how does a pool pump work - Classic Marcite

How Does a Pool Pump Work: A Brief Guide

by | Jun 30, 2023

Give your pool the TLC it needs. Contact Classic Marcite to schedule your tune-up today. 

A pool is almost a necessity to deal with Florida’s extremely hot summers, and keeping yours in optimal condition means you get to enjoy it with few hassles and no downtime.

A key component of any pool is the pool pump, which acts as the heart of the pool’s cleaning system. While most pool owners understand the basics of what a pool pump does, gaining a deeper understanding can help you diagnose small issues yourself and help you know when it’s time to call in the pros. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “How does a pool pump work?” this guide is for you. 

Whether you’re considering upgrading your pool pump or giving your pool a tune-up before summer, give Orlando’s residential pool resurfacing and maintenance pros at Classic Marcite a call.

The Various Pool Pump Parts

Your pool pump is responsible for moving water around the pool’s system, helping the pool filters catch pieces of debris, distributing chlorine, and preventing mosquitos and other pests from using your pool as a breeding ground. 

So how does a pool pump work to keep everything flowing? It contains several components essential to its operation that work together to keep your pool water clean and safe for swimmers. 

Pump Motor

The pump motor is responsible for spinning the impeller that moves water around. Just like a motor in a car engine, the pump motor contains several moving parts that convert electricity into kinetic energy and then transmit that energy into the rotor that powers the impeller shaft. 

A key failure point in most motors is the bearings. These little pieces of metal support the shaft and enable it to rotate smoothly, reducing friction and ensuring the shaft only spins in the desired direction. Worn bearings can grate on the shaft, causing friction that results in your pump overheating and the shaft not moving correctly. If you ever notice your pump gets extremely hot, check your bearings and replace them if necessary. 


The impeller connects to the motor and is the pump part that spins and pushes water through the pump and back into the pool. Most modern pool pumps contain closed-face impellers, which are more efficient and experience less wear and tear than older semi-open-face impellers. 

Pump Seal

The pump seal keeps water from leaking into the motor shaft. Keeping a tight seal is essential for keeping air out of the system and water out of the motor, which can cause major headaches for pool owners Despite consisting of extremely robust materials, these seals are common replacements during maintenance to keep the pump airtight. 

Pump Housing

The pump housing is the main part of the pool pump that water moves through. It contains the pump basket and a rubber O-ring seal to prevent air from entering the system. 

Pump Basket

The pump basket is the filter that picks up pieces of debris, ensuring the water that leaves your pool pump is pristine. Just like air conditioning filters, pump baskets can become clogged, which results in your pump having to work harder to move the same amount of water. Keeping your pump basket and pool filters clean will result in a dramatic reduction in your energy bills. 

How a Pool Pump Works to Keep Your Pool Clean

So how do all of these components work together to keep your pool clean?

Your pump contains two major sections: the electric motor and the “wet end” that contains water. The electric motor spins the impeller, which pushes water away from itself, through the pump basket, and back into your pool.

This movement of water creates a vacuum that sucks dirty water through the other end, creating a closed loop of water that flows through the filters and basket and into your pool. It’s vital that the system remains airtight, as any air will disrupt the vacuum and create inefficiency that you’ll see as a higher energy bill. 

How to Run Your Pool Pump for Maximum Effectiveness

Now that you’ve got the answer to “How does a pool pump work?” you should understand that a modern pool pump has many moving parts, and running it unnecessarily will only cause wear and tear and increase your maintenance schedule. 

Knowing how to run your pump correctly will result in energy savings and fewer headaches in the future. 

When to Run the Pump

You don’t need to run your pump 24/7 to keep your pool clean; most pool experts recommend running your pump for 12 hours per day. Whether you choose to do so during the day or night will depend on your utility costs and chlorine demand. UV light removes chlorine from the pool, so running your pump during the day to keep the chlorine supply stable is the best option unless you have a utility plan that gives you cheaper power at night. 

How Long to Run the Pool Pump

How long you run the pump depends largely on demand. During summer, when you swim a lot and your cleaning system needs to work harder, consider running your pump for at least 12 hours per day. Meanwhile, four to five hours should be enough during fall and periods of lower demand.


Backwashing is essential to keeping your pump system clean, as it washes away all the accumulated debris in the filters and baskets. Regular backwashing will keep your pump working effectively and reduce the wear and tear on the system. 

If you’re not 100% sure how to backwash your pump, ask one of our professionals to give you a quick lesson on how to backwash and what to do if your pump doesn’t fill with water after a backwash.

At Classic Marcite, we love helping pool owners with their questions. Whether you want to know “what is residential pool resurfacing in Jacksonville?” or “how does a pool pump work?” we’re here with the answers. Don’t hesitate to contact your nearest Classic Marcite branch for all your pool questions by calling 407-521-6260 in Orlando or 904-448-4150 in Jacksonville, FL.

About Mike Folta
Mike Folta has served the clients of Classic Marcite for more than 15 years. He has 20+ years in the pool industry servicing large hotels and theme parks in the Greater Orlando area, as well as expertly turning backyard pools into an island oasis.