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The other day I noticed the pump motor for the pop-ups on our pool was louder than usual. There wasn't anything I could attribute this to such as the motor overheating, and the onset wasn't gradual - one day it was quiet and the next it was loud.

The motor hasn't run very long in this state, I shut it off and have only run in a couple times for about 5 minutes at a time to test some things. For instance, it appears to still have full power, as when it runs it is still driving the pop-ups and the force of water coming out appears to be about the same. And it doesn't seem to be overheating, at least not when running it for just a few minutes. (I can hold my hand on it and it feels hot but not uncomfortable.)

I did a bit of research and found a couple of things which possibly could be going wrong here. One is that the could be something that got stuck in the impeller, and the noise I am hearing is the impeller grinding against it. The other is that the bearings are going bad. The noise the motor is making seems like it could be either one: it sounds kind of like a constant metal rattle of moderately high pitch. I had tried listening closely to both the motor itself and the impeller housing, and haven't been able to isolate one or the other as where the excess sound is coming from.

I have tried a quick taking off the impeller housing (it's got a hand tightened screw that holds a metal clamp in place) but both sides of the motor housing are bolted to other things which prevent the housing from separating until they are all removed.

  • ...so remove them and have a look. – Ecnerwal Jun 28 '15 at 15:57
  • @Ecnerwal I'm a bit intimidated by this. I don't have a clear picture of exactly how things are going to come apart properly: the impeller housing is bolted to the motor and the motor is bolted to the slab and there are rigid power conduits running over and to the side of the motor. On the other side the impeller housing is bolted to the plumbing. – Michael Jun 28 '15 at 16:02
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You might as well figure out how to remove some of the pieces of this setup so you can have that inspection look. If something needs replacing it will have to be taken all apart any way.

If all the water piping is rigidly attached this will be the opportunity to cut the pipes and install union fittings so a future repair/replace is much easier. Note that if the water piping is all PVC pipe that can normally be cut back and spliced in without a union fitting.

Electrical conduits are not normally too difficult to free up at the motor end and pull the wire ends out of the junction box on the end of the motor. Make really sure that all power to the motor is shut off. That could be two wires to check if it is a 220VAC motor.

  • Thanks, I finally managed to separate the motor from the impeller housing... cleaned out the impeller, put it back together, it's still noisy, so I guess the bearings are shot. After watching a video on how to replace the bearings I can see how it probably isn't worth the effort for the risk involved, so I was just going to run it with shot bearings for a while, but of course now after putting the housing back together twice it now leaks! – Michael Jul 3 '15 at 22:38
  • I change bearings all the time, as this is probably less than 5 hp the bearings can probably be found online for 5 to 10$ there will be one in the front or output shaft end and one in the tail. The bearing in the front fails first in most motors, this is where the load is. In some cases grease can be added if the bearing has not overheated. Both of these options are much cheaper than a new pump costing hundred(s) so if you pull it apart to check the impeller there are only 4 long bolts on most motors , pull those and the end bells (the part at each end of the motor that holds the bearings. – Ed Beal Jul 9 '18 at 20:20

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