Pool Pump Not Working

agrandmaDecember 11, 2011

My 7-year-old Hayward pump stopped pumping water. I can hear the motor, it's not loud, and with the clear lid on the basket I cannot see water swooshing through it but I can hear a small amount of water in the system.

I opened the clear lid and put my hose inside, and turned the water on high. Then I turned the pump on and the water goes out of the basket area FAST. So I guess that means the pump "works"? But it does not pull water from the pool. Does that mean it does not "prime"?

Anyway I don't know what to check next or what to do. Although my pool is clean of debris and leaves, we have had a lot of leaves in the pool in the past few weeks. It's possible something is clogged in the plumbing or ? with leaves.

Does anyone have advice for me? My pool is built-in, the equipment is above the water level of the pool.

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agrandma

since my original post I tried using a hose to push any clog through the system and that didn't do anything. I believe the pump is working but just not able to prime.

How do I know if the impeller is turning? There is air coming out of the pump but I don't know if that has anything to do with the impeller working or not.

Also I noticed that the lid on the pump over the basket is hard to put on and take off. That must have something to do with pressure inside? I don't know if that is related to the pump not priming.

If you have ideas on what I can try please post a reply - thanks!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 7:43PM
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agrandma

since my original post I tried using a hose to push any clog through the system and that didn't do anything. I believe the pump is working but just not able to prime.

How do I know if the impeller is turning? There is air coming out of the pump but I don't know if that has anything to do with the impeller working or not.

Also I noticed that the lid on the pump over the basket is hard to put on and take off. That must have something to do with pressure inside? I don't know if that is related to the pump not priming.

If you have ideas on what I can try please post a reply - thanks!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 9:30PM
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poolguynj

There is a gasket or an O Ring between the lid and the body. I suspect you have an air leak. Replace and lube it with Jacks or Magic Lube.

If the pump ran for an extended period with no flow, things may have gotten pretty hot and taken out the seals. This requires some disassembling and inspection. Its also possible the heat warped the 1st fitting into the pump.

If the pump basket is full or nearly so when you turn on the pump and the water level in the pump drops, the impeller is spinning.

A pump will typically suck air before sucking in water. If you have an air leak, it will continue to draw air.

Scott

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 6:41AM
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agrandma

The o-ring seems to be in good condition. I lubed it with a pool and spa lube and now the lid opens and closes easily but the pump still does not prime.
Should I still try replacing the o-ring since it's 7 years old even if it looks and feels undamaged?
Yes, the water does drain out of the pump fast, so I guess the impeller is spinning.
Do you think changing the o-ring will be the next step? Or do you think the seals got too hot? What would you do?
Thanks in advance!!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 9:08PM
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muddy_water

If you have 2 or more valves in front of the pump turn the ones that go to the skimmers off and see if it primes. Also have you cleaned or backwashed you filter?

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 7:46AM
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agrandma

I cleaned my filters about a week ago, and I cleaned them again yesterday. I wanted to make sure there was no obstruction in there (there wasn't). I also re-lubed the gasket around the filter container.
I have also tried to get the pump to prime by moving the valve from the place where the automatic vacuum works and where it sucks from the drain at the bottom of the pool. I get the same result no matter where the valve is - the sound of the pump never changes. I can hear a little water in the system but it won't prime or get suction in the pump.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 9:26AM
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poolguynj

Then the problem is not likely to be the pump but rather the plumbing in front of the pump.

Scott

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 6:58PM
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agrandma

I'm sorry I don't know what you mean by the plumbing in front of the pump. Does that mean the pipes that are underground between the pump and the pool? How can that be checked? Or do you mean something else?

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 9:55PM
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trhought

agrandma....yes, I think poolguy means the pipe coming from the pool into the pump.

From your description and troubleshooting so far, it does sound like you have a blockage in this pipe.

We had a blockage last winter in the same pipe also.

I first tried the blow bag technique to see if any reverse water flow through the pipe would move the blockage...that didn't work...I needed much more flow to blow the blockage out. FYI...a blow bag can be purchased from your local hardware store...it's basically a rubber bladder that is attached to the end of a garden hose. When the water is turned on, the bladder expands and seals against the pipe and directs all the water down the pipe...they sell different sizes depending on the size of your pipe that is plugged.

Since the blow bag technique didn't work and I needed more flow, I ended up running an extra 2" pipe from our 3HP pump to the main filter pump. This pipe connects from the output of the 3HP pump to the filter pump pipe that was blocked. I then valved it so that when the 3PH pump was turned on, all water from it was directed to the pipe that was blocked and it blasted the leaves out the main drain of the pool. When not in use, I just keep the pipe closed and empty between the 2 pumps. In the future, if I ever get a blockage again, all I'll have to do is open the valves and blast away.

Our pool builder has a contraption that uses a scuba divers tank with compressed air and special fittings to blast that compressed air into the plugged pipe to remove the blockage.

