What do I need to know about the pool pump and motor?

a-pool-pumpIn the long list of swimming pool accessories, the pool pump and motor are one of the most useful and practical pieces of kit.

Pump and motor

The pump and motor have the practical role of drawing water from a spa or pool to direct it through a heater (if applicable) and filter, it then returns to its rightful place in the spa or pool. Even though these components work in combination with each other, the pump and motor are completely different pool accessories.

They are both useful parts for working on the water circulation system, but they aren’t intended to be interchangeable.

What is a pool pump?

A pool or spa pump is made up of several components, including a strainer basket, impeller, motor and housing. The unit is powered by the motor to create movement in the swimming pool. A pump (also referred as a centrifugal pump) makes it possible to create pool water movement based on the rule of centrifugal force. The self-priming pumps are built to automatically release any air in the system to naturally create a vacuum that can maintain suction. Any pump that starts to lose its prime can lead to the motor overheating and damaging the pump.

What to look for when shopping for a pool pump?

  • A pump with a built in SVRS (safety vacuum release system) is practical to instantly detect a drain blockage and switch off the system.
  • The pressure openings, suction and piping have an impact on the gallons-per-minute flow rate
  • Terms and length of warranty/guarantee
  • The operating volume or noise of the pump can vary significantly. A low-volume pump is best. Read reviews/customer feedback to see which pumps are the quietest.
  • Investigate the energy-saving potential. Certain pumps have the ability to save up to 90% compared to the 1-2 speed alternatives.

What is a pool motor?

Most pool owners don’t know much about the pool or spa motor until it starts to run into difficulties.

Here are a few of the most common troubleshooting issues:

  • Water damage – A motor can easily get drenched after heavy rainfall, if a pipe breaks, or in times of removing the filter lid for cleaning. In a situation like this, give the motor time to air dry – 24 hours should normally be enough. Don’t start the motor before this time because moisture can short the windings, while also having a negative impact on your warranty.
  • Non-starting – For the non-starting motor, first check the circuit breaker panel and electrical supply. Consider loose wires or connections to the motor. A motor switch plate that gets dirty can cause issues with a connection. Give plate terminals at clean and try connecting again. Also, a wire that isn’t a sufficient size to accept a hold can easily melt or overheat. Always ensure the right size of wire is in place.
  • Humming motor – A motor that hums but won’t fully startup may have a jammed impeller or a bad capacitor. Further investigation is usually needed. Try spinning the shaft. If it doesn’t appear to turn properly, open up the housing and remove any obstruction. But, if the shaft spins freely, it may be an issue with the capacitor. A faulty capacitor (liquid discharge or white residue) is best replaced with a new one. A further issue includes an ineffective line voltage. This is checked using a multimeter to determine the real voltage supply to the motor. If this doesn’t solve the issues, it is best to call on the services of a local pool repair professional.

FAQ: Pool and spa motors

Q: Is it possible to replace a pool motor with a unit with lower HP?

A: According to Hayward Pool Products, the HP of a motor is designed to match the pump impeller. The wrong configuration (either too small or too large) can lead to long-term failure and damage to the motor. The most practical cause of action is to replace the faulty motor with a model with the same HP.

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