How To Clean Out the Pool Pump Strainer

WRITTEN BY:  Inyo Pools

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The strainer basket in the pool pump housing assembly collects large pieces of debris that were missed by the skimmer or were sucked in though the main drains. The pool pump strainer prevents debris from entering the pump assembly and clogging the impeller. To prevent the strainer from clogging and reducing the flow of water through the pool system, the pool pump strainer basket should be checked and cleared weekly

Step by Step

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Step 1

The first step is to turn off the pool pump to stop the flow of water through the pump.

Step 2

Next you will have to relieve the pressure that has built up in the pool pump and water line. Note the pressure on the pressure gauge. It will typically read between 15 - 20 psi. To relieve pressure turn the air relief valve on top of the filter counter clockwise. Water will spray out initially as you see the pressure on the pressure gauge go to 0 psi.

Step 3

To open up the strainer, 1-turn the two knobs on top of the strainer lid counter-clockwise and 2- swivel the knobs down away from the lid. Note: Some pool pump strainer lids screw on instead of having knobs. In this cases twist the lid counter-clockwise to remove the lid off the top of the strainer.

Step 4

Lift the lid off the top of the pool pump strainer.

Step 5

Check the basket for debris.

Step 6

Lift the basket out of the pool pump housing assembly.

Step 7

Clean the debris out of the bottom of the pool pump basket with a garden hose. DO NOT knock the basket on the ground or hard surface. The pool pump basket is flexible plastic and will break over time.

Step 8

Drop the pool pump basket into the housing assembly.

Step 9

Check the pool pump strainer gasket for tears or stretching. Replace if required. Before replacing the strainer lid, we recommend that you apply a thin coat of lubrication on the strainer gasket. This will help seat the gasket and will prolong its life.

Step 10

Replace the pool pump lid.

Step 11

Swivel bolts up and tighten bolts alternately to maintain equal pressure on the pool pump lid. Hand tightening is sufficient.

Step 12

Turn on power to the pool pump to build up pressure in the system.

Step 13

The air relief valve should still be open. As the pressure builds, air will be released through the relief valve. When water starts to spray out of the valve, turn the valve clockwise to close it.

Comments

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(1 to 40 of 74)

Inyopools  Posted: 06/22/2016 11:12 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Dee - Sorry, I was confused by your description. Your top mounted multiport valve does not have nor need a pressure relief valve. Any air trapped in the top of the tank is automatically relieved through the valve.


Dee  Posted: 06/22/2016 6:38 AM 

Hi Inyo!

Sorry, I have top mounted multi-valve on my sand filter..it's the pressure gauge that is side mounted..but I still can't find any indication there is a relief portal anywhere on it. You can email me if it is easier to answer...

Many thanks!


Inyopools  Posted: 06/18/2016 8:18 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Dee - Your side mounted filter has a breather tube that runs from the top to bottom in the center of the tank. This tube automatically relieves air that might be trapped at the top of the tank. Make sure it is not clogged.


Dee  Posted: 06/16/2016 6:32 AM 

Thanks for the reply.....I noticed in your video about how the relief valve. My tank doesn't have one. It is a Hayward pro series S220T ....that I suspect is about 15 years old(came with the house. It only has a side mount pressure gauge and a sight glass. Is there another way that I can relieve the pressure on this model? Would that explain why the air bubble(size of the pot lid) in top of the strainer doesn't get small after I clean the strainer? Many thanks! Dee


Inyopools  Posted: 06/14/2016 14:32 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Dee- Yes, when you open up your system to clean the pump strainer, there is no pressure to hold the water in the filter and it does drain out through the pump to the pool. When you prime the pump, you are also refilling the filter tank. That's why you leave the air relief valve on top of the filter open until the air changes to a stream of water.


Dee  Posted: 06/13/2016 20:12 PM 

Hi yall, when I clean out my strainer basket it sounds like water is draining out of my sand filter. Could that be possible? It gurgles and gurgles and gurgles. Water is still in the bottom of the strainer pot.

