My main pump motor finally fried. Literally, it was a mini 4th of July - sparks and smoke out the back side. The casing is rusted pretty bad and the pump is of an unknown vintage, make and model. I have limited time to research pumps so I would greatly appreciate some guidance. In addition to replacing the pump I am going to re-plumb the system to correct the 4 or 5 leaks I know of. The current pump is a 1.5hp 1.3 SF A.O. Smith motor. The pool is 25000 gallon IG plaster with a spa. There are 4 return jets in the main side of the pool and 5 in the spa, 1 skimmer and 1 main drain on the main side and 2 floor drains on the spa side. I have always felt the returns were weak but I'm not sure what they should feel like. The flow from 3 of the 4 main jets is a gentle flow. I do not use the spa as a spa (health reasons) and the heater doesn't work anyway. I am strongly considering removing the heater from the circuit.
Question 1. Can someone point me in the right direction, recommendations etc.? I have read the pool school pump basics and whatever post I could find that relate but not sure on brand/model to start with.
Question 2. Would a bigger pump give better flow or is the weak flow likely from the leaks and a tired pump?
Question 3. Is removing the heater from the circuit a dumb move?
Question 4. Any recommendations on the plumbing? I would like to keep it as clean and simple as possible. I will probably have to repair /replace the vari-flow valve since it's leaking also. Is the P trap needed with/without the heater.
Here's a couple of pics of the setup, I can provisde more info if needed.