How to Fix a Pool Pump With No Flow - Pool Research (2024)

Think of your pool as a living creature. The water is the blood that constantly flows throughout the entire body, and the pool pump is the heart, keeping the blood constantly circulating.

Without a properly working pool pump, the water in your pool will stagnate, turn green, and become a cesspool for microorganisms. So, if your pool pump is not flowing correctly, you’ll need to fix it as soon as possible.

In this article, I will go over how to fix a pool pump with no flow and walk you through some common causes and fixes for this issue. Let’s dive straight in!

Main Takeaways

  • Maintaining a clean and debris-free pool pump is important—you need to regularly clean the skimmer and pump baskets to ensure proper water flow.
  • Keeping your water at the right level is an important factor in preventing pool pumps with no flow. Keep the water level at the midpoint of the skimmer opening, and add more water to your pool if needed.
  • Address any signs of pump motor failure, leaks, impeller issues, or priming problems to avoid no-flow situations.
  • Don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance if the issue is outside your comfort zone.

How to Fix No Flow in a Pool Pump

If you have identified that your pool pump is not working and there is no water flow, you’ll need to determine the cause of the issue. Here’s a breakdown of potential causes and fixes for a no-flow pool pump.

Blocked Baskets

The most common reason there is no flow in your pool pump is a blocked skimmer or pump basket. Large debris, such as leaves, sticks, trash, or other objects, can fill these baskets and clog the plumbing, preventing the pump from circulating water.

How to Fix a Blocked Basket

To fix a blocked skimmer or pump basket, turn off the pump and empty debris from the skimmer basket and the pump basket. After you empty the baskets, turn the pump back on, and the pool pump should flow normally.

Low Water Level

Insufficient water in the pool, either due to a leak or evaporation, can also be the cause of a pool pump with no flow. If your water level is too low, water may not flow into the skimmer and will not circulate through your pool’s plumbing system. This can be a very risky issue as your pool pump may draw in air and damage or even burn out the motor.

How to Fix Low Water Level

This is an easy fix. Simply turn off the pump, refill the water level to the midpoint of the skimmer opening, and run the pump again.

Dirty Filter

A clogged or dirty pool filter is another common issue that can cause your pool pump to have no flow. If there is a lot of debris built up in your pool filter media (which is where most of your pool gunk collects), your pool pump may have difficulty circulating water properly.

How to Fix a Dirty Filter

If a dirty pool filter is the culprit, you’ll need to use some elbow grease and clean or backwash the pool filter.

If you have a cartridge filter, pull out the cartridge, rinse it off, and soak it in a pool filter cleaner. You should replace the cartridges every 3-5 years.

DE filters require a pretty involved process to clean. You’ll need to backwash, remove the filter grids, rinse and clean them, and replace the DE powder.

Sand filters typically only require backwashing, but will need to be deep cleaned a couple of times a year. You will also want to change the filter sand every 3-5 years.

Pump Impeller

A clogged or obstructed pump impeller can also cause your pool pump to have no flow. This is usually because debris is blocking the impeller and preventing it from running.

How to Fix the Pump Impeller

To fix a clogged pump impeller, turn off the pump and remove the pump housing cover. Use a screwdriver or a coat hanger to remove any debris blocking the impeller. Attempt to spin the pump impeller, a clogged one will be difficult to spin. As you remove the debris blocking it, it should become easier to spin.

Power Supply

Your pool pump runs on electricity, so a power supply issue can also cause it to not flow properly. This can either be because of a power outage, a wiring issue, or a tripped breaker box.

How to Fix the Power Supply

The fix for this issue could be as easy as flipping a switch on your breaker box or as complex as rewiring a part of your home. Check the power supply to the pump, including the circuit breaker, electrical connections, and any relevant switches. If you are unable to get the power back on easily, call an electrician to have a look. I never recommend trying to fix electrical wiring issues yourself unless you have a lot of experience.

Air Leak

Air entering the plumbing system through a gap or a leak can cause your pump to lose its prime. This can cause your pool pump to have no flow. Plus, it’s super hazardous for the entire plumbing system!

