Common Pool Pump Issues and How To Fix Them

The heart of your pool filtration system is the pool pump. This piece of equipment powers your whole pool system, so it’s important to make sure it works correctly through maintenance and some troubleshooting.

In this article, I will cover some common pool pump problems and recommend some fixes so that your pool’s filtration system can keep running strong.

The Pool Pump Isn’t Turning On

It might seem overwhelming to deal with a pool pump that simply won’t turn on. But in most cases, you can fix these issues on your own. Be sure to examine the pump closely to determine the exact problem.

Overloaded voltage

You may be experiencing an overloaded circuit if the motor shuts down due to overheating. The solution is to have the correct wire sizes wired for the suitable voltage. Make sure nothing is blocking the fan as well.

Loose connections

First, check your breaker box for any blown fuses. Then be sure nothing is loose by checking your connections. Do you have any broken or frayed power cords? If so, you will need to fix and replace these.

A bad capacitor

The capacitor starts your pool pump with a jolt of electricity, so it might be an issue if your pump initially turns on but doesn’t crank. A bad capacitor will need to be replaced. Although it is certainly possible to replace a capacitor on your own, if you are not confident, it might be best to hire a professional.

Jammed motor

Finally, if you find that none of the parts are moving, your motor may simply be jammed with debris. In this case, simply clear it out to get it running again.

The Pool Pump Is Suddenly Turning Off While Running

If your pool pump suddenly shuts down while running, you may have an issue with the pump motor overloading.

Follow this step-by-step guide to check if this is the case:

Step one: Check the voltage

Measure the level of the motor terminal to the voltage. There is no need to worry if it is at about 10 percent of the voltage. However, if it is too high, you should call your local power company.

Step two: Check the amp

If it is high, make sure that your pump impeller is the correct size. If the motor is smaller than the impeller, the motor may not be able to handle the water rate. Thus, it will overload with excessive heat and shut down.

Solution

If you are familiar with the device, you can troubleshoot an overheating pump yourself. However, I’d recommend hiring a professional if you’ve never dealt with a pump motor before. If you’re having issues with the motor, check out my guide on how to replace your pool pump motor and check if you need to replace your motor or the whole pump.

Other things may cause your pool pump to overheat, including direct sunlight, corroded bearings and windings, pressure clogs, suction clogs, and a lack of airflow. One way to protect your pool pump is to add a pool pump cover.

The Pool Pump Has Low Water Flow

There is a wide range of possible explanations that cause low water flow. Some of the common reasons for low water flow may be:

  • A small pump
  • A suction leak
  • A faulty pressure gauge
  • Clogged skimmer baskets
  • An air leak

Solution

Make sure to check on all these components at least once a month. Regular check-ups will allow you to see whether you have suction leaks or any air in your system. To fix this, make sure the water level isn’t too low. You may also need to fill your strainer basket with water and reseal it if there’s air in the system.

On the other hand, if something is blocking your pool pump’s suction, check the filter gauge. If it’s anything above 10psi the normal range, clean the filter. Doing this will reset the water flow. You should also check your pump for any debris when you do this.

The Pool Pump Is Leaking

A leaky pool pump could be due to two main issues: 1) a faulty pump lid or 2) a faulty shaft seal. Both parts of the pump are relatively straightforward to replace.

Pump lid

A leak from the pump lid can be tricky to find as the water will only leak when the pump is off. But once you’ve determined the leak is from the pump lid, there are just two things to examine and fix.

  1. Check the lid itself – If the lid has cracked or is loose, it will either need to be repaired or replaced
  2. Check the o-ring – Bend the o-ring all around to check for any cracks and make sure it is properly lubricated

Pump shaft seal

You can check for a leaking pump shaft seal if water is running down the backside of the seal plate. Once you’ve determined that it is indeed the shaft seal that needs replacing, buy the correct replacement shaft seal for your specific pump.

