Pool cleaners, otherwise known as pool pumps, or pool vacuums are essential for keeping your pool clean and free from germs. Pool cleaners create a flow of water, carrying water to the pool’s filter to remove debris, and to the heater to warm the water. They also circulate the chemicals we use to sanitise the water, preventing algae and bacteria growth.
An effective pool pump allows you to enjoy your pool safely. However, like anything, pool cleaners can develop faults and stop working. Here are some tell-tale signs that your pool cleaner isn’t working properly.
Dirty Pool Water
One of the most obvious indicators that your pool cleaner isn’t working, is dirty pool water. Your pool water might change shade – perhaps from a blue to a green or yellow tinge or become foggy or cloudy.
Unbalanced chlorine levels and chloramine can be responsible for cloudy water that smells strongly of chlorine. You may think this means your water is too clean but actually, the reverse is true. Chloramine stops chlorine from doing its job so if your water changes colour this could be an indicator that your pool might contain harmful bacteria, algae and ammonia. You should use pool chlorine tablets to rebalance or ‘shock’ your pool before using it.
Another clear sign you have a problem is if your pool pump is leaking. You may notice that your pump is struggling to move water or that nothing is happening, despite the fact the power is on. Your pool water might be cloudy, and depending on the source of the leak you might also notice water dripping or spraying at the pipe connection or a puddle beneath the pump itself.
Some pool pump leaks can be tackled with a DIY approach, such as cleaning, lubricating and replacing old or worn parts but other more serious leaks will require the services of a professional.
Unusual noises are a sign that all is not well with your pool cleaner. A vibrating or louder-than-usual hum could just be a case of the pump having been moved and that something has come loose or is not sitting level, which is easily remedied. Other unusual noises can be indicators of an underlying problem.
If your pool cleaner makes a grinding noise, that sounds like stones are rattling around inside it (or a coffee grinder sound) then it could indicate that your baskets need cleaning out. A high-pitched whine or screeching noise suggests something is caught inside the pump or that the bearings have worn down and need replacing.
The Pressure Gauge
Your pool’s pressure gauge can alert you to potential problems with your pool cleaner. Most pool filters operate in the range of 5-15 or 10-21 psi. If your pressure gauge is reading low, this suggests something is blocking or restricting the flow of water into your pool’s pump, such as a clogged pump basket, for example. If your pool’s pressure gauge is showing a higher than normal reading, there is likely to be an issue after the pump and you should act immediately and shut off the pump to prevent a possible rupture.
A Note on Water Cleaners
The average pool cleaner can last around 8-12 years before it will need replacing. However, there are factors which will affect the longevity of your pool pump. These include:
● Pump size – a pool cleaner that is too small for the pool size will need to work harder so will wear out quicker
● Pump type – single-speed pumps are cheaper but wear down faster than variable-speed pumps.
● Maintenance – how well you look after your pool cleaner will determine how long it lasts, for example, if you’re quick to tend to repairs and replace small components as needed then you can prevent larger problems from developing.