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How to Repair Your Pool Pump By Yourself in 2019

Repairing your pool pump

Pool pumps will have problems in due course of time. It is not a matter of if but when and the severity of the problem varies. Over a dozen issues can be resolved. Others may warrant a pool pump replacement. Unless a pool pump is beyond repair, you do not have to consider a new one. It is also not necessary to hire a specialist every time your pool pump has a problem.

Before you can figure out how to repair a pool pump, you must know the model well and you should have a clear understanding of the issue. Some issues can be fixed easily. Others need more elaborate effort and a few tools. You may have a noisy pump, there may be a leak, the pump may not start, there could be air in the pool pump, the pump may get turned off abruptly, the flow rate may be low and the motor may hum but it might now start. These are very common issues with pool pumps. In this comprehensive guide about how to repair a pool pump, we select one issue at a time and illustrate the solution.

How to Fix a Noisy Pool Pump

Some pool pumps are very quiet. Most make some noise. The noise should not trouble you unless you have a very old model that is anyway loud. A noisy pool pump may not be an issue for everyone unless the sound is a symptom of an underlying problem. If you hear screeching noise and the pump sounds as if it has been loaded with rocks, if there is some kind of gargling sound and other weird noises, then you should take a closer look. Unusually loud and unpleasant sound is frustrating for you and the neighbors.

Noisy pool pumps make screeching or gargling sound when there is insufficient water. The suction lines may be malfunctioning or underperforming. A few suction lines may be closed. If the pump does not manage to get enough water, it will make sounds and the noise will only get more intense. You should check the skimmers if the suction lines are fine. The skimmers may be clogged. Get rid of the debris accumulated at the skimmers. Reassemble if needed. Powerful pumps for smaller pools tend to make noise. Choose an appropriate model. If none of these is an issue, then you may have worn out bearings in the pump. You should change them.

How to Fix a Pool Pump Leaking Water

More often than frequent, a leak is caused under the pump and it is due to a pressure imbalance. Check the o-ring of the impeller housing and the shaft seal. Replace the o-ring or the seal if either is cracked. You may have to replace both if they are worn out. You can easily get these seals and o-rings at your nearest hardware store. You may purchase them online. There are kits available these days that have all such essential parts. They do not cost much.

How to Fix a Pool Pump Basket not getting Filled with Water

An optimally functioning pool pump will not have this problem. If the basket is not getting filled with enough water then you need to prime the pool pump. Priming a pool pump is very easy. Turn off the power source. Disconnect the power line. Turn off the main drain side using the diverter valve. Turn the valve for air relief anticlockwise so existing pressure is relieved. This valve is on the filter. The pressure should read zero Use a pool filter gauge. Remove the lid, clean the debris in the basket, get a garden hose and fill the basket with water.

Put the lid back on and turn on the diverter valve. Reconnect the pump and turn on the power. The problem should be resolved. Wait for a minute or so to see if enough water is flowing without any obstruction in the strainer box. The water should smoothly come out. In case the water is not flowing smoothly or freely, repeat the whole process from the start. In some cases, the debris in the impeller and filter must be cleaned too.

How to Fix a Humming Pool Pump that won’t Start

This problem occurs when the impeller is loaded with debris. Most components of a pool pump can deal with or endure some debris, not a lot. Whenever you hear a humming sound and the pump won’t start, check the impeller and it is most likely due to the debris there. You must turn off the power and disconnect the pump before you check the impeller. The debris buildup basically blocks the impeller. This effectively disables the pump. You must have screwdrivers and the manual at hand to dismantle the pump and reassemble the unit after cleaning the debris. The impeller is in the housing of the pump. You must also remove the gasket to clean the debris.

How to Fix a Pool Pump Sucking in Air

A pool pump is an airtight machine. Any leak will let air in. The pump will actually suck air in and there will be a problem. One of the most common causes of such a leak is the lid. The lid should be properly closed and sealed. It is not possible to prime a pool pump if the lid is letting air in. After you are certain the lid is fine, you must check the valve stem. This often lets air into the suction lines. You will have to proceed from one component to another as you reach further into the pump. There could be a leak at one or several places. Check the lid, then valve stem, the suction valves, the suction plumbing, o-rings and then gaskets. There may be visible leaks or cracks. You may find loose fittings or old parts. Some may have to be replaced. Others can be repaired. If you cannot locate the leak, use some shaving cream and spray or apply it to these parts. Look for a dimple as the cream gets drawn into the leak or crack.

pool pump schema

How to Fix a Pool Pump Motor that gets Turned Off

The pump may not start or it may stop running suddenly. Start with the power and ensure it is steadily available. Check the timer to ensure the pool pump is not preset to go off. If a pump has power and making a humming sound without starting then the issue is with the capacitor. It has gone bad. The capacitor is responsible to start the pump. It regulates the electricity. If the pump does not get the jolt of power then it will not start. Capacitors can be replaced. You may not be able to do this alone if you have not done it before. An old pump will not have much help if only the capacitor is replaced. The motor may have to be replaced as well.

