A pool pump not working is the last thing you want for your swimming circulation system. When the pool water is not moving, that’s when things start to get nasty; debris floating all over and algae turn your pool green. Assuming yours stopped working, the first question that will come to your mind is why my pool pump is not working?
If your pool pump has stopped working, there are a series of things that might be causing the problem. It might be:
- An electrical problem
- Loss of suction or low water flow rate
- Pump sucking in air
- Air in the system or leaks, and
- Worn out pump parts such as the impeller or bearing
Those are the most common problems that may be causing your pump to stop working. Understanding how to troubleshoot them can help you know where to start when you find yourself in such a position. This post will take you through them and steps on how to troubleshoot your not-working pool pump.
Why is Pool Pump Not Working? How to Troubleshoot It
Your pool pump is the heart of your pool circulation system. So it has to operate correctly when you need it. But, like any other mechanical device out there, it’s prone to problems.
The good news is, if you have a pool pump problem, you can troubleshoot it yourself. Here are the ways to troubleshoot pool pump not working:
Problem 1: Pump Not Starting or Shuts Down While Running
If your pool pump started well the last time you run it, but now nothing is happening, or when it starts, it stops almost immediately, you may have an electrical problem.
Run to the breaker box and make sure the pump’s breaker circuit isn’t tripped or blown. If it’s tripped, switch it on. If blown, you’ve to replace it.
If everything is okay, check for loose connections or damages in the extension. If uncertain of how to do this, it’d be best to hire a qualified electrician to help you out.
If the motor overheats, the pump will shut off almost instantly. If that’s the case, it could be an overloaded circuit.
Check for the voltage getting to the pump using a multimeter. Also, check the motor vents to make sure they are clear and nothing is blocking them.
If the power reaches the motor, but the motor shaft isn’t rotating, check to see if debris is jamming the motor.
If the pump starts but not at full speed and there’s a humming noise, you may have a faulty capacitor. Be careful as a capacitor carries a load of electricity.
If uncertain how to test it, it’d be best to have it checked by a professional.
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Problem 2: The Pump Runs But Doesn’t Pump, or It’s Low Flow Rate
If your pool pump starts, runs, but it doesn’t pump, or it has a low flow, there is a problem with the pump’s suction, or something is interrupting the water flow.
There may be something blocking the water flow, the pool filter is dirty, or there’s too much air in the pool circulation system.
If something is blocking the water flow, the best place to check is the filter gauge. If the PSI is above the expected reading (10 PSI), check the filter.
The most obvious culprit is dirty filter media. Clean it by backwashing (sand or DE filter) or remove the cartridge and give it a nice cleansing.
The next stop would be the pump basket and impeller. When there is debris in these two components, the pool pump might stop pumping or reduce the flow rate. Remove any blockage in them to free the water flow.
If there is air in your pool circulation system, it might be coming from the skimmer or a leak. If the water level is too low, air can seep through to the pipes below the skimmer door. The same could happen if the skimmer filled up with debris.
How do you do it? Start by priming your pump. Then, shutting it off and fill its basket with water before turning it back on.
Next, make sure the water level is halfway up the skimmer, and empty/clean the skimmer basket to ensure no debris is left.
Check for leaks by walking around the visible pool plumbing system, especially around the joints. If you find any drips or the ground wetting, there is a leak or a crack near the spot.
Pumphouse might also be leaking. Check for broken or missing seals that need replacing, such as the impeller housing, O-rings, shaft seal, or thread sealant.
Problem 3: Your Pool Pump Sucking in Air
The pool pump must be entirely airtight to maintain the suction needed to keep it primed and allow proper water sucking.
If the pump sucks air into the housing, there will be a pumping problem. It could be caused by a faulty thread sealant, an air leak in the suction, a crack in the pump housing, a leaking valve stem, or a plumbing issue on the pump suction side.
One of the best ways to find a leak is to use a regular dishwasher and mix it with water to get some bubbles. Then, spread the bubbles over the suspected area. If they get sucked in, there is a crack or broken seal and need replacing.
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Problem 4: The Pool Pump Making a Lot of Noise
Is your pool pump rattling or making cracking noise? If it is, it might be getting low water flow. It would be best if you improved it by clearing any debris that might be blocking the suction line. Also, check for any leaks in the system.
If the sound is more of a high-pitch screech, the pump might have bad bearings requiring replacing. Again, you can do it yourself, but only if you know what you’re doing.
If you don’t have any experience taking the pool pump apart and replacing parts, I would recommend you hire a professional to do the repairs.
Problem 5: Pump Basket Not filling With water
If all the above aren’t the cause of your pump not working, there is the possibility your pump basket isn’t filling with water. It needs to have enough water for the pump to have enough suction. The basket not filling with water could leak, clogged filter, or a dirty pump basket.
The best way to troubleshoot the problem is to start by checking the water level in the pool skimmer. It needs to be halfway above the skimmer.
The next stop is the pump basket to check for debris. While doing so, remember to shut the pump off and open the clear cover.
When closing the cover, check the pump basket lid O-ring. It has to offer a good seal. Make sure it has no cracks. If there are, it needs replacing. You can also apply some silicon pool lube to the O-ring and place it back and secure the pump’s drain plug.
If none of those seem to be the culprit, use the shaving cream test to check for air leaks in all the obvious places like pipe joints, valves, and plugs.
If none of the above is the culprit, check the filter gauge to ensure it’s within the normal range. If the PSI is above the normal range, there is a problem – likely; your filter needs cleaning. Backwash it if it’s a DE or a sand filter, or remove the cartridge and give it a nice cleaning.
If you have done this and the basket doesn’t fill, there might be a leak. Use the dishwasher soap method to check for leaks along the suction line. Pout the bubbles around the suspected spot; if they get sucked in, then there’s a leak that needs fixing.
How Can You Tell When Your Pool Pump Is Going Bad
You might have done all the above, solved the problem, and got your pool pump running again. However, it won’t last forever; you’ll need to give up all the repairs and replace them at some stage. But how do you tell it’s time to get a new pool pump?
Continuous Low Filter Pressure Gauge Readings
If your pool filter is clean, but you’re always getting low readings from its pressure gauge even after cleaning the skimmer and the pump strainer, there is the possibility your pump impeller is wearing out.
You can replace it, but with time, the bearing and other internal parts will wear out too. So take a precaution and start saving for a new pump.
Constant Pump Leaking
If you checked for leaks and found your pump leaking, tried checking the O-ring, but nothing is improving; the water is still dripping even when the pump is off, the seal on your pump motor shaft is worn out. Replacing it can be costly, and finding the repair parts can be a challenge.
Pump Losing Prime Constantly
If your pool pump is losing suction constantly even after troubleshooting the possible issues or starts pumping, and after a day it loses suctions, it might be time to start thinking of getting a new one. There is a possibility it has reached the end of its prime life.
Pool Pump Not Working – Try This
If your pool pump is not working, check if there is an electrical problem. If everything is okay, check the water level to make sure it’s halfway up the skimmer. Also, check the filter gauge to make sure it’s in the ideal range. Clean the pump and skimmer basket. Check for leaks and replace worn-out O-rings.
All these steps can get your pump working again. If nothing improves, it’d be best to hire a professional to troubleshoot it. Be prepared to get a new pump as it could mean the unit has done its best and needs replacement.