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 — 241 Comments

  1. Hi Davy~
    We have our pump timers to shut off at noon…many times, but all the time, they run past the specified shut off time. thoughts?

    • Hi Mike, if there are power outages, mechanical timeclocks need to be reset. On traditional intermatic time clocks, you also have to make sure the timer dogs are tight, or they can slip, use pliers to tighten the nut tighter to avoid. If the yellow dial is bent, or the switch is bent, or the timer dog is broken or mispositioned, it can bypass the timer dog and not shut off… hope that helps!?!

      • We don’t have mechanical time clocks…it is all digital. We just verified all our time settings. We live in Arizona, so the automatic freeze setting isn’t an issue. We also a sense and dispense for pool chemistry that sometimes has a “ph feeder timeout” error code….could this have something to do with the pool pump running off the scheduled time? Thanks for your insight.

  2. Hi Davy, I have a Hayward Super II which has been running well for years. It’s linked to an AutoChlor switcher and comes on twice a day but failed to switch on a couple of days ago. I used the override switch and it fired up and left it on for several hours then turned it over to auto and it worked again but has since stopped. I’ve tried the override, checked the basket on the pump and felt into the intake and outlet for obstructions. Sometimes it hums but won’t start and other times there is nothing. Is it likely to be the pump or the AutoChlor switches and timer (which I replaced last year)? There are ants around the AutoChlor, the lights come on but which is the problem, the pump or the switching system?

    • Hi Paul, Ants can be a problem, when they get around motors or circuit boards, but it sounds like a pump motor problem, and could simply be a weak capacitor, in the rear of the motor (black cylinder). Spray some ant killer around, and replace the capacitor, but first, check all connections, maybe check incoming power (to the motor) if you have a test meter. Check all wires and switches and connections in the back of the motor, look for anything loose or ant infested or broken connections. Check wires on the other end, where they connect to the autochlor too. Since you didn’t say it trips a breaker, it’s probably not a short or ground-out of power, although it still could be, typically a wire touching metal other than the terminals on both end of the wire. And you can’t rule out a problem with the circuit board either. The best way to attack this is with the mantra “the problem lies where the power dies”. With a test meter, you check power at the motor, and it should be within 10% of 120V or 240V, whichever the motor is wired for, and if not, the power is traced back to a point where it full power is found, on the meter. Power going in, but power not coming out – and therein lies the problem, which could just be a loose wire, broken wire or faulty resistor/capacitor/relay…

  3. I have an inground salt water pool with a spa and my flow rate was low so I cleaned out everything and replaced the filters and now the flow rate seems good with one problem. Now when my sweeper comes on my waterfall feature from my spa does not turn off like it should and my sweeper moves slowly and in circles. Again, flow rate is good but it doesn’t make the change in pressure like it should when switching to sweeper.

    • Hi Stephen, your spa waterfall, is that a spillover or an actual waterfall feature? Spillover is just the spa filling up, and overflowing into the pool, a waterfall feature is something different, with dedicated plumbing and a booster pump usually. Anyway, have you checked the cleaner line strainer? The small filter, usually at the wall? Could need cleaning. Not sure what type of sweeper you have, but other adjustments can sometimes be made to prevent circling, but often it is a low flow issue. If low flow is not caused by a clogged strainer, inspect the cleaner hose for pressure loss (leaks). If none found, inspect your valve settings, on the equipment pad, and make sure everything is normal, and the cleaner water flow is not being throttled or bypassed. If your sweeper has a booster pump, could be a problem with a clogged impeller, or air leak into the pump, or some other pump issue. Hope that helps! Good luck ~

  4. I have a salt water inground pool the other day i noticed my pressure is going up and down from 14psi to like 4 to 6 then back up even couple of mins. The water level is good. What could it be. Thanks

    • Roger, I call that surging, when the pump catches prime, loses prime, catches again… it can be a stuck skimmer weir or a pool noodle blocking water flow into the skimmer. It can also be a loose pump lid allowing air to creep in around the o-ring. Or, a loose pipe coming into the pump can allow air intake. If not the skimmer being blocked, then it’s an air leak – BEFORE the pump impeller.

  5. I have an above ground 18,000gal pool…a Hayward SP1580X15 Power-Flo LX 1 1/2 HP pump purchased May 2017. For over 2 months, lots of troubleshooting, actually RE-PIPED THE SECTION FROM POOL TO PUMP … done by professional…pump still will not prime…draws water, wont prime…played with outflow and values, no prime…took apart (my nemesis) Hayward Perflex DE filter, cleaned fingers, silicone on gaskets, put back (I have done this crappy job a hundred times so I am familiar with the process)…no prime…feel like draining the damn pool and junking the whole thing >:(

    • Hi Leah, good question, and I understand. 3 possible solutions. The most likely is an air leak, and the usual places are 1) pump lid not tight enough or not lubed, or bad o-ring, or loose drain plugs (or without thread sealant or o-ring). 2) loose pipe coming into the pump (no sealant, or overheated and slightly shrunk), 3) Loose valve lids or o-rings, air-leaky valves in front of the pump (main drain, skimmer).
      Second possibility is the pump is too high above water level. PowerFlo LX is not a self-priming pump (Hayward PowerFlo II is self-priming), which means it has trouble lifting water vertically. Usually OK with a 12″ lift, but more than that can be a struggle.
      Third possibility is the pipe size is too small, and your 90 gpm pump may be starved for water. Hayward recommends 1.5″ PVC pipe, and more than one line, (i.e. main drain and skimmer) to feed this thirsty pump.

