Troubleshoot Pool Pump: How to Know if Your Pool Pump Reach Its Prime

A pool pump can seem to work just fine for years, but then suddenly, it starts giving us headaches because it stops running while we are using it. When this happens, there are telltale signs that the pump has gone bad. This article will guide you on how to troubleshoot pool pump problems, and the …

A pool pump can seem to work just fine for years, but then suddenly, it starts giving us headaches because it stops running while we are using it. When this happens, there are telltale signs that the pump has gone bad.

This article will guide you on how to troubleshoot pool pump problems, and the red flags that indicate your pool pump has truly gone bad, and more.

Not Working Pool Pump in Trolley

What’s the Importance of a Pool Pump

In pools, there must be constant water movement to help maintain the chemical balance; therefore, a pool pump aids in water circulation. The pump also filters the pool for bacteria and chlorine while also maintaining a pH level.

In addition to that, a pool pump also helps prevent foul odors from the pool. Finally, the pool pump also keeps the water clean and clear, which keeps your family safe from water-related diseases.

The pool pump should turn on if the pressure rises in your pool. Suppose a pool pump turns off when the pressure in the pool increases, then it means that there is a problem with its internal workings (i.e., lousy impeller, bad pool pump motor, clogged pool filter). If the pump is not turning on when it should, there may be a problem with its wiring or a loose connection.

Troubleshoot Pool Pump Problems

Technician Troubleshooting Swimming Pool Pump

If the pool pump is not functioning correctly, the water in the pool will not be filtered or circulated adequately, resulting in filthy and murky water.

Mostly when a pump actually “goes bad,” it’s probably electrical issues on your pool pump motor that power the entire system. However, before you jump to conclusions and assume for the worst, you can take a few measures to ensure that you are dealing with a faulty pump and not anything else.

Check the Filter Pressure

Check the pressure gauge on the side of the filter to ensure that it is working correctly. This gauge monitors the pressure in the water flowing through the pump system. 

It should read between 12 and 17 psi. A pressure reading below 12 psi is a poor indicator. However, it is essential to rule out any other reasons for the low pressure before jumping to any conclusions.

Backwash the Filter

Backwash your sand or DE (diatomaceous earth) filter system to clear it of excess dirt and debris that may be causing to lower the filter pressure. Unfortunately, if your pool uses a cartridge system, you can’t backwash it, but you can clean it manually.

By backwashing or cleaning the filter, you eliminate the possibility of causing a lower than normal pressure. The backwashing procedure differs based on the pump type your pool has, so a pump manufacturer’s instructions may come in handy here. 

If your pool uses the latest version of sand and DE pumps, they are equipped with a filter valve known as multi-port, which you can quickly turn to BACKWASH mode. If you have a filter cartridge, just remove it after turning off the pump and physically clean it with a garden hose before reinstalling it back again.

Clean the Skimmer Basket

After you’re done backwashing the system or cleaning the cartridge filter, switch off the pump and clean the skimmer basket, as well as any filter baskets of your pump system. 

Vacuuming the pool can clog these baskets and can obstruct water flow and perhaps be the source of the low water pressure you were experiencing.

“Baskets usually last for years – decades even. But, as soon as I find out that I have a broken pool skimmer basket, I make sure to replace it right away.”

Michael Dean,

Check the Pressure Again

After backwashing and cleaning the skimmer baskets, recheck the pressure gauge to ensure it is still working correctly. If the pressure still drops in less than a few hours, it’s likely that the pump is not operating correctly. It may be possible to clean and oil the motor, but you should see a pool specialist if the water pressure is continuously low.

When the pump is operating properly, the water pressure should hold steady until the filters get blocked with dirt and debris, which generally takes a week or two after the previous backwashing. However, suppose the water pressure still drops very quickly after all the cleaning you’ve done; there is most certainly an issue with the pump motor.

Pool Pumps: How Long Do They Last?

Pool Pump Maintenance

The average pool pump in the market today can last around 10-12 years before it needs replacement. 

Here are certain factors that influence a pool pump’s longevity. 

  • The pool pumps size and dimensions

    If a pool pump is too small for the dimensions of the pool, it is forced to work considerably harder to keep up the cleaning, causing it to run much more and therefore causing more exhaustion to the pump and reducing its lifespan.
  • The type of pump

    The standard type of pump is generally single speed and variable speed. Single-speed pumps are less expensive, but they only have one speed — a high power speed, which causes them to wear out faster. 

    Variable speed pumps provide extra diversity by allowing you to select from a number of speeds. Because you may choose between moderate and high rates, the pump runs more effectively and lasts longer.
  • Proper maintenance

    While you don’t have to buy a new pump after some time, minor pump components will require maintenance. For example, you’ll have to change the screws, pump seal, and O-rings once they begin to wear out. The sooner you address these difficulties as they emerge, the less likely they are to escalate into more significant problems.

    Maintenance is the key to any pool pump’s functioning and longevity. It is wise to clean your pool’s skimmer baskets and seal the surface thoroughly about once a week. This will enable you to avoid any blockage that may damage the pump and most certainly affects its performance. Regular maintenance can significantly enhance its lifespan.

What Are the Signs That You Need a Pool Pump Service

As a pool owner, it’s a must to be aware of the warnings that indicate that your pool pump needs repair. Thus, detecting these warning signals sooner rather than later is way better. 

Here are some telltale signs to look for:

  • How old is your pump? The rule of thumb is that most pool pumps can last 8-12 years. So if it’s more than 8-12 years, you may want to consider getting a new pump installed.
  • When was the last time you had a pool pump service? If it’s been a while, even a few months, chances are that your pump is due for a pool pump service.
  • Does the pump work loudly? If the pump makes too much noise, poor performance may be an issue. The noise can indicate clogged filters or other problems that would need to be addressed by a pool pump service.
  • Do you have a leaky pump? If the pump is leaking, its lifespan may have decreased. Therefore, it is recommended that pool owners stay on top of any signs of leaks to avoid significant damage to the pump.
  • Is the pool pump running slowly? Again, this is a symptom of the filter being clogged. It’s a common sign that your pump is working harder to operate, which may lead to premature failure.
  • Does your pool pump affect your breaker? Power surges on a regular basis indicate larger problems. It is probably to your best advantage to replace rather than fix at this time.
  • Is your pool water turning green or a murky color? If you have cloudy water because of the pool pump, it’s time to get help from a pool pump service expert. 


We hope this article has helped you find out if your pool pump needs replacement. If you’re quite unsure of what’s wrong with your pool pump, you should always contact an expert to assist you to figure it out. 

Pool pumps may be complicated pieces of technology; therefore, it may be necessary to seek the assistance of a professional. Whatever the issue is, you should be able to resolve it for a few hundred bucks or less. Below are more pool articles that you will definitely find useful. Check them out! To view more pool articles, click here.

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