A sparkling clear swimming pool is not only beautiful but also inviting to swimmers of all ages. Clean pool water is healthy and enjoyable, but there is a complex process for the water to get that way. In addition to the chemicals you add for sanitation, a sand filter helps remove debris and dust. But the filtration system and chemicals need circulation to clean the water. A pump attached to your sand filter is the solution for keeping everything moving, filtered and clean.
Sand filter pumps come in many different sizes to accommodate different styles and sizes of swimming pools. The best pool sand filter pump is the Hayward PowerFlo LX. This energy-efficient model is highly durable, offers quiet operation and works with both aboveground and inground pools.
Efficiency is just as important as power. More powerful pumps will not make your filtration more efficient, and if it's too powerful, they could cause damage. For instance, many swimming pools have pumps operating with 2-3 horsepower or HP but would actually benefit from a smaller pump like 1 or 1.5 HP.
To find the right pump motor size, take the number of gallons in your pool and divide by 24. The result is the number of gallons that need to be pumped per hour. Divide this number by 60 to calculate the number of gallons pumped per minute, or GPM. Pool pumps are labeled for both HP and GPM. Find the pump that best fits your GPM.
Flow rate refers to how much water is pumped through the filtration system. It is usually expressed as gallons per hour or gallons per minute. Your pump should be labeled with the flow rate it generates. Try to match the pump’s flow rate with the size of the filtration system you’re using. Most systems are designed to filter the entire pool in 8-12 hours.
There are three types of pool pumps: single-speed, dual-speed and variable-speed. Single-speed pumps have less upfront cost and continuously circulate the water at the same speed. Over the course of a swimming season, this can be an inefficient way to operate your pool and lead to higher electric bills.
Both dual and variable speed pumps are more expensive off the shelf, but they can significantly reduce your energy bill by slowing down for less intense operations when called for.
Pool pumps can be mounted on top or the side of a sand filter. It depends on where the intake is located. If the filter has an intake on top, the pump is mounted on top. Side-mounted pumps are for filters with side intakes.
The filter basket is important to protect the pump against debris or large items that slip past the skimmer. The filter basket should be cleaned out regularly because if too much debris accumulates, it can put extra strain on the pump.
The impeller is the pump component. It has blades that spin like a propeller and pulls the water into one side of the pump. If your pool pump is too powerful, it can create shock waves at the eye of the impeller, which can damage it.
There is a wide range of prices for sand filter pumps largely tied to horsepower. This is why buying the right motor size can save money in the long run.
Pumps for 1 and 1.5 HP motors are priced between $140-$600 and those with 2 HP motors run between $200-$800. Pumps for 3 HP motors are priced between $600-$1,100, and variable speed motors for larger sizes can exceed $1,400.
A. Most pool service professionals recommend running your pump long enough once a day to circulate all the water through the filter. The size of your pool and the gallons per hour rate of your filter determine how long that will take. Your manufacturer’s instructions likely include recommendations too. Keep in mind that your electric company may have peak rate periods during the day, so it may be more cost-effective to run the pump at night when rates might be lower. Check with your utility provider to confirm their rate fluctuations.
A. When your water level is lower than your skimmer line, you risk air being drawn into your system, which can damage your pump. Keep a close eye on your water levels to ensure they remain above the skimmer line.
What you need to know: This durable above-ground pool pump works well with sand filters and comes from a leading brand.
What you’ll love: The pump is quiet and has a sturdy construction that stands up to all weather conditions. It is self-priming and has a drain plug for easy maintenance. The filter basket has a clear lid for easy observation.
What you should consider: The lid can be difficult to remove once secured.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot
Mighty Mammoth 1.5 HP Above-Ground Pool Pump
What you need to know: This pump is rugged, reliable and affordable for homeowners on a budget.
What you’ll love: The pump is quiet with low vibration and is intended to replace all major brands of pumps. It comes with a strainer basket and fittings. The heavy-duty motor has a corrosion-proof shell.
What you should consider: It is designed for above-ground pools only.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Pentair IntelliFlo VSF Pool Pump
What you need to know: This pump has programmable features and a built-in timer for precision oversight of your pool.
What you’ll love: The pump has an enclosed fan-cooled design that extends the pump's life and reduces noise. The control keyboard is rotatable, has eight speeds and can be mounted on the pump or a wall. It has a mobile device connection.
What you should consider: It takes time and practice to master the programmable features.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.