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Pool pump keeps burning out

Posted by paradigmdawg (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 11, 11 at 18:43

I am on #3 and this is the 3rd summer we have had the pool.

PB says it is rare to see issues with these pumps.

He has replaced them for free but they are lasting almost a year on the dot and I am sure the time will come were I will have to pay for them. It gets hot on the side of the house and I asked him if I should build a shade structure over there and he said I could but the pumps should be fine.

Pool is 14,000 gallons, pump is Pentair Whisperflow 1.5 hp, all other water features run off of seperate pumps, equipement pad is ~ 20ft from pool.

Here is an old picture of the pad before we did landscape.

Thoughts?

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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Pool pump keeps burning out

Sorry, double post


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RE: Pool pump keeps burning out

I'm not an electrician but you might want to check the voltage at the pump. Low voltage will make the pump work harder and cause overheating. Make sure whoever wired used a heavy enough gauge for the amps/voltage needed. Should be #12 or #10 gauge wire for your supply line. The further the distance from the supply panel the greater the line resistance.


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RE: Pool pump keeps burning out

PS Make sure ther are no restriction on the inlet side of the plumping which would make the pump work harder, ie skimmers not open, distribution valves, etc. If the pump is cavitating you can hear it.
A shed roof might help with temperature but I think more importantly it will keep the rain off the motor.
Also, is this a 1 or 2 speed pump? I installed a 2 speed pump last year and am very pleased with the savings. I rarely use the HI setting. If you are getting a new pump you might want to consider.
You mentioned water features supplied by seperate pumps..are these plumbed seperately or into the main filter as well? My thought being that if plumbed into the main system they COULD be putting too much back pressure on the main pump depending on how they are plumbed. Just some thoughts. Good luck. BTW very nice pool!


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RE: Pool pump keeps burning out

I don't hear any cavitation, distribution valves seem to be fine and the skimmers are both open.

1 speed pump, I hope I don't have to buy another one for 5+ years.

Water features are plumbed separately.

My brother in law is an electrician so I will get him to check that end.

Thanks, we love the pool.


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RE: Pool pump keeps burning out

paradigm...sorry to hear about your pre-mature pump failures...3 failures in 3 years is pointing to an application problem.

Something is making the pump work harder and the motor run hotter than normal. Finding this root cause will prevent future faiures...providing shade will not prevent more failures.

This is hard to troubleshoot over the internet but having more information may help.

1. What is the pressure reading on the filter gage. Normally this should be between 12-25 psi...higher pressure is a sign of too much restriction between the pool and the pump...lower pressure is a sign of suction line restrictions. Both cause the pump to work harder than normal and the motor to overheat because it's not operating as designed.

2. Are there any bubbles observed when looking through the clear basket lid..if bubbles are observed and the pump is producing lower pressure at the filter gage, then there is a suction restriction causing cavitation. Bubbles with normal pressure means there is an air leak which should be fixed but this is not causing the pump failure. That being said, if the air leak is big enough to cause the pump to lose prime and run dry then the pump will eventually fail due to overheating.

3. Voltage at the pump...both undervoltage and overvoltage will cause the motor to run hot. Operable design voltages are normally between 197V and 250V with motor life reduced with extended run time at each extreme. 208V to 240V is normal.

4. What is the motor voltage rating on the motor nameplate...is it 230V only or both 208V/230V...this information will help along with the reported voltage measurement at the pump.

5. What are the symptoms of the failed pumps...can you tell if the motor has burned or smells burnt.

6. Is the pump circuit breaker tripping...this is a sign there are shorts internal to the motor that are caused by insulation breakdown due to repeated overheating.

7. Does the motor stop running for a few minutes and then come on automatically...this is a sign the motor overload is tripping internally due to overheating or high current.

Based on my knowledge of motors and their design, these are some things I would be checking if it were happening in my backyard.

This also assumes the PB was troubleshooting simple things such as run capacitors and breakers before condemning the pump as bad each time and replacing with a new one.

Hope this helps.

By the way...been hearing some good things about the new Paradigm Reference Signature Sub 2...looking for a new sub for the home theater...if only I had an extra $9K laying around!


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RE: Pool pump keeps burning out

Thanks trhought .

I will get back to you on all the questions within a day or two.

I got rid of my JL F13'S and went with a couple of SVS Ultras, way more low-end and almost as musical.


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RE: Pool pump keeps burning out

Sorry it took so long to get back to this but my free electrician (brother in law) keep pushing back the date that he would come over and run the tests.

1. What is the pressure reading on the filter gage. Normally this should be between 12-25 psi...higher pressure is a sign of too much restriction between the pool and the pump...lower pressure is a sign of suction line restrictions. Both cause the pump to work harder than normal and the motor to overheat because it's not operating as designed.

Pressure is right at 10 psi after backwashing and I clean it when it reaches 18 psi. It is currently at 12 psi.

2. Are there any bubbles observed when looking through the clear basket lid..if bubbles are observed and the pump is producing lower pressure at the filter gage, then there is a suction restriction causing cavitation. Bubbles with normal pressure means there is an air leak which should be fixed but this is not causing the pump failure. That being said, if the air leak is big enough to cause the pump to lose prime and run dry then the pump will eventually fail due to overheating.

