Frequently Asked Questions

Contents

Pool Pump FAQ

Pool Pump FAQs

Shopping and Selection 

  • Is it important for the pool pump to be self-priming?

Yes, this is one of the most important capabilities to look for, especially if you are looking for a pool pump for an in-ground pool. This is because in this case the pump typically sits above water level. As a result, a great amount of effort is required for the water to reach the device. As you know, if the machine runs without water, it will work improperly and may get damaged. The self-priming capability allows the pump to draw water from a lower level automatically. This is achieved through vacuum.

  • How do I estimate the operating cost of a pool pump?

There are three factors which determine the operating cost. The first one is the horsepower of the motor. The more powerful it is, the higher the operating cost will be. The second factor is the flow rate which is measured in gallons per minute. The higher the flow rate is for specific horsepower, the lower the operating cost will be. The third factor is strictly individual. It is the number of hours which you run the pool pump for daily. When shopping, you should search for a model which has the highest flow rate for the horsepower that you require.

  • What difference does the number of speeds make?

When the pool pump comes with two, four or more speeds, it can perform different tasks at different speeds. You can select the speed which allows for the greatest functionality and for the highest level of energy efficiency. When the pump is equipped with an onboard computer system, the speed can be regulated automatically so that the smallest possible amount of energy is used while the machine operates effectively. As a result, a model with more speeds may require larger initial investment, but its operating costs will most certainly be lower compared to a single-speed unit with the same horse power and flow rate.

  • What pump is best for my saltwater pool?

Generally, any pump can work with a residential saltwater pool unless the manufacturer specifically says otherwise. In pools, the water is actually ten times less salty than in the ocean so you should not expect the pump to have any issues with the functioning due to the salt. Still, salt can speed up corrosion. That is why it is best to opt for a model which has more plastic parts. The metal parts should be made from galvanized steel. In any case, you must provide inspection and maintenance more frequently and replace rusty parts timely.

  • Is a clear basket cover a valuable feature?

It is certainly a practical feature to have. You will not have to open the cover every time when you want to check the amount of debris accumulated inside. You simply need to take a look and judge the situation. While the transparent cover is a super convenient feature to have, you will still have to check the contents of the basket on a regular basis, preferably once a week or once every two weeks. The more frequently you clean the debris, the better the pump will perform.

  • What safety features should I look for?

The pool pump should definitely have thermal overload protection at least. In this way, it will shut off automatically in case of overheating and the motor will be protected from damage. If you are prepared to invest more, you can consider a model with a complete diagnostic system which provides protection not only in case of overheating, but also from frost and changes in the voltage. Some advanced pool pumps which have an onboard computer have settings which are password-protected for maximum safety and security. It is up to you to pick the level of protection.

  • Does the brand name of the pump matter?

While the features and capabilities of the pump are the most important factors to base your choice on, you should certainly consider the brand as well. Traditionally, the leading brands have been offering products of high quality. They also have models with advanced features for easier operation and energy efficiency. The most important things to check when comparing brands are the warranty and the customer support service which you will get. The longer and more comprehensive the warranty is the better. Similarly, you would want to get effective assistance whenever you need it.

  • Is a timer a worthwhile accessory?

If the pool pump model which you have chosen does not come with this feature, you should definitely get a timer separately and connect it to the pump. The timer enables you to program the operation of the device. It lets you run filtering cycles, for instance. It eliminates a great deal of effort as you will not have to be around all the time to operate the pump. More importantly, it can help you to save energy and to reduce your utility bill as you will not be forced to run the pool pump for longer than necessary.

Installation and Operation

  • Which is the best place for setting up the pump?  

The place which you choose must meet several requirements. Firstly, it must be close to both the electric panel and the pool itself. When the pump is installed at this optimal position, it will operate more safely and efficiently. Another requirement is for the device to be installed at or below the level of the pool. This also contributes to energy and operation efficiency. The pool pump should be shielded from the elements and have good ventilation at the same time. There should not be anything obstructing the flow of air around it.

  • Is DIY Installation Possible?

Theoretically, this is possible. You can find instructions in the owner’s manual and additional guides as well. In order to do a good job, you will need very good technical knowledge and skills. Even if these conditions are present, you can still make an error which can lead to malfunctioning. Furthermore, an installation error may lead to breach of the warranty. In order to avoid these risks and to ensure that the device will function flawlessly and be energy-efficient from day one, you should consider professional installation. You can also consider this option when it comes to replacing the pump with a new one.

