If you’ve ever taken a pool pump apart by yourself or watched someone take one apart for maintenance, you would have noticed that it looks much simpler than other types of mechanical equipment. The reason for this is simple: The less moving parts, the less chances of it breaking down. That’s the logic behind pool pumps because they’re designed to run for hours on end.
Today we’re going to break down a sample pump so the next time your pump needs repairs, you can easily do it yourself, or at the very least know what’s wrong so that you can tell the repair guy what exactly needs fixing so that you won’t get stuck with a large bill for parts that didn’t need repairing in the first place.
Major Components of a Pool Pump
Pool pumps are quite simple devices and they just have two major categories and these are:
The Outer Structure
Let’s go over what the two categories are and what they’re all about shall we?
The Outer Structure
The easiest way to explain this would be to compare the pool pump with a car. The outer structure is what you see at first glance and holds the pump together.
Modern pool pumps have housings that are made with high impact plastic composites, making them light yet extremely durable. Unless your pump is already 20 years old (in which we would suggest that you replace it soon) your pump will have this plastic composite housing. This is rust-proof and holds up to heat, pressure, water, and the elements for years on end.
The Strainer Lid or Pool Pump Lid
This is your all in one access port to the pump. This is made out of a clear poly plastic or Lexan glass. This is clear so that you can see if water is properly being pumped while the pump is in operation. If there are air bubbles or leaks along the side of the lid, or there is no water inside the viewport while the pump is running then you may have a leak or a crack on your lid. Next to the gaskets and seals, strainer lids are 2nd most replaced parts on pool pumps.
This is located right under the strainer lid. The main function of the strainer basket is to filter out large debris before it can get to the more sensitive parts of the drivetrain. This is where small pebbles, leaves, and other debris get caught in before they cause jams in the drivetrain, or worse, chip the impeller.
These are your o-rings, gaskets and seals that keep air out where they shouldn’t be, and keep water where they should be. A faulty seal can lead to flooding or the pump not functioning properly at all. Good signs for faulty gaskets would be bubbling around seams and openings in your pump. Here are some places where you should check your pump for seal and o-ring integrity.
Lid Gasket or Lid O-ring – This is on the strainer lid itself. Frequent opening and closing of the strainer lid can cause sand and other debris to get stuck on this gasket and can cause leaks. Check your that your pool pump strainer lid is clean and free of debris before closing up.
Diffuser Gasket or Diffuser O-ring – This is found on the cone tip of the diffuser, it’s a pretty rare part to find, but it seldom gets damaged as the diffuser is seldom accessed.
Seal Plate Gasket or Seal Plate O-rings – This is also known as the housing gasket. This is a large gasket that seals the housing to the motor seal plate. Most seal plate gaskets are shaped according to the housing shape so it’s rare to find replacement seals for these aside from those created by the manufacturer.
Shaft Seal or Shaft Seal O-rings – This is probably the most important seal in the entire pump. This sits under the impeller and the shaft of the motor. WARNING: Again, this is a very important seal. Make sure that it is undamaged and that there are no debris clinging on to it before reattaching the impeller. A leak here can lead to catastrophic flooding of your pump’s motor.
The seal plate is what mounts the motor to the pump housing. It’s called the seal plate because that’s precisely its job. It seals in the shaft so that water won’t get into the motor. This is typically non-user replaceable.
The Drive Train
The drive train contains all of the moving parts of your pool pump and is responsible for moving the water around. Without the Drive Train, your pump is just a useless hunk of plastic.
The Pool Pump Motor
The pool pump motor is the heart of your pool pump. The motor provides the force required for the impellers to spin and circulate the water. Older motors only have one on/off setting in them but the newer ECO variants have multiple settings which allow them to run at lower speeds, saving electricity in turn.
The impeller creates the suction and the pump action for your pool pump. What the impeller does is it turns the pumps spinning motion into a vortex that sucks the pool water towards the suction pipe of the pool and expels it through the filter and out back into the pool.
This is an accessory that amplifies the suction force of the impeller. This creates a vacuum lock in front of the housing and focuses the suction towards the front, essentially increasing the power of the suction created by the impeller.
Impeller rings are not found on most pool pumps but for the pumps that use them, impeller rings fit on the top of the impellers to ensure that there is a tight seal between the impeller and diffuser. What this does is it ensures that there is a vacuum lock between the diffuser and impeller and helps in priming the pump.
Impeller screws are used in many old pumps, but if you have a fairly new pump then this part is not something that it uses. It was meant to secure the impeller to internally threaded motors. In recent years, many manufacturers (much like the ones we carry here at MrPoolMan) have switched to the external thread motor shafts, making impeller replacement easier and making impeller slipping a thing of the past.
Now that you’re familiar with the parts of a pool pump, you can feel more comfortable in identifying any potential problem down the line and can easily get the parts without worrying that you’re getting the wrong ones.
Are you still scared of tinkering with your pool pump? Don't worry, browse our catalog of pool pump parts and spares and look for your pump model to get familiarized with each part for your pool pump!
Whether you're trying to familiarize yourself with your pool pump or know what specific part you need, you'll find everything that's user replaceable in our shop and if it's not there, give us a holler and we'll source one out for you!