No bubbles

3. Voltage at the pump...both undervoltage and overvoltage will cause the motor to run hot. Operable design voltages are normally between 197V and 250V with motor life reduced with extended run time at each extreme. 208V to 240V is normal.

242V

4. What is the motor voltage rating on the motor nameplate...is it 230V only or both 208V/230V...this information will help along with the reported voltage measurement at the pump.

The nameplate reads 230/115

5. What are the symptoms of the failed pumps...can you tell if the motor has burned or smells burnt.

Both times, I came home and noticed pump was not running. I went over to the pad and the motor was ungodly hot and has even left burn marks on the pipes that are about 5 inches from the motor. I touched it and it was about 3 million degrees.

6. Is the pump circuit breaker tripping...this is a sign there are shorts internal to the motor that are caused by insulation breakdown due to repeated overheating.

The pump circuit breaker has never tripped

7. Does the motor stop running for a few minutes and then come on automatically...this is a sign the motor overload is tripping internally due to overheating or high current.

Nope, it runs perfectly until it burns out and then never again.

My brother in law checked eveything on the electric side and said there is no issue other than the fact that the ground wire was not hooked up. He said since we have had no storms this probably wasn't the issue but he was a little PO'd that they didn't have it hooked up. It is now of coarse.


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RE: Pool pump keeps burning out

paradigmdawg..thanks for the details.

The ground wire not connected causes the pump to pull higher current for a longer period of time during starting. This will shorten the life of the motor.

Usually, the lights in the house will dim when this occurs...have you been noticing the lights dimming and is the dimming better now that the ground wire is connected.

Hope this helps.


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RE: Pool pump keeps burning out

I haven't really noticed the lights inside dimming more than usual. Kind of hard to tell with 5 amps, two subs and a bunch of plasmas all going on in here...


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RE: Pool pump keeps burning out

Your Brother-in-law should be able too put a amp meter with a hold function on the motors lines and see the true amps the motor is pulling. I would just ask the builder to get in contact with the Pentair rep in his area and ask him to stop by the next time he is in town. Pentair is a strong support company and will do it for free....


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RE: Pool pump keeps burning out

paradigmdawg...yeah..I guess light dimming is pretty common with all the stuff you have!

Pool pumps of this size will pull over 100A during starting. Most homes are sized for about 120A, so voltage will drop significantly and incadescent light bulbs in the house may start to dim.

If the pump starts fast (<200 ms), then the human eye will not detect the light dimming. If the pump starts slow (>200 ms) then light dimming may be detected. Some people are more senstive to this than others, so the times above will vary.

Starting without ground connected will cause the motor to start slower and pull 100+ amps for longer than the motor was designed. This causes excessive heat in the motor windings and will eventually lead to motor failure due to motor insulation breakdown.

This is likely why the first 2 motors burned out so fast. You should get better life out of the 3rd pump now that the ground wire is connected.

Hope this helps.

By the way, I just started to re-model our home theater. It was starting to look bad with all the stuff we added over the years and exposed wires as a result.

When we built the theater 15 years ago, we had no idea we would upgrade equipment and speaker configurations as much as we have.

Upgrades like 5.1 speakers to 11.3 speakers, S-video to HDMI and everthing else in between, all contributed to the mess. Even a simple upgrade like moving away from standalone media players to the "it only does everything" PS3 caused additional wire runs, USB cabling, extra Cat 5 runs, etc.

Now, the addition of 6 columns (3 on each wall), a 12" riser underneath the back row of chairs and a soffit with indirect lighting around the entire perimeter of the ceiling, will allow all the speakers and cabling to find a home out of sight and allow 2 new lighting scenes to be added...that's the plan anyway.

We'll also be adding PVC piping to allow the latest wires to be pulled where they are needed later. Including provisions for a keyboard and mouse to be located in the center of the theater for any future HTPC upgrades or the like...these cables will be hidden underneath the floor riser with a PVC pipe to allow future upgrades.

Just beginning our re-model and I can already see the first challenge, keeping the theater functional during all the construction!


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RE: Pool pump keeps burning out

Sounds like an awesome project. I finally got mine where I like it so it hasn't cost me any money lately. PVC conduit is the way to go to so pulling wires will be easy.

My new hobby is costing me an arm and a leg but at least it's heathy and my liqure bill is way down.

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RE: Pool pump keeps burning out

dawg...I like that bike...I have an old Raleigh that I get out occasionally when we go to the local National Forest a couple times a year.

I like the terrain in the first picture...where is that.

My last mountain biking excursion was in Tucson last fall during a sales conference with some buddies from work.

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RE: Pool pump keeps burning out

The picture is from a trail about 10 miles from me in Fort Worth. It is a hidden gem that doesn't get much traffic as it is really rough and rugged. You take a beaten to get down to the pretty part and the only way out is a lot of climbing on loose techy trail.


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RE: Pool pump keeps burning out

dawg...a hidden gem indeed...as dry as it's been this year, I'm surprised at the amount of water in the picture...very nice!


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