When to Replace Your Pool Pump?
By Steven De Nazareth
Updated: June 5th, 2019
The pool pump is an essential piece of equipment that will keep your pool clean, hygienic and warm. If the pool pump malfunctions then there should be alternatives that should be done. There are a set of new generation pool pumps with automatic controls, safety features and these pumps could be self-repaired by owners.
But you should know that not all pool pump problems can be self-repaired. These are complicated problems and troubles that only experts could be trusted on these matters and especially with electrical aspects.
If there any sign of wear and tear, it should given notice before things get worse. Additionally piping system, electrical wiring and other accessories which should be checked regularly for mechanical and electrical troubles.
Types of Pools
- Above Ground Pools
These are typically lower head pump because the equipment is located very close to the pump and there is not much equipment on the pool.
- In Ground Pools
These pools have more equipment and longer piping runs and therefore need a medium or high-head pump
Here there is even more equipment and needs lots of flow of water. For this to work a fairly high-head pump is required
These waterfalls have very little equipment and requires lots of flow. In this set up feature pumps are typically low head pumps.
While most manufacturers estimate the service life of their pool pump motors at 8 to 10 years. To avoid common mistakes that pool owners do when troubleshooting a pump, you should know about the common problems:
Common Causes of Pool Pump Failures
Stock-Up or Defective Bearings
This is the most common trouble that pool pumps encounter. Bearings are vulnerable to shock, corrosion and vibration. The sound of the motor experience would have a whirring sound and this makes it time to replace the bearings.
You should replace both bearings, rear and front even if you find only one to be defective. Bearings are the most vulnerable parts of the motor as these are the ones that are subject to more stress than any other part of the pump system.
Impellers can also get clogged. This is especially if the water it is pumping is full of large debris that accidentally pass through the filter or strainer. Sand filters usually experience this problem. Sometimes, the impeller washer, nuts and diffuser bolts have loosened or worn out and these clogged the system.
Dehydrated Pump During Start-Up
Pool pumps should be run with enough water on the suction side. While some models are self-priming, there are others are primed manually. In case the motor is run without water on the system, this may over speed the motor shaft because it has no medium that will slow down the speed. The motor should be shut-off immediately to stop it from getting damaged further.
A short circuit occurs when there is a presence of fluid inside the motor’s windings. This water could have seeped in through during a whole night’s strong rain.
Oversize or Undersize Piping System
The common denominator in designing motor size in the regular pool so that the whole water in the pool is re-circulated within 8 hours. The standard size for piping is one to one and a half inches of the pipe for suction and discharge sides for family-size above ground swimming pools.
The size of plumbing system may be reduced by one size higher or lower when needed. This may not overwork the motor. Usually, this is done when the frequency of utilization of the pool. But experts have set this standard to compensate for the subsequent increase and decrease of users in the long run.
You should know that when a motor is overloaded, the motor is more likely to burn-out. Also, bad bearings could cause the stator to rotate unbalance which overheats the windings and burns the coils.
Burnt Motor Due to Negligence
There are times that this happens and it happens frequently. A pool pump rated at 120-volt but accidentally plugged into an outlet having a supply voltage of 220 volts. This is one among the many pool mistakes that owners make when installing power supply or testing a pump.
Dried Up Lubrication of Bearings
When the pool pump is seldom used, then the bearings need to be lubricated so that there is no build up of rust. There are new models in the market which have self-oiling and maintain the right lubricant to keep the bearings run smoothly in any weather. These types of never run dry of lubrication even when not used for long periods.
Unmatched Pump Assembly
Another mistake that pool owners make is matching a 1-hp motor to the 2-hp impeller or a 2-hp motor to a 1-hp impeller. While the drive assembly should have the same power as its counterpart to avoid unmatched parts which may cause unbalanced operation that may overheat or overload either part.
The flanges of the motor and pump must also match so that there is no leak and the gasket fits. The bolt holes on the flanges must also be matched each other to avoid pressure drop that may result from the gap. The pressure drop will prolong the continuous operation of the pump giving you higher electricity bill.
Translation Of Pump Types
These low-headed pumps are designed for high flow, at low-head pressures. Also, these pumps are used for waterfalls or water features, where there is little or no back pressure. These pumps normally run at 1725 RPM which makes them quiet and energy efficient.
These medium head pumps are the workhorses of the pool industry. When it comes to pumps, these are only for pools without spas. When you only need to circulate your pool’s water, especially on pools with one and a half inch or two inch plumbing, medium-head pumps are usually the right choice.
The pumps are necessary as pool designs became more complex. This when the pool pump is used for addition of spas and water features. This puts demand on pumps that they often cannot handle and this changed the market entirely.
Newer popular applications with spas, slides and other water features require pumps that can overcome higher head pressures and higher restriction to flow to provide the water necessary for proper operation.
Intelligent, Variable-speed Pool Pumps
Stepping your single-speed pool pump to an intelligent,variable speed pool pump with energy star rated. This can give you a energy savings of 90% every season. They can handle more complex pool applications, and because they’re intelligent, they adjust their speed automatically. You can also get a rebate from the utility company and the added benefits of saving money when the pumps are quieter and do a better job filtering the water of the pool.
Common Reasons Pump Issues
The Pool Pump is Leaking Water
A leak underneath the pool pump is caused by a pressure-side leak. This can be fixed by inspecting the impeller housing o-ring, shaft seal and replacing any worn, cracked o-rings or seals. But, before you take apart your pool pump, we recommend purchasing a go-kit. This not that expensive and it is the necessary parts needed to replace your worn o-rings and seals.
