How to Know if Your Pool Pump Needs Repair or Replacement

How to Know if Your Pool Pump Needs Repair or Replacement (Update 2019)

When to replace your pool pump

The pool pump is an important piece of equipment needed to keep your pool water clean, warm and hygienic. Once the pool pump malfunctioned or worst, it burns out, there are alternatives that could be done.

A new generation of pool pumps coming out of the market are equipped with automatic controls, safety features and could be self-repaired by owners for simple problems. There are various video instructions proliferating in the Internet of DIY’s regarding pool pump repairs.

But not all motor or pump troubles should be self-repaired. There are sometimes complicated problems and troubles that only experts could be trusted on these matters, especially on the electrical aspects.

Any sign of tear and wear should be given notice so as not to make them worst. Additionally, piping system; electrical wiring and other accessories (such as a heater, chlorinator, skimmer, etc.) should be checked regularly for possible mechanical or electrical troubles.

Most manufacturers estimate the service life of their pool pump motors at 8-10 years. To avoid common mistakes that pool owners do when troubleshooting their pump, here are some of the most frequent pump problems.

Common Causes of Pool Pump Failures

• Stock–up or defective bearings

This is the most common trouble pool pumps always encounter. Bearings are vulnerable to shock, vibration, and corrosion. Once the sound of the motor experience abnormality, like a whirring sound, it’s time to replace the bearings.

It is customary to replace both bearings (rear and front) if you find only one bearing (which is always the case) to be defective. Bearings are the most vulnerable parts of the motor as these are the ones that are subject to more stress than any other part of the pump system.

• Stock-up impeller

Impellers are also vulnerable to clogging, especially if the water it is pumping is full of large debris that may accidentally pass through the strainer or filter. Sand filter seldom experienced this phenomenon.
Sometimes, the impeller washer, nuts and diffuser bolts have loosened or worn out and these clogged the system (in addition to large debris such as pieces of leaves, etc.).

• Dehydrated pump during start-up

Pumps should be run with enough water (called priming) on its suction side. Some pump models are self-priming while some are primed manually. In case the motor is run without water on the system, this may over speed the motor shaft because it has no medium that may slow down the speed. The motor should be shut-off immediately to avoid further damage to the system.

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This over speeding may cause the motor to overheat and burnt-out the windings if not corrected immediately.

• Short circuit

A short circuit occurs when there is the presence of fluid (such as water) inside the motor’s windings. This water (possibly from worn out shaft seal, bad O-rings and defective gaskets) that may seep through during a whole night’s strong rain.

• Oversize or undersize piping system

The common denominator in designing motor size in the regular pool is that the whole water in the pool should be re-circulated within 8 hours. The standard size for piping is 1 to 1-1/2 inches of pipe for suction and discharge sides for family-size above ground swimming pools.

The size of plumbing system may be reduced by one size higher or lower when needed. This may not overwork the motor. This is seldom done when considering the frequency of utilization of the pool. But experts have set this standard to compensate for the subsequent increase and decrease of users in the long run.

• Overheated Motor

When a motor is overloaded (such as sudden increase in ampere reading or sudden surge of grid current, over speeding due to dehydration, bad-bearings and short-circuits, etc.), the motor is more likely to burn-out. Bad bearings/s may cause the stator to rotate unbalance which overheats the windings and consequently burning the coils.

• Burnt Motor Due to Negligence

Yes, this frequently happens. A pool pump rated at 120-volt but accidentally plugged into an outlet having a supply voltage of 220 volts. This is one of the common mistakes that pool owners or other users do when installing power supply or testing the pump.

• Dried up Lubrication of Bearings

Bearings also need lubrication so as not to build up rust, especially when the pool and the pump are seldom used. There are new models of pool pumps that are now in the market which are self-oiling and maintain the right lubricant to keep the bearings run smoothly in any weather.

These types never run dry of lubrication even when not used for long periods. But they have also limited the time period and requires a minimum of maintenance. Better check your Owner’s Manual for instructions.

• Unmatched Pump Assembly

This is also one of the mistakes committed by pool owners: matching a 1-hp motor to the 2-hp impeller or a 2-hp motor to a 1-hp impeller. The drive assembly should have the same power as its counterpart to avoid unmatched parts which may cause unbalanced operation that may overheat or overload either part.