Solution

  1. Slide out the motor half from the pump by unbolting it
  2. Expose the impeller by removing the diffuser
  3. Keep the shaft from moving by holding a wrench on the motor shaft rear
  4. Take out the ‘donut half’ and the ‘spring half’ from the seal plate
  5. Replace the new shaft seal and ensure it is facing the same direction as the one you’ve just removed

If you’re still having issues, head over to my complete guide on how to fix a leaky pool pump.

The Pool Pump Is Sucking In Air

If a significant amount of bubbles go into the pool from the return lines, you may have an air leak in your filtration system. Potential culprits of this issue include:

  • Low pool water levels
  • Loose strainer lid
  • Faulty unions
  • Faulty o-ring

Solution

The first thing to do is quite simple: just add water. Check the water levels regularly to prevent future occurrences. You can also get an easy add-on feature like a water leveler, which can help maintain your water levels.

If this problem continues, check out my article on air bubbles in your pool for a more thorough guide.

The Pool Pump Is Making A Lot Of Noise

Pool pumps will inevitably make some kind of noise. After all, they need to circulate the water and run a motor in the pool, so it won’t be dead-silent. However, the pump shouldn’t make an excessive racket.

If your pump is rattling more than usual, here are some of the main culprits:

  • Worn out bearings in the motor
  • Blocked or clogged pump
  • Excessive vibration

When it comes to the motor, I recommend hiring a professional to fix the problem. However, the other issues can be fixed at home.

Solution

First, clean the pool pump impeller. The pump impeller can make a loud noise if debris gets into the pump, clogging it. So check the basket and clean it out. If you’re having trouble removing it, read my guide on removing a pool pump impeller and replacing your pool pump impeller if needed.

Second, if your pool pump is making excessive noise due to vibration, check the vibration pads. The vibration pads can stop the vibrations from going into your pool base with their thick rubber. So make sure they aren’t worn down. If so, replace them.

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The Pool Pump Basket Isn’t Filling With Water

Your pool pump basket may not be filling with water as it is sucking air from somewhere somehow. Another common cause is a clogged or dirty filter or pump basket.

Solution

The best thing to do if your pump basket is not filling with water is to simply prime the pump by blowing out the lines with water to get rid of any air inside.

A second simple fix is to clean the pump basket and the filter. However, you may need to start looking for a leak if the problem persists:

  • Check your skimmer water level
  • Ensure your basket lid o-ring gets a good seal and is lubricated; otherwise, it may need to be replaced
  • Check the drain plug on the pump
  • Use shaving cream to check for air leaks in plugs, valves, and pipe joints

The Pool Pump Is Making a Humming Noise and Won’t Start

If you hear a buzzing or humming noise coming from your pump motor, it means that although power is reaching the motor, it’s not properly starting up. This could be due to several reasons, including a buildup of debris or something electrical like a bad capacitor.

Solution

Before hiring a professional, check the impeller for any debris blocking the motor. To do this, turn off the pump and remove the screws on the pump housing. Then pull out the pump assembly and remove the gasket from the impeller. Once you’ve done this, you can easily remove any debris you see before reassembling the pump.

Common Signs That Your Pool Pump Is About To Die

A good pool pump can last 10 years, but the fact is that it will eventually need to be replaced. So what are some common signs to look for to check if your pool pump is about to die?

Consistently low readings on the filter pressure gauge

If you have a low psi reading on your pressure gauge, more likely than not, you have a clogged skimmer basket, which can easily be fixed. However, if you consistently have low readings on the gauge despite cleaning the basket out consistently, your impeller might be on its way out.

Always losing prime

If you are still having problems even after consistently troubleshooting all of the issues for your pool pump losing prime, it might be time to get a new one.

Old age of pool pump

A well-maintained pool pump will typically last around 10 years. If your pool pump has passed this point in life, it may be time to replace it. An older pool pump will need constant repairs, which can be costly and time-consuming. So once you reach that 10-year mark, I highly recommend looking at replacing it with a new pool pump.

Are you having other issues or have further questions? Drop me a line.

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