Pool Pump Basket Does Not Fill with Water
If your pump basket does not fill with water, you will have to prime the pump. This can be done in the following steps:
- Disconnect the power and move the diverter valve
- Ensure that there is no pressure by turning the air relief valve until the pressure reads zero
- Remove the pump lid and clean any debris from the pump basket,
- Fill it with water using a garden hose.
- Replace the pump lid and set the pool return to open on the diverter valve
- Switch the power back on and check to see if the water flow has returned to the strainer box.
- Wait until the water starts to come out of the relief valve, then close it. After about 1 minute, water should be flowing freely inside the strainer box (top of pump).
Pool Pump is Making a Humming Noise and will not Start
In case your pool pump does not start and you hear a humming noise, check you impeller for any debris. If debris starts to build, it can block the impeller and disable the pool pump. If you need to check the impeller, then you should power off the pump and remove the screws in the middle of the pump body.
After you remove the screws, you need to pull the assembly out of the housing and remove the gasket away from the impeller, remove any debris and re-assemble.
Pool Pump is Sucking in Air
To operate properly, pool pumps must be airtight. The pool pump will suck in air if there is a leak. The first thing you should check is the pump lid. If not on properly, the pump will suck in air and the pump will not be able to prime.
If that does not solve the problem you’ll want to check where the pipe enters the pump, the valve stem on any of the suction valves, the plumbing on the suction side of the pump (before the impeller), o-rings and gaskets.
You should look for cracks, leaks, loose or old fittings and see if you need to repair or replace them. If you still can’t find a leak, spray some shaving cream on to the areas listed above. The leak will draw the shaving cream in and leave a dimple.
Pool Pump Motor is not Working or Turning Off while Running
If your pump is not starting you need to check a few things to get it working well. First, you will have to check if the timer makes sure the pump is on. If the pump is on and you hear a humming noise then this could be because of a bad capacitor.
The capacitor is what starts the pump by giving it a jolt of electricity. You should replace the capacitor. It can still store power so be careful when you are replacing it. If your pump is old, you should consider replacing the motor instead.
If your pump does turn on, but loses power, this could be overheating. So what should you do? You should try running the pump during the night to avoid overheating. If this does not work, check the bottom vents of the motor to make sure there is nothing inhibiting the fan. If the problem persists, you’ll have to replace the pool motor or pool pump.
Flow Rate of the Pool Pump is Low
If the flow rate of the pump has dropped, you might want to make sure there is nothing blocking the flow of the pump or filter. This can be done by checking your filter gauge first. If you are above 10 psi over the clean reading specified by the manufacturer, you should clean the filter to reduce the pressure and reset the flow back to the pool pump.
Next, check your pump basket and impeller for debris that would be blocking water flow. To remove the impeller, turn the power off to the pump and remove the screws in the middle of the pump body. Once the screws have been removed, pull the assembly out of the housing and remove the gasket away from the impeller, remove any debris and re-assemble.
When To Repair
- You should repair when the bearings have a problem. This is easy to replace when you know the steps. This costs just a fraction of the price of the whole motor unit.
- If the cost of repair is only minimal. In this case, when it comes to bearing replacement, shaft seal should also be replaced if damaged or worn out.
- You should repair when the impeller is only stock up and not broken or deformed.
- If there is a totally wrecked impeller then there is serious clogging and this needs replacement.
When to Replace
- If the motor has passed its expected life and then it encounters serious trouble.
- You can upgrade a current design which is not appropriate anymore due to increase number of pool users and increase the frequency of maintenance.
- If a similar problem occurs to often after changes are made.
- When you are not satisfied with the pump’s performance
- In case of a burnt motor, rewinding is also an option only if there is no damage to the motor shaft, motor housing and other essential internal parts of the motor. These damages may result from the burn-out and needed the additional cost to repair.
- If the problem is beyond repair and cost of repair is more than buying a new one.
Check out these amazing swimming pool remodeling ideas when are about to change you pool pump.
Why Own a Home Warranty?
Are you scared that your home warranty appliances and systems require constant repair? More than the fear of appliances breaking down is the fact that the it would be eating into your savings. Missing parts and other complexities would also come along with it. This is reason enough for you to buy into a home warranty and ensure that your home warranty company would fix all repairs and make the required replacements.
Why go anywhere else, when you are signed up with HomeWarrantyReviews.com. As a reader, you can come across several insightful articles, reviews done by people just like you and use several tools like the home maintenance calculator and the mortgage calculator.
Find it Hard to Decide?
In time, this will help you decide if you should buy into a home warranty. With a home warranty, all your problems will fall on the home warranty company when it comes to repairs and replacements of appliances and systems.
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Don’t forget that a home warranty is not the same as a home insurance. While a home insurance looks to mitigate problems caused by calamities like floods and fire, a home warranty works to ensure that all your covered appliances and systems work like clockwork all-year-round.
DIY pool pump replacement involves the cost of the replacement pool pump, which can run from $150 to $800 or more depending on the type. When hiring a professional, the cost includes the price of labor, which is an additional $80 to $200.
Pool pump motors typically last about 8-10 years before needing either rebuilding or replacing.
The main difference between inground and aboveground pool pumps is that inground pumps are “self-priming”, and aboveground pumps are not. Can you use an aboveground pool pump on an inground pool? Sure you can, as long as the pump is at or below the pool water level, and you have a very small pool.
A loss of prime will cause the pump to run dry which you never want to do. If the pump has no water to pull from the skimmer, it will draw air instead and lose prime which leads to running dry. At the least, this will ruin the motor shaft seal which is what prevents water from getting inside the motor.
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