How to Troubleshoot a Pool Pump

Your pool’s pump is the heart of the plumbing system of your pool. Without it, water won’t flow through your filtration system to be properly cleaned. So what do you do if you have a problem with the pump?

Unfortunately, if you own a pool for any amount of time, you will run into a time when it doesn’t function just as it should. Thankfully, many of the problems can be repaired quite easily making these problems an easy do-it-yourself repair job. Let’s examine some of the most common problems with your pool’s pump and what you need to fix them.

Most Common Pump Problems

When your pool’s pump fails to perform its task, you need to figure out what is going on quickly. That way your water doesn’t go too long without passing through the filter to get a good cleaning.

There are many different possibilities, but let’s take a look at the most common pump problems you will encounter when you troubleshoot a pool pump yourself.

1. Your Pump Is Leaking

One of the most common problems you will encounter is water leaking from your pump. The most common causes for this include a bad impeller housing O-ring If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. , bad shaft seal, bad thread sealant If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. , and shrunken threads on the discharge pipe.

In most cases, these parts can be purchased and replaced rather easily at a fraction of the cost of calling for aid. Determine which part is leaking, take the system apart, replace it, and you will be back up and running in no time.

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2. The Pump Fails to Pull Water

Sometimes pumps simply don’t pull the water through the system as they should. When this happens, water won’t reach the filter and pass through the system properly. The most common causes for this type of issue is a clog in the system. Something is simply restricting the water flow from reaching the pump the way it should.

First, check your skimmer and the pump baskets to make sure that nothing is clogged in the system that could block the flow of water to your pump. Once you have checked these, you should check the pump impeller. Sometimes these can become clogged as well. Open up the pump and clear away any debris.

Another potential cause of this problem can be an air leak in the suction line. Since air has less mass compared to water, the pump will suck in air instead of water. Check the lines for leaks and patch any that you find.

3. The Motor Won’t Start or Turns Off

Nothing is more frustrating than dealing with a motor that won’t turn on or turns off after only a few minutes. The most common causes for these types of problems are electrical or heat.

If the motor won’t turn on, first check your breaker to make sure power is flowing like normal. If it is and it still won’t turn on, there is a good chance that you have an electrical problem in the motor. In this case you may want an electrician to check your lines before you have the electrical system of the motor checked.

If, on the other hand, the motor turns off after a few minutes, it could simply be a heat issue. Motors get hot and can easily overheat on a hot day. There are vents around the motor that can become clogged as well preventing air flow from dissipating the heat around the motor.

Clear out any clogs and you should be good to go. If it is really hot, you may need to provide your pump with a little shade just so it doesn’t overheat.

4. Your Pump Motor is Making Noise

Pump motors make some noise, that is unavoidable. However, there is such a thing as too much noise. If your motor is loud, first give it a listen to identify the type of sound it is making. If it is making a vibrating type of noise, then a simple rubber pad may do the trick. However, it could be cavitation.

This happens when the pump is starved for water. Check the lines for a clog and make sure there are no air leaks in your system. Once you do that you should be good to go.

If your pump is making a screaming noise, then you could have some bad bearings. Bearings are mounted on the pool motor shaft inside the motor itself. If these are starting to go, they will need to be replaced If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. .

While the parts are cheap, there is quite a bit of labor to complete the job, as the motor will have to be shut off, disconnected and then disassembled.

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5. The Pump Is Only Taking In Air

Your pump is supposed to take in water, and not air. In fact, they are supposed to be airtight. Now small air leaks are quite common in every pump system, but if the leaks become too large, the pump will only take in the air as it is lighter than water resulting in a pump that just doesn’t do its job.

The most common problems you will find when there is an air leak is a bad thread sealant where the pipe enters the pump, a leaky valve stem or even a break in the plumbing.

You can also find leaks around the pump lid O-ring If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. as well. If you want an easy test to find the leak, try using shaving cream. Spread the shaving cream in the areas that are most likely the cause of the leak.

If you see the foam start to dimple, you have just found your leak. Replace the defective parts and your problem will be solved.

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Don’t Forget the Pros

While we definitely believe most problems you can certainly troubleshoot and repair yourself, sometimes you may not have the skills needed in order to perform a proper repair of your pool pump. Don’t worry, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. We can’t all be Bob Vila.

If you can fix it and you have the tools you need to do it properly, by all means do it. However, if you are unsure of yourself or don’t think you can do it, by all means call in a professional.

After all, this is the heart of your pool’s plumbing system. If you aren’t confident in your ability, you could actually do more harm than good. Instead, call in a pool pro to take care of the repair the right way the first time.

Get That Pump Working Again

Your pool pump is at the heart of your pool’s plumbing system. Without it, your water will not circulate properly and get the cleaning it needs. If you are having a problem with your pump, try some of the fixes above to see if you can take care of it yourself. But if you can’t, don’t be afraid to call in a professional.

Your pool pump should always be in perfect working order if you hope to have your water cleaned properly during those warm months of the swim season. So make sure you check it regularly and if you notice any problems, do your best to fix them immediately. In the end you will be glad you did, as your pool will stay in tip top shape all summer long.

Happy Swimming!

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