How to Fix an Air Leak

To fix this, inspect and tighten all connections, valves, and fittings. Ensure a proper seal between the pump and the pool’s plumbing system. If there are any holes or cracks in the pipes of your plumbing, replace the components. Always call an experienced plumber or pool professional if you are stuck at any point!

Worn Out O-Ring

The O-ring in your pool pump can wear down and cause leaks and malfunctions in your pool pump. Old or damaged O-rings in the pump lid or other components should be replaced. O-rings are a tiny but vital part of pool infrastructure, as a faulty O-ring can trip up your entire pool system.

How to Fix a Worn Out O-Ring

If you notice you have a worn-out O-ring, don’t panic! This is an easy fix. Simply replace the worn or damaged O-ring with a new one that matches the specifications of your pump.

Miscellaneous Plumbing Issues

Blockages or leaks throughout the pool plumbing system can also affect your pool pump’s flow. This can be caused by general wear and tear as small particles may slowly build up in the pipes.

How to Fix Miscellaneous Issues

Inspect the plumbing lines for any clogs or leaks; if you spot any, call a plumber to fix the issue.

If you have gone through these troubleshooting steps and cannot resolve the no-flow issue, feel free to reach out to me. Nine times out of ten, you should be able to fix the issue yourself, but hiring an expert in pool maintenance can be a quick pathway to diagnosing and fixing the problem.

Tips for Maintaining a Pool Pump and Avoiding No Flow

Maintaining your pool pump properly is crucial for avoiding future performance issues, including no flow. Here are my top tips to help you maintain your pool pump effectively.

  • Clean the pool skimmer and pump baskets regularly to prevent debris from clogging the pump and impeding water flow. Remove leaves, twigs, and any other debris that may accumulate.
  • Use a pool skimmer net to remove leaves, insects, and other floating debris from the pool.
  • Ensure there is just enough water in the pool (not too much or too little). The appropriate level is typically halfway up the skimmer opening.
  • Don’t forget to backwash and clean your pool filter regularly.
  • Periodically inspect the impeller for any debris, and clean it if necessary.
  • Regularly inspect all connections, valves, and fittings in the pool plumbing system. Look for any signs of air leaks or loose connections and address them ASAP.
  • Consider scheduling regular maintenance visits from a professional pool technician. They can perform comprehensive checks, identify potential issues, and perform necessary repairs or replacements.
  • Maintain proper water chemistry by regularly testing and balancing the pool’s pH, chlorine, alkalinity, and other chemical levels.
  • In the winter, winterize your pool properly. This includes draining water from the pump and filter system, protecting exposed pipes, and storing equipment.

Other Common Pool Pump Issues

Besides issues with no flow in a pool pump, there are many other pool pump issues you may encounter.

  • Pool pump not turning on: If your pool pump is not turning on at all, this could be an issue with the voltage, the connections, the capacitor, or even the motor.
  • Pool pump turning off after running: If your pool pump is suddenly turning off even though it turns on initially, the voltage or amp may be the issue.
  • Low flow: Low flow in a pool pup may be caused by a small pump, suction leak, faulty pressure gauge, clogged skimmer baskets, or an air leak.
  • Leaking pool pump: The two main causes of a leaky pool pump are a faulty pump lid or a faulty shaft seal.
  • Pool pump making a lot of noise: If your pool pump is making more noise than usual, this could be due to the worn-out bearing in the motor, a clogged pump, or excessive vibration.

Check out my full pool pump troubleshooting guide for issues, causes, and fixes for all thing pool pump-related.

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Make Sure Your Pool Water is Circulating Effectively

All in all, maintaining a well-functioning pool pump is essential for a properly functioning pool. By avoiding common mistakes and following regular maintenance practices such as cleaning baskets, maintaining proper water levels, cleaning the filter, and inspecting the impeller, you can minimize the risk of encountering a pool pump with no flow.

If you are still experiencing circulation issues with your pool pump and want an expert’s opinion, feel free to contact me. I am happy to help! In extreme cases, you may need to replace the entire pump. If that’s the case for you, check out my research on the best variable speed pool pumps.

How to Fix a Pool Pump With No Flow - Pool Research (2024)


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