Q: How does my Swimming Pool Pump work?
A: For a detailed breakdown on how a pump works please click on the link to our guide (How a Pool Pump Works). But if you just want a basic answer here you go. Most swimming pool pumps are self-priming centrifugal pumps. These pumps must have a vacuum chamber, commonly known as a pump housing. The pump housing must be filled with water in order for any pump to create a vacuum, resulting in your pump pulling the water out of your swimming pool or spa. The pool pump housing will remain full of water while the pump is on, and will remain full or partially full of water when the pump is shut off.
When you turn on the pool pump the motor will begin to rotate on high speed (dual speed pumps rotate at the pre-selected speed). The motor drives the pool pump impeller, located inside the pumps center portion at the opposite end, away from the electrical switch portion of the motor. While the motor is rotating, the tips of the impeller are sealed hydraulically inside of the pump diffuser, this allows self-priming to occur.
Self-priming can only occur when the pool pump has a diffuser. Some pool pumps have a separate diffuser, others have the diffuser molded into the pool pump's cover, refer to your Owner's Manual for your pump. The diffuser helps to eliminate any air coming into the pool pump housing, suction piping, or hoses on above ground pools. When all the air is being removed from the system, you will notice the bubbles returning to the pool through the return fittings. The impeller acts to convert water velocity into water pressure, which is registered on your filter pressure gauge. The actual Gallons Per Minute (GPM) varies with the type of pump and the horsepower. Check your Owner's Manual for more information (owner's manuals can be found online under the detailed page of your pump).
Self-priming pool pumps are very dependable and simple in design. They require a sufficient supply of water from the swimming pool or spa, and no air in the suction lines. Air could come from a loose strainer cover, a leak in any valve, a pin hole in any suction line or any crack or loose connections in the underground piping. Your swimming pool pump should be kept free of dirt and also located where it can be protected from flooding during heavy rain fall. If your pool pump motor becomes flooded you will probably have to replace it (pump motors damaged by flooding are not covered by warranty)
For a detailed breakdown on how a pump works please click on the link to our guide How a Pool Pump Works
Q: Can I run my pump without water? A: Most swimming pool pumps should never be run without water in them. Doing so causes the pool pumps to overheat, potentially causing damage to the liquid end and burning out the seal.
Q: How many hours per day should my pump operate? A: That all depends on factors such as the size of your pool, swimmer load, efficiency of your pump, the filter flow rate, etc. As a rule of thumb, however, a properly sized pool pump should probably run 8 to 10 hours a day in the summer, and 4 to 6 hours a day in the winter to provide adequate turnover. If you are using a variable speed pump running a half speed, you would run twice as long (16 to 20 hours a day in the summer and 8 to 12 hours a day in the winter). If you are interested in saving money on your pool pump energy bill please click below.How to Reduce your Pool Pump Energy Bill
Q: Is there any need to protect my pump from rain and snow? A: If you experience a lot of heavy rain where you live, you may want to consider a motor cover. If you use a cover, make sure there is plenty of ventilation around the motor to prevent overheating. In the winter we suggest that you bring the pump inside or cover it to prevent snow or ice from getting on the motor windings.
Q: Why has my electrical bill increased significantly since my swimming pool was built?
Swimming pool pumps do require energy, the bigger the pump the more energy consumed. Also, some filtration systems may require up to 24-hours to clean your swimming pool. Most swimming pools should stay clean with 8 - 12 hours of filtering. An upgrade to an energy efficient pump and improved filtration can cut energy consumption 15 percent or more. For information on saving money on your pool pump energy bill please click below.How to Reduce your Pool Pump Energy Bil
Q: We are about 60 feet above sea level. Which pool pump would you recommend for a waterfall application with a 7-foot vertical suction lift?
A: The best pump for this application would be the Pentair Whisperflo model. It is a high head, high flow pump with excellent suction lift capabilities. We recommend that you install a check valve on the vertical suction line so the pump can maintain a volume of water in its reservoir and allow for easier priming and water movement.
Q: There seems to be so many different pumps, what is the difference between Full Rated, Up rated and Max rated. I have also seen Standard efficiency models and energy efficient. It all seems a bit confusing?
A:Here is a great article we found on the web which explains the difference between these models:
Up-Rated Versus Full-Rated Pumps and Motors This is an area of confusion that can be fairly easily explained What is the difference between up-rated or full-rated? Or is max-rated even better? By understanding a few key concepts, you can clearly understand the difference and make an intelligent choice when selecting the proper pump and/or motor for your pool.
