Your in-ground swimming pool pump is at the heart of the plumbing system of your pool. Without it, water won’t flow through your filtration system to be properly cleaned. What do you do if you have a problem with the pump and filter? At Hawaiian Pool Builders, we have nine troubleshooting tips for your in-ground swimming pool and filter; and how you can get back to swimming in no time.
Sudden decrease in filter pressure
This is often caused by a clogged suction line or clogged pump impeller. However, it can also be caused by an improper valve setting. Suction lines can sometimes be cleared by forcing water backwards through the pump section line located inside the pump basket. To check for a clogged impeller, with the pump off, remove the basket and reach into the pump inlet at the bottom and try to remove any debris that may be there. For stubborn clogs, it may be necessary to take apart the pump to remove the debris.
Sudden rise in filter pressure
An algae bloom may be clogging the filter even if you cannot tell that there is algae. It’s important to first kill the algae before doing anything else. Otherwise, you will spend all of your time cleaning the filter. Here’s instructions on how to deal with the algae. Other causes of a spike in filter pressure could be a broken check valve or improper valve settings.
The pump fails to pull water
Sometimes pumps simply don’t pull the water through the system correctly. When this happens, water won’t reach the filter and pass through the system properly. The most common causes for this type of issue is a clog in the system. Something is restricting the water flow from reaching the pump the way it should. As mentioned above, check the impeller, and clear that if necessary.
Another potential cause of this problem can be an air leak in the suction line. Since air has less mass compared to water, the pump will suck in air instead of the water. Check the lines for leaks and patch any that you find.
The motor won’t start or turns off
Nothing can be more frustrating than dealing with a motor that won’t turn on or turns off after only a few minutes. The most common causes for these types of problems are electrical or heat. Check your breaker first to make sure the power is flowing as it should be. If it is, and still won’t turn on, have your power lines checked, then have your electrical system of the motor checked.
If, on the other hand, the motor turns off after a few minutes, it could simply be a heat issue. Motors get hot and can easily overheat on a hot day. There are vents around the motor that can become clogged as well preventing air flow from dissipating the heat around the motor. Clear out any clogs and you should be good to go. If it is really hot, you may need to provide your pump with a little shade so it doesn’t overheat.
The pool pump is making a humming noise and will not start
If your pool pump will not start, and you hear a humming noise, check the impeller for any debris. When debris begins to build, it can block the impeller and disable the pump. Turn off the power to the pump, and remove the screws in the middle of the pump body. Pull the assembly out of the housing and remove the gasket away from the impeller, removing any debris and then re-assemble.
Debris is getting past the filter
For a DE filter, this can be caused by a damaged grid. Inspect and replace grids as needed. For a cartridge filter, this can be caused by a damaged cartridge. Inspect and replace cartridges as needed. For a sand filter, this can be caused by channeling in the filter. Try a longer backwash cleaning, if that doesn’t solve the problem, please call the showroom to schedule a service call.
Air bubbles coming out of the returns and/or in the pump basket or in the filter
If the bubbles coming out of the returns are tiny (champagne size) and you have a salt water generator, this is normal and part of the electrolysis process that creates chlorine. It is also normal for a pump to purge air out of the plumbing system at pump start up. However, if the bubbles are larger and continue for a long time, there could be a suction side air leak. Air leaks usually happen around the pump basket lid or the pump drain plugs. You can use silicon pool lube which will usually help seal the gaskets to prevent leaking.
The pump is only taking in air
Your pump is supposed to take in water, and not air. In fact, they are supposed to be air tight. Now small air leaks are quite common in every pump system, but if the leaks become too large, the pump will only take in the air as it is lighter than water resulting in a pump that just doesn’t do its job.
The most common problems you will find when there is an air leak is a bad thread sealant where the pipe enters the pump, a leaky valve stem or even a break in the plumbing. You can also find leaks around the pump lid o-ring as well. If you want an easy test to find the leak, try using shaving cream. Spread the shaving cream in the areas that are most likely the cause of the leak. If you see the foam start to dimple, you have just found your leak. Replace the defective parts and your problem will be solved.
While we certainly believe most problems with your pump and filter can be diagnosed and repaired by you, sometimes you may not have the time or the inclination to make the repairs. If you’ve been able to diagnosis the problem but prefer to have one of the service professionals at Hawaiian Pools do the work, please don’t hesitate to call and schedule that right away.