How Pumps Work

How Pool Pumps & Permanent Spa Pumps Work

Turning your pump on/off: 
Your pump is either operated by a switch or breaker connected to the pump by gray conduit, by an on/off, start/stop or stop/resume button located directly on the pump, or it is controlled by your pool automation (a remote, phone app or automation center). Your pump should only be turned on when the pump basket is full of water and valves are open (unless if you are priming the pump).

Here are the most common pumps and the typical operation of them:

Single Speed Pumps
Single speed pumps can usually be identified by their lack of any buttons on the pump and the lack of an automation center or remotes. They generally have a gray electrical conduit that goes from the pump to a switch. The switch can be used to turn these pumps on/off.

IntelliFlo/IntelliPro Variable Speed Pumps (with topside controls) 
Press 1,2,3 or 4 button then press start/stop button to start pump.
Press Start/Stop button to stop pump. If pump says "Display not active" this means your Intelliflo must be turned on/off through your automation.

Intelliflo Pump Operation

WhisperFlo/Max-E-Pro VST & SuperFlo/SuperMax VST Pumps
Press Start/Stop button to start or stop pump

IntelliFlo3/IntelliPro3 Variable Speed Pumps
The IntelliFlo3 is turned on/off by pressing the ON/Stop button on the pump.
intelliflo3 pump
Hayward Variable Speed Pumps
Hayward VS pumps all share the same control that is generally mounted to the pump, but in some cases is wall mounted for convenience. The STOP/RESUME button is used to stop the pump and to start the pump.
hayward variable speed pumpshayward pump controlHayward Variable Speed Pumps Control


The pump is an essential component of the circulation system, responsible for keeping the water clean and properly circulated. Here's how pumps work:

1. Suction: Pumps are typically located near the pool or permanent spa and are connected to the plumbing system. They have one or more suction ports that draw water from the pool through skimmers, drains and occasionally sump lines under the pool. There will be valve(s) that turn the plumbing on/off or divert the water coming into the pump. 

2. Impeller: Inside the pump housing, there is an impeller - a rotating device with curved blades. When the pump is turned on, the impeller starts spinning. As it rotates, it creates a centrifugal force that pushes the water away from the center of the impeller and forces it outwards.

3. Pressure: The action of the impeller increases the water pressure, creating a low-pressure area near the center of the impeller. This low-pressure area causes water to be drawn in through the suction ports, effectively pulling water from the pool.

4. Discharge: The high-pressure water is then forced out of the pump through the discharge port. From here, the water is directed into the pool's filtration system, which may include a filter, heater, and other components.

5. Filtration: In the filtration system, the water passes through a filter, typically made of sand, diatomaceous earth (DE), or cartridge. This filter traps debris, dirt, and small particles, ensuring that the water remains clean and clear.

6. Return: After passing through the filter, the clean water is returned to the pool through return jets. This process continuously circulates the pool water, allowing it to be filtered and treated as needed to maintain water quality.

Pool pumps are essential for maintaining water circulation, which helps distribute pool chemicals evenly, prevent algae and bacteria growth, and keep the water clear and safe for swimming. It's important to select a pump that is appropriately sized for your pool to ensure efficient circulation and filtration. Pool pumps are typically run for a specific number of hours each day, and the run-time may vary depending on factors like pool size, climate, and usage. (Premier recommends 24 hours/day in Minnesota) Proper maintenance of the pump and its components, such as cleaning the strainer basket and backwashing the pool's filter, is also crucial for long-term performance and energy efficiency.