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Pool Pump Troubleshooting
Pool Pump Troubleshooting

Pool Pump Troubleshooting
As many pool owners know, it can be very frustrating when a pool pump does'n work correctly. We have briefly summarised the most common pump problems and some tips on how to rectify these.

In the discussion, we will be referring to the major pump parts as shown in this diagram.

A Pump Needs To Be "Primed"
A pool pump is"primed" when there is a solid flow of water running through it.

Because pumps can't "grab" or move air, the presence of a little air in the system will quickly slash the pumps performance. The pump may even "run dry" not moving water at all.

Issue A
The Pump Sucks In Air And Wont Fully Prime
If you look into the pool pump's Clear Lid (5) and see that it is less than full of water, your pump isn't fully primed. You will probably notice that suction is poor and insufficient to run your automatic pool cleaner. Once you have backwashed the filter, the major things to look for are:

Air is being sucked in at the pump - the most common places are at the pump intake (6) or at the pump lid (5). The first thing to do is check these, lubricate o-rings (with a silicone lubricant) and tighten if necessary.
Air is being sucked in somewhere else - between the skimmer and the pump. A low water level in the pool can easily allow air to siphon in at the skimmer box.

There may be a leak elsewhere in the suction line. A tell tale sign is often the presence of a small leak or dampness in the ground.

Check any gate valve(s) if there any in the suction line - these may need servicing. Failing that, it's possible there is a leak elsewhere in the plumbing. PVC fittings that weren't glued correctly when installed can take many years to fail.
A blockage in the pump or elsewhere. This can be as simple as a skimmer or pump basket (8) being full of debris. There may also be blockage in the plumbing between the pool's skimmer and the pump.

If there is a severe blockage and the pump can't get enough water to function, it will make a loud "grinding" noise. This is called "cavitation". Plumbing blockages normally require the help of professionals with equipment to clear the pipe lines.

Issue B
The Pump Has Become Unusually Noisy
There are a number of possible causes - First, it is necessary to determine whether the noise is coming from the pump (towards the front of the unit) or from the electric motor (at the back).

A noisy electric motor - The most common cause is worn-out or corroded bearings. While it's possible to repair this, most pool owners start fresh and replace the entire pump.
A noisy pump - It makes a loud grinding noise. This may indicate a blockage in the suction line. This is often referred to as"cavitation" where the pump is starved of water and is working against itself. If you can't find an obvious cause, it may be necessary call in a professional to check the suction line.
A noisy pump - It makes a "screeching" noise. This is normally an indication that something has got caught in the spinning impeller (3). In some cases, the object may work its way out and the problem be rectified. Alternatively, it may be necessary to dismantle that part of the pump and inspect inside the pump housing

Issue C
Water Is Leaking From The Pump
Water leaks can occur at several places. The most common place is around the Mechanical Seal (1) where the electric motor meets the pump.

There are a number of rubber seals and gaskets in and around the pump (generally present where different plastic mouldings come together to form the complete pump). Leaks in these areas are possible but uncommon. These leaks most commonly occur where a new electric motor has been fitted to the pump and the original seals and gaskets were re-used (rather than replaced).

Whether to repair or replace a pool pump
Firstly, performance issues such as the pump not fully priming are often not related to the pump. Pool owners should beware of being sold a new pump in these situations.

Secondly, severe problems such as a leaking or noisy pump generally require that the whole unit be removed, dismantled, inspected, new components fitted and then re-installed back at your home. It's not a job that can be done on site.

In practice, the expense of repairing an old pump can easily be more than half the cost of a brand new unit (particularly given our discount prices on new). In these situations, most pool owners simply choose to replace new for old.

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