Why Did My Pump Motor Stop Working?

Having a pool is a great deal of fun. It adds enjoyment value to any home, whether you have a pool for exercise or pleasure or for the kids. That said, pools are not without work or maintenance, and they do require a bit of both.

One of the most critical pool components is the pump, with some pools having more than one pump. Pool pumps are designed to push water through the pool filter so the water is clean. If you have a heated pool, you will have a pump that pushes the water through the heating mechanism.

However, pool pumps do break down. However, knowing exactly why your pool pumps are not working will be challenging to figure out if you are not a pool expert.

There are some prevalent causes or reasons as to why your pool pump may not be working. This article discusses signs that mean that your pump is not working, what problems those signs indicate, and the solutions to those problems.

Why Did My Pump Motor Stop Working

Problems With the Pump’s Motor

The most essential component of any pool pump is the motor which provides its power and motion. Without a motor, a pool pump is just a paperweight.

Keep in mind is that pool motors, depending on the environment and how well they are maintained, will generally last for about five or six years.

If your pool pump’s motor is broken or worn down, you will need to make repairs or full-scale replacements. Refer to the list below to help recognize common signs that the motor is wearing out or broken, as well as how to solve the problem.

Silent Motor

If the pool motor is totally silent, it means that the shaft has most likely frozen, which means that the motor will need to be replaced. However, a dead motor could indicate you have wiring or electrical issues that may be solved by repairing or replacing wires.

Breaker Tripping

If the breaker that the motor is running on keeps tripping, one of the many internal components in the motor has given out. Depending on which component this is, you may be able to replace or even rebuild it.

Making Noises

If the motor is making a grinding or screeching noise (like fingernails on a chalkboard or rocks in a dryer), you have bad bearings that are worn out and/or rust. If this is the case, replacing bearings will generally solve the problem.

If you hear the motor making a loud humming noise, it could be that the capacitor is failing (if the shaft is spinning), and if the shaft is not spinning, then the bearings have locked up. Therefore, see what shape the capacitor is in, and then go from there.

Various Leaks

If your pool pump is not working correctly, one cause could be a leak. If you’re seeing water anywhere near your pool filter, such as wet cement, there’s a leak. If your pool pump has a leak, the system will lose pressure, and nothing will work properly.

Several components in your pool, pumps, and filters may leak cause these issues to occur. Let’s look at the various elements that could be causing the problem and how you can fix them.

Seal Plate Leak

The seal plate is the point of contact between the housing of the pump and the motor. If there is water and noticeable cracking or damage, the seal plate will need to be replaced or repaired. Damage to the seal plate is most often caused by over-tightening housing and motor bolts, so be careful when tightening those bolts!

Shaft Seal Leak

If you see:

  • Water dripping out of the motor vents, and the motor casing is rusting
  • There is a white whirl or spiral pattern on the motor face
  • The bearings in the motor are very loud

… you may have problems with the shaft seal. This shaft seal is what protects your motor from water, the last line of defense, so to speak. The solution is replacing this seal, which is very inexpensive.

Lid Gasket Leak

If you notice:

… you may have an issue with the lid gasket. If you have a leak in the lid gasket, water won’t leak out, but it will cause air bubbles to escape. If there is an air leak, you may also hear a hissing sound. The solution could be as simple as replacing the O-ring, or you may have to replace the lid gasket as a whole.

Diffuser Gasket Leak

If you notice that the system constantly has low water pressure and is losing its prime, you probably have an issue with the diffuser gasket. This is located at the front of the diffuser, with the gasket sealing the diffuser and impeller to the housing. If the diffuser gasket is leaking, you will need to replace it.

Housing Gasket Leak

If you notice that the pad which the pump rests on is wet, and you see a leak coming from the housing seam and/or the seal plate, the housing gasket is the issue. Solving this issue is as easy as replacing the gasket.

An Issue with the Housing

Look at is the hull or casing that houses all the parts. If you notice that there is:

  • A lot of dry rot in the housing
  • A lot of visible wear and tear
  • Cracks are occurring at the bolt holes and ports

… the housing is the issue. The housing is a costly component to replace. If just a couple of parts are broken, you can try repairing them, but if too much is broken, it may be cheaper to replace the pump as a whole instead of dealing with the housing.

Problems with the Strainer Lid

The strainer lid is the problem if you see very large air bubbles, warping of the strainer lid, or visible cracks. Keep in mind that the strainer lid is the main point of inspection for the pool pump. This is what you open up to see if it’s working. If there is a crack in the strainer lid, it can cause air to be sucked into the system and slow it down. If the strainer lid is broken, replace it.

Problems with the Strainer Basket

The strainer basket is the problem if you notice that the cartridges are damaged, if the impeller is clogged, or if you hear a distinct rattling sound. This is the component that sifts out solid debris before the water gets to the pump. If there are any issues with the strainer basket, the simplest solution is a replacement.

Problems With the Diffuser

If your pump keeps losing its prime and there is low water pressure, then it is the diffuser itself that is the issue. The diffuser looks like a reverse ice cream cone that sits on the impeller, and its purpose is to increase the water pulling force of the impeller. If the diffuser is damaged, it will need to be replaced.

Problems With the Impeller

If you notice low water pressure and the pump keeps losing its prime, it may be the impeller itself that is broken. You may also hear a rattling sound. If the impeller is broken, the water flow will likely be very low. If this is the case, the solution is to replace the impeller.

Electrical Issues

The other thing that you should do is make sure that all of the wiring is in good condition and that the power supply works. For example, is your pump plugged in?


As you can see, there are many reasons why your pool pump may not be working. It is now up to you to diagnose and treat the issue.

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