Your swimming pool pump is an integral part of your pool, but what happens when it malfunctions or isn’t working at all? The fact is, a pool pump not working is a common occurrence, and it can sometimes be a cause for concern. Your pump is the heart of your pool’s circulation system. Without a properly functioning pump, you cannot efficiently filter the water or circulate the pool chemicals – which means your water won’t get clean. Dirty pool water is an invitation for algae and bacteria growth. If you find yourself in this situation, your first instinct may be to call a professional. But it may be worth taking a little time to investigate first. It’s possible you may be able to remedy your broken pool pump yourself.
Different Types of Problems With a Pool Pump
The daily use of your swimming pool’s pump, combined with summer heat, the vibration of the equipment, and general moisture, can eventually cause problems with your pool pump. The issues that can arise are varied, so the first thing to do is identify the symptoms, so to speak. Some of the most common problems pool owners encounter include:
- the pump does not turn on
- the pump turns on but quickly shuts off
- your pump makes strange sounds
- the pump has flow problems
- your pump loses prime
- the pump runs hot
- the pool pump is leaking
We will look through some of the causes of these problems so you can determine the best course of action for repairs.
Diagnosing Your Issue
Although there are a variety of symptoms you may be experiencing, the reason your pool pump is not working comes down to a few common issues.
Silence is not golden when it comes to your swimming pool pump. If you turn on the pump and hear no sound at all, or the pump turns on but shuts off immediately or within a few minutes, there is probably an electrical or power supply issue that you need to check.
Many pool pump problems, such as strange noises, an overheating pump, or an inability to prime, are due to mechanical issues or faulty equipment. For instance, old or rusted bearing and shaft seals may cause screeching noises or overheating. Cracks and leaks in the plumbing or a leaking pump can also cause issues, so it is essential to check the pump and equipment for cracks, rust, or otherwise worn-out pieces.
If you find yourself asking why is my pool pump humming and not working, you are not alone. Unfortunately, this is a common problem. When you hear a humming sound but the pump does not actually turn on, you may have a clogged impeller. Clogs in other areas can be an issue too, and may even cause your pump to lose prime. This is why it is essential to get debris out of the water as quickly as possible.
6 Steps to Fix Your Pool Pump
Once you have considered the symptoms and probable causes, you can determine if it is something you can fix yourself. In some cases, though, you will need to call in a professional for repairs.
1. Check Your Power Supply and Electrical Connections
Electrical problems are common and often the source of the pump not turning or shutting off after a few minutes. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself to get started:
- Have you checked the breakers? Check to see if the breaker has tripped. A quick flip of the switch may be all you need! If it keeps tripping, however, you may want to compare your pump’s voltage to the capacity of the outlet.
- Are the wires in good shape? Make sure the breaker is off for this and then check all cables, wires, and electrical connections. Sometimes they come loose or get chewed by rodents.
- Is your timer set? If your pump is automatic, ensure the timer is set properly and that you are within operating times. This is a common reason for a pool pump not starting.
- Was the pump recently installed? If so, a pump that shuts off immediately may indicate a voltage problem, similar to a tripped breaker. Unless you are confident in your electrical skills, this fix will require an electrician.
- Is the pump wired directly to the breaker? Your breaker was not designed to be used as an on-off switch and could be wearing out. You will want to speak to an electrician about a motor starting switch.
2. Check Water Levels
Low water level is one of the top reasons that pool pumps suck in air and fail to run correctly. The water level should be about halfway up the skimmer’s “mouth”. If it is not, add water to the pool until it reaches the appropriate level. If you find low water levels to be a frequent problem with your pool, you should check for leaks or excessive evaporation and repair/adjust accordingly. Otherwise, if no “fixable” problem exists, you may want to get an automatic water level device. It will ensure proper water levels at all times.
3. Look for Clogs
Clogs can cause a host of problems, from low water flow to a blocked impeller to an overheated pump.
When too much debris gets caught in the impeller, it cannot get the jumpstart it needs. Therefore, you will need to clean the impeller so that it can run properly.
- First, turn off the power source.
- Remove the screws in the middle of the body of the pump and pull the motor out.
- Remove the gasket, which is an O-shaped rubber seal.
- Clear out the debris (you may need to use a wire).
- Reinstall the parts and you should be up and running again in no time!
Also, be sure to check your pump baskets, skimmer baskets, and pump lines to clear debris, as this will help water flow.
Then, check to see if your filters need to be cleaned, as this can cause low water flow. Finally, hose off your filter cartridge or backwash your sand filter for an easy fix.
4. Replace the Capacitor
You likely have a capacitor problem if you still hear a humming noise but see no obvious clogs or blockage. You will probably need to replace it because otherwise, the pump will not get the start it needs. If your pump is older, you may determine it is time to replace the entire unit. However, you can use this time to choose and install a more energy-efficient pool pump, which will save you in the long run, so this is not necessarily a bad thing.
5. Replace Bearings
If you are dealing with a screeching sound, take a look at the bearings. They are mounted on the motor and reduce friction as the motor shaft spins. If you have rusted or worn-out bearings, they will need to be replaced. You can try to use a hammer to tap the top of the motor casing to loosen rust build-up inside the motor. Still, you will need a special bearing puller and different bearing sizes. If you are handy, give it a try before calling in a professional.
6. Search for Leaks
Low water flow can also be a result of a leak. Above ground leaks are typically visible around the pipes that come from your pool pump. Some plumbing work can usually fix this issue. To spot underground leaks, look for pools or puddles of water that seemingly appear from nowhere. You will need the help of a professional to fix this problem, though.
Water leaking from the actual pump is often caused by a connection issue between the body of the pump and the motor. Most likely, the mechanical seal is failing. You should replace a degrading mechanical seal immediately before water flows into the pump motor.
You need a working pump to keep your pool clean.
A clean pool is a fun pool, and a functioning pool pump is critical for a clean pool. Now that you know the most common reasons for a pool pump not working, you can be proactive about preventing these issues. As it turns out, clogs are a frequent culprit for many of the problems you may be facing, from weird noises to low water flow. Fortunately, you can help reduce clogs and debris build-up by regularly cleaning your pool with a quality pool rake each day. Removing leaves, twigs, insects, and other debris from the water will prevent it from jamming skimmer baskets or pump lines, blocking filters, or impeding the impeller. Quality pool tools make it easier to get through a tedious task. That is why we offer a lifetime guarantee to ensure you always have the best pool tools available. To learn more about our products or speak to a professional about maintaining your pool, contact us today. We are happy to discuss the best and worst things to do with pool tools and share our pool maintenance tips with you.
Disclaimer: Pool ownership and maintenance is very complicated, and we know every situation is unique. While we’ve done our best to cover the best practices here, we encourage you to reach out to ProTuff directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any specific questions you may have.