I’ll take…Pool Pump Motors for $600.00 (give-or-take)
The answer is, “That part of my pool system that gives me headaches!”
“What is the filter pump motor?”
Yes, in the heat of the summer and cold of the winter, no swimming pool component takes as much of a beating as your filter pump. The driving force within the pump is the motor, using electrical energy to draw water from the pool and send it back. It works more frequently and for longer hours than anything else related to your pool; exposed to the elements and bearing such responsibility – it makes sense that it would be most prone to failure.
How long should a standard pump motor last?
Manufacturers typically allow a one-year warranty period for motors, so the easy answer is…at least one year. Beyond that, it is impossible to quantify how long motors can perform. If a leak develops, if the equipment gets full sun or the brunt of rainstorms, or if the pump runs dry for extended periods of time, the lifespan of a motor is greatly shortened. On average (and this is not scientific), we observe motors lasting 3-5 years. Lately, single-speed motors (standard) are lasting for even shorter periods of time.
What are indicators a motor is failing?
In cooler weather, especially during the fall when the first cold snap hits, you will hear a loud, high-pitched squeal. This usually means the bearings are failing, and full motor failure is not far off. Lately, we have discovered a droning noise (whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa), especially on late-model, standard motors, indicating the fast-approaching need to replace the motor. A failed motor often trips the breaker (although other electrical issues can do this as well). Humming followed by silence, followed by more humming in a repeated cycle is the result of a thermal cut-off switch opening, which could require a new capacitor or a new motor. Of course, if the motor shaft isn’t spinning but has adequate power, it’s done.
When should I consider a new pump instead of just replacing the motor?
The answer depends on the age, horsepower, brand, and condition of your pump. The plastic wet-end of the pump can get warped or degraded by heat, cracked because of a freeze, or have internal components that can break and even cause the motor failure. Many pump models are obsolete, so their replacement parts are much more expensive than readily available pumps. For lower horsepower pumps (.75HP – 1.5HP) that are sized correctly for pool size/function, we often recommend replacing just the motor if the rest of the pump is in good shape. For higher-horsepower motors that fail, and for general pump damage, we recommend replacing the entire pump with a variable speed pump.
Why variable speed pumps?
So, after diagnosis and determining it isn’t worth hanging onto your existing pump, how should you proceed? A new single-speed pump may be 2/3 the cost of one of those new-fangled variable speed pumps, and do you really need that kind of technology just for your pool filter pump? Maybe. If you have a low-horsepower pump that runs only 6-8 hours per day and circulates water in a relatively small pool, we concede that it makes some sense to replace it with a single-speed pump of the same size. Front-end cost is a big factor in choosing a replacement pump. And compared to a 1HP pump, a variable speed pump will not save you enough money to take a trip to Aruba after one year. However, there are several factors to consider before you decide; and if you have a 2HP or larger pump, it’s a no-brainer.
- Specialized motors: these pumps are designed to be much quieter and more reliable; in some cases, they have alarm settings that prevent them from running if the pump has lost prime (air in the system that prevents water movement)
- Energy efficiency: these pumps can save at least 30% in energy costs if properly set; compared to a 2HP – 3HP pump, the annual energy savings can hover close to $1,000.00
- Avoid the headaches: we are seeing shorter and shorter lifespans for single-speed (standard) motors, so a replacement motor gets you no energy savings and a chance to replace it again soon after the warranty expires. Plus, they’re just so loud!
Who can help?
We enjoy taking calls on this (and any) pool-related subject, because we get to hear your concerns and offer solutions. There is no cookie-cutter solution for every filter pump motor scenario, so our technicians listen and observe in order to recommend what is best for you. Sometimes it’s a capacitor, sometimes a new pump, but every time it’s Select Pool Services’ aim to fix your problem and bring satisfaction. Don’t allow the motor to fail if you see the signs; green pools are ugly even in the winter. Feel free to call us at your convenience to discuss the topic or schedule a visit: 214-755-7665.