How To Clean Out a Pool Pump Impeller

WRITTEN BY:  Inyo Pools

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Is your filter pressure running low or does your pump motor sound strained? Was your pool pressure fine a week or so ago? Do you have an automatic floor vacuum that is barely moving on the pool floor? If you answered “Yes” to any or all of these questions, your pump impeller could be clogged with debris. This especially holds true if you have palm trees around your pool as the fine hairs of the palms tend to clog things up. The location of the pool pump impeller is shown in this cut-away of a pump.


Step by Step


Step 1

Before you tackle the impeller, check to see that your filter and pump skimmer basket are clean. To see our How To Guides on these procedures click How To Clean a Pool Cartridge Filter, and How To Clean Out the Pool Pump Strainer

Step 2

If you have a floor vacuum, check to see if any of the hoses are cracked. To do this – with the pump running – pull the hoses above the water one by one and bend them back and forth. If you hear air coming from any hose, throw it out.

Step 3

If these efforts have not increased your filter pressure, you now need to look at a possible clogged impeller. Collect a coat hanger and a pair of pliers

Step 4

Turn off electricity going to the pump motor at your circuit breaker, not just the timer. You don’t want the pump to turn on when you are working on the pump.

Step 5

Remove the pump basket lid and the pump basket

Step 6

With the pliers, make a small hook about 1/2” - 3/4” at the end.

Step 7

Bend the wire a bit about 6" up so you can maneuver it.

Step 8

Insert the wire slowly into the opening leading to the impeller until it stops. Now fish around for debris.

Step 9

Pull it out and clean it now and then. You may be surprised at how much comes out (especially if you have palms around your pool).

Step 10

Once you are done, put the pump basket back and with a garden hose, fill the housing with water in order to prime the pump correctly. Replace the pump lid.

Step 11

Turn on the electricity at your circuit breaker, and then turn on you pump.

Step 12

If your pressure is still low, have a professional look at your pool as there could very well be something else wrong.


(1 to 40 of 120)

deron867  Posted: 10/04/2017 16:03 PM 

Thank you for this site!!! Thought I was going to have to call someone out, but it was the impeller (which I've never heard of) blocked. FYI, i used my hose with a high pressure nozzle to clean it (the hangar wasn't effecitve for me). Again, Thanks!!!

Inyopools  Posted: 07/30/2017 13:03 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

SM - If you have sand getting into your pools, you may have problems with a broken lateral, lateral hub or standpipe. If you haven't changed your sand for 5 or more years, it may be time which will allow you to check your lateral assembly.

SM  Posted: 07/27/2017 5:14 AM 

I did my backwash and now I have a problem. I get sand deposits at the bottom of my pool. In addition water flow is very weak. When I put my valve into circulation position water runs as it should be. So I believe that backwashing somehow caused my trouble. Is it possible that laterals are clogged. Any chance to repair this without changing sand.


Anonymous  Posted: 07/24/2017 14:25 PM 

Thanks. Just fixed the low pressure that's been puzzling me for a few weeks. I don't think my impeller is the same as the one shown. I can poke my fingers around the impeller to get at any debris but the coat hanger had no where to go. I did get the hose and used high pressure spray into the impeller and lots of gunk came out. Turned the pump back on and the pressure was back up.

Inyopools  Posted: 07/24/2017 11:59 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Mimi Castellanos - It sounds like a good idea. It will clog up faster and need to be cleaned more frequently, But for people that have pine trees around their pool, it might be a good solution to frequent impeller clogs.

Mimi Castellanos  Posted: 07/22/2017 9:19 AM 

Thank you for this information on the pump impeller. I have added a skimmer "sock" to my pump filter basket. It really seems to keep the debris out of the pump area and the filter. It works so well that i am wondering if there is a reason everyone doesn't use this? It is basically like putting a woman's stocking over the top of the filter basket. water goes through but nothing much else. is this a good idea or does it restrict water flow?

Anonymous  Posted: 07/04/2017 20:42 PM 

Bent hanger and some finger work cleaned out the impleller. Floor vacuum working great now. Thanks for great tip!!