The flanges (of the motor and pump) must also match so that gasket fits and no leak should be observed. The bolt holes on the flanges must also be matched each other to avoid pressure drop that may result from the gap. The pressure drop will prolong the continuous operation of the pump giving you higher electricity bill.
How to Know if Your Pool Pump Needs Repair or Replacement

• Worn out Mechanical Seal

Some pumps are sealed with this type of seal placed in series with the impeller; this wears out with frequent use.

Repair or Replace the Motor?

Choosing between repair and replacement for your pump motor or the entire assembly is one of the hardest parts to tackle. The decision literally rests upon your shoulders. But this article will help you to decide without hesitation on how to choose between repair and replacement. If you’re not super technical and don’t want to spend hours on fixing your pool pump, we recommend buying a new pool pump since you can get great pumps for an affordable price tag.

When to Repair

• When bearings are only the problem. These are easy to replace when you know the steps. As we have stated before, there are videos online that will teach you the proper way. Furthermore, you could hire experts to do this for you. Bearings cost only a fraction of the price for a whole motor unit.

• If the cost of repair is only minimal. In the case of bearing replacement, shaft seal may also be replaced if damaged or already worn out.

• When the impeller is only stock up and not deformed or broken.

• In the case of total wrecked impeller due to serious clogging, this part is only the one needing replacement.

When to Replace

• If the motor had passed its expected life when it encounters serious trouble.

• When you want an upgrade and current design is not appropriate anymore due to increase number of pool users and increase the frequency of maintenance.

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• If same trouble occurs too often after reparations.

• When you are totally unsatisfied with your current pump’s performance and efficiency.

• In case of a burnt motor, rewinding is also an option only if there is no damage to the motor shaft, motor housing and other essential internal parts of the motor. These damages may result from the burn-out and needed the additional cost to repair.

• If the problem is too much and the cost may likely exceed the price of a new one, like a burnt motor with deformed impeller or damage diffuser, etc.

Lack of Knowledge about Motors

Judging the performance of your pool pump is not rocket science or you need not to be an electrical engineer or an expert to make a decision. The signs are there and they only need to be analyzed to make a smart decision.

In fact, more than 60% of pool owners in the United States have decided to upgrade their pump system as their family and their friends who use the pool grow and increase over time. This also entails an upgrade in motor capacity.

Compare Prices and Benefits of Replacing Old Motor

A brand new motor, whether for replacement or initial use is the best for your pool. If you are a new pool owner, definitely everything must be brand new.
But if budget constraints do not allow you to, make sure that your second-hand equipment is in good running condition, lest they will only give you a headache and cost you more in the long run.

In the olden days, if the cost of repair is more than 57% of the cost of a brand new one, it is more economical to buy the latter (brand new). However, now there are shops that offer advanced repair technology that matches the efficiency of the original. But they vary in cost.

The motor pumps of today are more energy efficient (EE) unlike before. Better check out the real cost of repair (spare parts, service, etc.) so you may know if replacement is cost-effective enough.

Check Warranties

All manufacturers of pool pumps generally warrant their products in the limited time period. Moreover, the majority of manufacturers have 1-year warranty on the unit, barely some offer much longer.
In order to have the warranty honored by the manufacturers, the unit should be free from tampering or remained un-opened (motor and pump) during the duration of the warranty period. Even reparations are covered by warranties issued by the repair shop.

One of the common mistakes pool owners do during the warranty period is replacing the shaft seal. The warranty offered by the manufacturer is voided when there is seal failure.

That’s why if your unit is brand new and experienced abnormality within the prescribed period, better to report it to your dealer. Never try to fix the problem yourself or open up (or disassemble) any part of the pump or motor, otherwise, the warranty will be forfeited. The same goes for repairs.


Pool owners who upgrade their pool pumps and other accessories will surely have a higher initial cost. But considering the new generation of pool pumps in the market today, which are more energy efficient and made through state-of-the-art technology, they are more likely to save more in the long run.

Reparations are only advisable when the cost of repair is way below the total cost of acquiring a new one. The integrity and reliability of serious reparations for major breakdowns are also more likely to bring additional cost as anticipated.

This is also true for new pool owners; utilizing used equipment may bring more nightmares than good night sleeps.