      • Hi Davy,
        I checked the possible issues that you mentioned here…no drain plugs on the system…draining pool is done through the filter via a valve that is after the filter (Perflex). All pipes are 1.5″ and solidly installed with primer and high quality glue for the PVC used. Because all the pipes are new and no leaks have been evident, I can say with confidence that #2 is not it. Valves were replaced with pipe and silicone applied to gaskets and O-rings during install and again yesterday while I was checking this list. Pump is sitting about 3 feet below level of water in pool..maybe a bit more. Is it possible that the filter is the problem? I have called a repair company since the pump is under warranty and they told me that it is almost NEVER the pump and therefore if it is something else I will have to pay $89/hour for their service…so I was hoping to exhaust all other possibilities before coughing up the money…Can you recommend any tests that I can do?

        • Hi, it could be the filter, and if so, the pressure on the gauge would be high during operation usually. Perflex filters can clog up with heavy oils, or not enough DE powder, or if undersized for the pool (just like any other filter), so it could be the filter yes. If you had a multiport valve, you could put it on recirculate and verify, but since perflex have no such valve, the only other test would be to actually plumb around the filter, by installing a bypass valve and line, or just temporarily routing plumbing around the filter, to bypass the filter completely.
          Another possibility could be a clogged pump impeller, should have mentioned that earlier. In such case, filter pressure is lower than normal, if the impeller is clogged. Grass clippings, seeds, gravel or other small debris can clog an impeller and reduce suction. With the pump off, remove the basket and reach your hand back into the eye of the impeller. If very clogged, you can usually tell, because debris will float out and you can grab some of it with your fingertips or with pliers. If clogged, open the pump up, and ream out the impeller vanes with a flexible wire.
          So yes – it could be the filter, very clogged and in need of a deep cleaning, but probably not a filter mechanical issue. Likewise, it could be any other obstruction after the pump (partially clogged pipes, small pipe size, partially closed return valves) – all of which will produce higher than normal filter pressure. Or it could be an obstruction in the impeller, or anywhere before the impeller (clogged pipe, small pipe, partially closed suction valves, air leak) – all of which will produce lower than normal filter pressure.

  6. I have a pre-2008 Northstar pump and it seems to be losing air seal. If I prime the pump and turn it on it runs fine but when I turn it off and let it set for a few minutes you can hear it cheering then the water in the pump evacuates and there appears to be some water coming from the bottom of the pump

    • Hi William, yes an air leak, is what I call it. Pumps need to be fairly air tight, and water tight to avoid drain down when they shut off. The most common places for an air leak on a pump include around the pump lid (must be really tight, with lubed o-ring), or a loose incoming water pipe bringing water (and air) into the pump. A leaking shaft seal or drain plug could also drain the pump after some time. If lots of air churns when you shut the pump off, and the water quickly blasts out of the pump, that’s likely a suction side air leak. If the pump runs air tight, but slowly drains out over an hour or so, that is usually a pressure side (after the impeller) air leak. Sometimes it’s the filter that is drawing in air, thru the air bleeder or clamp band or bulkhead, which causes the filter to drain out through the pump, and back to the pool. The leak at the bottom of the pump, determine if it’s coming from the top of the pump and dripping down the sides, or if the leak is coming from directly under the pump, in the first case it’s usually the exit pipe threads are loose, and in the second case, it’s a leaking shaft seal or leaking drain plug, or sometimes a leaking volute o-ring, or the large o-ring between the seal plate and the pump housing.

  7. I Have an electric Hayward pool heater that comes on automatically when temperatures drop and then runs 3 or 4 hours. I live in Tampa Florida. Is this normal or is there a malfunction? This is my first pool. This is a salt pool not sure if that matters in the question.

  8. I had a 1 hp pump and it went out and I bought a new Hayward super pump and hooked it up the same way as the other pump and I turn it on and it makes a loud noise and blows a fuse I double chew led everything and can’t seem to find the problem, any ideas??

    • Hi Michael, sounds like the capacitor may be bad, located at 9 oclock in the motor rear, replace with exact same MFD rating. Check that the shaft spins freely, and check that the triangular switch at 6 oclock in the back of the motor, is tightly screwed, and that the centrifugal switch, located in the center, on the end of the rear shaft, is also tight, and that the two switch tabs are in contact with each other in the center. Check all wires, to be sure that the metal ends of wires are not touching any metal ends of the motor housing, or contacting other wire metal ends.

  9. 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…

  10. 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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