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Thread: My pump runs for probably hours, then trips the breaker

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    My pump runs for probably hours, then trips the breaker

    Hello, my pump is only maybe 2 years old, and it's been fine until recently. Here's the chain of events.

    A few months ago, I removed a pool mesh fence I've had for years, because we don't need it anymore. An unforeseen consequence is that more debris blows into the pool now.

    I have been neglecting changing out the basket filter next to the pump more than I should have. With the increased debris, this neglect was as more serious matter than usual. One day I noticed the water pressure coming out of the jets was remarkably low. At first I thought: I need to backwash. I did so, and even during the backwashing the pressure was low.

    My next thought was: the sand in my sand filter is 5 years old, so I'm due to change it out. I figured it was old sand. My local pool store (Leslie's Pool Supply) agreed, and said the sand was definitely the problem. So they sold me 300 pounds of sand, and I changed out my sand (doing the work myself).

    Then I go to open the lid over the basket filter to prime the pump (since opening up the sand filter drained a lot of water out), and behold: I see what was really causing my water pressure problem: The basket filter was densely filled with a thick layer of debris. It was so thick that pressure had built up inside it, and put a big crack down the whole length of that basket filter.

    So I went and bought myself a new $15 basket filter, installed it, and noticed the pump won't spin at all. So I got out my wrench and disengaged the motor from the housing holding the basket filter, and got a look at the impeller. Stuffed in the hub was lots of leaves and other debris that must have entered through the breach in my basket filter. So I cleaned that out, and the pump worked fine.

    The next day I noticed the breaker was tripped. When I reset it, and started it up, I saw a leak from my sand filter, spilling on top of my booster pump. So my guess was that the water maybe was shorting a circuit. After getting bad advice from Leslie's Pool Supply as to what was causing the leak, I figured out with the help of a different store (Warehouse Pool Supply) that it was a bad O-ring in the top of my sand filter. So I replaced that, and started up the pump. No leaking at all now... the O-ring was doing it's job perfectly.

    The next day, I noticed the breaker was tripped. So I guess it's not a water leak causing this problem. So I disengaged the moter again, and this time I sprayed a hard spray of water from my garden hose to make sure I got all the debris out. I found just a small bit to remove, and then it looked to me spic and span clean, and the motor worked fine again.

    But it still trips the breaker. I'm not sure how long it runs, but it must be hours long before it trips the breaker. The only idea I can think of is, maybe I should remove the impeller from the shaft and see if maybe there's debris behind the impeller? That space back there is so cramped, I just wonder if that's even my problem, or if debris can get back there.

    I just keep thinking debris, because this all started happening when my basket filter broke, and debris got in the impeller, so it makes me think there's a connection with that. Does anybody have any other ideas of things I should check for?
    18 foot diameter, 52" tall above ground Cornelius pool, with vinyl liner, and resin wall caps.
    Roughly 7600 gallons
    Blue Wave "Sandman" Sand filter/pump, model NE6150. Pump is 1 HP
    Intex SWG, model # 54601E

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    Re: My pump runs for probably hours, then trips the breaker

    My guess is it's either still got debris somewhere, or it's been run so hard that it needs service... maybe causing it to pull too much power and tripping your breaker.

    Another possibility... with all your recent work around the equipment is there any chance your plug in or receptical got wet... that can cause them to trip too.

    That would be my starting point to look at.
    Indiana, ABG 24'x52" Galveston by Blue Cascade (Craigslist buy w/part of deck included), 13,500 gallons, Intex SWG, solar panels mix 2, TF-100 test kit.

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    guamguy's Avatar
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    Re: My pump runs for probably hours, then trips the breaker

    How old is the breaker? Sometimes they get weak and trip at random. Just another thing to look at, and it's a cheap fix, too.
    12,800 gallon IG plaster kidney-shaped pool, waterslide, 800 gallon spa.
    1HP 2 speed Sta-Rite pool pump, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite spa jet pump. 2 skimmers, 1 main drain
    Purex-Triton TR-60 325 lb.sand filter. 2" Plumbing, Intex SWCG, TF-100 test kit.
    Link to pics of my pool! http://www.troublefreepool.com/my-oasis-t26558.html

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    Lershac's Avatar
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    Re: My pump runs for probably hours, then trips the breaker

    Just swap the breaker. It's a $10 5minute troubleshooting step before you start looking at expensive motor/pump
    (DIY):16K Gal 20X30 rectangular IG Gunite, w/spa, CCP 520 filter,2 Pentair VS pumps, 400KBTU Pentair gas heater, Heat Pump for cooling, **update5.25.2013** added an intellichem with acid pump that will control existing SWG. My Build Thread Here

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    Re: My pump runs for probably hours, then trips the breaker

    Well all this started happening when the debris got in there, so my common sense suggests there's a connection there.

