Pump Motor Overheating & Shutting Off


New member
Apr 6, 2021
MidSouth USA
Hi, I’m in the middle of an ordeal.
It is now just an overheating pump, but I am including everything I’ve gone through and figured out this last month.

I did all this below. Any help or advice is greatly appreciated.
This all takes place over 1 month.

[1] It started with a clogged valve – the one that goes to the Skimmer box.
I did open up the valve and pulled out the clog.
I unscrewed the little tab knob on the valve handle and then unscrewed the valve front and cleared out the clog.

THEN> I ran the pump and there is still very high pressure.
I opened the other valve for the drain and did the same thing. There was no clog in that valve to clear.
I can run the pump now, but the high pressure I thought was caused by the skimmer valve clog is still there. I don't know if something is blocked on the back end of the filter.
I backwashed (maybe not long enough, a couple minutes).
I ran the WASTE setting for a couple minutes.
My pressure gauge is shot (always shows 0), but the skimmer is pulling really hard -- almost took my thumb down there.
I can tell the pressure is high because I can see the water full-full-full in the pump basket through the lid.
And the skimmer pull is super hard.
Also, when I take the pump basket lid off, which is hard to unscrew because of the pressure -- when it is off I can hear the water toward the filter sloshing around equalizing the pressure. The pressure in the pump basket does not get relieved by just shutting off the pump like it would normally. The pressure is relieved only by opening the lid.
Seems like something must be blocking the back end.

I RAN it on recirculate to see if it makes a difference!
It did a little.
THE sand in the filter I just replaced about 5 months ago.
I used Zeolite, and used 150 lbs on a filter that calls for 300 lbs of ‘regular’ sand.
The pump has run for months after that seemingly okay.
The pump/motor is about 4 years old.

Here is where I got really confused…
Today it definitely ran poorly on both ReCirc and Filter.
Pressure was high and the motor was getting real hot -- too hot to touch. I Will say it ran 'better' on ReCirc than on Filter -- meaning it took longer to overheat the motor. Maybe 20 minutes on ReCirc, while on Filter it went a lot faster, maybe 8 mins.
Yesterday at one point -- I think I'd had the pump basket cover off just before, so the pressure was not high -- I then ran the ReCirc and it seemed okay. It was only five minutes running though. But, when I shut it off, it seemed more normal -- the pressure was down (level in the pump basket went right down).

**So... if it is the sand, is there anything I can try before opening up the Hayward Filter? I did backwash about 5 mins today. And if it is not the sand what else could it be? Blockage between the pump and the Hayward? Blockage in the pump? The pump does pull. Water comes out the pool jets on ReCirc and on Filter.

At this point, I got it figured as well as I could.
From a cold start, the pump overheats after 12 minutes on FILTER. From a cold start, the pump overheats after 45 minutes on ReCirculate.
So I think I had to open it up to look at the sand.
I was still hopeful to get it straight without a house call from the pros.
I tested both REcirc and Filter again from cold start, low pressure -- to achieve low pressure I opened the pump basket lid. After each test the pressure holds strong -- the only way I have to alleviate it is to open the pump lid.

I opened the filter took out about 8-10 20 oz. cups of sand.
It did seem a little more full than previous but not up into the tapered part. I’d say it was about 40% full of the sand. Seemed more like only a third full previously.
Again, I changed the sand about 6 months ago.
It is definitely not (just) clogged sand causing the problem.
The Pump has been off the whole time except for when I have been testing things.

I got a new pressure gauge on it and ran it for 45 mins on filter. It overheats -- boils water dripped on motor instantly and you can smell that "somethin' ain't right."
The pressure gauge on the Hayward filter never goes over 10 psi at the filter, but I can tell the pressure in the pump is higher because of the way the pressure in the pump basket holds – And something is messed up causing the motor to overheat – maybe it’s just a problem in the motor with something damaged in there from high heat?

Water flows everywhere I can think it should when it is ON-- out the jets, down the drain, down the skimmer.
pump / motor combo is about 4 yrs old I think.
I don't think the impellor is clogged, but something is wrong
I was gonna pull more sand out or check laterals for clog, but now I think sand and filter are okay and problem is clog on the 'push side' of the pump.

FWIW, I ran the pump with the pump basket lid off to see what that did. On here (Pump Motor Overheating and Shutting Off) it said to check out the pump’s operation with pump basket lid off – see if it still messes up – “If so, there is an obstruction somewhere in the wet end. If it doesn't shut down, then you may need a larger motor”
-->I ran it about a minute and, “it ran” is all I can say. I got nervous letting it just run dry. It never pulled any water obviously. One interesting thing is that when I turned it off, a couple or three quarts ran bank into the pump filter basket area from the pump, maybe telling that it’s clogged up there, or maybe just normal for a dry run.

Thanks for any ideas or advice.



TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
Pleasanton, CA
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
Welcome to the forum!

When posting an issue, you should start a new thread.

Usually, when a pump starts to run hot, it is due to an excess load imparted not by the pool plumbing but by the pump or motor. So for example, something broke in the wet end and is causing friction. Or the motor bearings are going bad.

Is the pump motor unusually loud?

Without a working pressure gauge, how do you know there is high pressure? A plumbing system with high pressure, usually results in a low load on the motor so that would not be a cause of thermal issues.

However, if the flow rate is too high, it can lead to thermal issues in the motor. But that would only occur if there was very little head loss in the pump which is not likely in standard pool plumbing.