How to Set a Pool Timer

Your pool pump works wonders for the cleanliness of your pool. Without a pool pump, the water from your pool would not be filtered and cleaned of debris. However, pool pumps should only typically run for 6-10 hours a day, depending on usage. So, it may be a good idea to invest in a pool pump timer to automate the amount of time your pump is running.

In this article, I will walk you through the steps of setting a pool timer and provide some tips on troubleshooting common problems you may encounter.


Main Takeaways

  • Most pool experts recommend running the pump for at least 6 hours a day, and a pool pump timer helps you to automate this process.
  • A pool pump timer is an analog or digital device that turns the pool pump on and off at predetermined intervals.
  • Digital timers are easier to use than analog timers; however, the buttons will vary depending on the model of timer you have.

What is a Pool Timer Used For?

Your pool timer is an integral part of your pool’s filtration system. It controls how long the pump runs and, as a result, how often the water is filtered. It is used to turn the pump on and off at specific intervals. This helps to keep your pool water clean and free of debris.

To learn more about your pool pump, feel free to check out my article on pool pump issues and how to fix them.

You can also use a pool timer to control other devices such as lights, automatic cleaners, and water features. To ensure the safety of your pool and keep it clean, you need a properly functioning pool timer. There are some high-end digital timers that are able to control all aspects of your pool from one device! If you are having issues with your timer, visit my article on pool pump timer troubleshooting.

If you want more, check out my recommendations on my top picks for pool timers.

There are two types of pool timers: analog and digital. Let’s take a look at how to set each one.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Set an Analog Pool Timer

Analog pool timers are the most common type of pool timer. They are simple to use and relatively affordable. Here are the steps to set one up:

Step One: Locate the Timer

Find the time clock on the pool filter system. It is typically a large, gray box.

Step Two: Open the Clock

Open the lid of the time clock. You may need to use a screwdriver to do this.

Step Three: Locate the Dial and the Arrow

Inside the time clock, you will see a large dial with numbers around the edge. This is the time clock dial. There will be a large arrow that points to a specific number.

Step Four: Rotate the Dial to the Time of Day

Pull the timer’s dial towards you and rotate it so that the arrow is pointing to the current time.

Step Five: Set the “on” Tripper

Determine the amount of time you want the pump to run. This is typically between 6-10 hours. The “on” tripper will be clipped onto the dial and labeled. Usually, the “on” tripper is green and the “off” tripper is gold. Attach the “on” tripper to your desired time on the dial and screw it in.

Step Six: Set the “off” Tripper

Attach the “off” tripper in a similar way to the “on” tripper. Determine when you want the pump to turn off. Then clip and screw the “off” tripper to this time.

Step Seven: Close the Lid

Use a screwdriver to close the lid of the timer box.

Step Eight: Ensure the Timer is Running

Check the timer to ensure it is working by listening to the sound of the pump turning on.

That’s it! You’ve now set your analog pool timer.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Set a Digital Pool Timer

Digital pool timers are becoming increasingly popular because they are easier to use than analog timers. A digital pool timer has a display screen that shows the current time and the timer’s settings. This makes it easy to tell if you have set the timer correctly. Although it is pretty easy to follow the instructions on display, here are the steps for setting a digital pool timer:

Step One: Locate the Timer

It is usually a small black or gray box near the pool pump.

Step Two: Open Up the Box

Open the lid of the timer. You may need to use a screwdriver to do this.

Step Three: Set the Current Time

Inside the timer, you will see a display screen and a few buttons. Press the “set” button. This will bring you to the timer’s settings menu. Enter the current time.

Step Four: Determine When to Start the Timer

Press the “set” button again. This will turn the timer setting “on”. Use the up and down buttons to set the time you want the pump to turn on.

Step Five: Set the Timer to Turn Off 

Press the “set” button again to determine when the timer will turn off.

And that’s it. However, it is essential to note that the buttons will vary depending on the model of timer you have. If you are unsure which button to press, consult the timer’s manual and follow the instructions. Also, ensure that the timer is plugged into an outlet and that the switch on the timer is in the “on” position.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a pool timer?

You don’t technically don’t need a pool timer, but it is highly recommended. A timer helps to keep your pool water clean by running the pump for a set amount of time each day. This prevents the water from becoming stagnant and full of debris. By automating this task, you remove the risk of forgetting to turn the pump on manually. It also helps to save money on your energy bill by only running the pump when necessary. 

How long should my pool pump run on a timer?

The amount of time your pool pump should run will depend on a few factors, such as the size of your pool, the type of filtration system you have, and how much use the pool is getting. Other factors, such as the weather, the amount of debris in your pool, and surrounding trees and foliage, can also affect how long the pump should run. However, most pool experts recommend running the pump for at least 6 hours a day during summer.

If you need help choosing the right pool pump for your pool, check out my article on the top pool pumps on the market.

Bottom Line

Setting a pool timer is a simple task that is crucial to keeping your pool clean and safe. The steps are relatively the same whether you have an analog or digital timer. Consult your timer’s manual if you are unsure which button to press, or visit my article on how to install a pool timer to be extra safe. Once you’ve set your pool timer, you can enjoy your clean and safe pool in a cost-efficient way. If you are thinking about a pool timer but unsure as to what type of timer you need, feel free to visit my article on how to find the right pool pump timer for you.

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