If you have a pool, no matter if it’s an in-ground or above-ground pool, you’ll need a pool pump to keep it looking nice and safe to swim in. The pump acts like your pool’s circulatory system and heart, and it’s vital that you have one that is powerful enough to work with your pool size. If you don’t, you could end up with stagnant water or the pump could even burn out from working too hard. This could get you wondering about the average pool pump cost, and there are a large range of factors that come into play when you try to figure this out. It’s not one size fits all, so what works great for your neighbor’s pool may not be perfect for yours.
The pump system works to turn over all of the water in your pool at least one time each day, and it funnels it through a filtration system to help remove debris. This filtration also helps to disrupt any algae growth, and it helps to ensure that your chemical levels in the water work as effectively as possible. If you don’t have one, the pool can quickly get unusable, and you want to routinely upgrade your system as it starts to wear out. It can last for years, but it can also start to decline after a few years of heavy use.
The average pool pump cost ranges between $700 and $1,500, and this includes both parts and the labor required to install it. The average pool pump cost for a dual-speed pump runs around $950. So, by itself, this can seem like a large cost to work with. However, when you consider the overall costs of your pool and the fact that it can run in the thousands and thousands of dollars, this doesn’t amount to much of the total costs. Additionally, some companies include the cost of the pump and the installation in your original quote, so you don’t have to worry about coming up with more money to cover it.
If you’re curious as to what your pool pump cost will be, this is for you. In this guide, we’re going to break down the average pool pump costs, including the factors that can make it fluctuate from one point to the other. This way, you can see how much your pump costs compared to your pool. You may be pleasantly surprised since this is such a vital component. Getting the right pump can ensure that your pool stays clear, clean, and healthy to swim in all season long.
Pool pumps can be large or small, depending on the size of the pool. Bigger or deeper pools need more powerful pumps to keep up with the increased demand and ensure they can cycle the water at least once every 24 hours. Pool Pump by Michael Coghlan / CC BY-SA 2.0
Understanding How Your Pool Pump Works
Part of maintaining your pool involves having the correct components for it. Pool pumps come in three general pieces to them, including the inverter, filter, and the housing. The inverter is the part that pushes water through the filter. The motor will turn the inverter to keep the water cycling going.
When you switch your pump on, the motor causes the inverter to turn. This pulls water up from the pool and pushes it through the filter before recirculating it back into the pool. You can have your pump run for as short as eight hours a day and have 16 hours of stagnant pool use, or you can choose to have it run for 24 hours. How long it runs will heavily depend on the type of pump you pick out.
The more you have your pump running, the less likely chance you have of bacteria or algae growing in the water. However, your pool pump costs can rise quickly for 24-hour usage, especially if you have a single or dual-speed option. You can use a variable speed pump for 24-hours of continuous run time because they’re very quiet and energy-efficient. This means that the pool won’t have any stagnant periods with this type of setup.
Picking Out a Pool Pump Type
There are a few different types of pumps to consider when you shop, and this is one of the biggest factors that goes into your pool pump cost. Some types work better for specific pool types, but there are others that can save you energy bill money when they run. Each type of pump has benefits associated with it, as well as a different pool pump cost.
A dual-speed model comes with a high and low speed switch on it. You can easily run it for much longer at the lower speed setting to use less energy, and you can switch it back up to high when you need a faster turnover or if you’re vacuuming out the pool. This type of pump is great if you want to save money and energy, but you have to manually flip between the high and low speed setting.
This makes it slightly less convenient. Some newer models have remotes while others require you to physically go to the pump and flip the speed control. Depending on the size, your pool pump cost for a dual-speed model ranges from $500 to $800.
A lot of people are starting to want much more complex pools that feature a broad range of spas, slides, and other water features like waterfalls. These complex pools require more water turnover each day, so they need a high-head pump. This pump uses a three-inch pipe over the standard 1.5-inch pipe to help circulate the water much faster.
