Pool Pump Humming But Not Working: What Should I Do? (2023)

Pool Pump Humming But Not Working: What Should I Do? (1)

The pump is the heart of your pool. This important part creates the pressure that moves your pool water through the filters, chlorinators and all the other components of your pool’s circulation system. Recently you’ve started to worry because your previously crystal clear swimming pool is turning a muddy greenish color and you’re not sure why.

You know the pump is on because you can hear it. Did you make a mistake in your calculations for how long you need to run it? Is it the time of day? The wrong pump? What could be the reason for your pool pump humming but not working?

Unfortunately, several things could be the culprit. Some of the most common reasons are that:

  • You might have a bad capacitor.
  • Debris might be blocking the impeller and consequently disabling the pool pump.
  • There might be problems with the motor shaft.

What do all of these issues mean? Quite simply, your pool pump isn’t actually turning on. In this post, we will review why your pool pump might not be working and how you can fix it.

Pool Pump Humming But Not Working: What Should I Do? (2)

Pool Pump Not Turning On—What Does It Mean?

Before you attempt any of the following possible fixes to your pool pump, you should know that you need to possess basic electrical knowledge to get the job done safely and correctly. If you don’t, please do yourself a favor and bring in a professional to troubleshoot the problem and make needed repairs. Dealing with a broken pump is more dangerous and takes more pool expertise than knowing how to clean pool cartridge filters.

Even if you aren’t going to attempt the repair yourself, you may still want to know why you flipped on the power to your pump and hear humming but no actual signs your pump is working.

(Video) Above Ground Pool Pump Won't Start or is Humming & How to Fix It

Bad Pump Capacitors

Capacitors are the small, black cylinders in your pump that look like batteries. Start capacitors are usually mounted at the back of the motor, while run capacitors are usually on the topside.

In a pool pump’s circuitry, the capacitor stores an electric charge that gets the pump motor running. Start and run capacitors store electric charges that start the motor and keep it running—no big surprise there.

As these parts age, capacitors tend to lose their charge-storing capabilities. Besides that, power surges and overheating can damage a capacitor. A bad start capacitor is incapable of kickstarting the motor, while a bad run capacitor can’t keep it running.

Signs Of A Bad Capacitor

How do you know if your capacitor is faulty? You might notice strange noises, overheating and performance issues.


One of the telltale signs of a bad capacitor is a motor that hums but doesn’t turn on—sound familiar?

A capacitor provides the torque that gets the pump motor up to speed. If you can get the motor to spin by manually pushing on its blades, then it’s very likely that a failed capacitor is the cause of your motor problems.


A bad capacitor may lead to the motor running at a higher amperage than it should. The higher the amps, the higher the wattage. Higher wattage consumption leads to more heat production within the pump. Because of this, pool motors with bad capacitors often overheat. However, most motors automatically shut down if they get too hot.

It is worth noting that overheating can be caused by several other issues as well, including a voltage upsurge, bad windings or an oversized impeller.

(Video) Pool Motor Humming? - EASY FIX!

A Two-Speed Motor Only Working On A Single Speed

A bad capacitor is one of the reasons why a two-speed pump may only run on either low or high speed. Another cause is bad phase winding.

Testing A Pump Capacitor

It’s highly recommended that you hire a professional to test and/or replace your pump capacitor. If you accidentally mess something up during this process, you not only risk damaging the pump, but also hurting yourself.

Pool Pump Humming But Not Working: What Should I Do? (3)

Blocked Pump Impeller

A pool pump may also fail to start up if the impeller is clogged or blocked. This can happen if debris, such as leaves and swimming pool bugs, collect and build up within the pump.

To check the status of the impeller, you should:

  • Switch off power to the pool pump.
  • Unscrew the middle of the pump body and pull out the motor assembly.
  • Pull the gasket away for the disc-shaped impeller.
  • If any debris is found, remove it and clean the impeller until it can spin freely.

Problems With The Motor Shaft

Are you hearing humming briefly when you start your pump and then it shuts off?

