Swimming pool owners are sometimes facing with a dilemma on malfunctioning pool pumps. These simple trouble-shootings on your pump may help you save money for the more expensive electrician’s fee, or worst, replacing your pump when problem (electrical or mechanical causes) got worsen.
Here are some causes of pump not being primed or not primed enough:
a) When the water dropped below the skimmer and the drain levels, leaving the space between the pump’s suction side void with water.
b) The pipeline going to the pump inlet is clogged-up with debris and water does not flow freely.
b) The pump’s impeller might be stocked up with leaves or other hard debris. Manually turn the impeller shaft freely to find out if it is stocked. If stocked up, remove the motor from the pump and clean the impeller.
c) Probably worn out bearings. Try to manually turn the impeller shaft and if you feel rough, screeching sound and slightly uneven rotation, it’s time to change bearings.
The pump itself has nameplate specifying its flow rate, speed of impeller at certain pump horsepower (hp) and its direction of flow (usually an arrow indicator) counterclockwise or clockwise.
It starts by drawing water from the pool via the skimmer which acts as a small reservoir where significant amount of water is stored so that the pump will not be dehydrated. The water then goes through a strainer (the pool pump gives the vacuum pressure to suck this water through the inlet pipe), initially filtering large debris.
The water (going through the pump’s outlet pipe) then goes to the cartridge filters to remove any remaining debris. Then the water passes through the heater (this is optional for too cold environment) to increase the temperature of the pool water to your desired temperature. After this, the water is treated with chlorine (with a chlorinator) at the allowable amount, and then the water returns to the pool.
So, you should know your pool’s water capacity (volume), and then pick a pump that have the flow rate (remember the nameplate on the motor) that would match the volume of water of your pool. Say, a 24,000 gallons (volume) pool size will be emptied with 50 gallons per minute (flow rate) in 8 hours.
You may calculate the volume of your pool (if rectangular) by this formula: length x width x height (in cubic feet or gallons).
Some motor has low flow rate but with high power rating (hp), this combination makes the motor more stable, but with higher operating cost. Standard power rating used in standard family size pool range from 1to 2-hp, pick the size that you thought would be appropriate for your pool depending on the frequency of use and the number of users because the many users are, the more frequent the pool should be cleaned.
Pump’s suction and discharge pressure could be controlled with the gate valves on the piping system by throttling these valves if the need arises.
Plug open-ended pipes as water may seep through them and freeze when uncovered. After making sure that there is no more water remains in the system, cover the pump as well as the filter, heater and the piping system to protect them from the elements.
Burnt motor (probably due to overheating or defective bearings) can be rewound (windings) then install again, but this may not last longer and may become a fire hazard if not properly maintained.
As for the drive assembly, always check the motor for defective bearings and replace them immediately if you find any sign of wear. Also don’t keep the motor running without water in circulation; this will overheat the motor and the pump.