    I thought I'd disconnect the impeller to see if I could see something behind there, so I tried but had trouble getting a tight enough grip on the shaft, so I figured I'd disconnect the wires so that I could get the moter completely disengaged from the house wall so I could get a better grip. Once I had it disengaged, I still had trouble getting the impeller off, so I figured that since I had the motor completely freed from its connection anyhow, why not get a free troubleshooting diagnosis at my local Warehouse Pool Supply store? (They offer free labor, and free estimates, but charge for parts if I want them to do the work).

    It's there now (took it in yesterday/Saturday), they promise a diagnosis by Tuesday. He did say when he looked at it, that first off, he thought the markings on the hub of the impeller were strange to him, as if something was rubbing. Well of course, that's where the debris got in. There's a sort of white plastic collar that fits over that hub, and we was wondering if the white plastic was rubbing on it. I think he's suggesting that if the impeller is damaged, and the hub is not perfectly round, that it could cause rubbing against the white collar, and I'd think friction could contribute to the circuite breaker tripping.

    Well that would be great if all I need is a new impeller. But I think he was unsure of himself when he made the comment, and at this point, really don't know what's wrong. There's still the chance he's going to tell me I need a whole new motor. I hope that doesn't happen. It's a shame too, because my house is for sale, and I wouldn't even get to enjoy the new motor for very long.

    (I do totally intend my next house to have a pool though. Pools are just too good not to have one.)
    18 foot diameter, 52" tall above ground Cornelius pool, with vinyl liner, and resin wall caps.
    Roughly 7600 gallons
    Blue Wave "Sandman" Sand filter/pump, model NE6150. Pump is 1 HP
    Intex SWG, model # 54601E

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    Re: My pump runs for probably hours, then trips the breaker

    Fixit tip: At the back end of the motor there is a cover you can pry off to access the end of the motor shaft. It has flats machined into it so that you can put a wrench on it to hold it still while you remove the impeller.
    26,000 Gallon Gunnite IGP
    2 HP Challenger High Head Pump
    60sf Nautilus DE filter
    Polaris 280

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    Re: My pump runs for probably hours, then trips the breaker

    Well they looked at my motor and told me a bunch of parts had damage from the debris, adding up to $125 of parts. I wound up trusting their judgement, and let them replace the damaged parts. They said they couldn't reproduce the symptom of the breaker tripping, because they only ran the pump for 10 minutes. I assume they couldn't run it for an hour, since they don't have the set up to have water flowing through the impeller, and they furthermore don't have an ampmeter.

    So they advised me that it's still possible the motor itself is damaged, or the circuit breaker is damaged. I guess I should have listen to you guys in this thread when you suggested I change out the circuit breaker. Oh well, probably no loss, because what I wound up doing is let them put the new parts on my old motor, and I taught myself how to change the circuit breaker (I've never done that before), and I bought a new $12 breaker from Lowes. Plus Lowes had mailed me a $10 coupon that was about to expire, so the breaker really just cost me $2.

    Tonight I reinstalled the old moter with the new parts attached, and the new breaker as well. As I speak it's still working/running. If it does wind up tripping the new breaker, I may take in the moter back to the store, and they say they will move all the parts at no charge to me to a new motor (of course I'd have to pay for the new motor, which would be $250, unfortunately). The only exception is they say that when you switch motors, you're not supposed to reuse the seal (the seal that separates the water area from the dry area, so I'd have to pay for a new seal.

    Well, I think it's been a little over an hour, so if I'm lucky, the old motor will work, and I won't need a new one, but at this point, I don't really know what's going to happen.
    18 foot diameter, 52" tall above ground Cornelius pool, with vinyl liner, and resin wall caps.
    Roughly 7600 gallons
    Blue Wave "Sandman" Sand filter/pump, model NE6150. Pump is 1 HP
    Intex SWG, model # 54601E

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: My pump runs for probably hours, then trips the breaker

    My suspicion is that it'll work fine, but I'd be bugged to death not knowing whether it was the motor or the breaker. I'm just that way.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    cubbybeave08's Avatar
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    Re: My pump runs for probably hours, then trips the breaker

    Zindar,
    On the back side of the pump are vents which allow the motor to vent heat out of the back. Two years about mine were clogged with debris mostly spiderwebs and dust. I had same issue in that it was not venting motor would over heat and trip circuit breaker. I cleaned that out and got good air flow again and it has been fine ever since.