Many thanks
Dee


Inyopools  Posted: 05/30/2016 9:58 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

stop water flow – I assume this is an above ground pool. Most AG pools have shut-off valves on the hose before they exit or enter the pool to prevent water from dumping out when the system is opened. If you do not have these shut-off valves, try blocking the pool ports with a cloth or a port plug.


Anonymous  Posted: 05/25/2016 23:24 PM 

how do you stop the water flow from the hoses when you clean the strainer or cartridge,


Inyopools  Posted: 05/10/2016 9:31 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

strainer hole - I would guess the hole in on the side where water is pulled into the pump. This is a sign of the basket breaking apart at this pressure point. It will probably have to be replaced soon. As this hole get bigger, more and more debris will get into the pump to possibly clog the impeller or the filter after the pump.


Anonymous  Posted: 05/09/2016 16:42 PM 

What happen if the basket has a small hole?


Inyopools  Posted: 06/09/2015 14:30 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

no water in pump basket - Sounds like your system has lost prime - having enough water in the pump to create sufficient suction to pull water from the pool. This is generally caused by air getting into the system before the pump. Check whatever you did during maintenance to see if you may have created air leaks in the connections between the pool and the front end of the pump. See our guide on "How to Identify and Correct Air Leaks".


Anonymous  Posted: 06/09/2015 6:51 AM 

After a recent maintenance, there is no water in the pump strainer basket. Its almost empty with several very small bubbles at the top. Is it safe to operate the pool pump like this ?


Inyopools  Posted: 06/04/2015 10:37 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

empty basket - I don't know how your system is moving water. If the pump basket area in not full of water, it can't move water through the system into the filter. I would guess you have a suction leak between the pool and the front end of your pump. See our guide on "How to Identify and Correct Air Leaks". The pump should not be run without water in the basket.


Anonymous  Posted: 06/03/2015 13:48 PM 

Should the pool pump basket chamber stay full of water? Everything seems to be fine but mine is completely dry?


Inyopools  Posted: 05/31/2015 10:25 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

no discharge - Sounds like your pump has lost prime and doesn't have enough water to fill up the pump basket. Check to see if you have a suction leak in the connections between the pool and the front port of the pump. If you have a multiport valve on your filter, make sure it is in filter mode.


Inyopools  Posted: 05/30/2015 15:38 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

5000 gallon pool - Sounds like you aren't getting enough water to the pump to maintain prime. Look for suction leaks in the connections from the pool to the pump input port.


Anonymous  Posted: 05/28/2015 22:03 PM 

We just bought an above ground small 5000 gallon pool. The pump was working but now the pump will suck the water but not blow it back through. All valves are opened. Please help


Inyopools  Posted: 05/17/2015 9:29 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

dfhanaway - It's hard to isolate your problem without more information. Please look at these additional guides to see if they will help: "How To Correct Low Water Pressure in Your Pool System" and "How to Identify and Correct Air Leaks".


dfhanaway  Posted: 05/14/2015 21:04 PM 

Can you please tell me why the pump will
Not backwash or filter? It was working
earlier today and now it want . We have cleaned
out the basket and checked everything please help


Inyopools  Posted: 07/11/2014 11:23 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Maintaining an AG pool -Sounds like you have a blockage in your pool system. Here's a link to our guide on "How To Correct Low Water Pressure in Your Pool System". A clogged pump impeller seems to be a common problem.


Anonymous  Posted: 07/10/2014 9:47 AM 

I was left with the maintaining an above ground pool. The pump seems to not be working well. It seems it may be blocked but I dont know how to correct the situation. I cant get anyone to come and look as no one in Fl. seems to like above ground pools.


Spacecase  Posted: 06/18/2014 12:16 PM 

Thank You ! Even though I have had this pool for forty years, I learned something I didn't know before. Thank You!


Inyopools  Posted: 06/17/2014 10:01 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Dynamite - Sounds like you have a clogged return line or one or more of your return valves are closed off too far.


Dynamite  Posted: 06/16/2014 1:36 AM 

High pressure in pool.... Runs at 18-20 normally but it's now around 40 psi... Filter not that dirty... One of the jets not blowing anything out.... Clogged line??


