Should You Replace Your Pool Pump Motor or the Whole Pump?

Written by Michael Dean
October 17, 2023

troubleshooting a swimming pool pump system

Is your pool pump making strange noises? Or perhaps it isn’t turning on at all. When these issues arise, you might wonder if you need to replace your whole pump. But some pump issues can be fixed by simply replacing the pool pump motor.

In this article, I’ll help you determine whether to replace your pool pump motor or the whole pump. I will also help you evaluate your pool pump’s health and the cost differences between replacing the motor or the entire pump. If you’re having other pump issues, make sure to give my guide on common pool pump problems a read as well. Let’s get into it.

Main Takeaways

  • Before deciding what to do, you should check your pool pump health by checking the housing, knowing the age, and checking whether your pump uses outdated materials.
  • Signs that you need to watch out for that indicate you should replace your whole pool pump include: silence and the tripped pop and click sound.
  • Signs that you should replace the pool pump motor are when you hear screeching or grinding or a loud hum.
  • Replacing a pool pump motor will cost between $300 to $500, while replacing the entire pool pump will cost between $500 to $800.

How to Check Your Pool Pump Health

Before deciding what to do with the pump, you can evaluate its status. Pool pumps take a beating in weather extremes, but manufacturers know this and build them to last. To determine the health of your pool pump, you will have to look inside and out to determine what parts still function and whether any components are irreparable.

A good rule of thumb is to set a price point for replacing or repairing. If the cost to repair is less than 70% of the cost to replace, repairing is financially wise. However, if the price to repair the motor is close to the cost of a new pump, then buying a new pump makes sense, as it comes with a warranty for the near future.

Check the Housing

The motor and exterior housing are the costly parts of the pump. If the housing is cracked or damaged, interior workings might be, too. By the time you add up all of the broken parts, repair costs could exceed replacement costs.

Know the Age

Pumps in their second or third decade of life might be too costly to repair. Eventually, parts become too challenging to find, and technicians do not know how to fix older pool motors. Older pool pumps are not as efficient as new ones, so by replacing your old and worn-down pool pump, you could save money on your energy bills.

Outdated Materials

If you have an aging pump made of metal, you might struggle to find replacement parts. Today’s manufacturers use composite materials that weather the elements better than their bronze or cast iron dinosaurs. Those older models tend to be single-speed pool pumps too. A variable-speed pool pump will be more energy efficient over the long run. When components become obsolete, they become expensive, so replacing the entire pump is the smartest option.

Signs That You Should Replace the Whole Pool Pump

Your senses will tell you if your pump is having problems. You will hear odd noises or nothing at all if the pump won’t start. When a pump works properly, it should run quietly. Swimming pool owners often recognize a problem the moment they flip the power switch on.

If you notice any of these issues, the pump might need replacing.

The Sound of Silence

If your pool motor does nothing, it might be irreparable. Silence means that nothing is working, but it could mean that a wire is disconnected or a gasket is out of place. If you check the wires and gaskets and nothing turns on, the pump might be completely dead, and you will need to replace it.

Tripped Pop and Click

Another noise that suggests you need a new motor is the pop and click. If you hear these noises together, then the motor tripped the breaker. Your engine requires too much electricity to start because interior parts are no longer working. You might also want to check the electrical connection to see if you have a bigger problem.

Signs That You Should Replace the Pool Pump Motor

Sometimes, you just need to replace the motor, rather than the entire pump. These sounds show a problem, but not one that requires complete pump replacement.

Screeching or Grinding

Your electrical pool motor should have a gentle hum to it. If the motor begins to screech or grind, something is wrong. The bearings might need replacing, especially if water gets into the casing. If something has happened to the bearings, they cause the shaft to spin with a screech that can hurt your ears.

On a positive note, bearings are cheap, and you might be able to replace them yourself. However, if you find that the bearings damaged the shaft or more complicated problems are causing extreme noise, then you might need a new pump.

Loud Hum

Pool pumps with noticeable hums need new capacitors. Most pumps have two, one that starts the pump and one that runs it. Capacitors often blow when the motor overheats or experiences a power surge. You might be able to replace the capacitor yourself or hire a certified tech.

For more on noise issues, check out my complete guide on diagnosing a loud pool pump.

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Price to Replace the Whole Pump vs. the Motor

When deciding whether to replace your pool pump motor or the whole pump, you have to consider the cost. The cost of replacing a pump motor generally costs between $300 to $500. The motor itself is usually around $150, and the installation adds another $150 or more.

If you must replace the entire pump, you could spend between $500 and $800 on the new pool pump alone, especially for some of the newer variable speed pool pumps. The price can double if you need to hire a technician to do the work. If the techs have to do any retrofitting because of the age of your pool pump, the cost would increase even more.

Most of these pool repair jobs take a long afternoon or a couple of days. Some require electrical work, so you might want to work with an electrician to keep yourself and your home safe.

Questions? Let me know; happy to help.

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