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Pool Pump Issues

Your pool pump or as its properly called the circulation pump is probably the most important part of your pools filtration system, it is after all the engine that's driving everything so it is worth investing in the right quality of pump, you don't want it to fail and it will of course fail just before that long awaited pool party you have planned.  It is also likely to be the largest electrical item running in your household so it worth looking after it and using it correctly.

 Here are a few of the common problems found with pool pumps.

I cannot undo my pool pump lid ?

If you cannot undo the lid, there are a few likely causes.

  • Obviously the first is that it has been done up too tight.

A pool pump lid should only be hand tight, if it is over tightened then it compresses the rubber lid 'O' ring, the o ring is made of rubber for a reason, to be flexible, if you compress it too much it will loose its compression abilities and become out of shape.

Some manufacturers do make a spanner or lid tool to assist in tightening and loosening the lid, this is not to enable you to crank it down until it will not go any further, it is simply to assist and make the job lighter.

It is often possible on some pumps such as the ever popular Starite 5P2R model to use a short length of timber or batten between the moulded up-stands on the lid to create some leverage but don't overdo it, they do of course make a lid tool for this pump but it never comes with a new pump as standard as it is not considered a necessity, and they are very expensive for what they are.

I have seen many people use a mallet or rubber hammer to loosen them, this really is a bad idea as those shock waves are going to go straight into your pipework and it will fracture it in time.

Of course one thing that comes in to play here is the expansion and contraction of the lid, if it has just been running it may be warm and expanded, you remove the lid empty the basket and by the time you put the lid back on it has cooled and contracted.

Next time you try to remove it, its warm again and what was simply hand tight now appears much tighter, let it cool for a few minutes.

N.B. It is worth changing the lid 'O' ring every other year or so as they will all become misshapen, perished or split, over time and they are relatively inexpensive, i say relatively as it is relative to anything on a swimming pool which is of course overall very expensive.

  • Secondly it could still be under vacuum.

The pump is designed to create a vacuum in its water chamber which causes the suction of water from the pool, if your system is a good sealed system as it should be then this vacuum may still be present whilst you are forming sweat beads on your forehead trying to lever it off, depress the multiport valve handle for a few seconds to allow the vacuum to subside, this usually does the trick.

If this fails you may need to remove a drain bung from the water chamber to allow air in., this is an extreme measure so it is unlikely but if you are really stuck, try it.

  • Has the lid and 'O' ring been lubricated recently.

This is an interesting one, most pool engineers will lubricate this, however many pump manufacturers state that you do not need to lubricate it.

And of course bear in mind that lubricating it means you can really crank it down tighter as there is less friction, but this will of course compress the 'O' ring and lead to its premature failure.

Whether you do or not is up to you but if you decide to then it must be a lubricant that will not affect the rubber, non setting silicone grease is ideal, Vaseline or petroleum jelly is a big No No as it perishes rubber over time.

My Pump Squirts Water Out Of The Side Of The Lid ?

This is a common occurrence when switching the pump off, it is perfectly normal.

The lid is often designed with a very broad thread with a degree of movement or what would appear to be a sloppy fit, this is so that when your pump switches on and causes a vacuum within the water chamber, the lid gets sucked down onto the 'O' ring to create a seal, conversely when you switch off it is often released causing a small amount of water to spurt out the side, this is perfectly normal behaviour and not something to be alarmed about.

You can often stop this happening by having the lid a little tighter but beware not to do it too tight, see above.

There is air constantly being drawn into my pump, i must have a leak ?

  • Do i have a leak.

Well you may have, but maybe not.

If there were a break in the pipe, even a very small one, from a suction point on the pool, lets say the skimmer for arguments sake, then often this will not leak water so you will have no noticeable water loss from the pool, but when you put that pipe under a vacuum it can open the smallest of cracks and allow air in from amongst the soil or beech surrounding the pipe underground.

  • Another possible explanation, and this is one we see very often is cavitation

Explaining this scientifically is way beyond my comprehension so for those interested here is snipped from the internet, for layman's terms skip this part.

Cavitation is a phenomenon in which rapid changes of pressure in a liquid lead to the formation of small vapor-filled cavities, in places where the pressure is relatively low. When subjected to higher pressure, these cavities, called "bubbles" or "voids", collapse and can generate an intense shock wave.

Image result for cavitation

In Layman's terms

Basically what can appear to be air is generated from nothing, or rather from within the water itself giving the impression of a leak or air getting in somewhere.

This is often accompanied by an overly noisy pump and filtration system as the air and shock waves pass through the system.

The most common cause of this to my way of thinking is that your pool pump that was specified by your pool builder at the time of construction has possibly failed and it was lets say a 3/4 Hp pump

So you decide to not only replace it but up the anti to make your pool filtration turbocharged.

What you may now have done is created a scenario where the pool pump is doing its utmost to work at capacity and say pull 6 cubic metres of water an hour through it, but your pool fitting, pipework and filter can only cope with up to 4.5 cubic metres an hour so its actually going to be detrimental to not only the running of the pool but also the life of the equipment, including your new supercharged pump.

Always either replace like for like or seek advice on replacing your pool pump.

N.B that cavitation can also cause your pipework underground to fail and then you do have a problem.

Also if you put a larger pump in, you may find that your electrics keep tripping as the MCB you have was rated for the smaller pump and you are now demanding more power through it than it can cope with for your turbocharged pump.

My Pump Is Squealing ?

this is all too common, the most likely cause is that the bearing on the shaft within the pump is Kaput, or about to be and most likely because the shaft seal has failed.

These can be replaced but it is not the easiest of jobs and in my experience seldom lasts for long.

We generally find that by the time you are alerted to the failing bearing by the squealing, water has been seeping past the shaft seal for long enough to pit the shaft that the seal is located on so even with a new bearing and seal it will still be seeping into these pitted areas and the seal and bearing will fail again shortly.

My Pump Just Hums But Does Not Start ?

We often find this when the pool is first opened for the summer and it has been sitting dormant for a few months.

I am not an electrician but this is what is happening to my knowledge and in layman's terms.

Pool pumps, all of them to my knowledge have a capacitor built into or more often onto them, this effectively is a starter motor that stores a large charge of electricity which is enough to give the electrical motor a sudden boost and get things going when you first switch on.

These do fail with some regularity.

They can be replaced and the advice from an electrical engineer should be sought as to the right one to replace it with.

My Pump is noisy ?

Pumps vary greatly in terms of sound levels and many of the newer ones are very quiet indeed.

It may be a warning sign that its on its way out, it may be cavitation as described above, and of course if its in a timber shed for example it can cause the shed itself to vibrate and make a droning noise.

One thing you could do is fit an anti vibration mat underneath, this may cut that noise down considerably.

Do i need to prime my pump every time it appears empty ?

What does it cost to run the pool pump ?

Are variable speed pumps worth the extra cost ?

Can i change a pump myself, is it a D.I.Y. job ?

For How long should my pump be running each day ?

Could i have a blocked impellor ?

 To Be Continued...................................