How hot can a pool pump motor get without damaging itself?

Poolside Chat Ep. 47: Is it normal for my pool pump motor to be hot?

In today’s episode of Poolside Chat, Rob and Matt tackle another common swimming pool question:
  • How hot can a pool pump motor get without damaging itself?

Is it normal for my pool pump motor to be hot to the touch?

First off, never touch a running pump motor. Not only does the pump naturally get hot but if the pump is not properly bonded you could receive a nasty electric shock. So hands off.

How Hot Can a Pool Pump Motor Get?

Anything above 115 degrees Fahrenheit is going to register as hot to the human touch. Motors can reach up to 200 degrees before bearings can begin to breakdown, so 115-200 degrees is a safe “hot” temperature for your motor. A pool pump motor uses insulation classified as level ‘B’ that allows the motor’s internal temperature to reach up to 256 degrees. The motor is also equipped with an overload protector which will shut down your motor in overheating scenarios. The overload protector is a sure sign your motor is pulling too much juice and/or overworking.

Also keep in mind, that your electric motor is enclosed in a metal housing, exposed to the summer sun, it’s going to get hot. These motors are able to handle most temperatures that Mother Nature can throw at it. you should not worry about the temperature of your motor unless your overload protector is tripping.

12 thoughts on “Poolside Chat Ep. 47: Is it normal for my pool pump motor to be hot?

  1. My Century motor HST110 Model: C48AB47A01 is running at 375% via Laser heat sensor? Is it ready to break down or catch fire?

    1. If that number is supposed to be 375 degrees Fahrenheit, then you should turn off the motor and have a professional electrician check the pump and circuit. As we say in the video and article, the motors are designed to run safely in temps up to 256 degrees Fahrenheit; 375 degrees is well above that mark.

  2. Is the Pureline in ground 2 hp, 220v pump a centrifugal pump? In other words if I throttle the pump discharge to reduce flow, will the motor run less hot?

    1. Pretty much every pool pump is a centrifugal style because they use impellers. You can’t prevent a motor from getting hot. Induction motors are not frictionless; heat is a byproduct of their operation. It’s like trying to prevent fish from swimming.

      Choking off the pump’s outflow or the inflow will cause pressure issues and might light load the motor, which causes heating issues as well.

  3. Really?
    If a motor is running on the “Hot” side of the range
    Don’t you think it would be good to check the air vents and or find out why? Just letting the overload protector “take care of it ” doesn’t seem the best course of action!

    1. Yes, you can check the vent for any obvious blockages or check voltages or other troubleshooting steps, as needed. But the question was if it was common for the motor to run hot, aka “hot to the touch.” Which is what we answer.

      In the video, we mention a few times that it is normal for the motor to run hot to the touch. If a motor is running at 150 degrees, it is well within the safe range, but it will also feel hot to the touch which may lead some to be concerned. Through the many years we have this questioned posed to us, most of the time 9 out of 10 times it is a matter of the normal heat generated by the motor.

      How often do you test your pool pump’s temperature by touching it? Probably not often. We’re stating that just because it is hot, doesn’t mean you need to sound the alarm and assume the motor is dying. These protections are put on the motor for a reason.

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