Inyopools  Posted: 06/09/2014 12:55 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

strainer lid - Try twisting it off using a large stray clamp - twist counterclockwise.


Anonymous  Posted: 06/08/2014 10:14 AM 

cannot remove the lid from my strainer housing. it's the type with the two ears it is the twist off style. please help


Inyopools  Posted: 05/13/2014 9:30 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Poman - Could just be because the filters are new. As long as your water is staying clean, you should be all right.


Poman  Posted: 05/12/2014 21:43 PM 

Just installed 4 new Carthage filters now my tank pressure 5 psi before it ran at 12 to 15 psi, any suggestions?


Inyopools  Posted: 12/28/2013 10:38 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

gian - Assuming at this point you are going to replace the strainer cover - I would drill a couple of 1/4" holes into the cover on either side of the center. Then drill a couple of 1/4" holes in the center of a 2 foot 2x4 the same distance apart as the cover holes. Drop 1/4" bolts thru the sets of holes and twist the 2x4 counter-clockwise. Be sure to lubricate the O-ring on your new cover each time you clean out your strainer and only hand tighten the cover.


gian  Posted: 12/26/2013 23:44 PM 

My strainer's cover of the pool is crew in type. It does not turn. I have broken off all the plastic ridges by turning those hard to open. ven I have applied WD40 for over 24 hrs. The lid is stuck. Please help, what should I do


Inyopools  Posted: 09/07/2013 9:23 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

drain plugs - There are generally two drain plugs at the bottom of a pool pump, one under the strainer and one under the impeller. They are used to drain all the water out of the pump for winter storage.


Anonymous  Posted: 09/07/2013 9:01 AM 

Can you tell me what the drain on the side of my skimmer/pump is for? It has a screw on cap. Ty.


Inyopools  Posted: 07/28/2013 11:53 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Wailupe - If you set the multiport valve to "closed" before opening the basket cover, it will prevent water from backing out of the filter, but will not prevent water from flowing back from the pump to the pool. You might consider putting a check valve in the supply line to stop backflow from the pump when the basket is open.


Wailupe  Posted: 07/23/2013 13:52 PM 

Our sand filter doesn't have a relief valve.Should I turn to "closed" before opening lid to basket of pump? I primed
it after cleaning ( ran water via garden hose) but it took forever
to fill and to get the pressure up on the sand filter! It's working okay but need to know what to do next time before I burn out the motor! Appreciate your help!


Inyopools  Posted: 07/22/2013 11:55 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

plastic in pipes - You might try blowing the line out from the skimmer end to the pump using a wet shop vac.


Anonymous  Posted: 07/21/2013 16:43 PM 

Plastic from my vacuum hose broke off and is in the strainer basket. When I release the pressure the plastic floats out of the intake line with the water. How can I get this plastic out of the lines?


Inyopools  Posted: 06/23/2013 10:35 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Tom - If you are sure the pin hole leak is in the pump housing, I would replace the housing. This leak indicates a weakness in the housing that may cause the housing to explode.


Tom  Posted: 06/22/2013 12:25 PM 

I have a pin hole leak in my Hayward pump housing. Is there any way to fix it? I know it is not the gasket.


Inyopools  Posted: 05/01/2013 17:54 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Lee - Sounds like you still have an air leak on the suction side of your pump. If you have an older pump, you might try replacing the O- ring on the strainer basket. If you have any unions on the suction side of the pump, take the union apart and make sure the o-ring is set properly. Also you may have to prime the intake longer and if you have long pipes to the pool , it might take up to 3 minutes to reach prime, especially is have blown the pipes out. One other point, if you are trying to use an above ground pump in an in ground pool, it will not prime. AG pumps are not designed to suck water.


Lee  Posted: 04/30/2013 22:26 PM 

Gentlemen or Ladies,
My pump is running, but not priming. I have blew out the lines from the skimmer. Emptied the basket. Impellor moves freely. Primed the intake. I sealed one small pin hole on the out valve. Still no suction.

Any other suggestions?