What Is A Filter Pump For A Swimming Pool?

Marjan Sokolovski

Updated on:

Filter Pump For A Swimming Pool

Maintaining a pristine swimming pool goes beyond its inviting blue waters and gleaming tiles—it’s all about understanding the essential components that work behind the scenes. 

At the heart of a crystal-clear pool lies the filter pump, an unassuming yet indispensable element of your pool’s circulation system. In this guide, we’ll dive into the world of filter pumps, unraveling their significance, and how they operate, and addressing common questions that pool owners often ponder. 

So, let’s embark on a journey to demystify the workings of a filter pump and uncover its vital role in keeping your aquatic oasis at its best. Let’s get into the main discussion now.  

What Is A Filter Pump For A Swimming Pool?

A filter pump for a swimming pool is a crucial component of the pool’s circulation system designed to maintain water clarity and cleanliness. It functions by pulling water from the pool through a filter, which removes debris, contaminants, and particles that can make the water appear cloudy or unclean. 

The filtered water is then pumped back into the pool, ensuring a continuous cycle of water circulation. This process helps in maintaining proper chemical balance, preventing the growth of algae, and providing a safe and enjoyable swimming environment. 

Filter pumps come in various sizes and types, including sand, cartridge, and diatomaceous earth filters, catering to different pool sizes and maintenance needs. Regular operation of the filter pump is essential for sustaining clear and healthy pool water.

What Does Pool Pump Do?

A pool pump is a vital component of a swimming pool’s circulation system that serves the purpose of moving water through the filtration and sanitization processes. Its primary functions include:

Water Circulation

The pump’s main role is to pull water from the pool, ensuring that the water is continuously in motion. This prevents stagnation, which can lead to the growth of algae and the uneven distribution of chemicals.


The pump draws water through the pool’s filtration system, which typically includes a filter (such as sand, cartridge, or diatomaceous earth) that traps debris, dirt, leaves, and other particles suspended in the water. This process helps keep the water clean and clear.

Chemical Distribution

Pool chemicals, such as chlorine or bromine, are added to the water to sanitize and disinfect it. The pump aids in the even distribution of these chemicals throughout the pool, ensuring that the water remains safe for swimming.

Preventing Algae Growth

Continuous circulation and filtration deter the growth of algae by reducing the conditions that promote their development, such as stagnant water and nutrient buildup.

Water Mixing

The pump helps mix different layers of water within the pool, ensuring a consistent temperature and chemical balance throughout the pool.


The process of water moving through the pump and back into the pool promotes aeration, which helps increase the dissolved oxygen levels in the water, benefiting swimmers and maintaining water balance.

Parts of a Filter Pump for a Swimming Pool

Parts of a Filter Pump for a Swimming Pool

A filter pump for a swimming pool consists of several key parts that work together to facilitate water circulation, filtration, and maintenance. Some of the essential parts include:

Pump Motor

The motor powers the pump by converting electrical energy into mechanical energy, which drives the water flow through the system.


The impeller is a rotating component driven by the motor. It generates the centrifugal force needed to draw water from the pool and push it through the filtration system.

Strainer Basket

Positioned before the pump inlet, the strainer basket captures larger debris like leaves, twigs, and larger particles, preventing them from entering the pump and causing blockages.

Pump Housing

The pump housing encases the impeller and motor assembly, providing protection and directing water flow through the system.

Inlet and Outlet Ports

These are the openings through which water enters the pump (inlet) and exits the pump (outlet) after passing through the filtration process.

Filter Tank

In a filter pump system, the filter tank houses the filtration media, which can be sand, cartridges, or diatomaceous earth. It captures finer particles and contaminants from the water.

Pressure Gauge

Connected to the filter tank, the pressure gauge indicates the pressure within the system. A rise in pressure can signify that the filter is becoming clogged and requires cleaning.

Air Relief Valve

Found on top of the filter tank, this valve releases air that may become trapped within the system during operation, ensuring optimal water flow and pressure.

Multiport Valve (if applicable)

This valve allows you to control the flow of water within the filtration system. It can be set to various positions, such as “Filter,” “Backwash,” “Rinse,” and more, each serving a specific maintenance function.

Drain Plug

A drain plug is usually located at the bottom of the pump housing or filter tank. It enables the release of water for maintenance or winterization.

Lid and O-Ring

The lid seals the top of the pump housing or filter tank, and the O-ring provides a watertight seal. These components prevent leaks and maintain the integrity of the system.

These parts work collaboratively to ensure efficient water circulation, filtration, and maintenance within a swimming pool filter pump system.

How Does a Filter Pump Work?

A swimming pool filter pump works by creating a continuous cycle of water circulation through the pool’s filtration system. Here’s a step-by-step explanation of how it operates:

Water Intake

The process begins with water being drawn from the pool through the skimmer and main drain. The skimmer removes surface debris, while the main drain collects water from the lower portion of the pool.

Strainer Basket

Before entering the pump, the water passes through a strainer basket that captures larger debris like leaves and twigs. This prevents these larger particles from entering the pump and causing clogs.

Pump Inlet

The water then enters the pump’s inlet port, where it encounters the impeller—a rotating, fan-like component connected to the pump motor.