If so, it is quite possible that the motor shaft is the issue. This is often an issue people experience when they attempt to open the pool for the first time that season because it’s fairly common for the motor shaft to seize up and suffer from corrosion during the off-season.

How can you tell if it’s the motor shaft that’s causing your problem? Disconnect the power to the pump, access the motor shaft and turn it by hand to loosen up anything that might be holding it in place.

(Video) Pool Pump only Humming (not running)

If seizing was the issue, that should solve the problem.

What are some other pump issues you might find yourself having to navigate?

Pool Pump Humming But Not Working: What Should I Do? (4)

Pool Pump Motor Not Working

If your pool pump starts, but then shuts off on its own moments later, it’s often due to overheating.

One solution? Check to see if something is inhibiting the fan in the bottom vents, like leaves or mulch. You can also switch to running the pump at night when it’s cooler or, alternatively, providing more shade when you run the pump during the day. Finally, the pump might also turn itself off if it’s receiving inadequate power, or if some of its wires are loose or broken.

All in all, a pool pump that shuts itself off is never a good sign, and if you can’t solve the problem on your own, you need to reach out to a good pool pump professional as soon as possible.

No Power To Pool Pump: What To Do

If the pump doesn’t start at all, there’s a high chance it’s not receiving power. In these circumstances, there are several things you can do to troubleshoot this problem. Take the following steps to try to solve the problem on your own?

  • Make sure the pump switch is set to “ON.”
  • Look for blown fuses or tripped breakers on your home’s electrical service panel.
  • Check the electrical connections going into the motor for damage or insect infestations.
  • Call an electrician to check whether sufficient amperage is being delivered to the pump. The current being supplied to the pump may be insufficient.
  • Call your electrical provider to check to see if your home might be experiencing a power drop.
  • Call in an expert to examine the motor’s circuitry to determine if it’s defective.

What If My Pool Pump Doesn’t Pump Water?

If the pump is running but not pumping any water, it’s possible the pump might need to be primed. A pool pump can be primed by following these fairly simple steps:

(Video) Pool Pump Hums but Won't Start

  • Shut off all power to the pump.
  • Cut off the main drain by turning the diverter valve.
  • Turn the air relief valve on the pool filter clockwise to relieve any existing pressure (the pressure reading on the pool filter gauge should be zero).
  • Remove the pump lid.
  • Remove any debris you find in the pump basket.
  • Use a garden hose to fill the pump with water.
  • Replace the pump lid.
  • Turn the diverter valve to open the main drain.
  • Turn on the power to the pump.
  • Check whether water flow is restored to the strainer box at the top of the pump.
  • Wait until there’s water flowing out of the relief valve, then close it.

If the pump fails to catch on after several attempts to prime it, you might be dealing with an air leak in the suction, low levels of water in the pool or an obstruction in the water circulation line. These are things you really don’t want to deal with on your own, because they’re typically complex problems that should be addressed by a professional pool repair technician.

Generally, the technician will:

  • Check the suction and return valves.
  • Check the pump lid and the lid O-ring.
  • Check the drain plugs.
  • Check the pump basket, impeller, shaft seal, diffuser and diffuser gaskets.

What Causes A Slow Pump Flow Rate

Sometimes, the pump might be running, but the resultant flow rates are lower than normal. Some of the things that might lead to such a scenario include:

  • Dirty filters
  • A dirty pump basket
  • A clogged impeller
  • An air-leak

Some of these you may be able to deal with on your own. Others are better suited to a pool services company.

Pool Pump Humming But Not Working: What Should I Do? (5)

Why Is My Pool Pump Squealing?

Ah, here’s one no one likes—especially your neighbors!

Under certain conditions, your pool pump can make loud screeching noises when it’s running. We’ve heard the sound described as “gargling stones” before. Not pleasant.

Pumps typically make such noises when they are starved for water. This may happen because:

(Video) Pool Pump Will Not Start - Humming Noise

  • Too many suction lines are closed. This makes it difficult for the pump to suck in enough water.
  • The skimmers are clogged. Debris may clog the skimmer so much that hardly any water gets through.
  • The pump may be inappropriate for your pool. For example, it might be too powerful, in which case you should downgrade to a pump that matches your pool size and requirements.
  • Worn bearings in the motor shaft can also cause screeching noises when the pump is running. It’s possible to change worn bearings, though it’s far better to simply switch out an old motor with a new one.

