Hayward Pool Pump Troubleshooting

We carry the other brands, but Hayward pumps and filters have always been our flagship line.

Reliable & durable, Hayward pumps will still likely need some type of troubleshooting at some point during your relationship.

Often what appears to be a pool pump problem is actually a filter problem or a valve problem, so the first step is to rule out any mis-aligned valves or obstructions in the filter or pipes.

Barring problems with other pool equipment, a pool pump problem will either be an electrical issue or a plumbing issue. On the electrical side, problems can occur with the electric motor, timeclock, breaker or wires. On the plumbing side, you can have problems with air leaks, water leaks or just getting the water to flow properly.

Hayward Pool Pump Electrical Problems

Pump Won’t Turn On

intermatic-time-clockintheswimMakes No Noise: If you flip the switch and nothing happens and you hear no noise at all, check the circuit breaker by flipping it Off and then back On again. If you have an mechanical time switch or digital time clock, look into the Visual Motor Check, to see if the tiny motor gears are turning. If there is a GFCI outlet wired into the system, check that the red button is not popped out.

If power is reaching the time clock or switch, check the wires running from the switch to the pump for any signs of damage, and inspect the connections on each end, for loose wires or insect infestation.

If no power is reaching the time clock or switch, the tiny motor is dead, or the switch or breaker is bad, or the wires from the breaker to the time clock are broken or loose.

Makes Noise: If the pump motor makes a humming sound when trying to start, you likely have a bad start capacitor. On Hayward pumps, these are the black cylinder mounted at the rear of the motor. They are easily removed and replaced.

hayward-motorBefore ordering a new capacitor however, be sure that the shaft is not “froze-up’ with rust. To spin the shaft, disconnect power at the breaker and remove the capacitor (at 9 o’clock) and the thermal overload (at 12 o’clock) so that you can slip a 7/16” wrench onto the slotted shaft.

Use the wrench to wiggle the shaft through several revolutions to break any rust that has formed between the stator and rotor and free up the shaft. Carefully re-secure the capacitor and thermal overload switch.

Pump is Shutting Off by Itself

Not a good sign usually. If it turns back on after 15 minutes, it likely has been overheating. Provide shade if necessary, and make sure that air is circulating freely under all parts of the motor, remove any leaves or mulch.

Other causes of a pump shutting itself off include loose or broken wires or incorrect voltage, more than 10% more or less of the rated input voltage.

Pump is Smoking or Sparking

smoke_rising_anim_150_wht_13070Whoa, shut the pump off quickly. Smoking pump motors are usually caused by connecting 230V to a motor wired to receive only 115V. Check the motor diagram for the Low Voltage / High Voltage wiring diagram. An incorrectly installed shaft seal can also produce friction smoke, and a blown capacitor will throw off a lot of smoke, following the small explosion.

Sparking motors can be caused by loose wire connections or two wires or terminal connections touching each other, which is usually easily fixed. Sparking can also come directly from a short in the windings of the motor, which usually means the motor is near the end.

Pump Trips the Breaker

When the breaker trips when trying to turn on the pump, most likely the motor shaft is frozen, the impeller is stuck, or the capacitor has blown. In some cases, it can be a bad breaker, especially one that is used often to turn the pump on and off.

If the breaker trips while the pump is running, the pump is likely drawing more amperage or voltage than the breaker rating. This could be caused by incorrect voltage or from clogged or restricted pipes, valves or impeller. It could also be just a bad breaker.

Pump only Runs for 5 seconds

If your Hayward pump runs for only 5 seconds and shuts off, check the incoming voltage. Most inground Hayward pumps are shipped to accept 230V, and if you only give it 115V, it can’t get up to speed.

Many inground pumps are have ‘reversible voltage’, and can be switched from 230V to 115V by turning a tab or by switching a few wires on the terminal board.

Hayward Pool Pump Plumbing Problems

Pump is Leaking Water

water leak

A pump that is leaking water is usually a bad shaft seal or a loose pipe connected into the top of the pump. Leaks can also come from loose drain plugs or loose on bolts on the seal plate, connecting the motor to the pump.

If the water is running down between the pump and motor, determine if it’s dripping out of the plumbing fitting on top or the shaft seal on the bottom.

If you have just replaced the seal, it may have been placed on the impeller backwards, or the seal plate gasket is out of position, or the diffuser is misaligned and the seal plate is not sealing up against the pump body.

Pump Basket has Air Inside

bub3The opposite of a water leak, and air leak pulls water into the pump, and is always located in front of the pump impeller.

Common air leak sources are a loose or cracked pump lid or dirty lid o-ring, but most often the cause is the threaded fitting coming into the pump. Pool putty can make a semi-permanent repair, or the fitting can be cut out and replaced.

Other causes of air leaking into the pump is from leaky valves in front of the pump, low water level in the pool, or a skimmer weir stuck in the up position.

