Pumps & Motors (cont.)
long do motors last?
typically last an average of eight years
before needing either rebuilding or replacing.
Noisy, screeching front and/ or rear
bearings will let you know when you need
to do something.
easy to read guide will help you with some
of the most common problems that occur
very common problem is the threaded fitting
carrying water out of the pump shrinking
and allowing water to drip, run and then
spray. This can be replaced with
a high temp fitting to prevent its reoccurrence.
Approximately $10 parts and one hour
labor. Water may also leak from a worn
out mechanical seal. This seal is the
separation between the wet end and the
dry end (motor) of the pump. This mechanical
shaft seal should be replaced. Approximately
$12 for the seal and one hour labor.
in pump basket?
pump is meant to operate air free. After
some time, you may notice air in the
basket, especially if you have a clear
lid to observe such things. This can
reduce filtering efficiency, allow dangerous
air to build up in filter, and sometimes
prevent your pump from catching prime
(being able to move water). The problem
is usually located around the pump, above-ground.
Occasionally, we have to look underground
for the source of the air. Approximately
1 - 4 hours labor. Sometimes air in the
pump basket can be caused by something
as simple as the water level being too
low in the pool. You might also want
to check the skimmer
weir. This is a plastic flap at the
throat of the skimmer that keeps the
debris in the skimmer when the pump is
off. If the skimmer weir is stuck it
can cause the skimmer to drain and take
in air. Also check that the pump basket
lid is on tight and the o-ring is lubricated.
Pump is not pumping water like usual?
baskets for heavy debris. Make sure
basket is clean and properly positioned.
Some types of pumps have a pump strainer
basket that locks into place to prevent
the basket from floating and causing
the pump to cavitate, or starve for water.
Sometimes when we get repair calls like
this we'll find that the pump basket
is cracked and it is allowing debris
to clog the pump's impeller.
If the pump basket is cracked or damaged,
it should be replaced.
To check the impeller, turn off the motor,
remove the pump basket and reach into
the volute and
feel if it is clogged with debris. If
you cannot feel for sure, you may need
to remove the motor from the pump to
properly inspect the impeller. Many times
you need only remove a clamp band to
separate the motor from the pump.
of your pump's motor are a front bearing
and a rear bearing. These bearings are
sealed and cannot be re-packed or re-lubricated.
They are replaced when
they begin to scream and screech. Bearings
can become damaged when the pump has
run dry and overheated, or if the pump
is put under high loads. A local motor
shop can replace the bearings for you,
usually for under $100. One test I do
is to remove the motor from the pump,
and turn it on. If it still screeches
(while not pumping anything) it is going
to be the bearings. Rebuild it, or better
yet, just replace
the motor. A noisy pump can also
This sounds less like screeching and
more like grinding. This condition is
caused by starving the pump for water.
If possible, open more valves, or find
the cause of the obstruction that is
blocking water flow into the pump. It
may be the impeller. Finally, noisy pumps
can be the sound of components striking
one another. The impeller can, on stub
shaft models, come loose, and hit against
the impeller housing. The internal fan
can break and hit against the motor side.
Both instances will resolve themselves.
At 3450 rpm, it won't take long for the
fan to wear down or the impeller to chew
right through the housing. These conditions
are rare, and probably will require a new
Motor will not start or turn on
that you have power. Is the breaker on?
Time-clock on? All switches on? Use an
electric meter to be sure that voltage
is correct. Check that all electrical
connections are tight and not corroded
or shorted out by bugs or debris. Again,
the use of a meter or test lamp will
check this with certainty. If there is
power going all the way to the motor,
the motor may have become shorted across
Motor hums but will not start
The impeller may be clogged with debris. Turn
off the power, and spin the impeller
shaft. If it won't turn freely, remove
the motor from the pump and clean the
impeller. If it does spin, check the capacitor.
If it is a stub shaft type motor,
check that the impeller is not hitting
the impeller housing.
capacitor is the black cylinder on the
back of the motor, although sometimes
it is silver and mounted on top of the
motor. Check the capacitor for white
residue or oily discharge or for bulging.
Sometimes even a fine looking capacitor
can be bad. Replace with a new
capacitor of the same rating.
low voltage can be a cause of a humming
but not starting motor. New motors are
wired 220 volts, so if you hook it up
to 110 volts, it will only hum, or cycle.
Or perhaps one of the power leads is
loose, or shorted. Check with a Multimeter
to verify the correct voltage, with a
variance of 10% allowed.
the motor runs for a short while, shuts
itself off, and turns itself back on
later, it may be overheating. Normal
motor temperature is over 140 degrees,
so all motors run hot. But a cycling
motor may indicate that the thermal overload
is kicking it off. If this motor was
just replaced, make sure that the electrical
supply connections are correct and the
wire size is correct for the voltage
it is carrying. Low voltage can cause
overheating. Inadequate ventilation can
cause overheating, so make sure that
the air vents are unobstructed. Usually,
old motors that suddenly begin to overheat
will need to be replaced.
They usually have a short inside, across
the windings. And motors are just not
rewound anymore like they were in the
old days. (continued........)