15 myths about pool parts

15 Myths About Pool Parts

Oh, do we hear it all when it comes to pool parts!  We’ve surveyed our techs and reps to get our top 15 list of pool part misinformation.

1.  It doesn’t matter what horsepower replacement motor you use.

While it is true you can change your pump motor to a lower or higher horsepower, you can’t do so without affecting other parts.  The pump impeller and diffuser are integrally related to the horse power.  If you don’t take this into account and check to see if these parts match your new motor, you could easily end up burning out your pump.

2.  You don’t need to change the shaft seal when replacing a motor.

Lots of people skip the extra $15 – $30 to replace the motor shaft seal – and end up voiding the warranty on that nice new motor.  Don’t reuse your old seal!  Chances are it will be warped and not mate properly to a new motor.  It is well worth a few extra bucks to protect the motor from leakage.

If you have decided it’s time to replace your shaft seal then take a look at this guide which will walk you through the steps of How to Replace a Pool Motor Shaft Seal.

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3.  Vaseline is the best lubricant to use.Blog Image - Vaseline (200 x 200)

This myth probably should be in the number one position based on how many times customers tell us they have slathered o-rings with grease.  Petroleum breaks down rubber, period.  NEVER use Vaseline or any other petroleum-based lubricant on pool parts.  Look for lubes with a water, silicone, or Teflon base.

4.  The shaft seal is determined by the motor.

I agree the above statement appears to be logical – it’s the seal for the motor so all you should need to know is what motor you have.  But the truth is, the shaft seal is determined by the make and model of the wet end of the pump.  While the same motor might be used on a dozen different pumps, the seal will be specific to the pump.  For example, the UST1102 motor is used on both the Hayward Super Pump and the Jacuzzi Magnum.  But the required shaft seal for each one is different.

5.  It’s ok to touch the shaft seal.

Even a small amount of oil from your skin can prevent a good seal and cause leakage.  Use tools and/or wear gloves to handle this vital little pool part.

6.  OEM parts are better.

There are quite a few generic parts that compare to and even exceed the quality of original manufacturers’ parts.  Among our favorite generics are o-rings, heavy duty shaft seals, and filter cartridges from reputable brands like Pleatco, Unicel and Filbur.  Generic parts save you money and are often more readily available too.

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7.  You don’t need to change the lens gasket when you replace a pool light bulb.

The lens gasket is subject to pretty intense heat being in close proximity to a bulb that is typically 300 – 500 watts.  Over time, this heat breaks down the rubber.  If you try to get by with reusing the gasket, you might find yourself with water inside the light housing, a blown bulb, and possible corrosion of the fixture.  As with the shaft seal mentioned above, buy the relatively cheap part to protect the way more expensive equipment.

If you have decided it’s time to replace your light gasket then take a look at this guide which will walk you through the steps of How to Replace Your Pool Light Gasket.

8.  Your pressure gauge is always right.

You might be struggling to figure out why your pressure is up or down, and checking every piece of equipment.  Consider that your filter pressure gauge might be broken, resulting in a false reading.  When the pump is off, check the gauge to make sure the needle returns to zero.

If you have determined that your pressure gauge needs to be replaced then you can use this step by step guide which shows you How to Replace a Pool Filter Pressure Gauge.

9.  An o-ring is an o-ring.Blog Image - O-rings (200 x 200)

All o-rings are not created equal.  A small variance in diameter, thickness or shape can mean the difference between a good seal and a pool equipment fail.  Don’t guess based on how a part looks online.  Be sure to select parts that are specific to the make and model of the whatever pump, filter, heater, etc. you have.

10.  You need an impeller lock screw.

In the majority of cases, this part has been rendered obsolete.  Newer motors have  shafts with external threads so the impeller stem threads onto the shaft.  The impeller stem has reverse threads so as the motor turns, it tightens the impeller.  The exception – if somehow you’ve gotten your hands on an old replacement motor at a garage sale and are brave enough to use it, it could have an internal thread shaft tip and no external threads.  In this case, you will still need the lock screw.

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11.  The best way to remove a pump lid is with a hammer.Blog Image - Hammer (200 x 200)

Yes the lid can be tough to remove but don’t lose your temper and go for the hammer.  There is a good chance you’ll break the plastic and then you’ll really be mad.  If you routinely struggle to get the pump lid off, consider buying a lid removal tool.  You can also try channel lock pliers or some homemade leverage by clamping a 2 x 4 to the lid.  Regardless of the tool, the basic idea remains the same – use gradual, moderate force to turn the lid and avoid damaging it.

