Pool Pump Timer Not Working? Here’s How to Fix It

Written by Michael Dean
June 13, 2023

troubleshooting a pool pump timer

Every owner of a swimming pool knows that the pool pump is a very important part of the pool. A working pump helps you avoid cloudy water and similar sanitary issues. Most pool owners will invest in a timer for their pool pump that allows them to set the pump to be on for a certain amount of time. 

If you have noticed that your pool pump timer is not working properly, you should look for ways to fix it in order to save money and avoid bigger issues with your pool pump down the road.

Luckily, you do not always need a professional to fix your pool pump timer. In this article, I have listed all of the issues that might arise with your pump timer along with solutions to allow for DIY troubleshooting.

Main Takeaways

  • Some of the most common issues for a pool pump timer not working are: power outage, incorrectly positioned yellow clock wheel, loose timer trippers, faulty internal timer, and a worn-out motor.
  • If your pool pump timer is beyond repair, call a professional to replace it.
  • Pool pump timers can last up to 20 years, depending on the model.

Pool Pump Timer Troubleshooting

If your pool pump timer is not working properly, don’t panic, you can often fix the issue on your own. This also means that more often than not, you do not have to buy a new pool pump timer right away. If you think you may have just set the timer wrong, check out my article on how to set your pool timer the right way.

Here are some of the most common issues that may be causing your pool pump timer to malfunction.

Power Outage

When there is a power outage, the timer clock stops spinning. When the power eventually comes back on, the timer will be at the same setting as before the power outage, meaning that you will need to reset the clock and get it back on track.


A power outage can happen for three reasons:

  • The wiring between the timer and the circuit breaker is faulty.
  • The circuit breaker has fallen down.
  • The wire terminals are loose.


Thankfully, there’s an easy fix to this issue. Simply reset the clock. To do this, pull it towards you and then rotate the silver or gold tab to the correct time.

Yellow Clock Wheel Is Not Positioned Properly 

This is the second most common scenario that will have your pool pump timer showing the incorrect time. If your yellow clock wheel is not positioned properly, your pool pump timer will not work correctly. This part of the timer should be seated tightly in its place, or it can cause your timer to malfunction. For more, you can head on over to my article on how to install a pool timer.


First, check to see if this is actually the problem you’re having with your pool pump timer by pulling out the clock dial, moving it to the correct time, and pushing it back into place. If it doesn’t properly go into place, it may be due to:

  • An issue with the gears, or
  • Incorrect positioning of the yellow clock wheel.


First, verify whether the yellow clock wheel is properly positioned down in the timer. If the clock face is not seated down, then you will have to grab it and pull it towards you. You will have to circulate it around until you find the proper position. However, if this does not seem to work, then you will need to replace the gears altogether.

Loose Or Damaged Timer Trippers

Timer trippers are essential parts of the pool pump timer because they enable the clock to start and stop. With no trippers, the pump will run continuously. Even if you hear ticking sounds from the timer, the loose or damaged trippers will basically render the pool pump timer useless.


Timer trippers serve to turn the pump ON and OFF at the times you set. Over time with frequent use the trippers can get loose or damaged.


Try tightening your trippers, so they do not slide or move around. If they are damaged or stripped, you will have to replace them. To replace the trippers, you will have to take off the old ones and tighten the new ones with screws on your desired on and off times.

Faulty Internal Timer

Internal pump timers allow you to set them up digitally so that you can adjust the start and finish time as well as the speed. However, sometimes, the timer will not work properly even if you have adjusted everything accordingly.


This is only applicable if you have a digital timer. The internal timer can come with programming malfunctions or mechanical issues that will prevent it from working as expected. Incorrect adjustments can be another cause of this issue.


To fix this issue with a faulty internal timer, go to Settings > Timer/Schedule > Set the start and stop time and set the speed. After you are done with the adjustments, you should choose Save or Start on the Settings menu.

However, if after adjusting everything correctly, the timer still does not work as expected, you will likely need to purchase a new timer. For the replacement of a digital timer, you will need a professional since the procedure can be quite complex.

Worn-Out Motor

Over time, your timer will start to deteriorate and the motor will get worn out. A worn-out motor is one of the most common issues pool owners face regarding the pool pump timers.


There are many causes for a worn-out motor, including:

  • The motor is old
  • Overheating
  • Water damage
  • General wear and tear after long-term use


Unfortunately, if the motor is damaged, the only solution is to replace the pool pump timer entirely. As replacing a timer can get complicated without any prior electrical knowledge, consider hiring a professional for the job.

How Do I Know If My Pool Pump Timer Is Broken?

There are a couple of different ways to check whether your pool pump timer is working correctly or not. First, check the timer itself. If the clock is not turning at all or is showing the incorrect time, you will need to fix your timer.

And second, keep an eye out to see if the pump is turning on and off at the scheduled times. If this doesn’t seem to be the case, it means there is some type of malfunction with your pool pump timer that you will need to check out.

How Long Do Pool Pump Timers Last?

On average, a pool pump timer can last for about 10 to 20 years, depending on the model you have. Pool pump timers are usually housed in either a steel or plastic shell, which keeps them safe from the elements. 

However, there are some things that can cause the pool pump timer to expire sooner than expected. To make sure its lifespan is protected, you should ensure that the box is always tightly closed to prevent it from exposure to water, wind, and other elements that can cause your pool pump timer to deteriorate faster. You should also take into consideration that even with a plastic or steel box, small animals and insects may still be able to find their way to the timer and damage it. If you want to see my recommendations, check out my article on how to find the right pool pump timer for you.

Need Some Maintenance Help?

Send me a message! I can answer any of your pool maintenance, equipment, or other questions.

Bottom Line

By learning to fix issues with your pool pump timer on your own, you will save the money you would otherwise spend on hiring a pool professional. However, keep in mind that sometimes the only fix is to hire an expert to replace the timer completely. If you want to see my recommendations, check out my article on the best pool pump timers on the market and research on average pool timer costs!

If you have any more questions about pool pump timers or any other pool-related queries feel free to reach out! I am always happy to help.

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