How Much Water Does A Pool Pump Move Per Hour? [Answered!]

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There are a variety of factors that affect the efficiency of a pool pump, not the least of which is the water level in the pool. For those who appreciate the convenience and relaxing effect of a backyard pool, the optimum water level is usually around 4 to 6 feet, above which the volume of water being pumped begins to diminish significantly.

In the case of an above-ground pool, the above-mentioned guidelines apply, as well as the fact that the pump is working its way through the pool water. In an above-ground pool with some sections deeper than others, the general rule is to keep the pool level as even as possible to ensure even circulation throughout the entire pool’s interior.

What Affects The Volume Of Water That A Pool Pump Moves?

There are a variety of factors that affect the volume of water that a pool pump moves. The type of equipment that is used to clean the water and temperature of the water entering the pool are just a few examples. Without getting too technical, let’s examine some of the ways that the volume of water moved by a pump varies:

Fluid Head

One factor that affects the volume of water moved by a pool pump is fluid head. Fluid head is the vertical distance between the surface of the water and the motor of the pump. The height of this distance is measured in hundredths of an inch or feet and is expressed as ‘feet of head’. For example, if the water level is 3 feet deep in the pool and the pump has a 4-inch lift, then the pump would be operating at 27/100ths of an inch or 3/4ths of a foot of head. This is a relatively small amount of lift, which means that if the water surface were a foot farther away, the pump would only be operating at around 2 1/4 inches or 31/4ths of a foot of head. The general rule of thumb is that the higher the fluid head, the less efficient the pump is going to be. In other words, the pump is going to work harder to lift the same amount of water.

Sidewall Drag

Another factor that affects the volume of water that a pump moves is sidewall drag. If you’ve ever seen a waterwheel, you know that the drag created by the water as it falls down the inside of the rim is significant. This is the type of drag that is also responsible for preventing fish from ascending the water’s surface to their breeding grounds. The more rapidly the water descends, the greater the magnitude of the sidewall drag. This is another reason why it’s important to keep the water level as low as possible in order to reduce the volume of water being pumped. The general guideline is to maintain a maximum depth of 4 to 6 feet of water in a pool, with the optimum level being around 5 feet deep.

Piston Drag

A third factor that affects the volume of water that a pool pump moves is piston drag. Piston drag is the resistance created by the obstruction that is in the way of the flow of water as it is pumped. The closer the obstruction is to the pump, the greater the volume of water that the pump has to work to remove it. This is another reason why it’s important to maintain a minimum depth of water in a pool, as close to the top as possible. The closer the water is to the surface, the more resistant it is to moving and the greater the amount of power that is needed to move the water. The general rule of thumb is that the deeper the water, the more efficient the pump is going to be.

These are just a few of the ways in which the volume of water that a pool pump moves varies. The type of equipment (pump or motor) and how easily the water is moved by the pump are additional factors that should be considered when determining the efficiency of a pool pump. Remember that the volume of water that the pump moves is directly proportional to the power applied to it, so the more efficient the pump, the more power that it can apply. This is why it’s important to have a skilled contractor tune your pool pump every year so that it can continue to operate at its optimum capacity.

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