Swimming Pool Blog
by Sean Griffin, January 31, 2012
Top 3 Pool Pump Problems
The main pool pump is the heart of the necessary filtration process for your swimming pool. If your pool pump fails your pool water will be stagnant and you will soon develop water chemistry problems. To avoid costly chemicals and costly repairs, address your swimming pool pumps problems in a timely manner and repair! If you have an outdated pool pump beyond repair there are many cost effective and eco friendly options when you decide to replace your old pool pump!
Pool Pump not turning on?
Whether you are operating your main pool pump via time-clock, on/off switch, or simply the electrical breaker you will notice the pump not working almost instantly. The first step when this occurs is determining where the power is dropped. You can test the time-clock or the terminals located within the motor housing to confirm you are receiving the correct voltage at the pool pump. If the necessary volts are not making it to the pool pump you will want to trace the “power drop” back to the source. No sense in fiddling with the pool pump if you suffer from a bad time clock mechanism or a breaker gone bad.
Once you’ve determined the correct power is being delivered to the motor you will want to examine the pumps internals and confirm that the shaft spins freely. Older motors can become seized due to rust and weathering. If the motor is seized you will want to consider swapping out the motor. If the shaft of the motor spins freely and when you turn power onto the pump only to hear a low whining it is most likely a bad capacitor. The motor capacitor is like a car battery, the stored energy inside a capacitor helps get the motor up to the correct RPM’s. Without a functional capacitor the motor will never turn on. You can check the capacitor with a meter but because most run and start capacitors run you under $20 most pool guys will simply swap out the capacitor if the motor shaft is unrestricted.
Another common issue with a pool motor only switching on for a short period of time is associated with an internal heat sensor designed to prevent the motor from reaching combustible temperatures. If your motor only runs briefly and kicks off it may have reached a temperature that fused the thermal overload preventing operation. When replacing the motor ensure you have determined the correct horsepower along with the correct service factor.
Pool Pump leaking?
Pool plumbing is normally designed to be a closed plumbing loop. No water should be leaking from anywhere in the plumbing cycle including the pool pump. Swimming pool pump designs incorporates separately molded components that interface using o-rings and gaskets. The most common of pool pump leaks are due to a rubber o-ring or paper gasket that has worn over time. Replacing these gaskets will be relatively simple.
A more elusive leak will be along the shaft of the motor. Any drip will come from the lowest point on the pump which can sometimes disguise this very common leak. The shaft of the motor that runs through the pool pump and turning the impellor is sealed watertight with use of a mechanical shaft seal. This ceramic seal can be prematurely damaged due to bad water chemistry, pump overheating, or improper replacement. If your pool pump has a leak and you are going to be breaking it down you will want to have a pump Go-Kit for that particular model which will contain both the mechanical shaft seal as well as common o-rings that deteriorate.
Some pool pump leaks are not so obvious. If your pool pump has ever overheated make sure all plastic molded components have not warped or developed a hairline crack. Any pool pump leak is typically an air leak as well when the pool pump is off. Air getting into the pool plumbing loop will put extra strain on your pool pump and can cause the pump to continually loose prime.
Pool Pump not pulling water?
So you’ve determined your pool pump has no leaks and is electrically sound but still you can’t catch prime and begin circulating the pool water? Even though newer pool pumps claim to be self-priming you will still want to fill the pump strainer housing to add your pool pump. Before turning on your pool pump that is full of water make sure some of the obvious obstructions are not present. Confirm all valving is open correctly. To begin drawing in water you may want to isolate a particular line (usually a skimmer that is closer in distance to the pool pump).
Make sure that your skimmer is free from debris or other obstructions. Once you have followed the designated plumbing line back to the pool you can turn on the pool pump and visually inspect to see if the pre-filled water has been sucked through the pump.
If water stays trapped in the housing of the pump you may be dealing with a clogged impeller issue. A clogged impeller can be remedied by breaking down the pump and cleaning the individual channels with a small hand tool or piece of wire.
If you have confirmed there is no plumbing obstruction and suspect there may be a air leak somewhere in the plumbing you can force water through the plumbing using a portable pump to put pressure on the plumbing to locate any suction leak.
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