Pool Pump Timer

A pool pump timer is a handy device that can be used to regulate the pool operation or run-time schedule for your pump, filter, heater and salt system.  Although they aren't necessary for every pool owner they can save you money, reduce the amount of time you spend on maintenance and can be relied on to keep your pool or spa running smoothly automatically.  

pool pump timerIntermatic 24 Hour Dial Timer

We all want to spend more time enjoying the pool, relaxing in the sun and spend less time worrying and a timer can help take some of the burden away by regulating all components of your pool system.  They give pool owners the ability to control everything simultaneously and in some cases extend the life of your hardware and increase the overall health of your pool. 

In addition to automating the main parts of your pool system there are other uses for an electrical timing device.  They can be used to automate your hot tub system, water features, lighting and just about anything electrical around the pool.  You can literally control your entire pool from inside your home with the touch of a button or through your smart phone or computer with some of the pool automation systems on the market.  

If you own a salt water pool, the need to automate your pool system is even more important because the salt water system won't produce chlorine unless water is circulating through the cell.  In some salt systems you will find there are timers or control panels but in some there aren't so you will need an external pool pump timer.  We'll talk more about salt water system pool run times and which systems require an external timer below followed up by our recommended pool pump timers

Salt System Run Times

Your pool system including chlorine generator should be operated often enough to completely turn your pool water over every 12 hours or twice a day.  The run times required to achieve this will vary significantly because it's affected by the pool size, pump horse power, filter size and the resistance to flow or total dynamic head of your plumbing system.  If you would like more information about choosing a pump read our pool pump sizing page. 

All chlorine generators or salt systems should only be operated or powered on when the pump is also operating to prevent damage to the electrolytic cell. 

In addition to understanding the pump run times to achieve adequate turnover you will also need to figure out through trial and error how often you need to run your salt system to produce the right amount of chlorine.  The amount of chlorine you need produced will vary depending all of the following factors:

  • Direct sunlight
  • Quality of water
  • Filter system
  • Pool usage
  • Rain
  • Indoor or outdoor 

When first learning about your pool it's a good idea to initially set your system to run for 12 hours a day and the chlorine output on your generator to 50% or medium.  The best time to run the system for most pool owners is at night assuming you are using a pump that won't wake the neighbours up.  After testing  or reading the chlorine readings you can adjust and lower output as necessary and the goal is to keep your free chlorine over 2.0 ppm and under 4.0 ppm.  This will fluctuate with the variables mentioned above so it's a good idea to keep a written record initially. 

The average pool system needs to run anywhere between 2-10 hours so you will have to gauge it yourself though testing and trial and error.  The reason why variable speed pool pumps are becoming so popular is because of their ability to run at low energy speeds for longer periods of time while being quieter, more energy efficient and increasing the health of your pool. 

There are many salt systems on the market today and they aren't all created equally.  If you are deciding whether you need a pool pump timer it's a good idea to start with the salt system you are using.  It can be confusing because some systems have accompanying control panels, automatic timers built into the cell and others have chlorine output regulation that can be adjusted either as a percentage or output level. 

We've put a list together of the common salt systems and whether a timer is built into the system or not.  The first list are all the systems that will require a timer if you want to automate your system and the second list are the systems that have a built in timer so a pool pump timer is optional if you want to automate your entire system. 

Pool Pump Timer Required

  • Hayward Aqua Rite
  • Pentair Intellichlor
  • Zodiac AquaPure Ei
  • Jandy AquaPure

Pool Pump Time Optional

  • Hayward Aqua Trol Above Ground
  • AutoPilot Digital and Soft Touch

The level of automation and chlorine production settings varies with different units so it's a good idea to research your salt system before deciding if an external timer is necessary.  The bottom line is if you want to add automation to your pool and make life a little bit easier a pool pump timer is an affordable device that will only make running your pool simpler in the long run. 

Recommended Pool Pump Timers

We've put together a list of the best timers on the market based on customer feedback, quality and performance.  If your pool system requires additional automation these devices are a great investment and if you aren't familiar with electrical installations we recommend hiring a professional to install your timer. 

Whether you have a salt water pool or a regular chlorine pool there are endless uses for a pool pump timer and hopefully the above information makes your decision a little easier.  We'd like to hear from you if you have any questions or comments and we can be reached by filling out our contact us form. 

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