Solved! Is It Better to Replace My Pool Pump Motor, or the Whole Pump?

The answer to whether it’s necessary to replace a pool pump motor or the whole pump lies within the pump itself. The steps below can help homeowners troubleshoot the issue to determine next steps.
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Replace My Pool Pump Motor or the Whole Pump

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Replace My Pool Pump Motor or the Whole Pump

Q: The last couple of times I’ve been in my pool, the water seems to be circulating poorly. Do I need to replace my pool pump motor or the whole pump

A: The short answer to whether you need to replace your pool pump motor or the whole pump is that it depends. A clicking or grinding noise coming from inside your pump could mean you just need to replace the motor, but it’s best to check with a professional before making any quick decisions. Even if the motor is the main issue, a pump that’s older than 15 years is likely due for a replacement anyway. Your wallet may resent this decision at first, but it will thank you later when your energy bills are reduced thanks to newer, more efficient models. In any case, you can consult the steps below to help you take a closer look at the issue and decide what course of action to take.

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Replacing an entire pool pump can cost two to four times more than replacing the motor, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.

Depending on what model is needed, the average pool pump costs anywhere from $700 to $1,500. Single-speed pumps have the lowest cost at about $500, but they won’t work well with a larger pool that holds more water. A variable-speed pool pump will typically cost between $800 and $1,200. Some pumps may even require additional pool plumbing, which can up the cost significantly and put homeowners in the $5,000 range. The larger the pool, the more a homeowner can expect to pay for a new pump. On the flip side, a pool pump motor costs between $25 and $200 if a homeowner has the DIY skills to do it without the help of a professional. For homeowners who are not familiar with pool parts or repairs, hiring someone to replace their pump motor will likely cost about $200 and may be worth the time and headache they could save.

To check for damage, open the pool pump housing and look for any dryness or cracking as well as rust, discoloration, or leaks. If none are present, the pump likely doesn’t need to be replaced.

Before a homeowner resorts to replacing the entire pump, it helps to look at the pump housing to determine what condition the pump and its parts are in. If they see rusted bolts, frayed cables, discoloration, leaks, or cracked housing, it may be a good idea to have the entire pump replaced. Homeowners can also check the water flow and pressure generated by the pump. If they notice a significant decrease in performance or inconsistent water flow, it could indicate an issue with the pump that might warrant a replacement. On the other hand, if none of these warning signs are present and just the motor itself is giving the homeowner problems, they likely only need to replace or repair the motor.

Replace My Pool Pump Motor or the Whole Pump

If the motor makes unusual noises, such as grinding or screeching, humming, or popping and clicking sounds when it’s running, replacing the motor could fix the pump without needing to replace the entire thing.

Another task that could help a homeowner figure out whether they need to replace their pool pump motor or the whole pump is to listen to the pool pump motor when they turn the pump’s power switch on. Any abnormal sounds, such as screeching, clicking, grinding, or rattling, can signal that the pump’s motor is defective or in need of repair or replacement. Even the best pool pump, when used for several years, can have a broken motor that makes extreme noise or screeching noises. If this occurs, it’s best for homeowners to consult a pool repair service to take a look at the pump and determine if the motor is the sole issue or if more of the pump needs to be inspected.

If the pump isn’t turning on, the entire system will likely need to be replaced.

Before homeowners go searching for a new pump, they can troubleshoot power issues to make sure a simple reboot or recent outage isn’t the source of the problem. They can begin by ensuring that the pump is properly connected to a power source and that the circuit breaker or fuse is in the “on” position. If there was a recent power outage or electrical surge, it’s possible that the breaker may have tripped or the fuse may have blown. If this isn’t the issue, the homeowner can try examining the power cord for any signs of damage, such as frayed wires or cuts. If they notice any issues, it’s important that they replace the power cord before attempting to use the pump again.

Before the homeowner calls a pool service business, it also helps to plug another device into the pool pump outlet to verify if the outlet is functioning properly. This will help determine whether the problem lies with the pump or the electrical supply. If none of the steps above reveal anything that’s a cause for concern, the homeowner’s best bet is to call a local pool service to inspect their pump and let them know if they need to purchase a new system.

Pool pump motors typically last 10 to 15 years, so if yours is older than that it likely needs to be replaced.

Although a typical pump motor lasts about 10 to 15 years on average, several factors such as usage and maintenance can shorten or lengthen the lifespan. For instance, the more frequently a pool pump is used, the more wear and tear it will experience over time which can potentially shorten its lifespan. Pumps that operate for longer periods or are used year-round may have a shorter lifespan compared to those used seasonally. Pumps that are used less but receive more regular maintenance might last longer, especially if any issues are addressed promptly. Pool maintenance costs may seem high at first glance, but homeowners can save money in the long run by identifying potential issues before they get too severe. That being said, any pump motor that’s older than 15 years is likely due for a replacement, and owners can benefit from a newer, more energy-efficient model.

It may be time to replace your pool's pump
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Older pool pumps may contain obsolete parts that can be difficult to replace; in this case, it may be best to replace the pump with a new model.

Pump impellers, motors, and pump baskets are all parts that are included in older and newer models, but older models may contain parts that are no longer manufactured or are hard to replace. Even the pump housing can have specific fittings, connections, or lid designs that have changed over time. Finding exact replacements for these components in older pumps can be challenging, making it a long and arduous process to repair and restore them to their former glory. In this instance, the homeowner may be better off replacing the pump altogether so they don’t have to deal with the hassle of tracking down parts or waiting for new pieces to come in and be installed. If they’re still determined to track down old parts, however, the homeowner can try specialized pool supply stores, online marketplaces, or professional pool service providers that may still have access to compatible replacement parts or offer alternative solutions for older pool pumps. However, as technology advances and manufacturers focus on newer models, the availability of parts for older pumps may become more limited over time.

An older pool pump can also have poor energy efficiency, leading to higher energy bills. Replacing it with a newer model could reduce pool operating costs.

An energy-saving motor can not only increase the power of the pump but also lower the homeowner’s energy bills and costs. Newer pool pumps often incorporate more advanced technologies, such as variable-speed motors, which allow them to operate at different speeds and adjust power consumption based on the pool’s requirements. Although a new pool pump may cost a homeowner more up front, it will lead to significant energy savings when compared with older single-speed pumps that run at a constant high speed. Energy-efficient pumps can save 70 percent to 80 percent in energy costs, not to mention the added benefit of their contribution to a smaller carbon footprint due to their reduced energy consumption. Other benefits of newer, more energy-efficient pool pumps include noise reduction, customizable settings, and a longer lifespan so the homeowner won’t have to foot the bill for another pump for several years.

Ultimately, the best way to determine if you should replace the pool pump motor or the whole pump is to hire a pool technician to diagnose the problem and recommend a resolution.

For homeowners who are tired of troubleshooting and ready to throw in the towel, it may be best to call a professional pool service in their area to assess the issue and let them know what steps to take next. A pool technician can not only take a detailed look at the pool pump or motor but also do a pool inspection to make sure more issues aren’t at play (and the homeowner may not need to pay pool inspection costs if the technician finds and fixes an issue). If the homeowner is concerned about being taken advantage of, they can always get a second opinion and compare quotes to make sure they’re getting accurate information from the professionals they’re consulting. A pool technician will be able to tell the homeowner everything they need to know, from the cost of pool pump replacements to what type of pool warranty they can expect as a result of any repairs performed. In the long term, it may be worth considering taking out one of the best home warranties for pool coverage, such as Choice Home Warranty and American Home Shield, which can help reduce the cost of costly repairs and replacements.