons of water your pool holds, it’s time to calculate the turnover rate, which is the number of hours it takes for all the water in the pool to go through the filter.

To calculate the rate, use this formula:

Pool volume

8 = Gallons per hour (GPH) that needs to be pumped.

Your pool pump may go by gallons per minute (GPM) instead of GPH. To arrive at this figure, use this formula:

GPH ÷ 60 = GPM

Now that you understand your turnover rate, it’s important to ensure that your pool pump’s rate matches the speed. If it pumps a little faster, that’s okay, but you should never use a pump that pumps below the appropriate speed for your pool.

So, When Do You Run Your Pool Pump?

Now that you understand your pool’s turnover rate and have ensured that your pump is up to speed (do you see what we did?), it’s time to begin planning when to run your pump. Every pool must turn over at least once a day, so most pool pumps should run approximately 8 hours a day. But here’s the thing: you don’t have to run your pool pump consecutively. You can choose to run it for three hours in the morning before you leave for work and another 5 hours in the evening.

Did You Know?

You can save money on your electric bill by running your pool pump during non-peak hours when electricity costs the least. Contact your electric company and find out which hours are billed at peak rates and which are billed at non-peak rates, and then plan to run your pump during those hours

Another time to think about running your pump is when you add chemicals. For instance, when you shock your pool, you should do it at night so the sun won’t burn off the chemicals. And that means you will run your pool pump at night after shocking it so it can distribute the chemicals in your pool.

Even when you add routine chemicals to your pool, it’s smart to run the pump immediately afterward to properly disperse them.

Did You Learn When to Run a Pool Pump?

Running your pool pump is one of the most important things you can do to keep your pool clean and pure. And that’s why knowing when to run it is so important. Ensure that all the water in your pool goes through the filter at least once a day, and it will continue to shimmer and shine!

How to Size a Pool Pump

When it comes to your pool, it’s the pump that does all the hard work behind the scenes to push water through your filtration system. That’s why it’s so important to buy the right size pump. Buy the wrong one and it may not be able to keep up with the demand, resulting in cloudy—or worse—green water.

Properly sizing your pump isn’t difficult, but it will take some careful calculations to get it right. Let’s walk through the process step by step so you can determine the best pump size for your swimming pool.

How Much Water Does Your Pool Hold?

The first step in determining the proper size pump for your pool is to calculate how much water it holds. The reason for this is that your pool pump should be able to turn over the water in about 8 hours. (For a more exact calculation on how many hours to run your pump, check out How Long to Run a Pool Pump.) In other words, all the water in your pool should run through your pump in that time span. And that should happen once a day.

To determine how much water your pool holds, start by looking at the paperwork that came with your pool. If you can’t find the number of gallons it holds, don’t worry. With a little simple math, you can figure it out on your own.

Just follow these formulas, depending on your pool’s shape, or use our pool volume calculator:

For a rectangular pool: Length (ft.) X Width (ft.) X Average Depth (ft.) X 7.48 = Total Pool Gallons

For a round pool: 3.14 x radius squared (ft.) x average depth (ft.) x 7.48

For an oval pool: 3.14 x ½ Length (ft.) X ½ Width (ft.) X Average Depth (ft.) X 7.48 = Total Pool Gallons

To determine the average depth in your pool, which you will need for the above formulas, add the shallowest part of your pool and the deepest part of your pool and then divide the number by two.

Determine the Gallons of Water Per Minute

The next step in the process is to determine how many Gallons Per Minute (GPM) the pump needs to pump to turn over the water in your pool at least once a day. To find this number, you need to first figure the Gallons Per Hour (GPH). To do that, follow this formula:

Pool Volume in Gallons ÷ 8 = GPH

Since most pool pumps come with a Gallons Per Minute (GPM) rating, you now have to convert the GPH to GPM. Here’s the formula you need to do that:

GPH ÷ 60 = GPM

Find the Perfect Pump

You’ve done the hard part, all the calculations to determine exactly what size pool pump will filter your pool’s water in a day. But before you run off to the store, let’s talk about a couple of other considerations you should think about.

