The Best Automatic Pool Timers for Your Pool System
Bypass the trouble of plugging and unplugging your pool pump with a swimming pool pump timer.
By Allen Hayward
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The filtration system and pump of your swimming pool consume a lot of electricity, especially if you leave them running all day. Your power bill will be quite high at the end of the month if this happens.
So, what’s the solution? Turn them off? Well, you can’t really do that because you need them both running to sustain the water circulation in your pool. But they don’t need to be running 24/7, so you can manually turn them off and on at the appropriate times to save on electricity.
However, what if you’re not home to turn them off and on? In that case, you need an automatic pool timer which runs for a scheduled period of time. It’ll automatically clean your pool at the scheduled times you set, so you don’t need to be home to turn it on. When the scheduled time has concluded, the filter will shut off. Then you will save money on electricity by not having your filtration system running unnecessarily.
Overview of Pool Pump Timer
An automatic pool timer can automatically activate and deactivate your pool’s filtration system to save you money on your power bill. Your pool water will still get filtered, but not all the time. Either that or the filtration system will change speeds over the course of a day.
Of course, it is important to keep your pump running for an adequate amount of time. Several pool owners make the mistake of not leaving their pump running for too long. To ensure your pool water is clean and circulated completely, keep the filtration system running for a minimum of 8 hours per day.
This should be long enough for all the pool water to get filtered one time or more. Then your swimmers can stay safe and healthy in the water.
Operating a Swimming Pool Timer
Most pool filtration systems have a plug which connects into a wall outlet or some other power source. When you introduce an automatic pool timer into the mix, the filtration system plugs into the timer, and the timer plugs into the wall outlet.
When you set the timer to deactivate the filtration system at a certain time, the link between the power source and the filtration system will get interrupted by the timer. The power is basically cut off from the filtration system when the set time is reached. Then, once the set time has expired, the connection is reestablished, which causes power to be delivered back to the system.
Automatic pool timer models are mostly mechanical. They’ll likely appear like a huge box with a clock built into it and an extension cord coming out of it. The latest models are smaller in size and include Bluetooth compatibility to accommodate people who want to manage the timer with their smartphone or tablet.
Why 24/7 Filtering is a Bad Idea
Some people think it is a better idea to keep their pool water filtered for 24 hours per day, seven days per week. That would certainly clean the water of a lot more particles and debris, right? Not always, but possibly.
However, what about the expense of keeping the electricity on for all that time? The typical residential swimming pool owner will consume 3,502 kWh (kilowatts per hour) per year to run their pump. In comparison, the average Energy Star refrigerator will only consume around 561 kWh annually.
Therefore, if you keep your pool pump running 24 hours per day, seven days per week, then your power consumption per year will be the equivalent of running six refrigerators all the time. But if you’re using a high-powered pool pump, then you could consume as much as 4,300 kWh per year.
From a financial standpoint, a traditional pool pump will cost you an additional $450 per year on your electric bill. There are also cheaper “variable-speed” pumps that will only add around $100 or $200 per year to your bill.
These amounts might not seem like much because they’re based annually. But let’s say you run a traditional pool pump every day for the next ten years. That could mean an additional $4,500 gets added to your electric bill over the course of that time.
Filtration systems wear down as they get older, regardless of how much maintenance and care you give them. The motor simply won’t last forever. Eventually, the energy efficiency of your filtration system will diminish, and you’ll end up spending more money on your power bill to run it. If your pump is over seven years old or makes consistent sounds, then you shouldn’t run it all the time. It will only run for 8 hours per day, which will extend its longevity and reduce your energy costs.
Can’t I Just Use My Phone’s Alarm App Instead?
Everyone wants to save money by doing various tasks themselves. But do you really want the responsibility of always having to turn on and off your pool pump and filter? If you are not consistently doing this on time every day, it’ll mess up the water chemistry balance of your pool.
Therefore, don’t take the cheap way out. Use an automatic pool timer to make this process easier.
Top Pool Timers
There are so many reasons to purchase an automatic pool timer. It saves on energy costs, reduces the negative impact on the environment, and preserves the lifespan of your filtration system.
To help you decide which pool timer to choose, below are the nine best ones on the market today.
1) Intermatic 24-Hour Mechanical Time Switch w/ Outdoor Case
The Intermatic 24-Hour Mechanical Time Switch can manage as many as twelve appliances within a one-day timeframe. Some of these appliances include your pool pump, outdoor lighting, and other extras that you might use in your backyard.
Comes in a protective case that is wall mountable.
2) Woods Outdoor 7-Day Heavy Duty Digital Plug-in Timer
The Woods Outdoor Heavy-Duty Timer is an affordable timer which you can program for up to 7 days in advance. Set a unique time for each day or keep the timing separated amongst the weekdays and weekends. There is an easy-to-use digital display which lets you manage when the pool filtration system activates and deactivates.
If there is a power outage, the self-charging backup energy system will remember your current timer settings. That way, nothing needs to be reset after the outage. The outlet switch is weather-resistant too, so bad weather won’t interfere with it.
No mounting is necessary for this timer.
3) Honeywell Aube 7-Day Programmable Timer
Despite its name, the Honeywell Aube 7-Day Programmable Timer can be programmed for either seven days or 14 days. There are three different operating modes associated with it too. There is not much flexibility beyond that, though.
The pump can be turned off temporarily, manually, or automatically. If you choose the temporary bypass option, the regular timer is not disturbed as you temporarily override the system.
The timer can stay activated for up to 16 hours per day. You can set the timer for when you want the pump to shut off. The casing is lockable and weather resistant, but you’ll need to purchase a padlock separately.
4) GE 24-Hour Heavy Duty Mechanical Time Switch Indoor/Outdoor
The GE Mechanical Time Switch features a metal case which protects against unwanted tampering and bad weather. You will have secure control over your filter and pump with this time switch.
A licensed electrician may need to be hired for the installation of the time switch, due to the electrical wiring involved.
5) Woods Outdoor 24-Hour Heavy Duty Mechanical Switch
This is a good option if the pool timer is going to be mounted next to a wall outlet. There are very little customization options, but it does have 24 activation settings for each day, and they can repeat as often as you want them to.
A lockable metal box secures the timer inside of it. Additional security exists on the gear train, thanks to the pins which are not removable. Padlock sold separately.
6) NSi Industries Industrial Timer TORK Zip-Set
The TORK Zip-Set Industrial Timer comes with a lifetime warranty. The setup process only requires a single step, and then you can relax. The timer will ask you to enter the zip code of your location. Once you do, a timer program is automatically created which turns your timer on at dusk and off at dawn. Weekday, weekend or weekly schedules can be programmed.
There is a special switch to activate for daylight savings time. Manual overriding is also possible too.
7) GE Z-Wave Plus Direct Wire Smart Switch
Do you like to control things with Alexa? If so, you’ll be able to use Alexa to control the GE Z-Wave Plus. Not only is this a pool timer management system, but it is also an automatic appliance control system too.
There is a metal case included with the Z-Wave Plus which is lockable and resistant to tampering. You can shield the device from hackers with the included security network. If you want to use the Alexa hub, you must purchase it separately. It is a great addition to have with the switch, though. It lets you activate the pump system prior to even going outside.
Time is money in virtually all aspects of our lives. Keeping a pool pump activated is no different. You can save money with an automatic pool timer because your pump won’t be on all the time anymore. Plus, your pool water will still be clean when you get into it.
After you set up the automatic pool timer, you don’t need to do anything else. It’ll take care of everything for you from that point forward.