5 Common Causes of Premature Damage to Swimming Pool Pumps

A good quality swimming pool pump should last a minimum of 5 years and with proper care can sometimes last upwards of 15 to 20 years. Typically at some time during that period, the pump will start getting loud indicating that the front bearings are going out. This is a sign that the pump will need to be replaced soon. For some pool pump motors the bearings can be replaced, but in most cases it is not a cost efficient solution and it makes more sense to simply replace the motor. For situations where the motor starts getting loud before 5 years, or if this is not the first pump you have replaced in a short period of time, usually there is a simple explanation for the problem. Following are the most common causes that lead to excessive pool pump motor damage that results in premature motor replacement.

Excluding age, the number one reason residential pool pumps start going bad and need to be replaced earlier than necessary is water starvation. A swimming pool pump needs to have a constant supply of water to function properly. Without it the motor will quickly overheat leading to permanent damage to the motor and possibly the pump housing also. There are several common reasons a pump can get starved of water.

1 – Water Level In the Pool Is Too Low – it seems so obvious but is the number one reason pool pumps overheat. If the water level falls below the skimmer intake there is a good possibility the pump will lose its prime and start running dry.

2 – Clogged Skimmer Basket – similar to an insufficient water level, if the skimmer baskets get clogged with debris that restricts the water flow to the pump, it will soon be running dry.

3 – Clogged Pump Basket – again, if the pump basket is neglected and gets clogged with debris, water will not be able to get past the debris, starving the pump of water.

4 – Pump O-Ring Missing – a mistake made more often than one would think is not replacing the pump lid o-ring after cleaning out the pump basket. Of course nobody does this intentionally, but sometimes it goes unnoticed that the o-ring has fallen off and the pump lid is replaced without it. The next time the pool pump timer comes on the pump will start pulling air instead of water.

5 – Cracked Pump Lid – on rare occasions, a hairline and very hard to detect crack will develop in the pump lid. When this happens the pump may operate normally sometimes, but may start pulling air at other times and lead to the pump running dry for extended periods of time. Over the long term, this can cause the pump to overheat and age prematurely.

Replacing a swimming pool pump prematurely can be very expensive and quickly turn into a big headache. Understanding the most common causes of unnecessary pool pump damage is the first important step to avoiding this unneeded expense. Once these concepts are understood, simply adding a few minutes on to the weekly pool maintenance routine to check for these 5 potential problems will help avoid any premature damage to the pool pump.