How Can You Tell if Your Pool Pump is Going Bad?


We have many pieces of equipment on our swimming pool system.  Every pool has a swimming pool pump.  The swimming pool pump is the “heart” of your system.  As the water is drawn from the skimmer and/or the main drain it is pushed, or pumped , back through the system going through whatever you have.  These other pieces of equipment could include a salt system, heater and definitely a filter.  Your pool pump circulates the water and makes sure it gets cleaned in the filter.  It mixes the swimming pool chemicals so that they become effective in keeping your pool water clean and safe.  How can we tell if our pool pump is going bad?  Here are a few ways.

Grinding or Screeching

Pool pumps make noise.  Single speed pumps more so than variable speed pool pumps.  If you hear a louder than usual sound coming from your swimming pool pump that sounds like your pump is screaming, then this usually indicates that the bearings in the pump are bad.  Bearings can be replaced, but very few places still offer this service.  Replaced bearings typically only last a year anyway.  


If your swimming pool pump is coming on, but it just hums and does not move any water, this means your motor has seized.  It  could be a capacitor.  These can also be replaced.  The trouble is, whatever fried your first capacitor could do the same to the new one and then you're out of time and money.  Humming could be that the entire motor is bad.  Depending on the laws where you live, you may be able to replace just the motor.  A lot of places are mandating variable speed pool pumps so motors are hard to come by.  This would mean replacing the entire pump with an energy efficient, variable speed pool pump.

Extended Leaking

Swimming pool pumps can leak from a variety of areas.  The most common is from the mechanical seal.  This pump seal is a two part, ceramic seal where one half goes into your seal plate, and the other onto the impeller.  This keeps the water from getting from the wet end (where the water touches) to the dry end (the motor).  Pump seals are an easy fix, if you catch it early.  If your pump has been leaking for an extended period of time, then you run the risk of water getting to your pool pump motor and ruining it.  Extended leaking can also lead to heavy calcium build up which can push the seal plate out, causing it to need to be replaced.  This adds extra cost to you.

It’s Just Old

When I say “old” I am referring to both the age of the pump and the technology.  Swimming pool pumps can last 6-30 years, depending on the quality, care and water chemistry.  If your pool pump is more than 10 years old, you will start to have problems like the ones we chatted about above.  Sometimes rebuilding the pump is an option, but does it make sense to put money into an old piece of equipment?

It could also be old technology.  If you are the owner of a single speed pool pump, you have old technology.  Single speed pool pumps only run on 3,450 revolutions per minute. (RPMs).  They cost a fortune to operate.  This causes people to try to “save money” by not circulating their swimming pool water long enough or running at night.  Both of these can cause terrible water quality problems which can lead to unsafe, cloudy or algae ridden water.  This means extra money on expensive chemicals and algae treatments.  Sometimes it may get so bad that the swimming pool water needs to be drained.  So no money was really “saved”.

Variable Speed Pool Pumps

If you are experiencing any of the aforementioned issues, I suggest replacing your entire single speed pool pump with a variable speed pool pump (VSP).  VSP’s run at a variety of speeds.  This means you can run your pool pump at a lower speed for longer.  This not only makes for clearer water, but a MUCH lower energy bill.  We are talking an average of $70 per month!  They are also much quieter than single speed pumps.  In fact, a single speed pump’s decibel level is like a crowded subway car , while a variable speed pool pump can be compared to moderate rainfall.

Think you can’t afford to upgrade to a variable speed pool pump?  Think again!  You can get a name brand, Energy Star rated variable speed pool pump for about half of what your local swimming pool supply store would sell a VSP for.  The Black & Decker variable speed pool pump is available in a variety of horsepowers to fit your swimming pool’s circulation needs.  They are easy to install for DIYers and any pool professional.  They even come with an unprecedented FIVE year warranty!  Quality from a household name you have trusted over the years, energy savings, new technology, peace of mind AND saved money?  Sign me up!  You can check them out here. 

See you poolside!