It’s common for swimming pool motors to run on the hot side. Most motors will shut themselves down if it is running too hot. Pool pump motors that run hot will draw more amperage and cost more money to operate. Higher amps mean more wattage and more wattage means more heat that can be caused by a few different reasons but eventually the motors stop and won’t come back on. What causes a pool pump not to turn on?
- External Power outage-breaker tripped
- Pool timer-ensure that it reset to cycle properly
- Clogged Pump Impeller-Clean out impeller-Look for the reset button on back motor
- Broken pump Capacitor
- Air locked
- Overheated motor from being covered
- The pump shaft is seized
- Clogged Pump Basket
Some problems we face as pool owners are preventable and some problems are inevitable but knowing about built-in protections and how temperatures work with pool equipment can give you an edge when trying to solve a problem that will almost definitely appear one Monday morning when you check your swimming pool.
Pool Pump Not Working
Prime the Pump-you check your pool filter after a long hot weekend and find your pool pump not working. The first thing you should do is shut the pool pump down. Most pool pumps these days have a self-priming ability that will also automatically shut the pump down at a higher temperature so it doesn’t burn itself out. The pool pump needs water in it to cool that temperature down. After it cools down the pump should cycle back on. Fill the lines for 2-3minutes and start the pump.
Clear the area around the pool pump to rule out overheating from something covering the motor’s vents and fan. Believe it or not, I have seen this situation where one of my kids covered the pool pump and motor with vinyl pool rafts and it overheated the motor and shut down the pump one hot night in August. A pool pump has to be able to breathe to stay at an operating temperature.
Determine whether you had external power problems during the night. The electricity could have been off for a while affecting the timer switch or the pool pump after spiking when it came back on after a power outage that occurred.
Relief Air Lock-This may be working or may not so make sure to shut the motor down on the timer switch. Then shut the power completely down at the breaker. A self-priming pump is a type of pump that clears its channels of air if the air bounds them and resumes the pumped water supply without external attention. If this sensor overheated then it needs a few minutes to cool down.
Baskets and Impeller- “easiest fix” problem first which will be a basket strainer that is full and clogged or a clogged impeller. If the impeller clogged up with debris it would overheat the pump and shut it down at the pump location and if it won’t then it will start to draw excess amps and trips the main breaker. Or the pool pump itself where it needs a reset (look on the back end of the motor for a reset button)
If the pump motor shaft is seized from age or leaking replace it(they last about 5-7 years)
With The Pool Pump Breakers and Power off:
- Shut down your main circuit breaker
- Shut the motor down at the timer switch
- Clear the area around the pool pump to (rule out overheating from something covering the vents)
- Access the pump’s impeller through the strainer basket
- Spin the Impeller by hand to rule out a clogged pump
- Open the motor housing and spin shaft inside the pump motor to rule out a seized motor
- If the shaft on the motor and impeller spin freely then move on
- Turn the power on
- Run Pool Pump off the timer in a manual position
- If the pool Pump makes a humming or buzzing electrical sound when trying to start or when it running-
- It’s most likely the Capacitor in the pump motor
Clean Pool Pump Impeller
If you notice a change in the psi on your pool pump or there is no water in the skimmer basket at the filter. A clogged impeller may prevent your pool pump from starting up completely. To remedy this, turn your pump’s power OFF at the circuit breaker, and then remove the pump basket lid and take out the basket.
Remove any visible debris from the disc-shaped impeller by hand until it spins easily. If you can feel debris in the impeller mechanism but can’t remove it by hand using a screwdriver to loosen the debris. Always make sure your power source is off before you try and clean the impeller.
- The pump is making loud, grinding, cavitation noises
- The filter pressure psi gauge reading is substantially lower than it normally reads.
- The pump basket visually has no water in it
- The water in the pump is pulsating and slowly moving
- The main breaker was found tripped
- It’s most likely a Clogged Impeller
Suspect a Clogged Impeller-Watch this Video:
Pool Pump Capacitor
A pool pump capacitor helps kick-start the pump motor to bring it up to speed and power. Pool pumps may have two capacitors. There could be one in the back which is the start capacitor and one on top which is the run capacitor. Listen for a quiet or loud buzz or hum. This sound indicates that the pool pump capacitor has become dead.
Both Capacitors look similar to a large battery. Start capacitors are usually located at the back of the motor and the run capacitor is located at the top of the motor.
The Running Capacitor helps the motor operate and keeps it running smoothly. This Capacitor is easier to access and located in a plastic compartment directly on the outside casing or housing of the motor.
A Capacitor could wear down from heat inside the motor and this could come from age or when the motor has to work harder than normal if the impeller is clogging or the filter is dirty and needs backwashing. Start capacitors have a limited service life of approximately 5000 starts of the pool pump motor. The Capacitors will help the pool pump motor start and get up to an average of 3500 rpm working power.
You may smell a burnt smell but most likely you’ll hear a humming sound and the motor will start or may not and end with a click. To expose the capacitor simply lift the end of the motor housing. Capacitors are easy to spot they look like cans connected to the motor.
They also hold an electrical charge so before you handle it take the charge out of it by touching the screwdriver to the ends of the capacitor making sure to touch each prong simultaneously.
If you have ever changed a starter on a car this is the same concept as the Capacitor holds an extra charge to bump the motor when you start it and bring it up to speed.
There will be an electrical spark when you do this so make sure you are only touching the capacitor with the screwdriver. After you release the capacitor’s charge, it’s safe to remove the capacitor from the larger cylinder.
With The Pool Pump Breakers and Power off:
- Check the condition of the Capacitor
- Check for rusty loose or broken connectors from the capacitor to the motor
- Ground out the Capacitor using a metal screwdriver cross over both terminals to expend the electrical charge
- Test the capacitor by using a multimeter set to the highest level for Ohms.
- If the meter reads zero and stays at zero – the capacitor is bad.
- If it slowly rises to infinity, your capacitor is capable of holding a charge, and a replacement capacitor is not needed.
- If you are not comfortable with doing this then Don’t Call someone that is!
This is mostly due to a Capacitor that is connected to the Pool Pump which is a common problem in Pool Pumps.