This is a more expensive option, but it’s absolutely necessary if it’s going to keep up with the greater demands these more complex pools put on them. Most pool’s won’t need this much power. But, for those that do, your average pool pump cost range falls between $800 to $1,200.
You should use a low-head pump with a water feature like a waterfall or something else that turns the water over at a very fast pace. This type of pump doesn’t filter the water, and you shouldn’t try to use it with a filter. It can help in higher flow situations though. This pool pump cost starts at $300, but it can go up to around $500 for a larger or more powerful model.
Most people have a medium-head pump in their pools. These types of pumps work well with most plumbing, and it’s one of the most common models available. If you have a typical above-ground or in-ground pool, this is most likely the type of pump you’ll get. The average pool pump cost for this style ranges between $300 and $800.
If you want a more basic kind of pump, try a single-speed model. This pump will run 24-hours a day at one speed. So, they use a consistent but constant energy supply. So, there won’t be any big surprises on your bill. This makes these pumps relatively inexpensive to buy, but they can be more expensive to run. Some states have banned this pump due to the amount of energy they use. Depending on the size, your pool pump cost starts at $300 and goes up to $600 for a single-speed model.
A solar pump works just like other pumps. They’ll circulate the water in your pool and turn it over to help prevent debris from collecting in the pool or algae growth. The solar pump has one marked difference in that it needs 100% solar energy to run instead of electricity from a grid. There are no operating costs associated with this type of pump once you get it installed. You can add your pump to a solar heater too, or they can run independently of one another.
Your average pool pump cost starts at around $500 for this model, but it can climb upwards of $2,000, depending on which features you want and the size you need. Installation costs for a solar pump usually run slightly higher than a traditional pump.
The installation costs start around $400, and they can keep climbing depending on where you install the panels and the size. So, this style will usually have a higher pool pump cost associated with it than standard pumps in similar sizes. However, they can pay for themselves over time and many areas offer credits and rebates to help offset the initial costs.
This type of pump works slightly differently than other pumps. It uses the same magnetic motor that a car uses. This pump also has a higher pool pump cost upfront, but it typically pulls far less energy than other types. This can save you money each month while really adding up. They’re much quieter than other models, and you can get a much higher turnover rate with your water without driving up your energy bills. The average pool pump cost for a variable-speed model ranges from $800 to $1,200.
Depending on the location, you may be able to disguise the majority of your pump system to keep it out of sight. The type of pump you choose will also dictate how much it sticks out from your normal landscaping. IMG_4291 by Justin Moore / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Matching a Pool Pump to Your Pool
The type of pump you pick out is going to have several things that influence your choice. The pool type, size, and what features you have are the biggest considerations to keep in mind. You also want to consider how often you want to run your pump.
You can use most pumps with an above-ground pool setup as you can for an in-ground pool. However, smaller above-ground models can use pumps that come specially designed for this style. The key to getting a clean pool is to make sure you pick out the correct pump size, but it’s possible to use any medium-head pump that comes equipped with a variable, dual, or single-speed motor.
It’s possible to use almost any type of pump for a standard in-ground pool, barring some very small models or ones that come made especially for above-ground setups. Just make sure you size it correctly. For basic in-ground pools, pick out a medium-head pump. If you want a higher amount of water turnover, it’s a good idea to consider either a variable-speed or a dual-speed option.
If your pool has a hot tub or spa in it or adjacent to it, you’ll need a high-efficiency or high-head pump to keep up with them. This also may require you to upgrade your existing plumbing to a bigger size to handle the larger flow required to turn the water over. The pool pump cost can go up because you’ll most likely need a bigger pump to handle both the pool and spa at the same time.
Water Features or Waterfalls
If you have a water feature in your pool, it’ll have to have a separate pump for circulation, and this can drive your pool pump cost up. The low-head pump is the style you need, and it comes designed to handle a lot of water in a very short amount of time because it doesn’t push the water through the filter.
You can’t use this type of pump on it’s own. Instead, you have to couple it with a pump that has a filtration system to circulate the pool water while the low-head pump concentrates on the water feature by itself.
