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First world pool problem

For the last couple of months, the pump for our swimming pool has been intermittently malfunctioning. When the timer clicks over, instead of the pump starting up, there is a loud buzzing sound for about 3 seconds, then nothing. A minute later the same thing happens. Sometimes after four or five tries, it catches and the pump starts, but not always. I have to go out and manually turn off the timer to make it stop. It's really loud and I don't want to annoy the neighbors, as well as disturb our own sleep (it usually runs at night).

A few weeks ago I called our pool service and asked them to look at it. They sent a guy over. He flicked the power switch on the timer a few times and said, "Sounds like your pump is bad. You need a new one." Now, we replaced the original pump about three years ago at a cost of $1200, and I would think it should last longer than three years. Or that they would offer to try to repair it. Nope, need a new pump. Oh, by the way, the guy said, I can get you a used one for $400 and install it for you, on my own (wink wink). I said I'd think about it.

After a few weeks of it sort of working most of the time, today it started buzzing about 3:00PM. It wouldn't stop. I manually reset the timer to shut it up, then did what I should have long ago--Googled "pool pump buzz." I got a lot of hits, including this video which exactly describes what's happening:


I turned off the breaker to the pump and removed the capacitor exactly as shown in the video. Went on Amazon and found the same one for $12.50 with free shipping. It will be here in two days. It will take all of 5 minutes to replace.

Assuming this works, and I'm sure it will, I've just saved $1187.50. If it does work, I plan to contact my pool service and let them know I don't appreciate being taken for a ride. I will also contact Lucy's Pools, and thank them for the tip.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 8th, 2016 01:30 am (UTC)
Wow, what a rip off ... or at least, an utterly clueless tech that didn't know/bother to check for this.
Apr. 8th, 2016 05:03 am (UTC)
Excellent tip, considering we're about to move into our home-with-pool in Cathedral City soon. I have no doubt something similar will happen.

Hope this works for you!

I saw there were dozens of 'suggested viewing' videos of similar issues there on youtube.

Apr. 8th, 2016 08:13 am (UTC)
I love these kind of stories, good for you!
Apr. 8th, 2016 11:39 am (UTC)
I hope it works, it sounds like it ought to.
Apr. 8th, 2016 06:29 pm (UTC)
A couple of thoughts...

The pump on my pool equipment failed with similar symptoms about a year ago. However in my case it was motor bearings and there was noticeable noise when the pump finally ran. If it's something more than the capacitor, look into replacing just the motor and not the pump/motor combo. Motor in my case, installed, was about $350.

One thought on the Lucy video... She gives guidance on discharging the capacitor but takes no safety precautions. I'd suggest you wear a bit of protective gear. No fun getting a zap from the stored voltage.

Good luck!

Edited at 2016-04-08 06:30 pm (UTC)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )