Pool Pump Problems – Repair or Replace?

The pool pump is noisy, leaking, smoking or just plain not working. This could be urgent if the pump is at risk of stopping altogether. Without a pump to circulate the water, hot weather will turn it bad – quick.

If your pump is down, lower the pH to 7.2, and shock the pool. Brush and skim twice daily to try and keep it clean and circulated.

Pump Problem or Motor Problem?

The electrical motor is the back half of the pump, connected to the front half of the pump (sometimes called the wet end) by a seal plate, which bolts or clamps the two pump halves together.

Motor problems could have symptoms of not starting, overheating, or a loud, screeching operation, which indicates that the shaft bearings have gone bad.

Pump Problems (wet end) includes all of the parts where the water moves through, such as the pump pot, pump basket, volute, impeller and diffuser; sealed up with several gaskets and o-rings, and a mechanical seal on the motor shaft.

Wet end problems include leaking – air or water, broken baskets, worn seals or o-rings, clogged impellers or diffusers, cracked volutes.

Once you determine the items that are causing the issue (call us if you need help), you can price out the pump parts needed, and determine if it makes sense to repair the pump, or replace the entire pump and motor.

REPAIR your Pump When:

1. The cost of pump or motor repairs is less than the cost of a replacement pump. Determine the parts you need by pulling up your pump schematic in our Pool Parts section. Let us know if you need any assistance in identifying the correct pump parts.


2. Your motor (or pump) is less than 5 years old. Motors can last up to 10 years, so if you have lots of life left in the motor, repairing the pump may be wise.

3. You want to avoid any plumbing work involved in connecting the new pump.

4. You enjoy tinkering with your pool equipment, and solving simple mechanical or electrical problems.

REPLACE your Pump When:

1. You Live in Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada or Texas. If you have a standard motor over 1hp, and are located in one of these energy conserving states, the law requires most pools to install an energy efficient pool pump. Check the website of your state or local government for requirements, but it usually calls for either a dual speed or variable speed pool pump (or motor) be installed.

New this year is the EcoTech EZ Variable Speed Pump Motor, which converts most inground pool pumps into a variable speed pump. Also new this year is the Hayward SuperPump VS and Max-Flo VS pumps, variable speed pumps – for less than $750!

ecotech-ez-variable-speed-pump-motor2. Your pump is undersized or oversized for the application. If the filter pressure is running 20-30 psi, your pool pump may be too large. Switching pumps, to a lower flow model, or changing the pump or motor to a lower horsepower, can reduce pressure and improve flow.

Undersized pumps, although less common, could be having trouble keeping the pool clear, or may require nearly 24 hour operation to do so.

3. Your motor is older than 5 years, or has suffered fatal damage -and- there are other expensive parts that also need replacing.

4. You don’t enjoy tinkering with equipment, and would prefer to have a reliable new pump, with a new factory warranty.

Remember, this is an urgent decision! Pool pumps need to operate every day during the summer. If you need some fast help diagnosing a pump problem, ordering pump parts or a replacement pool pump, give our team a call at 800-288-7946 – we’re here to help 24 hours a day!

Davy Merino
InTheSwim Blog Editor


Pool Pump Problems – Repair or Replace? — 6 Comments

  1. Went to turn pump on to start up pool and the pump just made a sound and nothing . The pump is 9 years old. My husband was going to get a new pump but was talked into trying to take it to a local motor repair shop. What do you think? The motor hummed for about thirty seconds and shut off?

    • Well, the motor shop idea is sound. They can rebuild the motor, or if it’s dead, they can replace it with new, at about 1/2 to 2/3 the cost of a new pump. Might just need a new capacitor, but it may be best to get a new motor, they only last 7-9 years in most cases.

  2. my pump that is 2 years old started smoking and when I re-attempted, it still smoked but less and then turned off. I had an electrician install and pump worked fine last season. I had water in the basket and pressure. Any ideas that I can look at before thinking I need to replace the pump.

    • A smoking motor is never a good sign, something burned up. look in the back to see if it might be the capacitor (left side, 9 oclock) that ruptured and can be replaced easily or if you can see burn marks near the terminal board, caused by wires touching or loose wires.

    • Hi John, actually motors don’t get weak, they either work or they don’t. Well, actually a sign of a weak motor could be slow starting, but that may be a capacitor problem, not really a motor problem. If your flow rate is lower than normal, it’s not a weak motor, but could be: 1. clogged impeller, 2. clogged pipe or valve, 3. closed or partially closed valves, 4. dirty pool filter or pump basket (or skimer baskets), 5. Air leak in front of pump, 6. collapsed flexible PVC pipe on the skimmer or drain lines.

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