I decided to do the plumbing technique so that I would have a permanent way to remove the blockage down the road.

By the way, we have lots of leaves in our heavily wooded lot during the winter time and, oddly enough, last year was the first year we had problems with blockage....not sure why, but I predict we'll have more blockages as we have a floor cleaning system that is designed to blow the leaves into the main drain.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 10:18AM
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agrandma

I strongly suspect that there is a leaf blockage in my pipe also. I tried the bladder thing too, and nothing dislodged. My plumber neighbor is going to use an air compressor this weekend to try to blow it out. Wish us luck.
In addition though, the first time I tried to use the Drain King (bladder on the hose), it came off the hose end and flew into the pipe! I had to remove the Jandy valve (with 8 screws). It was very tight and I had to pry it open with a flathead screwdriver. I got the Drain King out, and put the valve back together but now I think it's leaking air there! Do I need to use something to seal it, or should those 8 screws do it without using a sealant? This is a big learning curve for me - I really appreciate all your advice!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 11:47AM
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trhought

agrandma....the compressed air should do the job....Hope this works out.

Regarding the valve re-assembly...if I remember correctly, there should be an o-ring or rubber gasket that provides the sealing...the screws just hold the plate down uniformly so the o-ring or gasket can seal evenly.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 5:15PM
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muddy_water

You have said a few key words in your other posts Leaves and Vac line. My guess is that your line is clogged at you equipment do you have ball valves that you can take a part? If you cannot get suction from just your main drain the problem is more than likely in the pipes or valves at your plumbing in front of your pump. Also with the pump off remove the basket and reach inside your pump toward the motor and see if you can feel any leaves in your impeller. I would take the plumbing apart in front of the pump My guess there is blockage there before I would try and blow it. You may cause the blockage to go to another area you cannot get at causeing even more problems.If you remove the plumbing and cannot find anything then you can blow the pipes one at a time with the plumbing off. Do you have a automatic cleaner that you are useing with the vac line or are you just useing it to vac manualy? With leaves you are better off useing your skimmer with a vac plate. only use the vac line for dirt not leaves....

hope this helps

Rusty

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 9:12AM
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agrandma

THANK YOU!! I have an automatic vacuum (hayward navigator). There are no ball valves, just a jandy valve. When you tell me to take the plumbing apart in front of the pump, do you mean the back of the pump is where the impeller is, and the front is on the other side of the basket? That is where the jandy valve is, correct? I have a basket that attaches to my vacuum line to catch leaves on the surface and I usually use that all winter but we had some big wind storms that apparently got too many leaves in the pool at once. I ordered a new o-gasket for the pump basket, and I will also try what you said Rusty - thanks! I'll let you know what we find out.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 9:23AM
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muddy_water

Yes the Jandy valve .....The gasket in it may also be worn to where you cannot divert the suction to just the main drain take a good look at it and replace just the insides if needed. Or have your plumber replace it with good quality ball valves. If the jandy valve is leaking air that you will need to fix it anyway because your pump will not prime with it leaking air...Try takeing it apart again and when you put it back together use magic lube on the o-ring on the top portion too try and stop the leak. If it was leaking before that could be your problem. I'm gonna also ask you a silly question but here it goes. Do you have enough water in your pool? to where the skimmer is not running dry? Sorry I have to ask...

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 10:16AM
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agrandma

Asking me if the pool water level is low is NOT a silly question!! My pool level does get low but - not this time. And the flap going to the strainer basket is not stuck either, I checked that. The water level is right where it should be.
I will take the Jandy valve apart again. The first time I took it apart I didn't see any o-ring or gaskets of any kind. I'll look again!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 2:03PM
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muddy_water

Make sure you did not drop the o-ring on the ground it is a thin o-ring that goes on the cover. I have another question for ya if you. When you cut the pump off do you see water shooting out of the plumbing or lid? Does you valve look like the one in the link below?

Here is a link that might be useful: Jandy valve

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 2:47PM
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agrandma

Yes, the jandy valve does look like the one in the picture. I did take it apart again and didn't see ANY gaskets or o-rings. Today I tried all the suggestions again, and all of the sudden it began priming - I'm so relieved! I ordered a new blue gasket for the pump basket, and I will ask my pool store about the gasket for the jandy valve. I put a tiny bit of lube around the top of the jandy valve this time before replacing the lid. I suspect that since I never saw leaves come out anywhere, there was not a "clog". I think it was air getting into the system first from the o-ring on the pump basket and then when I lubed that the air was coming in through the jandy valve because I hadn't put the top on with the o-rings. It's running now! Yayy! Thanks for all your suggestions and encouragement.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 7:45PM
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trhought

agrandma....congrats....I know the feeling...it's a relief to see the pump prime and start pumping again!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 7:51AM
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muddy_water

Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet good for you.....

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 8:25AM
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