Swimming Pool Pumps - Not Filling With Water
When a swimming pool pump is not working efficiently, it will ultimately lead to problems with the pool. A weekly pool maintenance routine should include turning on and testing the pump for normal operation which should produce a strong water flow from the pool to the filter and back into the pool through the return lines. When operating normally, the pump strainer basket should fill completely with water and no air bubbles should be visible through the strainer basket lid. If the strainer basket is not completely filling with water, there could be restricted flow that is keeping the pump from filling with water. It is important to troubleshoot this condition as soon as possible to identify the problem.
Pump Needs to be Primed - If for any reason the pump has recently lost its prime, it may just need to be primed up again. With the pump off, remove the pump lid, clean out any debris, and fill the pump with water from a garden hose or using a bucket. When the pump is filled with water, replace the pump strainer lid and o-ring and start the pool pump to see if it primes up and starts operating normally.
Pump Lid O-Ring Missing or Bad - sometimes when the pump strainer basket is cleaned out, the lid o-ring will fall off unnoticed and won't get reinstalled when the lid is replaced. This will certainly lead to a pump running dry. If the pump lid o-ring IS installed correctly, inspect it for cracks or dryness. It may need to be replaced.
Water Level Too Low - the next test should be to make sure the pool water level is sufficient. The water level should be half way up the skimmer intake. If not, add water to the pool and see if that solves the problem.
Skimmer Clogged With Debris - if the skimmer basket is clogged with debris, this will lead to a water starved pump. Make sure the skimmer basket is cleaned out.
Skimmer Weir Blade Stuck in Closed Position - sometimes debris will get caught in between the weir blade and the skimmer wall and hold the weir blade in the closed position. When this happens the pump will get starved of water and start sucking air leading to a pump that won't fill with water. Check to make sure the weir is operating properly. Pump Impeller Clogged With Debris
- if all the previous troubleshooting tests don't solve the problem, and the pump seems to be running normally otherwise, its possible that the pump impeller is clogged with debris. Inspect the pump strainer basket for damage. Sometimes pieces of the basket will break off and get sucked into and caught in the impeller. It only takes a small rock or stick getting stuck in the impeller and interfere with the pump's ability to pull water from the swimming pool. Turn the pump off at the circuit breaker to make sure the pump will not turn on during this test. Open the pump and remove the basket. Using a finger or a screwdriver, reach inside the pump towards the impeller and inspect for debris. It may be necessary to flush out the impeller with water to remove all debris. In extreme cases, the pump may need to be taken apart to remove all the debris from the impeller.
The best defense against pool problems is a consistent pool maintenance routine that includes testing the pool equipment. Knowing how the pool equipment normally operates provides a better ability to identify pool problems when they show up. When it is recognized that the pool pump has stopped filling with water as it should, it is time to follow the troubleshooting tips above. If the problem cannot be identified, it will be worth the investment of calling a pool service professional to help solve the problem.
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