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4 all-too common pool pump issues -- and how to check if you need service

You’re not alone!

A backyard pool
A backyard pool (Provided by Manning Pool Service)

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As a pool owner, did you realize that pool pump service is one of the top reasons Houstonians call pool maintenance companies?

If you’re having problems with your pool pump, don’t fret – you’re clearly not alone.

Unsure of what’s going on? Let’s walk through how to check your pool pump for red flags.

We’ll start with some common issues.

A backyard pool
A backyard pool (Provided by Manning Pool Service)

Problem No. 1: Loss of prime

“Loss of prime” means that there’s not enough water flowing through the pump.

What causes it?

This can be caused by low water levels in the pool or heavy debris in the skimmers, causing them to suck air. It can also be caused by a suction leak, where there is a breach in the plumbing in front of the suction side of the pump.

If a pump runs dry for too long, it can overheat, burning up the motor and generating enough steam to melt plumbing, shrink pump baskets, and destroy seals and impellers.

How to fix it

The experts at Manning Pool Service explained it like this: “We fix this problem by adding water to the pool, clearing out skimmer baskets, and re-plumbing the pump if there are suction leaks. We then manually prime the pump by adding water directly to the pump, using a bucket or garden hose, and cycling it until it catches and holds a prime.”

Problem No. 2: Clogged impeller

The impeller is the part of a pool pump that moves the water. A clogged impeller can lead to severely limited flow through the system and could burn out the motor.

What causes it?

Large debris such as mulch, sticks and small toys sometimes make it past the pump basket, and can clog up the impeller.

How to fix it

“Sometimes it’s possible to clear the impeller by spinning it by hand, while down siphoning water from the filter,” the team at Manning Pool Service said. “Other times, we need to take the pump apart to manually clean out the impeller.”

Problem No. 3: Burned out/seized motor

Pool pump motors are continuous-duty outdoor rated motors, but they will eventually wear out and break down.

What causes it?

Running the pump dry, failure to perform regular filter cleaning or necessary repairs, and improper water balance can all lead to premature motor failure.

How to fix it

“At this point, we have two options,” the Manning experts said. “If the rest of the pump assembly is in good condition, we only need to replace the motor. If not, the entire pump must be replaced.”

Problem No. 4: Broken pump pot basket

This basket is the last line of defense, keeping debris from clogging up the pump and impeller. It should be replaced immediately whenever cracks or breaks occur.

What causes it?

Lack of maintenance can lead to a broken basket. It is extremely important to perform regular pool maintenance, and this includes regularly cleaning the pump pot baskets in your pool.

How to fix it

In the case of a broken basket, the best thing to do is simply replace the pump pot basket, the Manning team said.


How to check if you need pool pump service

As a pool owner, it’s important to know the signs of a pool pump in need of repair. The earlier you catch these warning signs, the better, as it will save you more money in the long run.

A backyard pool
A backyard pool (Provided by Manning Pool Service)

Here’s what you should be looking for and asking yourself:

  • How old is your pump? Pumps typically have a shelf life of three to six years. It may be time to replace.
  • Is your pool pump noisy? Your pump should run quietly – though it should not be silent. If it is very loud, the problem is most likely bad motor bearings, which is an easy and inexpensive fix, according to Manning Pool Service. This most often occurs after flooding, and can be remedied quickly by pool pump service experts.
  • Does your pool pump trip your breakers? Frequent power surges signal bigger issues. At this point, it will probably be in your best interest to replace rather than repair.
  • Does your pump shut off after short periods? Your pump could be clogged or overheated.
  • Is your pump losing suction? Check your pressure indicator. If it’s not performing well, it’s time to call for repair.
  • Is your pool water green or a weird color? If your water is murky or green, it’s time to call a pool pump service expert.

Learn more about pool pump repair trouble signs. Also, check out how to avoid pool pump motor replacement.