For example, you have three speed choices for your pump. They are:

  • Single-speed pumps. When pool pumps were first invented, they were all single speed. Some states, like California and Arizona, don’t allow them anymore because they use so much energy.
  • Dual-speed pumps. These pumps have two speeds: low and high. The high-speed setting is equivalent to a single-speed pump, while the low speed is much less. Depending on the size of your pool, the low speed may not be enough to turn over the water in your pool within a day.
  • Variable speed pumps. These pumps are more energy-efficient because they use a magnet motor as opposed to the induction motors the other two types use. Magnet motors produce less friction, which increases efficiency. They’re also quieter than the other types. You will pay more for a variable speed pump, but save in the long run.

Did You Know?

You will hear about horsepower when you go to purchase a pump, but just because a pump has more horsepower, that doesn’t mean it’s the right pump for your pool. You need to ensure that the pump will work well with your filter. If the pump is too strong, it can overwhelm the filter, making for an ineffective filtration system.

What Pump Size Is Right for Your Pool?

Now that you’ve done the math and understand the ideal size pump for your pool, it’s time to start shopping. After all, the dog days of summer are just around the corner, and an important step to having that perfectly blue pool is choosing the right size pool pump.

When and How to Prime a Pool Pump

To enjoy those cool dips in the heat of the summer, it’s essential that you keep your pool well maintained. Part of that maintenance is knowing how to prime a pool pump. When your pool’s pump is working properly, it keeps your swimming pool running efficiently and helps you avoid costly service calls.

Luckily, the process is simple. Here are the steps you should take when you need to prime a pool pump.

Why Prime a Pool Pump?

The pool pump is the nerve system of your pool—when it’s running properly, your pools systems will do what they need to keep your pool well maintained. But if your pump isn’t functioning like it should, it can cause issues. For instance, when the pump loses some of its prime, the filter doesn’t operate as efficiently as it needs to because air builds up in the pump. That can result in a dirty pool because if water can’t flow through the filter, the pool water will become stagnant and dirty. But when you prime the pump, it removes the air and allows the water to freely move through the filter.

Another reason for priming a pool pump is if you live in an area where it freezes during the winter. When you close your pool at the end of the season, you will have to blow the water out of the lines to keep it from freezing. That means when it comes time to open your pool, the pump will run dry unless you first prime it to get water running through the pipes.

Running a pool pump that isn’t primed can cause expensive damage to the pump and other systems in your pool. Luckily, priming the pump can eliminate many problems and help you keep your pool operating as it should.

Did You Know?

Most of the equipment in your pool is designed to be submerged in water, but the pool pump is different. This essential piece of equipment is meant to hold water—and if it goes dry, it could overheat and seize, damaging the pump’s motor, the PVC pipes leading to it, and other plumbing components.

How to Prime a Pool Pump

Now that you understand the importance of priming the pump, let’s talk about how to perform this essential pool maintenance task. Follow this easy 5-step process, and your pool will be ready for all the fun you have planned this summer!

Step One: Turn off the Pump

Before you begin priming, you should turn off the pump. Do so by closing all the valves on the side of the pump that suctions, including the skimmer lines, vacuum lines, and the main drain. If your pump has an air release valve, open it. If not, slowly remove the strainer lid to release the pressure. If you have to remove the strainer lid, be sure to remove all debris from the strainer. Then, check that the O-ring on the strainer is clean so it will seal properly and prevent air from entering the line.

Step Two: Direct the Water

Next, make sure the diverter valve only allows the water to come from one direction—the main drain or the skimmer. Then, turn the multiport valve to the “recirculate” setting to ensure that water is directed into the filter head and then back into the pool.

Step Three: Unblock the Flow

Water will need to flow into the pump, so remove any skimmer or return jet plugs so it can move freely.

Step Four: Make Sure the Pump Is Full of Water

Before you turn on the pump, it’s important to check that it’s filled with water. If it’s not, you’ll have to add some before you turn it on. Start by checking to see if the pump drain plugs are inserted, and if so, use a garden hose to fill the pump housing. Let the hose run for at least two minutes because the excess water will seep into the skimmer-to-pump pipes which will help to create suction.

Step Five: Turn on the Pump

The final step in the process is to replace the pump lid and turn on the pump. You will hear some gurgling sounds and maybe a sputter or two, but this is normal. Soon, you will see the water fill the pump housing, and once it’s full, your pump is primed.