As you can see, pool pumps are serious business, and there are countless things that can go wrong—many of which may not be obvious just from you taking a quick look on your own. Moreover, if you make a mistake, it can end up being a costly one—both in time and money.

ABC Can Fix And Maintain Your Pool Components

The list of reasons why your pool might not be working properly is probably as long as the list of tasks you know you should be doing to keep your pool well-maintained—if only you had the time. If something strange seems to be going on with your pump, do yourself a favor and get in touch with the pool pros at ABC Home & Commercial Services. Our experienced pool specialists can help you with any problems you come across. Not only can we help with any repairs that need to be done, but we can also perform regular pool cleanings and give your pool a refreshed look by replastering or renovating it. No matter what your pool needs are, you can rely on ABC to get the job done right.


Why is my pool pump motor humming but not turning? ›

If your pump doesn't turn on and instead makes a humming sound, it could be a problem with your capacitor or a jammed motor. But if it makes a humming sound that continues until your circuit breaker trips, you can be fairly certain it's a flawed capacitor.

Why is my pump humming but not pumping? ›

If your water pump has stopped pumping out water entirely while making this buzzing sound, there's no cause for panic. The humming sound means the pump is working but there's no water to move, so your pump is running dry. If your pump has lost prime, or is running dry, this is due to a loss of water.

Why is my pool pump making a humming noise? ›

This is often due to debris going through a hole in the pump basket, so check and clean out both the skimmer and pump baskets. You can check if the motor is free to turn by inserting a screwdriver through the rear end on the electric motor. There is a slot in the end of the shaft for this purpose.

Why is my pool pump getting power but not working? ›

It could be something blocking it, a dirty pool filter, or too much air in the system. If there's something blocking your pump's suction, check your filter gauge. If it's 10psi above the normal reading, clean your filter. This will reduce pressure and reset your pump's flow.

How do I know if my pool pump impeller is clogged? ›

There are 3 main signs that your impeller may be clogged:
  1. your pool vacuum is moving slow.
  2. your pump pot is low.
  3. your PSI gauge is low.
May 28, 2020

How do I know if my water pump is clogged? ›

Five Signs Your Water Pump Is Failing
  1. Overheating. A dead or dying water pump cannot circulate coolant through your vehicle's engine and, as such, the engine will overheat. ...
  2. Coolant Leaks. Coolant leaks from the water pump are common and a clear sign that it's time to replace the pump. ...
  3. Corroded Water Pump. ...
  4. Whining Noises.
Dec 1, 2020

How do you unclog a pump? ›

One of the most reliable ways to clear a clogged pump is to physically remove the clogging debris by releasing the vacuum, disconnecting the suction tube and letting the water rush back through the suction tube to flush out the debris, however the debris still remains in the water to be pumped.

What causes a water pump to stop pumping water? ›

Your well pump may have stopped working due to a lack of power. Sometimes resetting a breaker or replacing a fuse affected by a power surge or brownout can fix this. If the well pump circuit breaker has tripped, the well pump itself may be failing.

Why does my Hayward pool pump make a humming noise? ›

Humming Motor: If the pump motor makes a humming sound when starting up, you likely have a clogged impeller. To remedy this, simply open up your pump, and clean out any rubbish.

How do you fix a whining pool pump? ›

5 Actionable Techniques to Quiet a Noisy Pool Pump
  1. Adjust the pool pump base. Start by turning on the pool pump and allowing it to run as you observe the base for any vibrations or movements. ...
  2. Clean Clogged Skimmer Baskets. ...
  3. Raise the swimming pool water level. ...
  4. Clean a dirty impeller. ...
  5. Bottom Line.

How do I test my pool pump capacitor? ›

Once your capacitor is off, take your multimeter and set it at the lowest ohm setting and touch the leads to the prongs of the capacitor. If the meter doesn't move or stays at zero, then you have a bad capacitor on your hands.

