How to troubleshoot a pool pump

Your pool pump is the heart of the plumbing system of your pool. Without it, the water won’t flow through your filtration system to be properly cleaned. So what do you do if you have a problem with the pump?
Some problems can be fixed quite easily, other require a professional like me to repair it. Here are some common problems and what has to be done to repair them.

1. Pump is leaking:
This could be caused by bad thread sealant, a bad impeller housing o-ring, or mechanical shaft seal which requires the motor to be separated from housing to repair. A good job for the professional.

2. Pump fails to pull water:
Sometimes pumps simply don’t pull the water through the system as they should. When this happens, the water will not reach the filter and pass through the system properly.
This could be caused by a clog in the system restricting the water flow from reaching the pump in the way that it should. First check to see that the skimmer basket is free of debris, and also check to see if the weir is free, as it can jam shut sometimes.
If all that is good then you could check to see if the pump impeller is free of debris like fir needles.
Another potential cause could be an air leak in the suction line. Since air has less mass than water, the pump will suck in air instead of water. Again it could be a faulty o-ring in a coupler, or thread sealant around connection to pump. To check to see if this is the culprit, turn pump on and run a water hose directly on this connection to see if it draws the water into the basket.

The motor will not start or turns off:
This is either an electrical or heat related problem.
Check the breaker to ensure motor is getting power. If you can hear the motor humming, leave this job for a professional like ma as you are dealing with up to 220V and can be dangerous if you are not qualified to deal with this.
If the motor runs and then turns off, feel the motor housing to see if it is hot. This could be as simple as a ventilation restriction. Make sure vent holes are clear of any clogs. If the pump is outdoors, perhaps provide it with a bit of shade so that it does not overheat in sunshine.

The motor is making noise:
Pump motors make a certain amount of noise, but when it becomes a high pitched squeal, the bearings have become worn and need replaced, or the motor can also be replaced. Often I recommend replacing motor, because of cost of labour to replace bearings, and age of motor. Newer motors are more energy efficient, and you also have the option of going to a variable speed pump which really reduces cost of running pump.

The home owner can troubleshoot and repair a good number of pump issues, but remember that I as a pool professional am here to help you.
Another thing that homeowners do not realize is that when buying new pumps, motors, heaters, filter, etc for your pool – the warranties are void unless installed by a professional..please check each warranty for this exclusion.