How To Troubleshoot a Pool Pump Motor - Motor Overheated


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If your pool pump motor is smoking of cycling on and off, it is severely overheating. This guide discusses some of the conditions that cause your pool pump to overheat. If this problem isn't corrected, it will burn out your motor's windings and cause it to fail.
Note: A running motor that is too hot to touch is not necessarily overheating.  If the automatic protector is not tripping and the actual running amps do not exceed the maximum amps on the nameplate, the motor is not overheating.

Click Here to View Motor Parts (Including Capacitors, Bearings, Switches & More)

Click Here to Find Your Replacement Pool Pump Motor 

Step by Step


Step 1

CLEAR DEBRIS - Clear away all debris in and around the motor's air vents at the base of the motor.

Step 2

CHECK WIRING - Compare connections to wiring diagram on the label of the motor. Make sure motor is connected correctly for applied voltage.

Step 3

MEASURE SUPPLY VOLTAGE - Use a multimeter to measure the voltage to the motor. Voltage should be + or – 10% of nameplated voltage. If it is higher that +10% call the local power company. If lower than –10% of the nameplated voltage check wire size from the service fuse box or circuit breaker. 
Note: Electric demand on the power company varies. If the motor is nuisance tripping because of low voltage it may only trip during the part of the day when electrical usage is the highest. Do your voltage checks at that time of day.

Click Here to View Motor Parts (Including Capacitors, Bearings, Switches & More) 

Step 4

CHECK AMBIENT TEMP - Pool motors are usually designed to operate up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Artificially high ambients can occur if a motor operates in a confined space and recirculates the same air or circulates air from another motor next to it.

Step 5

CHECK AMPERAGE - If the amps are higher than nameplate amps but the voltage is acceptable, WITH THE POWER OFF, inspect the motor and the pump for mechanical obstructions that could cause an overload. A common obstruction is a clogged or worn impeller.

Step 6

CHECK WINDINGS CONTINUITY - Check for continuity of the motor windings for damage or shorting.

Click Here to Find Your Replacement Pool Pump Motor 

Step 7

CHECK CAPACITOR CONTINUITY - Check for continuity of the capacitors. Some motors have two capacitors, a run capacitor and a start capacitor. If the start capacitor has failed, your pump motor will not run.

Click Here to View Motor Parts (Including Capacitors, Bearings, Switches & More)

Step 8

CHECK MOTOR SIZE - Make sure the motor is not undersized. Remember, when replacing a pump or motor, the total horsepower is horsepower times service factor. The total horsepower must be equal to or greater than the pump/impeller rating.

Click Here to Find Your Replacement Pool Pump Motor

Step 9

CHECK MOTOR START SWITCH - Check the motor start switch and governor (if applicable) to make sure it is adjusted properly and is operational. Governors on some motors will often stick in the open position.

Click Here to View Motor Parts (Including Capacitors, Bearings, Switches & More) 


(41 to 49 of 49)

 Posted: 6/12/2016 

I just installed a new pool pump. Wiring all good new. Turns on for a minute then shuts down. Motor very hot. Help I cleared everything from strainer basket

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/1/2016 

Ron - Thanks very much for your feedback. There's nothing like actual results to help solve other people's problems.

 Posted: 6/1/2016 

Follow up. It was the capacitor. I replaced it quite easily and it fixed my problem. Thank you for the topic tutorial.

 Posted: 5/31/2016 

Like Justin, my pump appeared to be running fine, until one day it started to buzz, then shut down, and did this repeatedly. I understand that this could be the capacitor, which I will check. When the buzz starts as if the motor is about to start, I hand twist the flat shaft at the back and the motor starts up and begins to turn, but will shut down after a minute or two and the motor is very, very hot. Could this still be the capacitor?

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 3/21/2016 

Justin - A buzzing sound is a common symptom of a bad capacitor. See our guide on "How To Replace a Pool Pump Capacitor".

 Posted: 3/20/2016 

My pool pump seemed to be running just fine the other day. I realized it wasn't running today. I cleared out the filters in the pool and pump, when I touched the pump motor, it was pretty hot after less than 1 second. I cut off the breaker to the pool pump and let it cool down. I turned on breaker back on and there was a buzzing sound (like it was getting electricity but not moving) after about 30 seconds to 1 min, it shut itself off. Any idea what the problem is? Do I need to purchase a replacement pump or am I able to troubleshoot and fix the problem. I just moved into the house, so I have no idea how old the pump is, I can't find a year...

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 8/1/2015 

Alex- The assumption here is that the water flow through the pump is not balanced. Your pump cannot suck in water as fast as it discharges the water causing air in the strainer basket. By reducing water flow on the discharge side (returns) you are balancing the flow which is easier on the pump.

 Posted: 7/31/2015 

Wouldn't that put more force on the pump causing it to ovearhest even faster?

 Posted: 3/21/2014 

also you can throttle back on the return valve 1/3 of the way.especialy if a high head pump was installed in a low head aplication.if no return valve then install smaller "eyeballs" on your returns to restrict the flow like a charm