The Motor Plate The motor plate will have two very important pieces of information Horsepower (HP) - the horsepower rating of the pump Service Factor (SF) - a multiplier factor The Calculation
There is one simple calculation which tells the whole story Horsepower X Service Factor = Total Brake Horsepower If you multiply the horsepower rating times the service factor, you find out the total brake horsepower. The total brake horsepower of the pump is real power rating of that pump or motor.
How Pool Pumps and Motors Get Uprated The motor plate below lists the following ratings for this 3/4 HP Full-Rated Motor: Horsepower - 0.75 Service Factor - 1.5 If we insert these factors into the equation, we end up with the following result Horsepower X Service Factor = Total Brake Horsepower 0.75 (HP) X 1.5 (S.F) = 1.13
Now, suppose you really wanted to take this motor and call it a 1.0 HP motor instead. You would just INCREASE the Horsepower Rating and DECREASE the Service Factor. Horsepower X Service Factor = Total Brake Horsepower 1.0 (HP) 1.13 (S.F) = 1.13 VOILA . . . that 3/4 HP Full Rated Motor is now classified as a 1.0 HP Up-Rated Motor EXACT SAME MOTOR . . . DIFFERENT HORSEPOWER RATING
Some Examples from Motor Labels The following chart for square flange motors shows how the same motor can be given two different ratings. These motors come off the same assembly line. The only difference is the label that is glued on the motor at the factory. Motor Horsepower Service Factor Total Brake Horsepower 3/4 HP Full-Rated .75 HP X 1.5 SF = 1.13 1.0 HP Up-Rated 1.0 HP X 1.13 SF = 1.13 These two motors are the exact same thing 1.0 HP Full-Rated 1.0 HP X 1.65 SF = 1.65 1.5 HP Up-Rated 1.5 HP X 1.1 SF = 1.65 These two motors are the exact same thing 1.5 HP Full Rated 1.5 HP X 1.5 SF = 2.25 2.0 HP Up Rated 2.0 HP X 1.13 SF = 2.25 These two motors are the exact same thing 2.0 HP Full Rated 2.0 HP X 1.3 SF = 2.6 2.5 HP Up-Rated 2.5 HP X 1.04 SF = 2.6 These two motors are the exact same thing
All the manufacturers pretty much do the same thing. The 3/4 HP full rated pool pump comes off of the exact same assembly line as the 1.0 HP up rated pump. All the parts are the same. The ONLY difference is the label. THE BOTTOM LINE . . . the actual horsepower rating of a pool pump or motor does not really tell you much. When it comes time to replace a motor . . . you MUST consider both the horsepower and service factor. This is the only way to insure that you are getting the motor that you need. Consider also the frame size and type of the motor as well. Don't forget to get a pump seal and appropriate gaskets as well. When you are replacing pool pump parts such as an impeller or diffuser . . . make sure you match up the exact part number or you may end up with a mismatched impeller or diffuser. When it comes time to replace your pump . . . look at the flow rating. Pay only mild interest to the HP rating.
Q: What is the difference between a dual speed and a single speed pump?
A:The benefits of a two speed pump have to be seen to be believed. Most pool guys will never even think to recommend this, but it just makes way too much sense to be ignored. Think about it . . . the two-speed pump addresses the biggest concerns that pool owners have about their pumps, that being cost of operation and quietness of operation.
If you live in California, you may be eligible for a rebate directly from your power company for the purchase of a 2 speed pump (up to $600.00).
Cost of Operation Energy efficiency is a big issue with consumers and with power companies these days, although many pool guys still don't think much about it.
Consider the following real-life comparison:
Pool #1 - The Traditional Approach Cost: $51.90 per month This 25,000 gallon pool has a normal 1.5 HP pool pump. It runs 8 hours per day. It pumps about 80 gallons per minute, which means that it circulates 38,400 gallons each day. The pump draws 9.0 amps at 240 volts. At a cost of 10 cents per kilowatt hour, that translates to a cost of $1.73 per day or $51.90 per month to operate the pool.
Pool #2 - The 2 Speed Approach Cost: 19.50 per month This 25,000 gallon pool has a two speed 1.5 HP pool pump. It runs 12 hours per day in low speed. In low speed it pumps about 40 gallons per minute which means that it circulates 28,800 gallons each day. (Remember that the pool only needs to turn the water over once each day). The pump draws 2.25 amps at 240 volts in low speed. At a cost of 10 cents per kilowatt hour, that translates to a cost of $0.65 per day or $19.50 per month to operate the pool.
The only time you really need to turn it to high speed is for backwashing or vacuuming, or if you need to increase the flow rate temporarily.