Rick  Posted: 06/25/2017 14:08 PM 

Fixed the problem with a bent hanger and fingers. Saved money. Thank you.

Mike S  Posted: 06/25/2017 11:34 AM 

I found your website after a google search. Started with the priming instructions. Made the pump flow better but was still weak. Instructions led me to this impeller clean-out page. Pulled a gob of palm tree hairs out of the pump. Running like new. I'm a fan and customer for life. Excellent instructions. Thank you. ...People, follow their instructions, they work, don't give up.

Mary  Posted: 06/16/2017 14:01 PM 

Great site! Helped us out greatly.

Steve  Posted: 06/14/2017 8:36 AM 

Found the site, figured the problem only thing left to say is that I am glad there are some really clever people out there!!

Anonymous  Posted: 06/04/2017 18:47 PM 

AWESOME!! Thank you for this article, it saved me as well, had low pressure, tried a bunch of things (thought I had a slight blockage in the intake lines like I've had before, but I couldn't find it this time) and then came across this article... Cleaned out the impellor and bam, full pressure again!

Thanks again!

Tinker  Posted: 06/03/2017 10:05 AM 

thank you,thank you...I had really low pressure.was scared my motor was going bad or something that was going to cost$$$.cleaned with a small brush .i couldn't believe what was in's all good now..great pressure..and 0$$...thanks again!

Anonymous  Posted: 05/25/2017 23:46 PM 

Thank you, Thank you!!! 3 minutes and impeller clear!! What a time saver and money saver!! Up and running again!

Steve in Bakersfield  Posted: 05/21/2017 20:07 PM 

Thank you!!! Your solution is the only one that came up on the first Google search that actually pertained to my problem - all the others ignored my low pressure issue and talked about high pressure. Since I have seen your advice before and knew you know what you are talking about I followed your suggestion and sure enough it worked like a charm (except for the clothes hanger - had to use my fingers, but with breaker off; no risk). I won't find your advice in a Google search anymore, you are now saved as my go-to site. Thanks, again.

Anonymous  Posted: 05/21/2017 10:38 AM 

Thank you for this great explanation. My impeller was clogged and the fix was easy.

John  Posted: 05/09/2017 11:30 AM 

Agree with Ron, you guys Rock!
I was away a week and left my son in charge of pool and skimmer got overwhelmed with leaves a couple times and I returned to low pressure and checked usual suspects without answer then used your impeller clean out with hanger and much debris removed and pump back to full power.
Thanks again John

Ron  Posted: 04/30/2017 20:52 PM 

Wow ! Saved a lot of money by taking your advice on the impeller. That's exactly what it was. Thank you !

Frank - St. Pete, Florida  Posted: 03/31/2017 16:35 PM 

I was minutes from calling a service for low water flow and thought I'd check for postings. The directions for clearing the impeller were right on the money - it took 5 minutes. Water is flowing freely from all jets!

Thanks, thanks, thanks

Laura  Posted: 03/30/2017 18:26 PM 

This site has simply just saved me a few hundred dollars. This video of cleaning the impeller was so simple. I didn't know this was the problem for such low pressure, but I found debris in it and cleaned it out. Thank you again! I hate calling anyone out when I can do my own handy work!

TD  Posted: 03/29/2017 9:56 AM 

Thanks for the tip.. Cleaned the impeller and pressure came right back.. Very easy!

Duff  Posted: 03/22/2017 18:19 PM 

Always looking to make great advice even easier----I use my shopvac and sucked out all sorts of debris. But the wire told me something was in there. Thanks for to tip.

Becky  Posted: 03/15/2017 21:28 PM 

Thanks for the advice. I was able to pull a bunch of leaves out of my impeller and saved calling the pool repair man!

Mike  Posted: 03/12/2017 19:23 PM 

Wow! Thank you so much. I spent two days with this problem. I turned off the breaker to the filter.
Probably not a great idea but I used my hand and pulled all kind of debris out. Our neighbor has an Oak tree. Leaves always in the pool.
Thanks again.