Impeller Action

As the impeller rotates, it creates a centrifugal force that propels the water outward. This action generates a vacuum effect, pulling more water from the pool through the skimmer and main drain.

Pressure Increase

The impeller’s action increases the water pressure, forcing the water to move through the pump housing and into the filter tank.

Filter Media

In the filter tank, the water encounters the chosen filtration media—sand, cartridges, or diatomaceous earth—depending on the type of filter. The filter media captures smaller particles and contaminants from the water.


As water moves through the filter media, particles are trapped and removed, resulting in cleaner and clearer water.

Outlet Port

Filtered water exits the filter tank through the outlet port, which is then directed back into the pool.

Return Jets

The filtered water is released through the return jets in the pool. These jets help to evenly distribute the filtered water, promoting effective mixing and circulation within the pool.

Continuous Circulation

This entire process operates continuously, with the pump pulling water from the pool, passing it through the filtration system, and returning it to the pool. The consistent circulation helps maintain water clarity, evenly distribute chemicals, prevent algae growth, and ensure a safe swimming environment.

For a visual representation of a swimming pool pump and filter installation diagram, I recommend searching online or asking for any technician or expert support. 

When Should I Run the FIlter Pool Pump?

The timing for running a pool filter pump depends on various factors, including the size of your pool, the climate in your area, and your pool usage patterns. However, there are some general guidelines you can follow to act at the best time of day to run pool filter:


A good rule of thumb is to run the pool filter pump for about 8 to 12 hours a day. This helps ensure proper water circulation, filtration, and chemical distribution. If your pool sees heavy usage or is located in a warm climate, you might need to run the pump for longer periods.


It’s better to run the pump consistently every day rather than running it for a longer duration on fewer days. Consistent circulation helps maintain water quality and prevents debris and algae buildup.

Off-Peak Electricity Hours

If you’re concerned about energy costs, consider running the pump during off-peak electricity hours when rates are typically lower. This might be during the evening or early morning.

Sunlight Exposure

Running the pump during daylight hours can be beneficial since the sunlight can help break down some of the organic matter in the water, reducing the workload on the filter. However, this shouldn’t be the sole factor in deciding pump runtime.

Pool Usage

If the pool is used heavily during the day, consider running the pump during and after periods of high usage to help filter out contaminants brought in by swimmers.

Water Chemistry and Weather

After adding chemicals to the pool, running the pump can help distribute them evenly. Also, if there’s been heavy rain or wind, running the pump afterward can help remove debris and maintain water balance.

Experiment and Adjust

It’s a good idea to experiment with pump run times and observe the water’s clarity and overall condition. You might need to adjust the runtime based on the results you observe.

Remember that each pool is unique, so it’s important to monitor your pool’s water quality regularly and adjust the pump runtime accordingly.


Is a pool pump and filter the same thing?

No, a pool pump and a filter are distinct components, each with a specific role. A pool pump is responsible for circulating water through the pool’s filtration system, while a filter traps and removes debris and contaminants from the water. The pump propels water through the filter, facilitating the cleaning process.

Should I run my pool pump when it rains?

Yes, it’s advisable to run your pool pump during and after rain showers. Rainwater can introduce various pollutants into your pool, such as dirt, leaves, and debris. Running the pump helps prevent these impurities from settling in the water and aids in maintaining water balance.

How long should I run my pool pump each day?

A general guideline is to run the pump for about 8 to 12 hours a day. This ensures sufficient water circulation, filtration, and chemical distribution. However, factors like pool size, usage, climate, and local electricity rates should also influence your decision on the optimal runtime.

Can I adjust the pump’s runtime based on the season?

Yes, you can adjust the pump’s runtime based on seasonal changes. In warmer months when the pool sees more activity, consider running the pump for longer periods. During colder months or times of reduced pool usage, you can slightly reduce the runtime while maintaining consistent circulation.

Do different types of filters require different pump settings?

Yes, the type of filter you have—whether it’s a sand filter, cartridge filter, or diatomaceous earth filter—can influence the pump settings. Some filters require specific flow rates for optimal performance. 

Consult your filter’s manual or seek professional advice to ensure your pump settings match the filter’s requirements.

Wrapping Up

As the unsung hero of your pool’s maintenance regime, the filter pump plays a critical role in ensuring your pool’s water remains inviting and safe. With its ability to circulate, filter, and distribute chemicals, the filter pump forms the backbone of your pool’s circulation system. 

By understanding its functions and heeding common concerns, you’re better equipped to make informed decisions about the optimal operation of your filter pump. 

So, next time you enjoy a refreshing swim, remember to thank the filter pump for quietly working to make your pool experience truly enjoyable. Thank you for your support.

Photo of author

Marjan Sokolovski

I am a professional swimming coach who has been coaching for over 20 years. I have coached athletes in the Olympics and Paralympics, and I have also helped to train people across the world. I started my coaching career by teaching swimming lessons at a local pool. I was really passionate about teaching people how to swim, but I quickly realized that this wasn't enough for me. I wanted to make a difference in people's lives and help them achieve their goals. I started working with athletes in high school, college, and then professionally. The best part about coaching is that you get the opportunity to work with so many different types of people from all walks of life - it's just incredible! LinkedIn

Leave a Comment