Pool cover pump not working

Nobody said it would be easy—not always, anyway. True, you probably took on pool ownership because of those beautiful, sunny days when you can be found floating on your back, the light filtering through your closed eyelids. Maybe you even like to host a summer party or two. But whether we might like it or not, it’s maintenance that makes all our happy pool memories possible—and a pool cover pump is essential to keeping your pool in shape. Luckily, it’s fairly simple to troubleshoot your cover pump when it goes awry. By tackling some common issues—such as when the pump cycle trips on and off, turns on without removing water, doesn’t shut off when it should, or doesn’t turn on at all—I’ll make sure you’re set up to love your pool again. Trust me, you’ll be slathering on sunscreen in no time.

If you can already tell you need an upgrade, this Genius IQ 800 GPH pool cover pump works automatically and reliably, cuts down your monthly operating costs throughout the season, and includes a one year warranty.

Why Do I Need a Cover Pump in the First Place?

So you haven’t exactly had sunny days recently. Sorry about that. Whether during the closed-pool winter months or during a particularly gloomy storm, your pool cover keeps rainwater, snow, and/or debris like leaves, twigs, and dirt from falling directly into your pool. Instead, all these not-pool-friendly elements will sit on top of your pool cover. But here’s some bad news: there’s a limit to how much weight your pool cover can bear. If left alone, it’ll eventually sink down into your pool, taking all that water and debris down with it. Talk about counterintuitive.

Hence the pool cover pump. This small device sits on top of your pool cover and sucks off all that heavy water. In other words, it’s your saving grace for keeping your cover secure. It also serves as sort of a safety net if a child or animal falls in, and prevents costly maintenance. You don’t want a mess so big that you’ll need professional help, but without a cover pump that’ll be your reality—and there’s no better reality check than having to write a big check.

If you’re all for minimizing unnecessary expenses, it’s time to upgrade your main pool pump for one that works more thoroughly, includes a warranty, and significantly cuts down your cost of operation. The Black & Decker 2HP Energy Star Variable-Speed Pump pays itself off in energy saved in under two years.

so your pool cover pump isn't working now what

I Just Need to Figure Out What Part is Broken and Replace It… Right?

Well, this is awkward. First of all, check the warranty. Is it in your favor? If not, I have to say something you don’t want to hear. The truth is: many parts of cover pumps aren’t replaceable. If a warranty wasn’t included in your purchase and the part you need isn’t on the market, then you’ll have to buy a new cover pump.

If you don’t have a warranty or you’d rather try to take matters into your own hands before sending your pump off, try some of these do-it-yourself maintenance checks. Don’t worry—these are straightforward, easy to execute, and non-disruptive to your pool cover pump. No warranty-voiding MacGuyver risks here.

Pump Cycle Trips On and Off Intermittently

If your pump cycle is sporadically tripping on and off, there are a few approaches to take. First, make sure that the unit is plugged in properly to your power source. A partially-plugged in unit might be the simplest explanation.

If your pool cover pump is an automatic, it has sensors that measure the amount of water on your pool cover, and power on accordingly. Make sure that the pump is balanced and in the center of the cover. If your unit is leaning sideways, the automatic sensor could be receiving mixed signals.

Neither of these issues apply? Try the most old fashioned trick in the book: clean out your cover pump volute—that is, the funnel-like section that does the sucking. Although many cover pumps are designed to keep out debris like leaves and twigs, some might force their way into your pump over time, and clog your pump so that it’s no longer efficient.

Seeking the most powerful and durable unit on the market? The Sunnora Swimming Pool Cover Pump displaces 1,500 gallons per hour with automatic detection. It also features an extra large built in cover guard, so you probably won’t even need the one year warranty included.

So your pool cover pump isn't working now what?

Pump Doesn’t Come On at All

So you’ve plugged in your pump and powered it on—to zero results. If your pump isn’t coming on at all, it might not be the pump’s fault. Check your power source. Many outdoor outlets have their own power breakers—it’s possible yours needs to be tripped.

Otherwise, try cleaning out your cover pump volute—just like you would if the pump cycle was tripping on and off intermittently. If seriously clogged, a cover pump might flatline.

Pump Comes On but Doesn’t Remove Water

Okay, so your pump does come on—but does nothing but rack up your energy bill. And to make matters worse, your motor is now at risk of wearing out.

In most cases, this denotes a clogged pump. You’ll want to check every part of the pump you can access: the volute (including the weep hole, which is a tiny eraser-sized hole on its inner brim), the strainer, and the hose.

Pump Keeps Running for Too Long

Untreated, this issue can also rack up your energy costs and overheat your cover pump motor. First, check your cover pump switch to make sure it isn’t clogged. One good way to do this is to unplug the pump, wash the switch with clean water, and plug it in again.

If that doesn’t work, it’s possible that the catalyst for this problem is something called a back flow. If your hose leads to a point higher than the cover pump itself, especially to a significant degree, the water could be traveling back to the pump—thus creating a never ending cycle. Move the other end of your hose—the one that isn’t attached to the cover pump—to an ejection location that’s a little lower. Still running long hours? A hose adaptor and check valve might be needed.

If you already have these two parts, make sure they’re clean. If all checks out and the pump shows no improvement, you might need to buy a new check valve.

If these approaches aren’t working and the weather report isn’t in your favor, try the Genius IQ 800 GPH pool cover pump. It works and ships fast to keep your pool safe from whatever the sky has to offer. (And I mean fast.)

So your pool cover pump isn't working. Now what?

Prevention is Better than a Cure

I know, it’s a little too late for prevention this time around. But it’s time to do your future self a favor and make sure you’re keeping your cover pump maintained. No offense, but I hope I don’t find you on this page for a long time.

Clean out the debris from your pump often, and make sure to periodically clean the water on which it sits. Clogging could explain each and every one of the above issues.

Take your cover pump inside during freezing temperatures. You don’t want it to be sucking up snow or ice anyway—see the above mention of clogging.

Make sure your pump is standing upright and balanced. It’ll work best in the center of your pool cover, where the most water tends to sit.

That wasn’t so bad, was it? Now that you’ve sorted out your AWOL pool cover pump, you can be sure that when it’s time to open up your pool again, it’ll be ready—no costly maintenance charges necessary. Easy to remember why you wanted a pool in the first place, isn’t it?

Remember, a pool cover pump is designed to displace water, not snow. Use a large and heavy duty brush like this 360-Degree Bristles Pool Brush to clear any ice that accumulates on your cover.

Finding the Right Pump for You

Uh oh. You tried everything mentioned above and your pump is still dysfunctioning? It might be time to go back to square one. Find the perfect cover pump for you (and take it from me: get one with a warranty).


This article explains how to use a pool cover pump. Want to know if pool cover pumps are submersible? Know more here.

Above ground poolsIn-ground poolsPool cover pumpPool maintenancePump