Modern pool pump motors are much more efficient than they were just a few years ago, but they still have a limited lifespan. If your pool pump motor no longer works, you may need to either repair it or buy a new pump. However, simply replacing the motor can help save you both time and money.
The Role of Your Pool Pump Motor
As the “heart” of the swimming pool, pumps circulate water throughout the heating and filtration systems to keep your water functional and clean. The motor powers the impeller inside the pump, which is the mechanism that circulates the pool water in and through the system. The motor is usually located on the pool pump’s “dry end” and converts electrical energy into mechanical energy.
Common Issues that Make a Replacement Necessary
Replacing the motor in your pool pump is common for pool owners. It can break down after some time. Some of the usual issues that lead to motor replacement are corrosion on the outside or inside of the motor, failed bearings, the motor’s age, and failed capacitors.
Certain factors can speed up your motor’s decline. If it is not properly ventilated, the motor may be more prone to overheating, which can damage the motor and the pump. Harsh weather, like hurricanes and floods, can damage your motor, in the event of a natural disaster, store your motor inside on a flat surface.
Depending on its quality, pool pumps often last between 8 to 15 years. If the motor has been running for about ten years or more, it may be time to replace it. Though it may work well for another few months or a year, learning early on how to replace the motor can make the transition smooth and quick. Before you start this process, make sure you know it’s an issue with the motor and not the whole pump. If it’s the whole pump, head over to my recommendations for the best pool pump to replace it.
Step-By-Step Process for Replacing Your Pool Pump Motor
Replacing your pool pump motor may not be the easiest task, but we’re here to help with step-by-step instructions. Before you get started, you will need the following tools and supplies:
- Replacement Motor
- Pump-specific GO-KIT with seal replacements
- Silicon Gasket Lubrication
- Phillips and Standard Screwdrivers
- 9/16″ Socket Wrench
- 7/16″ Open End Wrench
- Strap or Channel Wrench
- Soft, clean cloth
Find the Right Motor Replacement Model
The first thing to do is find the right pool pump motor to replace your current one. You can find the manufacturer and model of your pump on the housing near its basket. You will also need to know the following: Model #, HP, SF, RPM, FR, Volts, and Amps.
Shut Everything Off
When you have the correct replacement motor, shut off the pump’s power at the circuit breaker. Relieve the pressure inside the pump. Turn the relief valve, located at the top of the filter, counterclockwise. As the pressure gauge goes to 0 psi, some water may initially spray out.
Detach Bonding Wire
Detach the heavy copper bonding wire from the bonding lug on the old pump motor. You may need to unfasten more than one wire. If the lug is rusted, use pliers.
Detach the Motor
Take the entire pool pump motor from its housing on the wet end. Unscrew the six 9/16″ bolts holding the pool pump assembly to its housing. Some models may have four bolts instead of six.
Slide the Motor From the Housing
Slide out the entire motor assembly from its housing. Once it is removed, the diffuser and diffuser gasket should be visible at the end of the assembly. If you do not see it, it may be inside the housing.
Look at the Wiring
Position the motor so you can have easier access to the motor’s back end wiring. To shield the diffuser, place a softer surface underneath the motor. Remove the cover by unscrewing the two screws holding it down. Doing so will reveal a large capacitor underneath.
Cover the Capacitor
Cover the capacitor with a cloth and lay a screwdriver across the capacitor’s leads. Since capacitors still store power even with the power off, laying a screwdriver across it can prevent possible shock. There have been rare occasions where capacitors explode, so it may be beneficial to wear eye protection at this step.
It’s time to rewire your motor. Check the manual for manufacturer instructions to see how to do it properly for your specific device. Most motors have three wires: red, black, and green.
From the conduit, remove the three wires. Ensure they are not hot and the power is off before you touch them. You can use needlenose pliers to disconnect the black and red wires. Use a screwdriver to separate the green ground wire. Use a pen and tape to label the wires once you remove them so you can connect them to the same terminals later on.
Unscrew the Conduit Collar
Use a channel lock plier to unscrew the conduit collar. This will disconnect the conduit from the pump.
Pull the Wires Through
Grab hold of the three wires and carefully pull them out of the metal elbow without stripping the insulation off. Straightening them before pulling them out can help make the process easier. Once you pull out these wires, the motor will be completely disconnected.
Pull Off the Diffuser
Lift the motor out and pull off the diffuser to reveal the impeller. Some motor diffusers may snap off easily, but you may need to remove the screws first on others.
Take Out the Impeller Ring
Take out the impeller ring. Then remove the impeller by twisting it off counterclockwise. You will first need to secure the motor shaft to free the impeller.
Get access to the motor shaft’s end by removing the capacitor. Unscrew the one screw holding the capacitor and push it out of the way without disconnecting it from the leads.
Free the Impeller
Once you have gained access to the motor shaft, secure it by putting a 7/16″ wrench on the flat end to stop it from turning. Then twist the impeller off by turning it counterclockwise. Gently use pliers to free the impeller completely, but do not apply a lot of pressure or it may break. It is highly recommended you replace the motor shaft seal when you replace the motor to ensure it lasts longer.
Take Off the Seal Plate
Take off the seal plate. Unscrew the four bolts underneath to remove the motor mounting plate. Remove the metal conduit elbow, which you will place on the new motor.
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Prep the New Motor
Now you can start preparing your new motor. Remove the new motor’s back cover and unfasten its capacitor to move it out of the way as you did with the old one. Place a wrench on the end of the motor shaft, then use four bolts to attach the motor mounting plate onto the new motor. Ensure it is placed correctly.
Clean and Install the Seal Plate
Clean and install the seal plate. Make sure the ceramic face is clean and left untouched with dirty hands. You can clean it with a soft cloth. Screw the impeller on by turning it clockwise while holding the motor shaft in place with a wrench.
Replace the Capacitor
Put the capacitor back and replace the impeller ring, the wide base facing up, onto the impeller.
Replace the Diffuser
Snap-on or re-screw the diffuser. The top part should be labeled and match the “TOP” label on the seal plate. Check to see if there are any tears.
Lubricate the Diffuser Gasket
Cover the diffuser gasket with a thin coat of silicone lubrication. Then screw on the metal electrical collar to the motor’s back end.
Put the New Motor In the Pump
It’s time to put the new motor in the pump. Weave the three wires through the electrical elbow and attach them to the motor terminals. Make sure you connect the black and red wires to the correct terminals and that you connect the green wire to the ground lug.
Replace the Conduit Collar
Place the conduit collar back on and screw the cover back on. Cover the housing gasket with a thin coating of the silicone lubricant.
Back Into the Pump Housing
Wipe the motor plate clean and put the motor assembly back into the pump’s housing. Reattach the assembly with its six bolts. Make sure the bolts are tight to avoid leaks.
Turn Everything Back On
The bonding wire needs to be attached to the bonding lug of the motor. Once that is fastened, turn the power on at the breaker. When water sprays out, close the filter’s relief valve.
Check for Leaks
The last step is to check for any possible pool pump leaks around the housing gasket and motor. Make sure no strange sounds are coming from the motor. If everything seems to be working smoothly, you’ve successfully replaced your pool pump motor.
Now you know the steps to successfully replace your pool pump motor. Make sure you use tools that are the proper size and a good lubricant for the O-rings. If the replacement process feels confusing or overwhelming, just take it one step at a time, and you’ll be done before you know it! If you’re having other issues with your pump, head over to my pool pump troubleshooting guide.
Have questions about the process? Let me know.