In this example you are moving less water, but the reality is that most pumps are oversized and as a result the pools are over-circulated. The 2 Speed pump provides just the circulation that your pool needs at a fraction of the cost.
Keeping the pool circulating a longer period of time each day has a couple of advantages:
Quietness of Operation The 1.5 HP pump will typically make quite a bit of noise. This is partly the result of pump noise but more the result of water flowing through the pump and the piping.
The 1.5 HP Two Speed pump on low speed will make very little noise, just a low hum. This is because it is working under much less pressure and the turbulence in the piping is non-existent.
What about Total Dynamic Head? If you look at the pump curves for two speed pumps, you will notice that when the two speed pump is on low speed, it operates at a very low level of Total Dynamic Head. How can it possibly run, if the pool has a TDH of 50 ft? The answer is that when you reduce the flow, you greatly reduce the friction loss. In other words, you cut the friction loss (as expressed in TDH) of a system by a factor of 4 when you cut the flow in half.
In this example, the pool system which runs at 50 ft of TDH, will now produce 12 ft of TDH. The flow at high speed is approximately 88 gallons per minute, while it is calculated at about 42 GPM in low speed.
WIRING A 2 SPEED PUMP One thing that scares people is hooking up a 2 speed pump. It is a little different from hooking up a regular pump. You have to have some way to change from high to low speed.
There are several possible ways to control a 2 speed pump
1. Toggle Switch - Some 2 speed pumps come with a toggle switch on the back of the motor. You will run the pump in low speed normally but manually switch it up to high speed for vacuuming, or backwashing or using the spa.
2. Air Switch - you can buy a two speed air switch to change from high to low speed. This allows you to run air tubing to wherever you want to locate the air button.
3. Two Speed Timer - there is an Intermatic timer (T106) that controls high/low speed. You would use a normal timer to control the on/off function and then use a two speed timer to control the high/low function.
4. Electronic Control - if you have a control system such as a Aqualink or Compool, you can wire up a two speed relay to control the high/low speed function of the pump
Click here for information on How to replace a Pool Pump with an Energy Efficient Pool Pump
Q: Can I use a variable speed pump with a solar panel heating system on my roof? Will the slower speed handle the 13 foot vertical lift? A: Yes. Contrary to some literature you may have seen, a variable speed pump can be used with a solar system. A closed solar system siphons like a hose. Once you have the system full of water the weight of the water going down helps pull the water up. When using the solar system, you will have to run the pump at the higher speed for 3- 5 minutes until the solar system is primed then it will run fine at the lower speeds.
Q: Can I Replace My Current Motor with a Higher or Lower Horsepower?
A: The answer is yes but you will also need to replace any parts that are specific to the horsepower of the motor. These will usually be the impeller and diffuser. It is very important to have the parts matched to the motor. If you go higher, say from a 1 HP to a 2 HP, and do not change any parts, you will not get any of the benefits of the greater horsepower. This is because the 1 HP impeller will only be able to move a 1 HP pump motor. On the other hand, if you go from a 2 HP to a 1 HP, the motor will burn out as a result of the 2 HP impeller trying to turn too quickly. Also if you choose to increase the HP of you pool pump you will need to check the GPM rating of your Pool Filter. You may have to replace your pool filter if your new GPM of your pool pump is higher then the rating of your pool filter.
Q: How Long Should a Motor Last?
A: There are a few variables that affect the answer to this question. In a perfect world with a properly sized and maintained pump and filter system, a pump motor should run for years without a problem. However pumps are often oversized which means that strain on the motor is common. As an oversized pump tries to force water through an undersized filter, there is resistance that will eventually burn the motor out. Other factors that shorten the life of a motor will be poor or no maintenance, corrosive weather conditions, or improper installation. We have had some customers who have burnt out a motor in less than a year and others who call because they finally need a replacement motor after more than a decade of pump use. Much will depend on the proper sizing and care of your pump and filter. The typical manufacturer's warranty on replacement pool pump motors is one year.
Q: Why Should I Replace the Shaft Seal?
A: If you are going to replace your pool pump motor, we highly recommend replacing at least the shaft seal. Using an old seal with a new motor is like asking for a leak. The old seal will likely be worn and will not match up to the new motor. Since shaft seals are typically around $15.00 – 20.00, a better value is a Go-Kit which includes the shaft seal and all O-rings, gaskets and lubricant for your pump. These prepackaged kits are specific to the brand and model of pump and cost about $35.00. A Go-Kit will ensure that all of the key parts are new when you replace the motor. Click here for more information on How to Replace a Pool Motor Shaft Seal
Q: Can I Replace My Single Speed Motor with a Dual Speed?
