Pool Pump Longevity
The biggest choice that you can make to help get the longest life possible from your pool pump is to choose the pump that best suits the needs of your filtration system. Common problems are pumps that are too small, pumps that are too large for the filter their are paired with, using the incorrect fittings or incorrect pipe size for your equipment.
Most pool owners have no idea how to size pool equipment such as the pump and filter and that is because most swimming pool professionals also do not know. What most pool professionals know is that a 1 HP Hayward super pump works on a small pool and a 1.5 HP hayward super pump works on a big pool. This, while fairly forgiving, is simply not how equipment is supposd to be sized.
Pool pumps and filters are sized based on the total volume of water that the pool holds and the understanding that at a minimum the volume of pool water must pass through the filter three times every 24 hours. From this you can calculate how to size your pump and filter correctly. Once you do these calculations you will see that most swimming pool pumps are far oversized for what the pool needs which amounts to paying extra for electricity that you do not need.
Another common problem is to see above ground pool pumps installed on inground pools. While it is possible to have an above ground 1 horsepower pump and an inground 1 horsepower pump which sound similar, in fact they are quite different and made for different applications.
Pool Pump Installation
One of the most important factors in how long a pool pump will last will be the quality of the installation. It is extremely common for people to negatively impact the operation of the pump by putting restrictions in the system where they can cause the pump to work much harder than it should.
When extra restrictions are put on the pump this means the pump draws more power in order to run and creates extra heat as a result. This extra heat over the life of the pump can lead to early or earlier failure of critical components such as the impeller, seals, bearings, motor and wiring.
High Quality & Low Cost Pumps
One of the most important factors to consider when looking to buy a new pool pump is the expected longevity of the pump. Of the more popular brand names for pool pumps are Intex, Hayward, Jandy, Pentair and Sta-rite. The lower end pumps are the Intex and Hayward brands with Hayward being vastly superior to Intex. Pentair, Sta-rite and Jandy pool pumps are superior in quality however they are also more expensive than the lower end models.
Every pool professional has their own opinions about which brands create the best products and which have the greatest value and I am no different. When considering which is the best pump in terms of longevity you need to consider upfront cost, percentage of failure under warranty, warranty claims support, availability of replacement parts and components and finally access to knowledgable professionals who are familiar with a particular pump. There is more to consider than simply which pump will run the longest striaght out of the box.
In Canada the leading pool pump manufacturers by volume are Hayward, Pentair and Jandy, in that order of popularity. In the USA the order of popularity is Jandy, Pentair, Hayward. In terms of warranty claims Pentair has the lowest total warranty claims followed by Hayward and Jandy in last place with the highest percentage of claims on warranty products.
Hayward is commonly regarded as being a small amount more cost effective than Pentair, where Pentair is commonly regarded as being slightly higher quality and slightly higher price than Hayward. In Canada Jandy makes up less than 5% of the total pump market.
How Long Will A New Pool Pump Last
The length of time that you can expect to get out of your new pool pump will depend on a number of factors. Pumps located inside a weatherproof room will last substantially longer than a pool pump that is located outside. Additionally the location of the pump in the off season will determine the reliable lifetime that you will get from the pump. If you leave your pump in a snow drift all winter it will age much faster than pumps that are disconnected and stored indoors.
Starting & Stopping Pool Pumps
One of the most important factors that will affect the longevity of a pool pump is how often you start and stop your pump. Many pool owners will turn on the pool in the spring and leave the pump running almost all year except to backwash the pool and clean the strainer basket on the pump. This usage will be substantially less hard on the pump than a pump that is turned off every 12 hours.
The stopping and starting of a self priming pool pump puts more strain on the pump and generates more heat which can ultimately damage the bearings and seals on the pump. While there are things you can do to mitigate this additional strain such as locating the pump below grade (below the water level of the pool) or by adding check valves to the suction and return lines of an above grade pool pump system to prevent the water from draining back to the pool when the pump shuts down. This will help to reduce the priming strain on a pump that is scheduled to turn on / off every day.
How To Make A Pool Pump Last Longer
A high end pump that does not start and stop often and stored indoors can be expected to last more than 10 to 15 years. It used to be that 20 years was not uncommon however newer pumps are built quickly and as cheap as possible and this shows in the longevity of the product. Pump manufacturers talk about 7 years as being a reasonable life time for a pool pump.
The lower end pool pumps will typically last for 5 to 10 years depending on how it is operated and the strain placed on the motor. A pool pump that has to pump water up two stories to a solar heater will burn out much faster than a pool pump that simply recirculates the water through a filter.
Sand Filter Backwashing To Prevent Pump Damage
Part of pool maintenance when you have a sand filter is to backwash the filter on a regular basis. As the filter gets dirty there is an increase in the resistance to flow that the pump must work against. This causes an increase in heat and heat related damage and wear on the pump.
What most pool owners do is establish a schedule for backwashing which is basesd on their availability to do the work however the correct way to regulate when you backwash is by watching the operational system pressure on the filter gauge.
In addition to this many pool owners do not backwash correctly or for the correct amount of time. Again, most pool owners get into a regular schedule of how long to backwash for but by learning the clean operational pressure for your system you can ensure that you backwash long enough to get the filter completely clean. Different times of the year there are differing levels of contaminants that make it into the pool. Making sure to watch the pressure your system is running at is very important in getting the maximum longevity out of your pool pump.
Proceed to the next section on Pool Pump Repair