which pool timer is the best?

Poolside Chat Episode #28: Which Pool Pump Timer Do I Need?

This is Poolside Chat where every week we answer your questions on how to fix and maintain your swimming pool. Poolside Chat is presented by INYOPools.com, helping pool owners find the right parts since 2001. In today’s episode of Poolside Chat, Rob and Matt tackle another common swimming pool question:
  • Which pool pump timer is the best option for my pool application?

Now here’s your hosts – Matt and Rob.

“Which pool pump timer do I need for my pool?”

Meredith, from Katy, TX

The reason you would want a pool timer is mainly to save money. Because otherwise, you’d just have on a switch, you’d just have on a breaker that would just be running 24/7 to something that really doesn’t need to be done. Basically, you need to turn your pool over at least once a day, maybe two or three depending on the need of your area especially when you’re in Florida.

Dual Speed Pump Timer
Dual Speed Pump Timer

Well, instead of asking yourself which timer you need, let’s ask yourself what exactly are you trying to control? Let’s say, you just have a small pool, you got a single-speed pump, you just want to turn it on and off, then you go with a simple mechanical timer. Just turn it on and off, real simple. Other things you might want to look for if you have a heater, you might want to look at a timer with heater protection which is basically a fireman switch which turns the heater off about 15 minutes before a pump turns off, that way the heater’s not running when there’s no water flowing through there. That’s not good.

If you live in states where you get a lot of freezes, the thermostat will turn the pump on when the temperature reaches a pre-set temperature setting, (usually 34 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit.) The churning water in your pipes prevents them from freezing over and cracking.

Intermatic PE153-3
Digital Pool Timer

If you have a two-speed pump, you can kind of go two different ways. You can get a mechanical timer that turns the pump on and off and then a separate mechanical timer that switches up between high and low or you can go with a digital timer which is a much easier way to go, I believe as far as programming and wiring because you will wire it into one timer and it’ll turn it on and off, high, low. Most of them have an extra auxiliary function which you can tie a booster pump to so they all are turning on at the same time, off at the same time.

If you would like further reading on the subject of pool timers, have a look at our own Charlie Ramirez’s article titled: Which Pool Timer Do I Need?

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