19 thoughts on “How to Know if Your Pool Pump Needs Repair or Replacement (Update 2019)”

  1. I did not know that my pump was so terrible. I was going to have to replace my pump. I just did not know if it is already time to change it. I have not decided if it is that time yet. It seems like it may be time to change compared to what these article says.

  2. A friend of mine has a pool, and they are thinking about having someone come and look at the pump. It’s interesting that you should call for repairs if only one of the pieces is broken. It would be nice to not have to replace the entire system because of one piece.

  3. I have been wondering if it is time to get water pump repaired and was curious as to what to look for. You mentioned that if bearings need lubrication so that they don’t build up rust. I know for a fact that I haven’t done anything regarding that. I’ll hire a professional to come look at it at and get it working right.

  4. I’m glad to know that assessing whether or not I can fix my pump is not rocket science. It sometimes feels that way. In any case, based on your article, I think I have bad bearings. You mentioned that it is easy to replace them, but I would love to have a step by step guide. Will YouTube be able to help me here?

  5. Thank you for talking about having the right voltage supply for your pumping system. It makes sense that when using a pumping system you need t pay attention to the required voltage to help your items work properly. I would want to avoid any accidents that could happen when a system, which is in contact with water fails to properly handle electricity.

  6. That’s so interesting that more than 60% of pool owners in the US have decided to upgrade their pump system as the number of people that use the pool increases. Do some pumps do a better job if there’s a higher number of users in the pool? Wouldn’t all pumps perform the essential functions? I’m considering switching pumps right now, and I just want to know if it’ll be worth my time and money.

  7. I didn’t realize there was so much that went into selecting a swimming pool pump. Would it be helpful to consult with a specialist about which type of pump best suits your pool? I’ve read that having the wrong type/size of pump can actually hurt your pool or hot tub instead of helping it.

  8. I like that you said that the bearings need lubrication so they don’t get rusty. If I had a pool then I would want to know that I was going take care of it the right way. When getting your pool installed or repaired, you may want to speak with a professional about maintenance tips.

  9. Thank you for talking about how if the same problem comes up after repairing your pool pump you need to replace your system. It makes sense that paying attention to this can help you avoid accidents and make sure your water stays clean. I would want to consult with a professional to make sure I know what to look for and what I can do to get the most from my unit.

  10. That’s a good tip to replace your pump if it breaks down outside its expected lifetime. You wouldn’t want to put money into the repair of something that’s going to break again. Swimming exercises all muscles in your body, so it’s important to keep your pool operational for health reasons.

  11. We have been having some problems with our pool water pump and we’re wondering if we should get it repaired or replaced. It may have short-circuited, we are not sure, but I think it will be best to have a professional come look at it. Once we have an estimated cost and the advice of an expert, we will use your tips to know whether we should replace or repair. As you said, if the cost is minimal, it is smart to repair. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Thanks for mentioning that when bearings are the problem you should repair rather than replace. We have been having some issues with our pool pump, and I haven’t been sure how to deal with it. I will make sure I call somebody to come and take a look at it soon so we can have the pool ready for the summer.

  13. I replaced the seal and when I got ready to turn on the pump is not working. The pump was working before replacing seal. What could be wrong

  14. Kelvin, it makes sense that you would want to keep your water pump lubricated to prevent any damage. It’s good to know that this should be remembered during the start up process. I’ll have to keep this in mind once we pump out all of the water from our pool for maintenance next week.

  15. Pools are new to me and my husband so we’re learning as we go with the pool that’s at our new home. I appreciate the tip you gave that if the same problem keeps occurring, you probably need it looked at and repaired. I’m sure this goes along with not only the pump but any other part of the pool. Thanks again and we’ll be on the look out for any problems or changes with it!

  16. Pool pump is considered to be an effective and important pool equipment that helps the pool water clean and hygienic. New design and features are commonly with like automatic control which is self repaired by doing some basic steps. Any sign of wear and tear should be known as it is the time to replace the pool pump. Bearings are vulnerable to corrosion, shock and vibration. Impellers are also prone to clogging specially if, the water is pumping are with debris that may pass through the strainer of the filter. Over speeding may cause the motor to quickly overheat and signals that it has to be corrected as early as possible. When a motor is overloaded, it is likely to burnout. Thank you so much for posting an important pool pump repair tips. Worth a like blog.


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