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Thread: Pool pump not starting after filter clog

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Pool pump not starting after filter clog

    I've run into a wall and am deep in stressing/troubleshooting an issue, I'm sure tis has been gone over many times, but perhaps others can learn from this too, so I'll share.

    Last weekend I had to give my filter a cleaning, it was definitely overdue and I could see the pressure built up. When I opened it up I could see how badly it needed it;

    Untitled by brad isdrab, on Flickr

    I hadn't done it myself before but watched a couple tutorials and it didn't seem hard. I rushed through it, spraying the grids down inside the filter as one tutorial mentioned rather than pulling them out to avoid wear and breakage. I'm definitely kicking myself for that now, strike one. But I sprayed it off really well, got it looking nice and clean.

    Untitled by brad isdrab, on Flickr

    I managed to get the old DE off the grids and sprayed/scooped the dirty water out of the bottom as best I could. I really wish I'd known about the bottom drain plug at the time! Strike 2. At this point you're all laughing or cringing at my foolishness and obvious mistakes.

    Feeling pretty good about it, I closed it back up and turned it on. I fussed with the backwash/waste setting of the valve a bit, I backwashed a little and and eventually but it back to filter and started it running. The pressure looked good again, and everything seemed to be running well... except one thing.

    There was a cloud of dirty DE in the pool. My mistake, I must have made some drain back into the pool while trying to backwash. Thats fine, no worries, I thought, I'll just sweep and run the filter a bit longer the next couple days to clean that back up. I got out my scoop, went over to the skimmer and loaded it up. The new DE fed in and everything seemed to be going well.

    Over the course of the next day the I gave the pool a few more sweeps and kept the filter running, it was looking much better, and the pressure didn't seem to be rising either.

    The next morning I went out and gave it another sweep, it looked almost back to normal/clean, I went to turn on the pump, slight hum, then nothing.... ACK! I went through all the possibilities, started worrying about a burnt out motor and the cost of replacing it.

    Untitled by brad isdrab, on Flickr

    I started troubleshooting it; Breakers, seem fine, not tripped. I reset them for good measure, and checked the booster pump; still working. I checked the impeller, spins freely nothing jamming it. That would have been too easy.

    More thinking, brainstorming. I started thinking/hoping that maybe the pump was creating suction but was blocked in the filter and shutting itself off.

    I read learn more about cleaning filters, and take it apart again, this time removing the grids and spraying them off separately, I also took out the drain cap from the bottom and found a layer of DE-muck about 3 inches thick. It completely covered the lower pipe inside the filter and reached nearly to the grids. Seems like that first 'cleaning' washed the old stuff into the bottom and refilling the DE gave me more than I needed

    I cleaned all that out, reassembled the filter and tried it again. Still nothing. *sigh* Wait, not quite nothing, but maybe I am grasping for clues. I would never have seen it if I weren't doing this after work and late and in the dark. There seemed to be a little flash behind/inside the interval clock of the switch. Not big or bright, and maybe nothing, or a surge from flipping the switch, maybe a short?

    The only other common problem I have heard about is bad capacitors in the pump motor. I pulled the capacitor the other night and tried to test it, at first it seemed like I was getting a reading of 0.01, thinking that a faulty cap must be the problem, I took a pic to track down a replacement, but before I put it back in I went to test it a second time and didn't get the same results. So now I'm thinking I need to re-test it in the daylight.

    by brad isdrab, on Flickr

    Swapping in a new Cap would be the easiest, and cheapest option, it looks like I could get one on amazon for under $20, so I'll cross my fingers for that if I can get a bad reading off it. But I figured I should share my story with you all and see if anyone had any expereince or ideas for me to try...

    17000 gal IG, plaster/cement; SGM Diamond Brite(Onxy) Hayward DE, Pentair pump, 1965 Anthony pool, spring diving board, slide...

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Agent99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    San Jose, CA

    Re: Pool pump not starting after filter clog

    If the pump starts, hums, but doesn't turn, then odds are decent it is a bad capacitor.

    Testing a cap assuming you don't have a cap meter: How to Check a Capacitor with Digital Multi Meter (4 Methods)
    25k IG/Spa Figure 8, 18x36, Pebble Sheen Blue Granite, Sta-Rite S8M150 Cartridge Filter, Pentair 460805 400k BTU Heater & 011018 IntelliFlo VarSpd
    Liquidator, Fafco Solar Heat, Polaris PB460 Booster Pump w/280 cleaner, Katchaleaf Cover, TF100 Test Kit, FAKE MAIN DRAIN

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Re: Pool pump not starting after filter clog

    Thanks for the tip!

    I ended up not needing to replace the cap afterall. After swapping a new one in with no change I did some more troubleshooting and noticed that with the breaker on for the booster pump there was a faint ticking and I could see the timer clicking along, but with the other breaker on there was nothing.

    I replaced the intermatic timer and its working once again! I guess the motor in the timer had shorted out, so no power was getting through the switch. I'm SO GLAD it wasn't a burnt out pump!
    17000 gal IG, plaster/cement; SGM Diamond Brite(Onxy) Hayward DE, Pentair pump, 1965 Anthony pool, spring diving board, slide...

  4. Back To Top    #4

    In the Industry

    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Wildomar, California

    Re: Pool pump not starting after filter clog

    Hooray for you! You probably know that your pump and filter issues were not related. It's strange how that works.

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