A DIY Guide To Replacing Your Pool Pump

Choosing the right pool pump and installing it is a pretty easy and straightforward job for most skilled pool technicians. However, you can also replace the pool pump yourself and save a couple of bucks in the process.

You should replace your pump if you notice leaks or excessive rust. Make sure you consider your pool’s volume and type before buying a replacement pump. It’s best to watch a pump installation video before starting, and call a professional if you don’t feel comfortable with the process.    

If you have a single-speed pump, then it’s better to replace it with a variable- or two-speed pump for greater energy savings. Sound complicated? Don’t worry! Let’s take a look at the full replacement process and the things you need to know so that you can replace your pump with confidence.

Can You Replace a Pool Pump By Yourself?

Pool sand filter and pump

If you know your way around a pool pump like this one (on Amazon) or have some basic mechanical aptitude, you can easily replace your pool pump in a short time. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to hire a professional electrician to disconnect the wiring and make the necessary plumbing connections. 

How to Know When Your Pool Pump Needs Replacing

Typical signs of a faulty or bad pool pump include leaks, grinding noises when the pool pump is running, and excessive rust. 

If you see a lot of bubbles in your swimming pool or feel a bit of sucking action when you’re in the water, those are also signs that you might need to replace your pool pump.   

Also, if your pump is more than five years old and is becoming more and more problematic, then it’s best to purchase a new one. 

Choosing the Right Pool Pump

The first step toward replacing your pool pump is choosing the right model. If you just choose a replacement pump with the same make and model, you won’t be able to take advantage of the potential cost savings of variable speed pumps.

Also, if you have a really old single-speed pump, then you may not be able to find anyone willing to repair or service it.   

In order to choose the right-sized pool pump for your pool and filtration system, you’ll need to determine a few things first:

  • The volume of your pool in gallons
  • The size of your pump’s suction line pipes
  • The maximum flow rate for your filter
  • Whether you have a 240- or 120-volt electrical connection for the pool pump

Remember that your pool pump should be able to turn over and filter your pool’s entire volume at least three times every day.

For instance, if your pool holds 10,000 gallons of filter, then your pump should be able to push at least 30,000 gallons of water through the filter every 24 hours. 

This number is the industry standard for all residential pool filtration systems, so make sure you choose your replacement pump accordingly. In fact, incorrectly sizing a pump could render it completely inefficient and ineffective, and it could lead to a damaged filtration system as well. 

Pool Types

It’s important to note that the type of pool will also significantly affect your pump choices. Here are some of the most common pool types and the pumps that best suit them: 

  • Above-Ground Pools: It’s best to opt for a lower head pool pump because all equipment is located incredibly close to the swimming pool, and there’s not a lot of equipment on the pool. 
  • In-ground Pools: These pools have longer piping runs and more equipment, so it’s better to go for a high- or medium-head pump. 
  • Spas: Spas have a lot of equipment and need higher pressures for the jets, so a fairly high-head pool pump is your best bet. 
  • Waterfalls: Most pool features don’t need a lot of equipment and just require lots of flow. For this reason, it’s best to opt for a typical low-head pump. 

Step By Step Guide to Replacing Your Pool Pump

  1. Turn off all the valves connecting the outlet and inlet pipes to your filtration system by moving the circular handle in the clockwise direction. Alternatively, you can turn the valve’s lever handle until it’s perpendicular to the pipe.
  2. Turn the knob of the pressure-release valve located at the top of your filtration system to open it. Let all the air pressure trapped in the pool system escape and then close the valve.
  3. Unscrew all the bolts securing the pump’s flange to the filter housing with a ratchet and socket. Save all the unscrewed nuts and bolts.
  4. If your pool pump is attached to the filter pad, unscrew and save those nuts and bolts as well.
  5. Lift the pump straight out of the filter case to remove it.
  6. Use a rag to remove any dust or debris that’s trapped in the circular housing that holds the impeller.
  7. Put on a pair of latex gloves and use your finger tip to coat the inner surface of the filter case with water pump grease.
  8. Coat both sides of the new pump’s flange gasket with grease.
  9. Place the gasket flat against the face of the new pump’s flange.
  10. Align the gasket holes with the flange’s bolt holes.
  11. Position the new pump with the manufacturer’s or brand’s label facing upwards and align the impeller with the center of the filter case’s opening.
  12. Slowly push the pump down towards the case and position the impeller in the impeller opening.
  13. Set the pool pump in place and then secure the flange at the filter case’s side.
  14. Align the flange’s bolt holes with the filter case’s threaded holes.
  15. Insert all the saved bolts on the flange’s holes and tighten them until the pool pump is attached securely.
  16. If you removed any anchor bolts, install and tighten them as well. 

Common Mistakes When Replacing Your Pool Pump

Sand filter plant at a pool in the garden

Most people are able to install pool pumps without a hitch. However, there are still a few things you should keep in mind to avoid big mistakes:

Replace the Shaft Seal

It’s imperative to replace the shaft seal whenever you replace the pool motor. This is because most motor warranties become void if there’s seal failure. 

