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Pool Pump Not Working? Here are some Troubleshooting Tips


A pool pump motor is rugged and well-designed. A new pool pump can last a good 8 to 10 years. Though your pool pump won’t last forever, there are instances when there will be problems encountered during its lifetime. Apart from a pool losing water faster than it should be, pool pump issues are one of the most common problems pool owners experience. Though you will need a pool professional to fix major pool pump problems, you can solve the most common problems yourself if you know some basic swimming pool repair skills. Whether you have variable speed pumps or primary pool pumps, here are some troubleshooting tips to address common pool pump issues.

Signs That Your Pool Pump Is Not Doing Well

If you encounter these three issues during your swimming pool maintenance checks, your pool pump will need repairs immediately. Here are three of the most common signs that your pool pump is in trouble:

  1. Your Pool Pump is leaking

One of the items we discuss in how to fix a pool leak is a leak around the pump area. However, if there is water that is constantly dripping from your pool pump despite being turned off, your pump lid o ring, or seal on the motor shaft is worn.

  1. Your filter pressure gauge has low readings

The usual suspects for this issue are a clogged skimmer basket or a clogged strainer basket. However, if you are still getting low filter pressure gauge readings, your impeller may be worn.

  1. The pool pump can’t reach its prime

If your pool pump can’t reach the proper suction pressure after doing all troubleshooting, your pool pump will need replacement.

Troubleshooting Tips for Common Pool Pump Problems

Not that you detect common pool pump issues, let us go into the details of the usual pool pump problems:

  1. The Pool Pump Motors Fail To Turn On

The most common causes for a pump’s motor to turn on are its power source or the pump motor being jammed. For power source issues, check the breaker box if there are blown fuses. If the fuses are OK, check your electrical connections for open circuits or loose wiring. If the motor overheats right after starting, you have an overloaded circuit. Check your wire sizes or wired for the proper voltage to prevent this. Check your capacitors if your pool pump is not cranking.

Check your motor for debris and clear them. However, if your pump motor shaft won’t rotate, you may need new bearings. In that case, a professional should help you with this.

  1. Leaking Pool Pump

If you have water constantly dripping from your pool pump, the pump will need repairs. The most common causes of a leaky pump are:

  • A bad shaft seal.
  • A bad sealant for the thread. 
  • A bad o-ring in the impeller housing.

These are easy to inspect and replace yourself. The materials you need are affordable and available from pump repair professionals or online.

  1. The Pool Pump Isn’t Pumping Despite Running

If your pool pump has lost its prime despite being relatively new, something interrupts the water flow or suction line for your pool pump to function properly. The first things to check are obstructions, such as a dirty pool filter or air leak in the plumbing system.

Air leaks could come through the skimmer caused by poor water levels or a dirty strainer basket. Leaking o-rings could also let in air leaks. Clean your skimmer basket and maintain the swimming pool water level to fix this problem. Check the o-rings in the pump housing if they look damaged. Lastly, check your pump impeller if it is clogged.

  1. Pump Noise

By now, you should be used to the regular pool pump sounds. The most common causes of pump noise are cavitation or bad bearings. However, if you hear either a screeching noise, it could be bad bearings. If your pump has a more rhythmic noise, instead of the humming noise you are used to hearing, it could be cavitation causing it.

Clearing a clogged filter or any clogs in the plumbing line can solve most pool pump cavitation issues. However, air leaks also cause cavitation. Fixing bad bearings is more challenging and will require a professional’s help.

  1. The Pool Pump Basket Isn’t Filling

If your pool pump basket isn’t filling, the most common cause is the pump is sucking air. However, it could also be caused by a poorly maintained filter system or a pump basket.

Start by cleaning the pump basket and the filter. If the problem persists, there should be a leak.

The leak could come from your skimmer if the water level is less than halfway up. Your skimmer basket lid O ring could also have a bad seal. To ensure a good seal, using a 100% silicone pool lube in the o-ring can help seal the leak. Check for leaky valve stem or other leaks by placing shaving cream on suspected areas.

  1. The Pump is Sucking Air

To ensure a proper water flow, a pump should be watertight and sealed. If your pool pump has an air leak, it won’t be able to be primed properly. The most common suspects are:

  • A leaky valve stem.
  • Leaks on the suction side of the pool pump.
  • A crack in the pump.
  • An air leak in the suction line.
  • A bad thread sealant.

A shaving cream test can help you determine the exact location of the leak. Since a leak near the pump housing or the pool pump itself is a sensitive job for pool owners, asking a pool pump professional to work on the complicated pump assembly isn’t a bad idea to prevent damaging your pump.

Takeaways: Regular Pool Care Goes a Long Way

Aside from learning how to fix a pool leak, basic pool pump troubleshooting can save you money on pool maintenance costs. However, if you want to help ensure that your pool pump runs perfectly for years, practicing regular pool care can help prevent most causes of pump failure. Regular filter cleaning, skimmer basket, and pump strainer cleaning can help avoid two or three significant causes of pump problems. Call us at (480) 999-9226 for regular pool maintenance needs or contact us to request a quote.

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