  • Does the pool pump require enclosure?

Even if you have chosen a place for installation which shields the pump from the elements, the building of enclosure is definitely a good idea. It will work to protect the plastic components from UV damage. It will provide protection from dust, dirt and pests as well. It will also provide some noise insulation. The enclosure should allow for excellent ventilation in addition to providing protection. Air must pass freely around the motor so that it operates safely and the risk of overheating remains as low as possible.

  • How long should I run my pool pump for every day?

This depends on the size of the pool, on the rate of accumulation of debris and on how the pool is used. Traditionally, eight hours of running time are recommended, but in most cases a shorter running time will produce good results as well while helping to save energy. It is a good idea to experiment with shorter running times to identify the optimal one. When the running time is not sufficient, the water will look student and dust and debris particles will be clearly visible inside. Keep in mind that longer operating time can be required on windy days.

  • Does lower speed allow for higher energy efficiency?

This is usually the case. When lower operating speed is required, the pool pump uses less energy to run. However, you have to keep in mind that the pump may not be able to do a very good job at a lower speed. There is no point in sticking to the lowest speed if the water is not kept clean. Moreover, heating the water at a lower speed may actually not be energy-efficient if the weather is cold and the heat is lost to the environment. For these reasons, you should choose the speed based on performance efficiency as well as on energy efficiency.

  • Is running the pool pump in shorter cycles effective?

Yes, this is generally a good strategy for achieving energy efficiency while keeping the water clean. When the pump runs in shorter cycles, you avoid wasting energy for filtering already clean water. In order for this strategy to work, the device should come with a timer or get one installed. It is a good idea to estimate the total daily running time first and then to divide it in equal cycles. If the water is not properly filtered, you can opt for increasing the duration of the cycles first and then consider increasing their frequency.

  • How can I reduce the pump’s running time and still keep the pool clean?

The best way to achieve this is to use additional methods for keeping the water clean. You should clean the walls of the pool more frequently to prevent dirt from accumulating and spreading to the water. You should use the leaf skimmer frequently as well, especially when the wind is strong. You can also consider getting an automatic pool cleaner which can work before and after each cycle of the pump. You should evaluate the convenience, effectiveness and cost of each of these additional methods before adopting it.

Maintenance and Protection

  • Does my pool pump require winterizing and how does it work? 

If you live in a cold climate where temperatures drop below zero and you keep the pump outdoors, winterizing is highly recommended for protecting the whole device and the motor, in particular. Some manufacturers actually make this maintenance step mandatory. For winterizing the pool pump, you need to disconnect it from the power supply and the pool’s plumbing system first. Then you have to drain any water remaining inside and to remove dirt and debris. The pump must be kept indoors, preferably in a dry room with good ventilation.

  • Should I clean around the pool pump?

Yes, this is actually an important maintenance task. It is necessary to keep the area around the pump perfectly clean so that the motor can get good ventilation while working and stay protected from overheating. It is important for you to remove all vegetation around the pool pump. Take the necessary measures to prevent weeds from growing around. Remove larger pieces of debris carried by the wind, pebbles and other objects which may cause obstruction. Make sure that the air flow around the device is not blocked by pool toys and accessories for cleaning.

  • How often should I backwash the filter?

Usually, backwashing the filter once a week should help to keep it in optimal condition and allow the pool pump to work efficiently at all times. This can be done less frequently in case of a smaller pool which is not used much. Still, in some cases, more frequent backwashing is required. If the pool is used more often and for longer hours than usual, you can increase the backwashing frequency to twice a week. This is also a good idea if there are a lot of trees around the facility. If the pressure inside the pump increases considerably, you should backwash the filter straight away.

  • Does the pump require protection from pests? 

Yes, you need to keep it safe from pests which can cause harm to it. Small insects can get inside and cause blockage. That is why you should apply proper treatment if insects are present in considerably large numbers in the outdoor area of your house. Larger pests such as rodents can also cause damage. The same applies to the droppings of birds. Along with taking the general measures for protecting your property, you should build a strong and safe enclosure for the pump to protect it from pest damage.

  • How do I clean the strainer basket?

Despite the common misconception, it is not sufficient to just take the accumulated dirt out of the strainer basket. You should take it out and wash it properly with cool water every time when you clean it or at least every other time. You can use mild soap or detergent for removing stubborn dirt stuck in the holes. Let the basket dry outside after the washing and then put it back place. With this simple maintenance routine, you will keep the pump running optimally and help to extend the useful life of the basket.