Pumps getting turned on and starting to run but shutting down are also a common problem. The real issue in such cases is overheating. Try to operate the pool pump at night. See if you have the same problem. If not, then overheating is the only issue. You can then check the vents at the bottom of the motor. There should be no obstruction. The fans should work fine without any inhibition. If the vents are fine and so is the fan, then the motor or the pump may have to be replaced.

How to Fix Low Flow Rate in a Pool Pump

One of the most common causes of a low flow rate is a blockage. If something is blocking the filter or the flow of the pool pump, then the rate will dip. Use the filter gauge to check the pressure. You must get a clean reading of over 10psi above the manufacturer’s specified pressure. You can check the filter and clean it. This may restore the flow rate. You can check the impeller and the basket for debris. It is better if you clean and maintains a pool pump from time to time to prevent the buildup of such debris. A low flow rate is often due to debris buildup. Since cleaning such debris requires taking the pump apart and then reassembling all housed components, many users do not want it to be a routine and this causes several avoidable problems.

Every manufacturer has a troubleshooting guide for users. Such guides usually illustrate all the solutions for common problems. You must read this guide and be familiar with your pool pump, well before you have any problem. New pool pumps should not have much of an issue if they are installed properly and if the right size, model and specs have been chosen. Old pumps can have quite a few problems and not all of them can be accurately predicted without knowing the exact condition. If this guide or the owner’s manual does not address the problem you are having, contact a pro and get the pump inspected.

Pool pumps will have problems in due course of time. It is not a matter of if but when and the severity of the problem varies. Over a dozen issues can be resolved. Others may warrant a pool pump replacement. Unless a pool pump is beyond repair, you do not have to consider a new one. It is also not necessary to hire a specialist every time your pool pump has a problem.

You do not have to hire a pro for pool pump repair if you have are familiar with the machine, its different components, and their functions, the necessary tools and the required time. You should be handy with a few handhelds, manual and powered tools. You need to read the owner’s manual before you can diagnose a problem. You should have access to a hardware store, offline or online, to get the parts for repair. Sometimes a pool pump may be beyond repair or many of its parts might need replacement. You should act accordingly.

A pool pump serves an important purpose and it may be presumed to be a complicated machine. It is not as the innards are quite simple to understand. All you need is a bit of an introduction to the different parts and their functions. The exact design and hence shape and other specs of a pool pump vary depending on the manufacturer or brand and model. However, most designs have similar parts. The basic concept of a pool pump has remained the same for decades, albeit materials have improved and certain dated manufacturing techniques, as well as design elements, have been done away with. Whether you have a small pool pump or one that can churn out hundreds of gallons every minute, you will have the same basic components.

Different Parts of a Pool Pump

There are two major parts or sections of a pool pump. One is the outer structure. The other is the drivetrain. The outer structure is meant to keep the whole system together and ensure there is no leak. The drivetrain is tasked with pushing and pulling water, hence ensuring the pump serves its main purpose. Even if you do not intend to work on the pool pump repair yourself and will hire a pro anyway, it is still better to be familiar with the machine and how it works. Familiarity with the parts and their functions will enable you to know if the technician is actually telling you the truth. You can avoid getting led to believe in something that is not the case. You can make informed decisions and save money.

The Housing

The housing is to a pool pump what a hull is to a ship. Everything inside the pump is in this housing. The housing is often made of high impact plastic composite. This type of material is called Noryl. It is not any specific material as the modified resins are used in various shapes and forms, also for distinct purposes. The housing is the outer casing that you can see and access without opening anything or disassembling the system. The housing contains everything from the motor to the impeller, diffuser to the seals. These may be installed into or onto the housing. The material is light yet resilient. The modified resins are rustproof and they can easily endure the unavoidable threats of rain, water pressure, and heat.