Sizing Your Pool Pump
Your pool pump will only work correctly if it’s the right size for your pool. This means that you have to estimate the number of gallons of water per minute that the pump has to circulate and turn over for it to cycle all of the water in your pool through at least one time in a 24-hour period. There is a basic formula you use to get this estimate, and it’ll help you figure out your pool pump cost.
The first thing you have to do is determine how many gallons of water your pool holds when it’s full. Measure the pool’s length, width, and depth to get this measurement. The following table can help you get a rough idea on what you need:
|15-foot round||5,800||¼ horsepower|
|18-foot round||8,300||¼ horsepower|
|20-foot round||10,200||¼ horsepower|
|12-foot by 24-foot rectangle||10,800||¼ or ½ horsepower|
|16-foot by 24-foot kidney||16,500||½ or 1 horsepower|
|16-foot by 24-foot oval||17,200||½ to 1 horsepower|
|16-foot by 32-foot rectangle||19,200||½ to 1 horsepower|
|20-foot by 38-foot kidney||20,200||1 horsepower|
|18-foot by 36-foot oval||21,700||1 to 1 ½ horsepower|
|18-foot by 36-foot rectangle||24,300||1 horsepower|
|20-foot by 40-foot rectangle||30,000||1 ½ horsepower|
Once you figure out the correct number of gallons your pool holds, you’ll want to multiply this number by two. Ideally, your water should get turned over twice every 24-hours. Divide the number you get by 24 to get the number of gallons per hour. Divide this number again by 60 to get your gallons per minute. This is what most pumps have for sizing measurements, and it’ll impact your total pool pump cost.
Say you have a 20-foot by 40-foot rectangular-shaped pool that holds 30,000 gallons. If you multiply it by two, you’ll get 60,000 gallons. Divide this by 24 to get 2,500 gallons per hour. Divide it again by 60 to get 41.67 gallons per minute. Round up your final total to the nearest whole number and see which pump size matches. In this instance, you’d need at least a one-horsepower pump to filter the water and turn it over twice every 24 hours.
Your plumbing and how large the pipes are will also factor in and impact your total size. You could need a smaller or bigger pump, so it’s a good idea to look at your current setup when you’re figuring out your pool pump cost. You can also speak to a pool service company to get a rough idea of what you need.
There are several pumps that are available in two or three-horsepower sizes, but this is usually too big. They can result in higher energy costs and faster burnout than what you need. You’ll only need this size pump if the pool is very deep, large, or if it has a ton of different water features or design elements.
It’s essential that you pick out the correct pool pump size to match your pool. If you don’t, it’s easy for it to get overwhelmed and not work as effectively. Also, it can be too powerful and burn through a lot of energy each time you switch it on. Pool Equipment by Bill Jacobus / CC BY 2.0
Pool Pump Costs by Brand Names
You’ll quickly find that there are several reputable brands on the market when it comes to this pool part, and they all have different pool pump costs associated with them. They also have different attributes that make some brands a better fit for your setup. Some of the top brands include but are not limited to:
- Harris ($200 to $500) – This is a very quiet and inexpensive brand that has several pump styles available. They have options for above and inground pools with reasonable pool pump costs.
- Intex ($200 to $500) – Intex pumps are great for above-ground pools, and they utilize sand filters to catch debris and bacteria or algae. They have easy to use cartridges for beginners too.
- Hayward ($500 to $1,200) – You don’t need any tools to get into the basket with this brand to clean and maintain it, and they offer lower HP with a high flow rate to help you justify your pool pump costs. They’re also very energy-efficient and well-known.
- Pentair ($600 to $1,200) – You can get high-performance pumps with Pentair, and they’re all very energy-efficient. You can use them with spas, and they are more technologically advanced with apps to help control them or change their settings.
- Sta-Rite ($600 to $1,200) – Your pool pump cost for this brand is slightly higher, but they offer a range of portable pumps that are great for utility. You can use them with covers to keep debris out of the pool while it cycles the water.
