The machinery that makes a home swimming pool work is relatively simple. The pump and motor assembly are what allows your pool water to be filtered and refreshed. The pump's job is to pull water out of your swimming pool and allow it to pass through your filter media, cleaning the water and keeping it fresh and pristine for your family and guests. Since this simple bit of equipment is an important part of what makes home pools work, monitoring their status and repairing them as necessary is vital to keeping your pool functioning properly.
Pump vs. Motor – Understanding the Difference
Before discussing the potential issues that can arise with a pool motor, it's first important to understand the distinction between your pool's pump and its motor. In most pools, water is pumped with a two-part assembly consisting of the pump itself and a separate electric motor. You can think of this a bit like your car. In a car, the motor doesn't actually move you forward – that's the job of the wheels. Instead, the motor drives the wheels. In your pool, the motor drives the pump. Both parts are necessary for the system to work, but each part can fail independently.
The Signs of Motor Failure
Life would be easier if failing motors always just quit working as soon as they were ready to go, but the real world isn't so tidy. Often, pump motors will begin to exhibit signs of failure long before they stop working altogether. This can lead to a variety of problems, which can cost you money or make your pool a less pleasant place to be. Recognizing these signs can help you to keep your pool functioning properly and efficiently.
One of the most subtle signs to watch out for is simply increased energy bills. Like a failing compressor in a home AC system, a failing pool motor may run more often than it should normally or simply work more inefficiently. You should expect your pump to be running about a third of the time, but a pump with a motor that is on its way out may run constantly. This can be difficult to notice, so try to be aware of any changes in energy usage that don't seem to have another, more obvious source.
If your motor simply isn't working up to par, then you will most likely notice your pool water beginning to look more cloudy or dirty. This can point to problems with the pump, however, or even a filter issue. Watch for signs that the motor isn't running at all or unusually noisy operation.
Repair or Replace?
If your motor seems to be going bad, then your options are generally to either repair the motor or replace it entirely. Note that it isn't necessary to replace the entire assembly and you can replace just the motor if the pump seems to be fine. In some cases, such as when the bearings within the motor are failing, you may also be able to have the motor repaired. Although this can sometimes require significant labor, it's still usually a cheaper option than replacing the motor altogether.
Contact a pool repair service for more help.