How to Diagnose and Repair Low Water Pressure from Pool Pump


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Low water pressure in a pool is one of the most common issues. The cause of this problem can come from a number of sources. In this guide/video, we explain how to identify an air leak on the suction side of the plumbing and how to repair it. 

Before you start looking at the suction side plumbing, we recommend ruling out some of the common causes of low water pressure. First, make sure the filter is clean and that the diverter valves are open, so water can easily flow to and from the pool. Clean out the skimmer and pump baskets. Check the pump lid o-ring. A bad o-ring can cause the pump not to prime and impact water flow. Lastly, make sure the water level is half way up the skimmer door opening.

Note: We used an irrigation pump in this guide but the same principles apply to a pool pump.


Step by Step


Step 1

Soapy Water - Get a water bottle, add a 1/2" of water, and some dish soap. Shake it up until it is full of bubbles.

Step 2

Apply Bubbles - With the pump running, squeeze bubbles around the suspected areas on the suction side of the system. This will be the plumbing on the intake side of the pump. Check the intake port, cuffs, elbows, and around any valves on the suction side of the pump.

In this example, the suction side leak was found at the intake of the pump.

Note: A leak on the pressure side, after the pump, would leak water when the pump is running.

Step 3

Gather Required Tools - Most plumbing repairs will require the following items.
PVC Pipe
Fittings (Cuff, Elbow, Threaded Fitting/Union)
Primer and Glue
Large Channel Locks (For Threaded Fittings)
Teflon Tape (For Threaded Fittings)

Step 4

Cut Pipe - With the pool pump off, use the hacksaw to cut out the section of pipe that has the leak. Be sure to leave at least a 1/2" of the pipe so that a cuff can be installed over the cut pipe.

In this case, the leak was at the intake port. We cut the pipe a few inches from the port so we could unscrew the fitting.

Step 5

Teflon Tape (If Replacing Threaded Fitting) - Wrap teflon tape around the threads of the fitting.

Step 6

Install Fitting (If Applicable) - Screw in the male pipe threaded fitting or union. Hand tighten the fitting as much as you can. Use a large pair of channel locks to tighten the rest. 

Note: Be careful not to over tighten the fitting into a plastic or fiberglass pump housing. There is a possibility that the pump housing could crack if the fitting is turned too far.

Step 7

Dry Run (Test) - At this point, we recommend measuring and cutting the pipe that you'll need. Place the coupler on the pipe and make sure everything matches up.

Step 8

Prime - Using the primer, prime the first fitting that needs to be glued.

In this case, we primed the inside of the threaded fitting and the outside of the short pvc piece.

Step 9

Glue - Using the PVC glue, spread glue where the primer was applied.

Step 10

Connect Pipes - Press the pipe into the fitting. Give the pipe a 1/4 turn and hold for 10 seconds.

Step 11

Repeat Steps - Repeat steps 8-10 until the plumbing is complete.

Step 12

Test - Wait 30 minutes for the glue to cure, prime pump, and then run the system. If the suction leak was properly fixed, there should be an increase in the water flow.



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