Until the eighties, bronze and brass were commonly used materials for the housing. If you have a very old pool pump, then the housing is likely to be of bronze or brass. These two materials are very durable. They can stand the test of time. The only shortcoming of these materials is the cost of maintenance. There is a need for smelting and forging when working with metals and alloys. These materials also make pumps heavier than what you can buy now. Working with heavier pumps is not easy, especially when you have to move them. Fortunately, you may have a modern pool pump, which is much less costly to maintain.


This is also known as the strainer lid. It serves as the primary inspection point. You can easily find out if the system is working fine by studying the strainer lid. If you do not see water or air bubbles in the lid as the pump is functioning, then you may have a leak. The air leak is usually caused by the side of the suction. The strainer lid is usually tinted or clear glass so you can inspect the system. The glass may be Lexan. It is what bulletproof windows are made of.

Strainer Basket

This is often referred to as the basket. The purpose of this strainer basket is to collect debris. The debris is prevented from reaching other components in the drivetrain. The strainer basket is capable of collecting hard debris, such as pebbles. It is not uncommon for pebbles to find their way into the pool pump and these can chip the impeller.

Gaskets & Seals

There are several gaskets and seals in a pool pump. The purpose of these parts is to keep the water moving and the equipment pad dry. You should not use a pool pump that has degraded or worn out gaskets and seals. Bad gaskets can cause air leak. There will be more air inside the pump than water. You should always inspect the seals and gaskets whenever you open the housing for pool pump repair, even if the problem lies elsewhere. It is possible to be proactive with pool pump repair when it comes to seals and gaskets.

There are four types of seals and gaskets in a pool pump. The lid gasket is just under or on the lid, or strainer lid. A gasket is installed at the cone tip of the pump diffuser. This is known as the diffuser kit. There is a housing gasket. This is the largest of all. It is in the main housing, usually at the motor seal plate. It is also referred to as a seal plate gasket. The fourth is the shaft seal. This seal has two sides. It is on the motor shaft under the impeller. In terms of importance, the shaft seal is the topmost priority as it can regulate surging water and thus prevent it from running into the motor. This can cause fatal damage and effectively render the pool pump unusable.

Seal Plate

This is the mounting flange of the motor in your pool pump. This secures the motor inside the housing. The part is so named since it has the shaft seal enclosing the motor shaft that prevents water from leaking into the pump motor. The seal plate is usually made of the same material as the housing. If the housing is made of Noryl composite or plastic then the seal plate may also be of the same material. The seal plate has to be just as strong as the housing and light too.

The Drive Train


The drive train is the most important functioning or operating part of a pool pump. The housing is just as important as it keeps everything together and enables the functioning of all parts. But it is the drive train that actually does all the work. The motor is the force that operates the pump, providing the thrust to pump water. Older pool pumps used to have single-speed inductor motors. Contemporary pool pumps have dual or variable speed motors. These are more eco-friendly and consume less energy. Older motors rely on dual voltage and can operate on 115 or 230 volts. Dual speed and variable speed motors operate on 230 volts. A few models are available that can operate on 115 volts, despite being dual or variable speed.


The impeller does the actual work of circulating water. It has two or more discs that are glued together and these are assembled with veins, also known as fan blades. The impeller uses the spinning shaft of the pump motor and transforms it into a force that pulls the water and effectively circulates it. Most models have two discs for an impeller. The impeller pulls the water through a porthole and along the suction pipe onto the pool.


The diffuser is an accessory for the impeller. It is an essential component. The job of a diffuser is to amplify the force created by the impeller. The pull or suction is enhanced using a vacuum lock. This is at the front housing and tightly enclosed. The diffuser is usually a cone or funnel. It is sealed using a diffuser gasket. The diffuser complements the impeller. The spinning impeller creates the turbulent energy that is then concentrated and directed by the diffuser towards the suction pipe.

Impeller Ring

Impeller ring is also known as wear ring. It is usually made of plastic. It is installed at the tip of an impeller. The objective of the wear or impeller ring is to serve as an extension of the tip. This ensures there is a seal between the diffuser and impeller. The impeller creates centrifugal force and this compels the ring to be sealed even more effectively so the vacuum is more efficient at priming the pump and actual pumping of the water. Base models or small pool pumps may not have an impeller ring. High-pressure pumps will have this component. There is another accessory, the impeller screw, but most modern pool pumps do not have this anymore. Manufacturers use external thread motor shafts instead of relying on an additional screw.

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