Usually, old shaft seals don’t really line up with new motors, resulting in leakages and more serious damages. However, the good thing is that shaft seals are pretty cheap (typically around $15) and incredibly easy to install.  

There are a few things you should remember when replacing the shaft seal: 

  • Don’t touch the seal’s ceramic part with your fingers, as the sweat and skin oil will irreparably damage the ceramic. 
  • Make sure you remove both parts of the previous seal and don’t add the new shaft seal over the top of the old one. 

Watch a Pump Installation Video 

Before you perform any home repairs, it’s just best to jump on YouTube and watch a professional perform the repair first. There are several pool pump replacement videos available online, and watching any one of them will definitely make the task go a lot smoother. 

Choose the Correct Motor

If you’re just replacing the pump motor, then make sure you know the model and manufacturer of your pool pump. Typically, the pump’s manufacturer and model are listed on the side of its housing near the strainer basket or on the pump motor’s label itself. 

It’s also advisable to jot down your motor’s SF, Amps, HP, Volts, RPMs, Model number, and Cat number, along with its manufacturer and model. All this information is usually present on the electric motor’s label.

Go Energy-Efficient

There are countless energy-efficient pool pumps available on the market today. If you live in a state with high energy costs, then it’s definitely better to opt for an energy-efficient model.

Traditionally, California, New York, and Hawaii are the states with the highest electricity costs. So, if you live in any of these places, try looking for more energy-efficient options. 

There are several different types of energy-efficient pumps and some of the most common ones include:    

Single-Speed Pumps 

Single-speed pool pumps are extremely common and used by the majority of swimming pools around the world. They cost around 20% to 30% less to operate as compared to standard efficiency motors and range in price from $185 to $350, depending on the horsepower of the model you choose. 

Dual-Speed Pumps

Dual-speed motors operate at two speeds: a low-speed setting (1,725 RPM) and a high-speed setting (3,450 RPM). By running the pump at a low speed for a longer period of time every day, you’ll be able to save up to 60% in operational costs.  

Along with offering decreased operational costs, these pumps are also extremely quiet during operation, making them perfect for people who love a relaxing evening dip. 

Variable-Speed Pumps 

Variable-speed pumps (our review) have become increasingly popular in the last couple of years. They’re the most energy efficient among all pump types, allowing you to run the motor at the exact RPM that best suits your pool. 

These pumps usually offer a range of 600 to 3,450 RPMs, enabling you to choose from an almost-infinite range of speeds for maximum energy efficiency. 

Troubleshooting Tips and Tricks

If you’ve successfully installed your new pool pump but it still refuses to work, then there might be something wrong with the electrical or plumbing connections. 

There are several other problems that can prevent your pump from running properly, and it’s important to correctly identify the issue before you start working on the fix. Here are a few troubleshooting tips that can help ensure successful pump installation: 

Electrical Troubleshooting 

For electrical connections, you simply need to read the instructions and electrical schematic that come with your new pump. They’ll tell you the exact voltage your pump needs, the required amperage breaker, and how to correctly connect your new pool pump. 

Plumbing Troubleshooting

If there’s a problem with the plumbing, then you might need to switch the material or size of the pipes. It’s important to find the right orientation as well, and ensure there’s enough space to fit the pump properly. 

If you install your pool pump in a space that’s too tight, then you won’t be able to make adjustments or add any new fittings. In this case, you’ll have to go back and replace more of the pipes than you originally intended. This usually means that you’ll have to re-plumb all the suction manifold valves as well. 

Pump Leaks

Pump leaks usually appear in the pressure side connection, suction port connection, strainer lid, and winterizing plugs.

If you notice a leak in the connection between the motor and pump housing, or somewhere on the body of the pool pump itself, then this means you have a defective pump and one you should replace or return immediately. 

If the problem is with the winterizing plugs, then you just need to slightly tighten them or rethread them with a new thread sealant (on Amazon).

For pressure and suction side leaks, check the union for a faulty gasket. If you installed the pump using a threaded male adapter, try reapplying a thread sealant and see if that makes your pump operational. 

However, keep in mind that you can’t fix a leaky threaded connection externally. Instead, you’ll need to remove the male adapter, thoroughly clean the threads, and then reapply the sealant before installing the adapter back again. 

When to Call a Professional 

Remember that you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on a pool service company for a pump replacement. On average, the cost of replacing a pool pump yourself is around $150 to $200, while hiring a professional pool service technician can cost you anywhere from $400 to $600. 

However, if you’re not handy or don’t feel confident replacing the pool pump yourself, then you can call a professional to do the job for you. 

It’s also best to hire a professional plumber for installation if you have a super tight plumbing system and there’s not enough space to cut or add any of the required pipes. 

In fact, the price you would have to pay for the equipment needed to re-plumb the suction manifold might just end up costing you more than a pool technician who’ll be able to install your pump with much less time and work.     

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