How do you treat a pool when the pump is not working? ›

Maintaining your Pool with a Broken Pool Pump
  1. Test, Test, and Test your pool water.
  2. Manually Chlorinate your Pool.
  3. Call in some Backup with Algaecide and Phosphate Remover.
  4. Brush your pool, at least twice a day.
  5. Fish out pool debris ASAP.
  6. Put your Robotic Pool Cleaner to work.
  7. Create a Venturi pump fountain.
Dec 10, 2020

Can I shock my pool if my pump is not working? ›

It's not ideal to shock a pool without running a pump, but if you have to, use a pool brush and an automatic robot cleaner to circulate and filter the water as much as possible. Shocking a pool without a pump running can cause cloudiness in the water or damage your pool plaster and equipment.

What is the average life of a pool pump? ›

On average, a pool pump motor can last between 8 and 10 years before it needs to be replaced. If you hear a noise, such as screeching, humming, or even no noise at all, these are warnings that something has to be done. Alternatively, your pool pump should last about 60 months on average.

What ruins a pool pump? ›

Common Causes of Damage to Swimming Pool Pumps
  • Running the Pump without Water. Swimming pool pumps should never operate without water. ...
  • Water level of Pool is to Low. ...
  • A Clogged Skimmer Basket. ...
  • A Cracked Pump Lid. ...
  • Missing Pump O-Ring. ...
  • Other Causes of Damage.
Dec 14, 2015

What does a broken pool pump sound like? ›

Pool pumps sometimes make grinding noises. This can sound like stones rattling inside the pump, or it can sound a little like a coffee grinder grinding beans. Again, this sound can be a sign that your baskets need cleaning out. Grinding sounds are often from a lack of water moving through the pump.

What happens when a pump is blocked? ›

A dead-head is when a centrifugal pump operates with no flow through the pump due to a closed or blocked discharge valve. The pump will recirculate the same water, causing the water temperature to rise. The excessive heat produced can damage expensive seals and significantly reduce the life of your pump.

How do I know if my water pump is circulating? ›

With the engine off, open your hood and locate the water pump pulley. With gloves on, grab it and wiggle it back and forth. There should be no movement, if there is, this along with the noise is a good indication you may have a water pump problem.

Can a pool pump get clogged? ›

If you're having issues with your pool pump, there's a chance your pump impeller has become clogged. This is a common occurrence, especially in the early spring when you're likely to get all kinds of foliage blown into your water.

How much does it cost to replace pool pump? ›

How much does a pool pump cost? According to HomeAdvisor, the cost of a pool pump ranges from $700 to $1,500, with many homeowners spending around $1,100. A single-speed pump can cost as little as $500 to replace, and a higher quality pool pump or one that requires additional plumbing work can cost as much as $5,450.

What are two common reasons for pump failure? ›

The most common is improper lubrication when the incorrect lubricant is used or not enough is applied. Bearings also fail in extreme temperatures. Another cause of failure is bearing overload, e.g., a pump cavitating from lacking the proper flow will increase pressure on the impeller's front.

Why is my Hayward pool pump just humming? ›

Humming Motor: If the pump motor makes a humming sound when starting up, you likely have a clogged impeller. To remedy this, simply open up your pump, and clean out any rubbish.

How do you free a stuck pool pump impeller? ›

By using a strap wrench, pool owners can gently loosen the impeller and make it easier to unthread. Depending on the model of the pump, the shaft may vary. Some pumps provide a slot on the end of the shaft to secure with a screwdriver. Often times, you can access the slot by removing the motor cap.

Should I replace my pool pump or just the motor? ›

Replacing the entire pump can cost twice or even four times as much as replacing the motor. Some pool repairmen might try to talk you into replacing the entire pump, but you'll actually be better off with a simple pool pump motor replacement.

Can you use a pool with a broken pump? ›

You can increase chlorine levels using shock or liquid chlorine but you'll need to stand in for that broken-down pump and manually circulate the water. Stir things up with a pole or paddle to disperse the chlorine throughout the pool.


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