12.  All multi-port valves use the same spider gasket.

Life would be easier for pool owners and pool professionals alike if this were true.  Alas it is not!  They do vary in size and configuration of the spokes.  To get the correct spider gasket, you will need to figure out the make and model of your multi-port valve.

13.  The filter cartridge or grid size doesn’t matter.Blog Image - Cartridges (200 x 200)

In their haste, some people see a grid or cartridge listed under the name of their filter and purchase it without checking one very important specification – square footage.  Then they wonder why their new cartridge is 10 inches shorter.  If you don’t already know your specific filter model (for example, Clean & Clear 50 or FNS Plus 48), you will need to check for a label on the tank or the original paperwork if you happen to be that organized.  Worst case scenario is having to open up the tank to measure the cartridge or grids, but this is a step well worth the extra time.

Here is a step by step Guide to Selecting the Right Replacement Cartridge for Your Pool Filter.

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14.  You can just splice the old cord on your new pool light.

When it comes to replacing a complete pool light fixture, many pool owners believe you can simply splice the old cord onto the new light – thereby saving them the hassle of threading a new cord through 50 feet of conduit.  No can do.  A splice located underground within the conduit will short out due to water collecting inside the pipe.  The safest installation is to pull out the entire old light, cord and all, and replace it with the new fixture.

15.  Anyone can replace pool parts.Blog Image - Tim Allen (200x 200)

We’d love to say all DIYers are created equal but the truth is that some pool owners are less adept than others.  If you are considering replacing or repairing parts yourself, honestly assess your mechanical abilities as compared to the task at hand.  Be sure to go online for instructions and advice; there are some great forums and resources for pool owners including our How To Guides.  After your research, if you feel less than confident, consider hiring a professional.  You can still save money by buying the parts for less online and paying only for labor.

11 thoughts on “15 Myths About Pool Parts

  1. I’m hoping someone can help! I lost pressure in my pump so I took everything apart and put it back together. I got back about 1/2 of the pressure but I still don’t have a full seal. I found the area that is causing the problem and it comes down to two options: find a way to create a gasket/seal in one pipe that is essentially a smooth PVC to smooth PVC connection with a screwed on sleeve connecting them OR to tear apart at least four connections that are glued (ex-husband!) together in order to replace the ONE part that has a proper o-ring.
    My question is really just if it would be of benefit to just buy the DIY gasket material and CREATE a more airtight seal between the two smooth pipe connections…and do you think this will work before I go handy-woman on it?
    Also-if you think it WILL work…what type of material for the DIY gasket would you recommend?

  2. Help!! My know it all husband slathered all the gaskets and o rings with vasoline. How do i remove it without damaging the rubber. Also do you need to lubricate the diaphragm gasket on a Hayward de filter?

    1. The Vaseline takes time to deteriorate rubber and other compound o rings and gaskets. Just wipe them down and remove the residue with warm water and dish soap. Re-install with good silicon lube. The gasket in the D E filter should be good with a little lube for installation.

  3. My pool has a thin coat of oily film on top of the water. Are there any parts of the pump that may be leaking oil?

  4. I have a Hayward pump attached to a Clearwater Sand Filter. Do I have to use the high pressure hose or can I use a regular pool hose. The high pressure one doesn’t fit on the connection, it keeps sliding off and I tried a hose clamp and it does nothing.

    1. it depends on the model and size of the Hayward pump, but generally, I would stick with the high-pressure hose.Have you tried different plumbing adapters to gets the hose to fit properly?

  5. I am replacing the gasket on my pool light, do I need to wipe the edges of the lens and or any of the light parts with Teflon o ring grease ( magic lube )

  6. My pool guy just replaced the o ring on the top of our filter that has been in operation for about 6 months. We had a pool in Northern Pennsylvania and replaced it once in 7 years and it wasn’t leaking then. His response was that the heat down here in Florida causes them to deteriorate much faster. I have a hard time believing this because the o rings on the water jackets of Diesel engines are subject to temperatures above 200 degrees 24/7 without fail.
    This is a salt water pool. Is he right or full of it.


    1. Bud – our Florida heat can take a toll on gaskets but it could also be the simple case of a bad gasket. There is always one in the bunch.

      I would go with a “wait and see” approach. If the new gasket goes kaput in a few months then you may have a bone to pick with the pool or manufacturer.

      Also, I am not a mechanic or a rubber scientist, but the rubbers used in pool filters and diesel engines probably use different compound structures. Most filter gaskets are basic o-rings, usually aren’t even viton rubber.

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