Pump is not Pumping Water

If the pump is not pumping water at all, check that all suction and return valves are open, and the pump lid is on tight, with the lid o-ring in place. Lubricating the lid o-ring regularly will help improve the seal. Check that the drain plugs are tightly inserted with Teflon tape, and that the pump basket is inserted in the proper way, and is sitting all the way down.

prime-the-hayward-pool-pumpIf the pump has lost prime completely, fill a bucket with water or bring over a garden hose and re-prime the pump manually by filling up the pump. If the pump won’t catch after a several attempts to fill with water, check for an air leak (see above) on the suction side of the pump, an obstruction in the line, or low water level.

If you just pulled the pump to check the impeller or replaced a shaft seal, make sure the seal is installed correctly and that the diffuser and diffuser gaskets are seated firmly.

Pump Flow Rate is Low

When the filter pressure is high, the filter is dirty ~ and when the filter pressure is low, the basket(s) are dirty. Lower than normal pressure on the filter corresponds with lower than normal flow rates.

pump-impellerCheck the pump impeller by removing the pump basket and reaching through the hole to feel for any debris or rocks stuck inside the impeller. If you feel anything unusual, remove the bolts to pull the motor out for a good cleaning of the impeller.

An air leak (see above) will also reduce water flow rates, as air is drawn in to the pump, and a dirty pool filter or baskets can clog up the works, and reduce the flow rate.

Pump is Loud or Noisy

noisy-pump-motorA loud or noisy pump can be either a plumbing or electrical problem. If the pump sounds like it’s gargling rocks, or there is heavy vibration noise, it may be cavitating, a term that means it’s starved for water. It’s either too powerful for the incoming plumbing, or too many suction lines are closed, or the skimmers are clogged.

A motor with a more high pitched squeal or screech is usually in need of shaft bearings. There are two sealed bearings inside pool pump motors. They can be replaced, but unless the motor is quite new, most pool owners will replace the entire motor.

That’s all Folks! If these quick tips didn’t solve your problem, feel free to call our pool tech supporters at 1-800-288-7946 for more Hayward pool pump troubleshooting.

And if you are in need of Genuine Hayward Replacement parts, we have Hayward pump parts and motor parts stocked in 12 warehouses for fast delivery with same day shipment!

Davy Merino
InTheSwim Blog Editor



Hayward Pool Pump Troubleshooting — 221 Comments

  1. Hi – and thanks for all this knowledge! Our switch seems to be getting power- a voltage tester confirms this – but pump makes zero sound when switch is turned on. It worked fine just prior to a filter cleaning. After filter was fully re-assembled- pump would turn on.

    Any suggestions appreciated.

    • If it makes no noise at all, that is often a loose wire or no power. If you do have power at the motor terminal board, look for loose wires, crimped wires, broken wires… Suspect the capacitor (black cylinder located at 9 o’clock), these can be tested, or if looks burnt, bulged, crack or leaking, replace with the exact same MFD number capacitor. Good luck!

    • Hi Rick, if that’s a new thing, there is probably something loose and leaking (air) when the pump shuts off. Loose pump lid, filter lid, air bleeder, probably around the filter, allowing the filter to drain down, and fill with air. Look for any small drips or oozing around the filter, or you may be able to hear a small hiss, when the pump shuts off. Probably a loose fitting, clamp or o-ring…

  2. The motor on my Hayward super pump 2 went out so I ordered a Hayward replacement. It had a non Hayward motor installed before. Hooked it up the same as the last motor and left the setting to 230 as that is what the last motor was set to run on. Turned on the motor and smoke and a oil type substance came out of the capacitor. Turned it off and then tried it again and it hummed for a few and the something glowed red and then stopped humming. Nothing is making any noise now and pump is not working at all. Is it a defective motor or something else? Help.

    • Hi Shannon, right now it is a defective capacitor, not sure about the rest of the motor, but is probably OK. Unusual, but it could be the only problem, I would replace the capacitor with the same size (match the MFD number), and check that the shaft rotates freely when mounted to the pump. Check the impeller and seal alignment. The motor can be tested briefly without being bolted onto the pump.

        • Hi Shannon, well that’s encouraging. I would test the voltage at the motor terminal board, very quickly, before the breaker trips, to be sure it’s between 210V-250V coming in. Check the tightness on all wire connections, on the breaker, timeclock and motor. If voltage is normal, there may be a loose wire in the motor, perhaps behind the terminal board, or a bent wire that is touching some metal housing, or bent and touching another wire. A start capacitor is supposed to only be energized for a few seconds to start the motor, and once the centrifugal switch opens and releases contact with the stationary switch, the capacitor is released. Look closely at the centrifugal switch on the rear of the shaft, to be sure it’s tight and is not missing parts (like the springs), engage the switch by hand (power off), to be sure that the stationary switch (located at 6 oclock) is disengaging, or the two copper tabs separate. The stationary switch copper tabs may be bent, or may have a wire crossing between them, have a loose screw or have some other issue that prevents it from opening, and releasing the capacitor.

          • Davy,
            Thanks for the help. I found the switch to turn off the capacitor was not operating correctly. One of the tads were not in the slot. All works good now. Thanks again!

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