Swimming Pool Blog

Pool Cover Pump Care & Maintenance

Pool Cover Pump Care & Maintenance
by Mark Garcia November 29, 2013

Maintaining a Swimming Pool Cover Pump

submersible pool cover pumpsSubmersible pumps, used for pool covers, are an important piece of winter pool equipment. Used on automatic pool covers and on solid winter pool covers, their main purpose is three-fold.

1). To keep the water pumped off of the pool cover, so that the weight of the water doesn't weaken the pool cover.

2). To prevent a large volume of water from pulling a solid cover with water bags into the pool.

3). To maintain a higher level of safety, and prevent drowning of small children and animals.

Today's blog post is how to maintain your pool cover pump, to get the longest life from your investment.

There are a lot of 'horror stories' out there, if you read some of the reviews on submersible pool cover pumps. For some poor pool owners, their cover pump barely lasts a season, and for others even less than that.

Here's 5 Tips to get more life out of your pool cover pump.

  1. Don't run it on automatic. Plug it in when you need to, and unplug it before it starts sucking air.
  2. Remove the pump from the cover, and don't run the pump at below freezing temperatures.
  3. Keep the cover clean around the pump to reduce debris getting trapped in the impeller.
  4. Clean the strainer guard (and impeller if necessary) as needed.
  5. Don't carry or swing a cover pump by the cord. Pull it off the cover by the hose, not the cord.

Don't run it on automatic? But I must - I have to - that's why I bought an AUTOMATIC cover pump in the first place! I know, I know - but the problem with some automatic cover pumps is that they power-on every 3 minutes to check if there is water. If not, they power-down.

Little Giant cover pumps, specifically the Water Wizard, have a better method, using a float that attaches to the side of the pump, similar to a toilet bowl float, I suppose. When the float rises, the pump turns on, and when the float lowers to the bottom, the pump shuts off. Little Giant cover pumps, like the Water Wizard, also have the option of running it on manual, or on automatic - giving you a choice.

 Many pool owners that use a solid pool cover, requiring a cover pump will opt to purchase one of the smaller cover pumps, such as those that pump only 350 gallons per minute, or 500 gpm, much less than the Rule pump or the Little Giant pump mentioned above, which can pump 1800 gpm and 1200 gpm, respectively. cheap pool cover pumps

My personal opinion is that these cheap cover pumps are every bit as useful as the larger cover pumps, and just as reliable - they just take longer to pump off the water. Don't think that you need the most powerful cover pump, or that you need to spend a lot of money on a submersible water pump for your pool cover, you just need something that will do the job in a reasonable amount of time.

However, if you are using the cover pump on top of an automatic pool cover, your community may have an ordinance in place that requires an automatic cover pump, or at least when you purchase an automatic pool cover pump, that is what comes with the cover. Switching to a manual cover pump may mean that you need to delay your swimming if you come upon your auto cover that is full of rain water.

Rule pumps or Little Giant pumps?

Now, I don't normally make specific product recommendations on this blog at the expense of others, but if you are trying to choose a submersible pump for your pool or pool cover, and having trouble choosing between the Rule pumps and Little Giant pumps, I would steer you toward the latter. I have had good experiences with both, but have seen better long term performance from the Little Giant pumps.

If you don't need a high volume submersible water pump, and don't care if it's automatic, you can expect good performance from one of our smaller and cheaper submersible pumps. They can last for years, especially if you follow the 5 tips for swimming pool cover pumps that I laid out above.

Parts for Pool Cover Pumps

Little Giant Cover pump replacement partsUnfortunately, parts are hard to come by for submersible pool cover pumps. There are a few out there, but not many. There are some repairs that can be made to pool cover pumps, using zip-ties, paper clips and duct tape, but there are very few replacement parts available. We do have a supply of Little Giant pump parts - I dare say the largest collection available. But these are mostly external parts - screws, bases, volutes. Nothing internal is available for replacement. The manufacturer considers their cover pumps to be 'non-serviceable'.


Thanks for Reading!
Mark Garcia

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