A: You can exchange a single speed motor for a dual speed as long as you make sure the high speeds match. This way, the impeller on your existing pump will match work with the replacement motor. So for example, if you have a 1 HP Hayward Super Pump single speed model, you would choose the replacement motor for a 1 HP Hayward Super Pump dual speed. The high speed setting on this pump will be the same speed as the single speed model.
Another consideration is that you'll need a way to switch between the low and high settings. Replacement pool pump motors typically do not include a switch. The simplest option is a switch that attaches to the end cap of the motor (part # 615332) . You can also wire your pump to a dual speed control that would be mounted on a post near your pool equipment. If you already have a timer to turn your pump on and off, you can select a dual speed pump timer which will provide only one function, switching from high to low speed (part # T106R). There are also combination units that will provide both an on/off switch and a high/low switch (part # T10604R). If you already have or are considering a more elaborate automated control system such as the Jandy Aqualink, you would need a dual speed pump relay which is usually sold separately.
Trouble Shooting your Swimming Pool Pump
Q: My swimming pool pump motor hums but will not start.
Q: My swimming pool pump doesn't run. A: Check the power, breakers, switches, etc. If you have a timer on the system, make sure it is working properly.
Q: Why does my pump cut off every 5-10 seconds. A: Your motor is wired to the wrong voltage. Most inground pumps can be connected to either 115 or 230v. Shut off the pump at once and have your electrician check the problem and correct. You may also follow our guide by clicking How to Wire a Pool Pump. If you are not familiar with handling pool pump wiring PLEASE HIRE AN ELECTRICIAN.
Q: My pool pump is running too hot and cutting off?
A: This may be caused by insufficient power due to an undersized or long power wires. All wires should be according to code requirements and the motor manufacturer's recommendations.
Your local power supply may be suffering a power drop. For example: during a heat wave when every possible cooling appliance has been turned on in your area, your pool pump may be starved of the power it requires to run cool. Restart your pool pump when the weather cools to confirm that the problem is in the motor.
Your swimming pool pump has a thermal overload, which will shut the motor off when it gets too hot, and it will restart itself once it has cooled down.
Q: My swimming pool pump is running noisy
A: This may be normal since they produce water flow. The motor has a cooling fan internally which can be heard to a certain degree. It is advisable not to locate any pool pump under someone's bedroom window. The pool pump's sounds can be caused by vibrations between the pump base and the base or concrete pad it is sitting on. A piece of old carpet or rubber between the pool pump and base may quiet the sound.
The bearings may be noisy due to normal wear. Feeding high concentrations of chemical tablets in the skimmer will cause corrosive damage to the pool pump seal, which can leak and damage the motor bearings. It is recommended to get the bearings replaced by a qualified motor repair shop. Also, cavitation due to improper suction line sizing, leaks in the piping, a blockage in the suction line, or a low level of pool water will cause higher than normal sound.
Q: Why are bubbles coming into the swimming pool?
A: The strainer cover is loose or the gasket is damaged; check and replace the cover or gasket if necessary.
Q: My swimming pool pump is running, but there is no pressure. Why?
Many swimming pool owners use this term when in fact they really mean they have lots of pressure but their flow is very low. This is caused by a dirty or clogged filter, a blocked return line, or a valve that is shut off or partially shut on the return piping.
The pool pump's impeller may be clogged with debris. Check by first shutting off the pool pump. Remove the basket and check the impeller by putting your finger into the suction hole found in the pump strainer housing. If the seal is broken, replace it. For seal change instructions on Hayward pool pumps, refer to your Owner's Manual that is supplied with your pool pump (also available online under the product page for your pump), or contact your local pool dealer.
For more information on how to do these steps please refer to following How to Guides.
How to Replace a Pool Pump ImpellerHow to Replace a Pool Pump DiffuserHow To Clean Out the Pool Pump StrainerHow to Identify and Correct Air Leaks
Q: My pump will not prime. Why?
Check for each of the following:
Q: The lid on my swimming pool pump broke. How do I purchase a new one?
A: The best way to purchase any broken part for your swimming pool pump is to look up your part in your owner's manual and purchasing direct from our Pool Parts . If you do not have your owners manual you can look it up using the Find a Part software.
Q: Are there any parts on the pump motor which require lubrication?
A: There is no lubrication on the pool pump motor anywhere, but if you are concerned about a possible grinding or whining noise coming from the motor, this is usually due to the bearing or the winding in the motor. If this is the problem, the motor can be rebuilt.
To Purchase a Pump Choose from the following pool pump manufacturers