How to Remove Stubborn Pool Pump Impellers

Impellers can make or break your pumps’ performance because they create the vacuum in pool pumps. This means that impellers can be hard to remove, so you must be patient and handle them delicately.

Impellers can get stuck sometimes, usually when you are preparing to open your pool for the season. Keep reading below for tips on how to remove stubborn pool pump impellers and how to prevent them from getting clogged. If you’re in the process of replacing the whole thing, make sure to read my guide on pool pump impeller replacement too.

Step-By-Step Process for Removing Your Pool Pump Impeller

To begin removing your pool pump impeller, make sure you turn off the power of the pool pump, so there is no chance of it electrocuting you. You also need to make sure that you unplug the pool pump because most have self-timers that may cause it to turn it back on while you’re trying to remove the impeller. Then, disconnect the motor assembly and pump from the filter housing and pool by disconnecting the primary drain hoses and the skimmer.

Be careful when moving the motor out of the way as it may be hot. Check to see if you have a valve that shuts off the water flow from the filter to the return hose. If you do, make sure it is in the off position. If you do not have a valve similar to this, you need to disconnect the return hose from the filter.

Disconnecting the return hose makes sure that when you disconnect the pool pump from the filter housing, the water does not rush through the filter and back to the pump. Then, remove the bolts from the back of the water discharge housing, located in front of the motor at the back of the pump basket. Be sure not to remove the four motor bolts. Once you remove the bolts from the water discharge housing, you will be able to see the impeller.

Then, look in the back of the motor housing for the nut that is in the back of the impeller. It is what is holding the impeller to the motor. You will need to use pliers to hold the nut in place while you use a screwdriver to loosen and remove the screw from the front of the impeller. Then, you will be able to remove the pool pump impeller. Make sure you clean out any debris that may be clogging it.

Common Issues for the Impeller Getting Stuck

Impellers commonly get clogged in the early spring, when your pool is still closed and the weather starts to change. The wind blows around leaves and twigs that get sucked into your pool pump, clogging the impeller and disrupting the water flow. It’s actually a fairly common pool pump problem. If that’s the case with your equipment, read my full guide on cleaning your pool pump impeller.

Small Debris Getting Stuck

The pool pump basket in front of the impeller is designed to keep debris from clogging it. However, sometimes debris is small enough that it gets through the basket anyways. Anything from grass clippings, pine needles, broken pieces of pool plaster, tiny pieces of dirt or rocks, or even plant stamens from trees can be responsible for a clogged impeller.

You can usually tell if your impeller is stuck if your pool’s water flow seems low or if the lid of the pump basket is not filling up with water the way it should. Your impeller is probably also clogged if the filter pressure reads lower than usual and the water in your pool pump is moving in a swirling motion or slowly. Another sign of a pool pump impeller being stuck is if it is making a low, grinding noise, or any other rough sound.

Anti-Seize or Not Enough Gaskets

Besides small debris getting lodged in your pool pump impeller, impellers can get stuck for several other reasons. Two of the most common other reasons are that you or someone else put anti-seize on the hub face or only use one or no gasket. Using anti-seize on the gaskets and faces of the shaft sleeve makes these parts more slippery and will cause them to overtighten on the shaft.

If this happens, the shaft is at risk of over-torque, and the impeller or pieces of the shaft may break. Instead, it would help if you used anti-seize on the impeller and the shaft threads while keeping the gaskets, impeller hub, and axial faces of the shaft sleeves dry. As far as gaskets go, you should always use two gaskets for your impeller because they work against each other and will make it easier for you to remove them as needed.

If you use only one gasket, it forces the impeller to overtighten on the shaft, making it harder to get off. Or if you do not use any gaskets, everything galls up together. Two gaskets make it easiest for you to remove stubborn pool pump impellers because they slide against each other and help the impeller break loose.

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Safety Tips for Removing Pool Pump Impellers

  • Make sure the impeller is fully seated before starting the pump up. If it is not, the impeller will slam against the shaft sleeve may damage it or the impeller.
  • You should also not apply any heat to the impeller because it is a sealed cavity and may explode.
  • Never reverse the motor when your impeller is stuck. That is a major danger to your safety and may also damage your pool pump.

Tips on How to Prevent Pool Pump Impellers from Getting Stuck

  • Keep your pool covered when you are not using it.
  • Make sure your pool pump basket is properly seated before running your pool pump. Do not run your pump if it is not.
  • Try using skimmer rocks at the beginning of spring to help prevent the build-up of small debris like grass clippings and pine needles.
  • You can buy skimmer basket socks or use a pair of pantyhose to line the inside of your pool pump basket to prevent debris from getting stuck.
  • Try trimming back trees around your pool to prevent debris from falling in as easily that may get sucked up by the impeller. Regularly cleaning up any foliage around your pool area may also help limit how much debris gets blown into your pool.

Final Words

Now that you know how to remove stubborn pool pump impellers and how to prevent them from getting clogged, you can relax and spend more of your summer enjoying your pool rather than maintaining it!

Questions about removing your impeller or having trouble? Let me know, always happy to help out any way I can.

Image courtsey of troubleshooters.com.

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