  • How often should I change the filter of my sand pump?

The optimal sand filter changing frequency is five years. This is what most manufacturers recommend for their devices. You should follow the instructions provided in the owner’s manual precisely. In general, it is possible for a sand filter to last as many as four times longer than this, but its effectiveness will be greatly reduced over time. The water in your pool will not be clean and the pump will use more energy to run. It is important to follow the filter replacement schedule strictly.

  • What product should I use for lubrication maintenance?

The silicone-based lubricants are recommended for keeping the gaskets and O-rings of pool pumps in optimal condition. A product which is based on Teflon can also do a good job. These lubricants dry quickly and allow for the optimal functioning of the device while providing excellent protection. They are not sticky and this is a major plus. When it comes to selecting the actual product, you should check what the manufacturer of your pump suggests. The big brands have their own lubricants which are especially formulated for their devices.

Troubleshooting and Repair

  • What causes the pool pump to leak?

This is one of the most commonly occurring issues, but it is typically easy to fix. In most cases, the leakage is due to a shrunk threaded fitting. The damaged part should be replaced with a new one which has high resistance to heating. The other possible cause of the problem is worn-out mechanical seal. Again, replacement of the part is required. Even though spare parts are readily available for sale, you have to confirm that you know how to make the repair or preferably hire a professional to do it.

  • Why is the pump not priming?

There are several possible causes of this problem. Most often, the pump does not get filled with water because there are air leaks in the suction mechanism. It is also possible for the suction line to be obstructed. While the blockage should be easy to remove, the fixing of air leaks requires professional knowledge and skills.

Less often, the pump is not priming due to the detachment of the propeller. If this is the cause of the problem, professional repair will be required. In any case, if the device does not get filled with water, you must stop running it immediately to prevent motor damage.

  • Should I have a failed motor rebuilt or replaced?

Rebuilding is typically the cheaper option. The replacement of the motor will cost you around a third more than the rebuilding of the unit. On the other hand, a new motor has a warranty of two or three years, while a rebuilt unit is typically covered for no longer than three months. In general, you can expect a new unit to operate effectively and reliably for longer compared to rebuild one. When both options are compared, it is clear that the purchase of a new motor is more effective and more cost-efficient.

  • How do I make my pool pump less noisy?

If the loud noise has started right after installation, you should consider placing the pump over a rubber pad which can reduce the vibration and noise. Additionally, the suction lines must run at a lower level than the pump is set up. If the problem has started after some time of use, you should check for other causes and eliminate them. Most often, the noise is caused by worn-out and damaged bearings which have to be replaced. If cavities have caused the problem, professional inspection and repair will be required.

  • Why has the pump started to run slowly?

This problem is usually caused by large accumulation of debris and/or bigger debris pieces in the strainer basket. That is why you must clean it properly and then follow a strict cleaning routine at all times. The more frequently you perform this task the better. It is also possible for the impeller to have been clogged with debris because of a bigger hole in the basket. You must take it out and inspect it for breakage. The impeller has to be cleaned and the basket has to be replaced straight away.

  • What should I do if the pump does not start?

You should check the electrical connections and the wiring first. Make sure that all switches are on. The same applies to the breaker and to the time clock. The cables must be in good condition. You should use a voltage meter to check the power supply to the motor. If the motor gets the required amount of power, but does not work, then the issue has to do with it. You should have a professional check the unit, identify the cause of the problem and provide repair.

  • Why is the unit pumping air into the pool?

This is most probably due to a leak in the suction mechanism. The location of the leak can usually be identified with inspection, but sometimes testing is required. Other possible causes include loose or damaged gasket and damaged or improperly installed seals of the threaded fittings. It is also possible for the joints of the glued fittings to be damaged. Leaky valve is another possible cause of the problem, but it is not quite common. In any case, you should stop the pump and have a specialist check it and provide repair.

  • Can I replace the motor with one which has less horsepower?

This is generally not possible. The reason for this is that the impeller inside the pump is made to match the horsepower of the motor. If a motor with less horsepower operates with the bigger impeller, it will fail more quickly and will have to be replaced sooner. Theoretically, it is possible for the impeller to be replaced along with the motor, but this may be technically impossible or quite expensive. If you want a less powerful motor for the purpose of reducing your energy bill, you may consider replacing the entire pump.

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