Frequently Asked Questions on Pool Pumps

pool pump faqs

FAQ Pool Pumps

Swimming pool owners are sometimes facing with a dilemma on malfunctioning pool pumps. These simple trouble-shooting on your pump may help you save money for the more expensive electrician’s fee, or worst, replacing your pump when the problem (electrical or mechanical causes) got worse.

1. Why pump is running but does not give enough water?
Pumps need to have its suction side filled with water to “feed” on it. If the suction side does not have enough water prior to starting the pump motor, the pump would only suck air leaving a vacuum. This process is called “priming”.
Here are some causes of the pump not being primed or not primed enough:
a) When the water dropped below the skimmer and the drain levels, leaving the space between the pump’s suction side void with water.
b) The pipeline going to the pump inlet is clogged-up with debris and water does not flow freely.

2. Why the pump keeps on humming then trips breaker?
a) Probably a bad capacitor. Check it by means of an ohmmeter. The right reading would be a drop to zero then a slow rise of resistance (in ohms).
b) The pump’s impeller might be stocked up with leaves or other hard debris. Manually turn the impeller shaft freely to find out if it is stocked. If stocking up, remove the motor from the pump and clean the impeller.
c) Probably worn out bearings. Try to manually turn the impeller shaft and if you feel rough, screeching sound and slightly uneven rotation, it’s time to change bearings.
3. How should you able to know the pump’s specifications (like power, voltage, and flow rate)?
Brand new pumps with accompanying motor have nameplate attached to the housing of the motor which bears all the information and specifications of the motor (such as voltage, amperes, horsepower, rpm, and other information.
The pump itself has nameplate specifying its flow rate, the speed of impeller at certain pump horsepower (hp) and its direction of flow (usually an arrow indicator) counterclockwise or clockwise.
4. How does a pool pump works?
Pool pump works through a loop system which means that the water from the pool is being recycled (and re-chlorinated) after it is strained and filtered.
It starts by drawing water from the pool via the skimmer which acts as a small reservoir where a significant amount of water is stored so that the pump will not be dehydrated. The water then goes through a strainer (the pool pump gives the vacuum pressure to suck this water through the inlet pipe), initially filtering large debris.
The water (going through the pump’s outlet pipe) then goes to the cartridge filters to remove any remaining debris. Then the water passes through the heater (this is optional for the too cold environment) to increase the temperature of the pool water to your desired temperature. After this, the water is treated with chlorine (with a chlorinator) at the allowable amount, and then the water returns to the pool.
5. How should I know if the pump is right for my pool?
Sizing a pump is not elaborate after all! Oversize pool pump may give you a higher operating cost in the long run. The general rule is: The pump should filter all the water in the pool in an 8-hour period. By abiding on this rule you will save a lot and your pump may last longer than normal.
So, you should know your pool’s water capacity (volume), and then pick a pump that has the flow rate (remember the nameplate on the motor) that would match the volume of water of your pool. Say, a 24,000 gallons (volume) pool size will be emptied with 50 gallons per minute (flow rate) in 8 hours.
You may calculate the volume of your pool (if rectangular) by this formula: length x width x height (in cubic feet or gallons).
Some motor has low flow rate but with high power rating (hp), this combination makes the motor more stable, but with higher operating cost. Standard power rating used in standard family size pool range from 1to 2-hp, pick the size that you thought would be appropriate for your pool depending on the frequency of use and the number of users because the many users are, the more frequent the pool should be cleaned.
Pump’s suction and discharge pressure could be controlled with the gate valves on the piping system by throttling these valves if the need arises.
6. How can I winterize my above ground pool pump?
After winterizing your pool, the next step would be winterizing your above ground pool pump. Check and clean the cartridge filter and strainer. Drain water from the pump, filtering and heating systems as the water that remains could freeze during winter.
Plug open-ended pipes as water may seep through them and freeze when uncovered. After making sure that there is no more water remains in the system, cover the pump as well as the filter, heater and the piping system to protect them from the elements.
7. Does the pool pump keeps the pool’s bottom and wall clean?
No, it does not. The pump only cleans the water on the pool. To protect your pool, you may cover it from leaves and other debris. And the best time to clean the pool is before using it while it has no water yet and after winterizing.
8. How long do motor of pool pump last?
According to experts, the motor for pool pump lasts an average of 8 years. This may need either replacing or rebuilding. The motor that screeches, noisy and with squeaking bearings (either front or rear) need to be replaced both at the same time. It is not advisable to change only one bearing when needed.
Burnt motor (probably due to overheating or defective bearings) can be rewound (windings) then install again, but this may not last long and may become a fire hazard if not properly maintained.
9. How can I keep the motor and pump last longer?
You can keep the pump to last much longer than expected by keeping the impeller free from debris. By this, your filter and strainer should be in good condition, so keep them the mesh always in good condition.
As for the drive assembly, always check the motor for defective bearings and replace them immediately if you find any sign of wear. Also, don’t keep the motor running without water in circulation; this will overheat the motor and the pump.