Common Pool Pump Issues and How To Fix Them

You probably already know that the heart of your pool filtration system is the pool pump. This piece of equipment powers your whole pool system and your pool pump needs some maintenance and troubleshooting from time to time.

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. Let’s start with some basic pool pump troubleshooting – what if your swimming pool pump isn’t even turning on?

Pool Pump Isn’t Turning On

If you discover that your pool pump doesn’t turn on, the first place to look is at the electrical components. An electrical issue may even cause it to shut off quickly after you start it. The electrical problem can be a jammed motor, overloaded voltage, or bad capacitor.

You may even have loose connections. As overwhelming as this might seem, in most cases, you can fix these issues on your own.

Here’s how.

The first step is to examine some things closely to determine the problem. Examine the breaker box first because you can have blown fuses. If everything is okay, you may want to be sure nothing is loose by checking your connections. Do you have broken or frayed power cords?

You may be experiencing an overloaded circuit if the motor is shutting down after you start it due to overheating. The solution is to have the right wire sizes and wired for the suitable voltage.

Moving on, check the capacitors if your pump turns on correctly initially and not cranking. It could be that something known as a ‘governor’ is on the shaft end. Ensure to close the governor and the capacitors.

It may be that the motor is jammed with debris if you find out that none of the parts are moving and the issue is not electrical.

Pool Pump Is Suddenly Turning Off While Running

The pump motor may probably be overloaded if it starts and then shuts down while running. It could also be that the device that protects thermal overload has tripped.

Let’s see how we can correct this problem.

Start with the voltage. Check it to measure the level of the motor terminal to the voltage. If it is about 10 percent of the voltage, we are good. However, you may want to call your local power company if you find it too high.

Next is the amperage. Gauge the motor terminal to the amperage by checking the amperage. It could be that you have recently replaced your pump impeller if it is high and you have an incorrect size.

Remember that the total horsepower is the combination of service factor and motor horsepower.

The impeller rating power must be greater or equal to the total horsepower. If the motor is smaller than the impeller, the motor may not handle the water rate if the impeller attempts to push more water. Thus, it will overload with excessive heat and then shut down.

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 your pump motor before. If you’re having issues with the motor, check out my guide on how to replace your pool pump motor and if you need to replace your motor or the whole pump.

It’s important to keep in mind that heat is not always the cause. The perfect recipe for pump overheating is direct sunlight. Even with that, there are several reasons why your pool pump might fail to self-regulate its heat, including corroded bearings and windings, pressure clogs, suction clogs, and a lack of airflow.

Pool Pump Has Low Water Flow

While there is a wide range of possible explanations to the cause of low water flow, the most common cause for low water flow is the baskets are full of debris. Other problems have to do with damaged pool system parts, leaks, or clogging.

It’s possible to determine what caused the problem if you know the function of each part and check the system regularly. Some of the common reasons for low water flow may be:

  • Small pump
  • Suction leak
  • Faulty pressure gauge
  • Strainer basket or clogged skimmer
  • Air leak

Make sure to check on all these components at least once a month. Regular check-ups will enable you to see that you have suction leaks or any air in your system.

Pool Pump Is Leaking

The leak could be from the pump lid. If it is the lid, you may want to replace it since it can crack or suffer the weather elements. However, it could be that your pump lid needs a replacement if it is leaking water when you turn off the pump.

Don’t forget the pump shaft seal too. The shaft seal can allow water to run down the seal plate backside through the motor shaft slides.

The first step to fixing a leaking shaft seal is to get the appropriate shaft seal for your specific pump.

Replacing a shaft seal is simple and straightforward.

  • The first step is to slide out the motor half from the pump by unbolting it.
  • Expose the impeller by removing the diffuser
  • Keep the shaft from moving by holding a wrench on the motor shaft rear
  • Next, take out the ‘donut half’ and the ‘spring half’ from the seal plate
  • Replace the new shaft seal and ensure it is facing the same direction as those you remove
  • Replace the wear ring and diffuser after threading the impeller back onto the shaft tightly.

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

Pool Pump Is Sucking In Air

It could be that the filtration system has an air leak when a significant amount of bubbles go into the pool from the return lines.

Potential culprits of this issue could be leaks in the pump seals, the unions’ leaks, the strainer lid leaks, or the low pool water levels.

So, how do we identify and correct the leak source to have optimum pool pump operation?

The discharge side and the suction side are the two sections of your pool filtration system. Check your pump strainer pot. If there is a substantial amount of air bubbles going through the strainer pot, it is a sign that the leak could be anywhere on the system plumbing suction part at or before the pump.

Now, let’s talk about fixing the problem.

Start by adding water. Now, get a hose and draw up the water level. Ensure you check it regularly to prevent future occurrences. You can also get an easy add-on feature like water levelers. With them, you can be sure of having optimal levels for your water.

Pool Pump Is Making A Lot Of Noise

There are many reasons why the pump is making a lot of noise. Regardless, they need to circulate the water and run a motor in your pool. So, don’t expect it to be dead-silent.

However, should it make an excessive racket either?

If your pump can make the maddening ruckus, here are some of the culprits:

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

Now, let’s figure out how you may mitigate the problem. To achieve that, we have many ways to quiet your pool pump.

You can clean the pool pump impeller. The pump impeller can make a loud noise if debris gets into the pump. As such, it will clog up the impeller. So, check the basket and ensure no debris gets into it. If you’re having trouble removing it, read my guide on removing a pool pump impeller and then replacing your pool pump impeller.

What about vibration pads? The vibration pads can stop the vibrations from going into your pool base with their thick rubber. Make sure those aren’t worn down either.

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Pool Pump Basket Isn’t Filling With Water

Prime the pump!

That’s the best you can do if the pump basket is not filled with water.

Well, the cause could be that your pump is sucking air somewhere, and the basket is not filling up with water. The cause could also be a clogged or dirty filter or pump basket.

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

Check your skimmer water level. If you find less than halfway up the skimmer, you have just discovered where the air is going. Also, ensure that your basket lid O-ring gets a good seal. Secure the seal by putting some silicon pool lube around the O-ring. If it’s looking worn down, you may need to replace the O-ring. And don’t forget the drain plug on the pump.

You can also check for air leaks in places like plugs, valves, and pipe joints using the shaving cream if none of those seem to be the culprit.

Having other issues or have questions? Drop me a line.

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