Do You Run Pool Pump While Swimming? (Find Out!)
Some people run their pool pumps while swimming. Others don’t. Each to his own in the world of pools. To some, it just makes more sense to run the pump while people are in it. They do this to get rid of debris being introduced into the pool and keep the water clean and flowing during activity. Increasing the flow of chemicals is also seen as being more hygienic and proactive in killing germs.
Germs do not climb into your pool when you are not looking. They hitch a ride on the people who are about to swim in your pool. Having the pump run while people are swimming is an excellent way to keep the pool clean and protected against germs by increasing the number of chemicals circulating.
A scary thought is that the people who swim in your pool are the reason that your pool could potentially become contaminated with all sorts of germs, bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Keeping the pump running while people are swimming will keep the pool more hygienic than a stale body of water. This article will discuss why it is a good idea to keep the pump running while you swim, what could be swimming in your pool, and if chlorine kills all germs.
Why Run The Pump While Swimming?
Think about it for a minute. Running your pool pump filters the water and cleans it at the same time. When you have a busy pool filled with regular swimmers and children, there can be many unwanted germs, bacteria, and even hair in the water, even in one swimming session. Constant in and out pool action will bring in debris, like sand and grass, into the water system, not to mention that people like to urinate in the water.
If you are generally careful about your and your loved one’s hygiene, then it makes perfect sense to have your pump running while people are swimming in the pool. It is sensible to clean and sanitize your pool while it’s getting dirty. Keeping the pump running while people are doing summersaults into the pool will increase the number of chemicals circulating and keep hygiene risks low.
When The Pump Runs:
- The inlet and outlet enable the pool’s water to circulate.
- Water is sucked through the inlet, and filtered water is pushed through the outlet.
- It pumps water through the filter to clean and regulate the flow.
- It removes algae, bacteria, debris, and even hair from the water keeping the water in your pool clean and fresh.
- It allows chemicals in your pool’s water to spread and do their thing.
- Chemicals like chlorine need to circulate through the water, helping to disinfect it keeping it clean.
- New chemicals are activated and will replace used ones when the water is flowing.
- Helps with the required daily turnover rate (depending on your pool size, the water in it needs to be turned over for a certain period each day.)
- It powers water features like waterfalls and bubble effects.
What Could Be Swimming In Your Pool?
Growing up as kids, we were always reminded not to pee in the pool. As if peeing in the pool was the worst thing that any swimmer could do the pool’s hygiene. Who can remember the chemical that most dads and pool administrators put into the water-turning your pee into a purple stream- which could be directly traced to the owner? No need for naming and shaming!
Well, it turns out that the dreaded yellow (or purple) stream is not the pool’s most feared enemy. According to Professor Una Ryan, Murdoch University in Perth, Australia, we have much more to fear than a once of pee released in thousand liters of water.
Germs (Bacteria, Viruses, Parasites)
According to Professor Ryan, germs (viruses, bacteria, parasites) also like hanging out in the pool, germs like:
- Bacteria (Shigella species & E. coli)
- Viruses (Hepatitis A & Norovirus)
- Parasites (Cryptosporidium & Giardia)
Each group of these germs can cause:
- Stomach Cramps
This is how germs get into your poo(l) and your body:
- Unlike happy children diving and bombing into the pool, or adults wading in via the steps, these germs depend on the swimmers entering your pool to give them a lift.
- Brace yourself for the next bit of information, it’s a bit messy, but you need to know the truth!
- The way these germs spread from one happy swimmer to the next, wait for it, is via fecal transmission, people swallowing water that has poo in it.
- According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), there are about 0.14 grams of feces on most people’s bottom at any time, and it’s this small amount of poo that gets washed from the skin into your pool’s water supply that has the potential to make fellow swimmers sick.
- Suppose you are the unlucky breaststroker that swallows some of this contaminated water. In that case, the germs will be transferred to your gastrointestinal tract, where they will live and multiply happily ever after.
- Until you poo them out, thereby unwillingly starting the process all over again.
- Before you claim to not swallow any water while you swim, the WHO found in a study done in 2006 that during a 45-min swim, most adults will swallow a minimum of 37 millimeters (2 tablespoons) of water.
Chlorine To The Rescue?
Before you pump out all the pool’s water, fill it up with soil, and create a Zen garden, there is good news. Most bacteria and viruses can be controlled by regular disinfection action. Running your pump to circulate and clean the water with his best friend, chlorine, will normally do the job.
It’s important to note that the two single-celled parasites Cryptosporidium and Giardia, are mostly blamed for pool-related gastro, as they are hard to kill, even with regular chlorine treatment. These parasites are highly infectious. One person infected with Cryptosporidium can contaminate a large pool in no time. You don’t have to swallow much water to become ill, 37 millimeters will do, and if it contains 10 of these parasites, you will become sick very quickly.
Can Chlorine Kill All The Germs?
Chlorine is the number one killer of the germs mentioned above. The regular release of new chlorine chemicals is necessary to keep these bacteria, viruses, and parasites at bay. Typically, outbreaks of these water-borne diseases at recreational/public swimming pools are due to non-chlorinated or inadequately chlorinated water.
The sun’s UV radiation also helps to get rid of pathogenic micro-organisms, together with chlorine and bromine-based disinfectants, which helps to keep your pool safe and hygienic. Many pool owners believe that chlorine starts killing everything instantly.
Let us look at how fast chlorine kills germs:
- E. coli dies in under a minute.
- Hepatitis A puts up a good fight but eventually dies in 15 minutes.
- Giardia is stronger than a heavyweight boxer and lasts 45 minutes.
- Cryptosporidium took some kryptonite and fights for a staggering ten days before dying.
It seems that the best way to keep your pool clean is to try and keep some of these germs out of your pool, like in the following ways:
- Stay out of the pool if you recently suffered from diarrhea.
- Take your children to the loo frequently.
- Take a shower before going into the pool.
- Use swim nappies for babies and change them often.
What Does Urine Do To Your Pool?
Let us set the record straight. Your dad was onto something when he said that no one was allowed to pee in the pool. Pee is not sterile and does contain bacteria. It is, however, unlikely that you will get sick from swimming pool water with pee in it.
Chlorine and a running pool pump will sort it out most of the time. However, should everybody start weeing in your pool, it may allow bugs to flourish in the long run. The ammonia in urine reacts to chlorine, which contributes to creating chemical irritants called chloramines. Chloramines reduce the effectiveness of chlorine and could lead to:
- Sneezing (Runny Nose)
- Streaming Eyes
Running your pump while swimming seems to be the better option for keeping your pool hygienic and clean while people are using it. The pump will filter the water, providing cleaner water with added chlorine protection to have fun in while you are having fun.
Flowing water has always been a better option than non-flowing water. In nature, you would hardly ever drink from a stagnant non-flowing water source, so why would you swim in one?