Plumbing, Heating and Pool Repair Guides

How To Troubleshoot & Repair Swimming Pool Pumps


Every swimming pool pump will break down at some point, and when it does it can have a huge impact on your pool that you may not be realizing. The good news is that most of these swimming pool pump problems can be troubleshooted within a few minutes to prevent further damage that can cause even more repair work on the pump. How To Troubleshoot & Repair Swimming Pool Pumps

This troubleshooting guide will help you repair & troubleshoot many brands and models of pool pumps including such brands as Hayward, Pentair, Sta-rite pool pumps, and many others. The only difference is that some pumps will have different horsepower, name brand, but no matter what brand of pool pump you have they all will have an impeller and so on so this guide should work for you.

There are a few common reason that you pool pump will break down. Things like running the pump with a pool prime can burn out the seal and even over heat the pump fittings to a point where the pump won’t pull a prime at all. Other things include things like leaking plumbing pipes that drip on the pool pump motor for years that eventually rot a hole though the pump casing and then destroy the motor. Those are just two really common happenings at most pools in many backyards and with just a few minutes of time and labor you can avoid all these pump problems before they happen.

Lets now go over how you can troubleshoot your swimming pool pump. You will want to get your swimming pool running again as soon as possible because otherwise your pool chemistry could become off balance and the water will turn green and the you will need to learn how to clear a green pool once you get the pump running. Anyhow let’s get on to the swimming pool pump troubleshooting.

How to troubleshoot your pool pump motor:

Hayward Super Pump and Super Pump II
The swimming pool pump consists of two parts the actual electrical motor and the wet end that contains the seal and the impeller. On the popular Hayward super pump these two parts separated by removing four 9/16 bolts on the pump. So the first thing you want to do to determine what is wrong with the motor is to see if you have power to it. Make sure to check your circuit breaker for the pool as well as any sub panel breakers that maybe outside as well.

If the breaker is on on both panels you will now want to make sure that the time is on as well. Most in-ground pools will have a separate time that maybe off, and if you have an above ground or semi above ground you may have a timer as well. If you know you do not have a timer at all then just skip this part. You will also want to make sure that the pump is plugged in, I know this may sound silly but often, landscapers and other ground workers sometimes disconnect or trip over cords, this does not happen to often but it always can happen. If you have check all the power sources and you still have no power chances are your motor is no good or will need serious repair, your best bet it to replace the motor or bring it to a pump repair shop to see if they can rebuild or repair it, but in most cases its cheaper to buy a new motor. It will also make sense to buy a new motor if yours is several years old. If your pump is however in a newer shape it might be worth it to have it repaired.

How to troubleshoot your pool pump wet end:

Hayward Super Pump housing
The “wet end” of a pool pump is the part that contains the impeller and the seal. The reason its called a wet end of the pump is for the exact reason you maybe thinking. It’s because water goes through this part of the pump and it gets wet, its as simply as that. The parts on the wet end of the pool pump are called, the impeller, seal, pump cover, pump cover gasket, drain plugs and also the volute which is also know as the pump housing. If your motor is good, meaning it turns on and no water is pumping through it , you probably have a problem with wet part of the pump and this can includes problems with the parts we just listed above,

How to make your pool pump run air free:

Hayward Super Pump
The first step to making sure you pump gets a full prime every time it runs is to make sure that all the places that can leak air are sealed tight. The places that you seal up to make sure that no air gets in the pump are the drain plugs, suction union or suction valve, volute gasket even and the pump lid gasket. These are the most common places that air will get into the filter system.

So what you will want to do is make sure that the unions are tight and that the gaskets are not dry rotted, or cracked and also make sure that the drain plugs have a sealant tape on them if they are tapered. Please note that there are two different types of drain plugs. The first kind is tapered and will require sealant tape. The second type of pump drain plug has no taper but uses a rubber washer to make the seal, Often this washer rots away and then the drain plug does not have a complete seal. So make sure to check the pump drain plugs really well.

Also check out this video that will show you the most common places the Hayward Superpump will leak:

The video might give you a better visual on where things will leak and the most common places the pump will suck or draw air in.

How to replace your pool pump:

Replacing a pool pump can be done with a few tools as pool pumps usually are only connected by two fittings and the electrical cord. You will need a large sized pair of water pump pliers and also a flat head screwdriver.
Pentair IntelliFlo High Performance Pump
Here is how to remove and replace the swimming pool pump:

Step One:

The first thing you will want to do when removing your pool pump is to make sure that the power is off and then you will want to also unplug the pump .

Step Two:

Now that you are completely sure that the power is off and you have disconnect the swimming pool pump power cord you will now want to disconnect the ground wire. The ground wire is attached by the ground clamp that will be attached to the top pf the motor. Take your flat head screwdriver and loosen the screw and remove the ground wire and place it to the side. The ground wire will be a copper wire coming from the ground. This is required on above ground and also in ground pools.

Step Three:

In this step, you will be removing your swimming pool pump completely from the filter and the base. To do so, you will have loosed the discharge union and the suction union of the pump. The suction union is the union on the front of the pump and the discharge union can be found on the top or side of the pump. If you have an above ground pool you will just have to loosen the hose clamps on the plastic hoses and then remove the hose hoses from the pool unless your above ground pool is hard piped then you will have to loosen the unions, as we described above. To loosen the unions turn the union nut with your water pump pliers counter clockwise until hand loose and then spin the union nuts by hand.

Step Four:

Before you remove the pump , make sure that the power is off , ground wire is removed and the unions disconnected. Once that is all done you can lift up your pump and remove it. To re-install the swimming pool pump just reverse these directions and don’t forget to prime your pump before starting.


  1. Having read this I believed it was rather informative.
    I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this short
    article together. I once again find myself personally
    spending a significant amount of time both reading and posting comments.
    But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  2. I did as you suggested and checked my pool motor if it was plugged in and made sure that it was getting power. At first, I saw it was unplugged and thought that maybe sticking it back in would fix the issue but that didn’t seem to do anything. I guess I’ll have to get some pool contractors to fix or replace the motor soon. I’m having family visiting soon so I hope to get it fixed by the time they arrive. It would be a shame if the kids didn’t get a chance to take a dip during their time here.

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