After a long winter or a never-ending summer, your swimming pool pump might give you issues. If the pump won’t turn on or it makes unexpected noises, then you might start to wonder if you should replace your pool pump motor or the whole pump.
There are a lot of things to think about when deciding how best to maintain your pool pump, such as the time it takes to disassemble the pump and find the problem, how long you’ll have to wait for a service technician to install a new one, or the possibility of getting bad advice and paying more than you need to.
Before deciding if you should replace your pool pump motor or the whole pump, check out our advice below on this essential piece of pool equipment. We share information about evaluating the health of your pool pump along with 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.
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, then 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 that are 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.
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, then 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 full 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.
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 it out to a certified tech.
For more on noise issues, check out my full guide on diagnosing a loud pool pump.
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Price to Replace the Whole Pump vs. the Motor
When deciding should you 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 do 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.