L in ga  Posted: 01/08/2017 1:02 AM 

This was a life saver. Something so simple helped and made such a huge difference. Freezing tonight here and pump was in freeze mode running but no pressure. I was worried it was so many different expensive parts and this was the only issue. Thank you so very much. This was simple! Great help!

Anonymous  Posted: 11/13/2016 15:52 PM 

Thanks for the tutorial, not sure why the pool guy didn't just do this last week when he saw the pressure low. Instead he was talking about a potential leak which made me all worried. It took me all of 5 minutes to clean the impeller and I didn't even know what I was doing. Would have taken him like 2 minutes

Thank you  Posted: 11/05/2016 18:11 PM 

Super you save me!!

Mike  Posted: 10/07/2016 18:42 PM 

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You saved me time and money! I can't believe how simple this was. Pump pressure is back to normal!

poolpete  Posted: 09/27/2016 18:41 PM 

Thank you! It only took a few minutes to get the pressure back to normal.

Serge  Posted: 09/10/2016 14:54 PM 

Excellent recommendation!! I have this tree with really annoying little leaves that always seem to want to fall in the pool... I'm always trying to keep the baskets clear of debris but today it was a whole other thing, I was about to cancel the pool for the season because enough is enough, PSI isn't coming back up no matter what I did. Then I find this article, took me about 5 minutes of clearing up the junk, and now maybe we can swim one last time before the cold comes in. THANK YOU!!!!!!

Anonymous  Posted: 09/07/2016 18:24 PM 

Thank you, thank you! Only one week left in our pool season and suddenly almost no pressure. I was afraid something was blocking the lines, but the pump sounded a bit off. Did some research and came across your site. Followed the instructions, got a lot of pine needles out, and now everything is running great. You saved the day, and probably saved me a lot of money for a pool service.

Anonymous  Posted: 09/05/2016 15:41 PM 

Hi, I just wanted say thank you for posting these HOW TO GUIDES. Today, because of your helpful guidance and videos - I was able to (both) clean out my sand filter and unclog my impeller. As a result the PSI went right from 5psi to 15-20 psi and I'm now getting the proper circulation in my in-ground pool. Really appreciate the help.
Ashland, MA

dawagonbus  Posted: 08/31/2016 8:39 AM 

Just like Everyone else....Thank You!!!!! I tried everything I could think of but solved my low PSI by cleaning the impeller. Now I'll make it part of my cleaning routine.

Anonymous  Posted: 08/28/2016 17:32 PM 

Thank you very much, save me a call to the pool repair guy tomorrow.

Jiffer  Posted: 08/24/2016 20:39 PM 

Thank you so much! We had no pressure and had no idea what was wrong. We just knew we were about to spend a lot of money, but cleaning the impeller worked! What a relief.

pOOL OWNER  Posted: 08/19/2016 10:59 AM 

Thank you!!! That was exactly what the problem was and your suggestion worked perfectly.

metoo  Posted: 08/03/2016 19:55 PM 

i love you guys. you solved my problem. thanks so very much

Inyopools  Posted: 07/25/2016 13:24 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

QOD - Take a look at our guide on "How To Service the Inside of a Hayward Navigator Suction Cleaner". It explains to some degree what the internal parts of a Navigator control. Check in particular the gearbox.

QOD  Posted: 07/24/2016 11:55 AM 

After backtracking all possible quick fixes the coathanger to the impeller proved to be the culprit for dropped pressure. three minutes later I'm up and running with full pressure. I am running a Hayward navigatorpool cleaner which I just recently rebuilt can you tell me why the hoses keep wanting to twist....I never rolled up and these are new flat hoses I checked the navigator and be turning wheel is operational with the lift test

Gronks  Posted: 07/20/2016 18:09 PM 

I tried filter extensively, new DE, checking valves, vacuum to waste, cleaning skimmer and pump baskets repeatedly...nothing worked to bring the filter pressure past 4psi. I tried your recommendation...not much came out, but a little did. I returned basket and got a nice tight seal back on the pump cover, turned it on and....I knew within seconds that the problem was solved. Pressure rose to 16psi (normal for my pool), I let the air out of the filter and have a perfect 'vacuum' again.
Can't thank you enough for this tip!!!