    I am sure that when the guys worked on it they cleaned those vents...but make sure they did.
    Beave
    Aqua Leader 24ft Round AG Wil-Bar Influence w/54 inch walls 13,500 gallons
    Swimline J-Blue Opal Liner, 1 4X20 Fafco Solar Bear Solar Heater
    Hayward 2 HP Swim Pro Voyager Pump Micro 150 with 4 way timer
    Swim Pro Voyager Filtration System with Hayward ABS Pearl wide mouth skimmer

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    Re: My pump runs for probably hours, then trips the breaker

    Here's a slightly confusing update. I rehooked up the motor that now has some replaced pump parts, and my new circuit breaker is in there. I turned it on, and it ran fine. It was late evening when I hooked it up, so I late it run overnight (even though I normally run it in the day time). The next night when it tried to turn on again (I wasn't home), the circuit breaker tripped right at the beginning of it's schedule. I got home within an hour or two of that happening, so I reset the breaker, and the motor wouldn't spin at all... it just hummed. I turned off the motor and stood there thinking and wondering what could cause that. I decided to switch it on again, and again the humming, so I let it hum for a good 5 seconds or so, and then it suddenly started spinning, and then it ran fine, no problems.

    The next two nights it ran fine with no tripping of the breaker. I think last night was the 3rd night, and as of then it was running fine. I'm about to go out and check this morning to see if it ran successfully the whole night.

    So definitely an improvement... it doesn't trip every hour like it did, but it trip that one time. I wonder what that humming was. It reminds me of some electric fans I've seen where if you position the spinning blade just right, the magnetic fields have trouble turning it, because it's pulling it straight towards the hub instead of along the edge, and if you just slightly tap the fan blade with your finger to move it past that vulnerable spot in the magnetic field, the fan starts spinning. It almost seems like that was going on with my pump motor. But in the 15 years or so I've been a pool owner, this is the first time I've seen this behavior in a pool pump moter.

    I guess if this only happens once per blue moon, I can live with that, though even that would be more often than I'm accustomed to.
    18 foot diameter, 52" tall above ground Cornelius pool, with vinyl liner, and resin wall caps.
    Roughly 7600 gallons
    Blue Wave "Sandman" Sand filter/pump, model NE6150. Pump is 1 HP
    Intex SWG, model # 54601E

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: My pump runs for probably hours, then trips the breaker

    It could have been that the centrifugal switch didn't make and that would have caused it not to start and to trip the breaker.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    cubbybeave08's Avatar
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    Re: My pump runs for probably hours, then trips the breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    It could have been that the centrifugal switch didn't make and that would have caused it not to start and to trip the breaker.
    I agree with you Bama...it sounds like the Centrifugal switch to me too!
    Beave
    Aqua Leader 24ft Round AG Wil-Bar Influence w/54 inch walls 13,500 gallons
    Swimline J-Blue Opal Liner, 1 4X20 Fafco Solar Bear Solar Heater
    Hayward 2 HP Swim Pro Voyager Pump Micro 150 with 4 way timer
    Swim Pro Voyager Filtration System with Hayward ABS Pearl wide mouth skimmer

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    Re: My pump runs for probably hours, then trips the breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    It could have been that the centrifugal switch didn't make and that would have caused it not to start and to trip the breaker.
    didn't make what? Also, could somebody explain what a centrifugal switch is, and what it does? By the way, as of now, the motor still seems to work fine, except for that one humming episode I described.
    18 foot diameter, 52" tall above ground Cornelius pool, with vinyl liner, and resin wall caps.
    Roughly 7600 gallons
    Blue Wave "Sandman" Sand filter/pump, model NE6150. Pump is 1 HP
    Intex SWG, model # 54601E

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: My pump runs for probably hours, then trips the breaker

    There's a switch at the back of the motor. When the motor is stopped the contacts on the switch are made. This puts the starting capacitor/windings in the circuit so the motor will start. Once the motor has started spinning the start circuit isn't needed anymore, in fact it'll burn up if left in the circuit, so once spinning at a fast enough speed the swtich opens the contacts, taking the starting circuit out of the loop.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    cubbybeave08's Avatar
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    Re: My pump runs for probably hours, then trips the breaker

    Bama,
    I wonder if that is what happened the first time on start up...The CF switch didn't open up and in order to keep it from burning up the circuit breaker tripped...or it got too hot and tripped the circuit breaker. Then when he played with it he got the CF switch repositioned. THat is exactly what happened to mine last summer.

    I bet it works fine the rest of the summer!
    Beave
    Aqua Leader 24ft Round AG Wil-Bar Influence w/54 inch walls 13,500 gallons
    Swimline J-Blue Opal Liner, 1 4X20 Fafco Solar Bear Solar Heater
    Hayward 2 HP Swim Pro Voyager Pump Micro 150 with 4 way timer
    Swim Pro Voyager Filtration System with Hayward ABS Pearl wide mouth skimmer

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: My pump runs for probably hours, then trips the breaker

    It could be.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    My pump runs for probably hours, then trips the breaker

    Oh by the way, it did indeed work the rest of the summer. Then my house sold in August, and I hear the family that moved there has 4 young children, and that they are enjoying my old pool.
    18 foot diameter, 52" tall above ground Cornelius pool, with vinyl liner, and resin wall caps.
    Roughly 7600 gallons
    Blue Wave "Sandman" Sand filter/pump, model NE6150. Pump is 1 HP
    Intex SWG, model # 54601E

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