Price Points to Replace Your Pump
Sometimes, you’ll have to replace your pool pump. The pool pump cost to replace it can vary depending on the type of replacement you want. If you want the same sized pump from the same brand you already have, you’ll pay around $200 in labor fees plus whatever the pump costs. It also has to have the same type of motor or your pool pump costs will go up.
Many people find out that their current pump is too large, they’re spending too much to run it, or they want to upgrade and save using a variable-speed pump. If this sounds like you, your technician may have to make changes like swapping out the couplings or pipes. They may also need to rewire the area while they’re at it. This makes your pool pump costs climb to around $280 to $350 for labor if you want a different type or model pump than you already have installed.
Pool service professionals are usually the ones that come in and perform the installation. You may plug in or hardwire your pump, and it may require you to have 120v or 240v circuits. This will depend on the pump, and it can impact your pool pump cost by switching up the installation process and making it more complex.
Most technicians will charge by the project instead of by the hour, and there are different prices for replacements of the same kind, new installations or replacements with a different type of pump. If you wanted to install a new type of pump than you had previously, you’ll pay between $280 and $350. If you wanted to replace your current pump with the same style and model, the pool pump costs for installation can drop around $200. The average pool pump cost for labor is $300 out of a $950 project total.
The installation process is usually very straightforward. The pump will sit in a well right beside the pool and connect using a host of PVC couplings and pipes that funnel that water from the pool into the filter before returning it to the pool. The pump will get hardwired to an electrical supply before connecting to the pipes. Finally, the technician will put it in the well. Some replacement pumps might require you to replace the connectors and pipes to fit for a different size or style, and this can drive your pool pump costs for installation up very quickly.
Prices for Optional Improvements
There are a few quick things you can do to improve how your pump works and how long it lasts, but it has higher pool pump costs too because there usually is more work involved. Most of these things are optional, and they include:
- Cover – One way to keep the debris out of your pool and keep it clean at the same time is to install a pool cover. There are several types available that range from solid to mesh, and they’ll increase your pool pump costs by $2,700 to $3,500.
- Filter – Ideally, you’ll have both your filter and pump installed and housed together. If you have to swap out the filter separately, it costs around $1,000 to do so.
- Timer – Maybe you don’t want to run your pump 24-hours a day, but you also don’t want to worry about remembering to switch it on and off manually. A timer can solve both of these issues, and it’ll add around $50.00 to your pool pump cost to install one.
Where to Find Pool Pump Installers Near You
When it comes to figuring out your pool pump costs, it’s a good idea to contact local pool pump supply stores. They can typically give you an estimate and help you pick out the correct pump for your setup. You can start your search here:
Frequently Asked Questions
Asking questions when you’re trying to decide on your pump and figure out the total pool pump cost is essential, and the following are some of the most frequent ones people bring up on this topic. IMG_4274 by Justin Moore / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
1. What is the average repair cost for pool pumps?
If your pump isn’t working as well as it should, you could choose to repair it instead of buying a whole new setup. You should contact a local pool service company to get an estimate, but most repairs fall around the $200 range.
2. Can you get Energy-Star rated pumps?
Yes, there are Energy-Star rated pool pumps available. These pumps are typically variable-speed models that pull less energy overall to help you save money. If you buy one of these pumps, you could be entitled to credits or rebates to help offset the higher pool pump costs.
3. What is the average lifespan of a pool pump?
If you take care of your pump, perform the necessary routine maintenance, and make sure that you have the correct size for your pool, the pump can easily last between 8 and 10 years. Some models will go higher and some will be closer to 5 years.
Your pool pump cost can fluctuate very quickly, especially when you’re figuring out the type you want and the size you need. This quick guide outlined a lot of factors that will influence your total costs, and you can use it to see how much you should budget for this project. Once you get a number, contact local companies and see what they say and you’ll get a clean, clear, healthy, and safe pool to swim in all season long.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.